A link symbol  It's always frustrating, to watch a community you love devolve in real time. But I think that it's a special kind of hell when it's devolving due to the additions of people who never understood what it was about in the first place; people who take the words of the community and repurpose them until it's these new, bastardized meanings that become what people see the community as. Until the people who were there from the beginning are seen as 'weird'. Mocked in their own community for using words that were made to describe them, their experience.

That's what I have witnessed happen to the otherkin community over the past four years online.

Early 2018 is when I started awakening. I began to experience a connection to a piece of fiction that was undescribable; Undertale, of all things. As I would guide Frisk through Toriel's home in particular, I could vividly imagine (in a way closer to rememberance) the scent of the home, how the beds felt. Toriel's voice. I would play the game further, and all of the areas would have tinges of what felt like once was, but none of them, or any of the characters, held any of this only now-describable feeling that Toriel's home and the Dreemurr family had. I began seeing it all in my dreams; a homey warm glow, white fur. Hair that wasn't down to my shoulders. Bandaged knees. Finally feeling as if I belonged, after being treated... Well, like a monster, all of my life.

An unidentified feeling that lead me to dive deep to find what I was experiencing, and, in May of 2018, I realized that I am Chara Dreemurr.

"Wow, haha, Azure, that sounds pretty dramatic. I mean, being kin is just relating to a character-" Don't listen to those fuckwads on Twitter and TikTok who learned about the kin community through a carrd. Listen to me.

But, still, I can't blame you if that's your first instinct. After all, 2022 ideas of kin is a far cry from 2018, or even before then. Because fictionkin (fun fact) has existed since the 1970s, and, in that time, a small online community had formed around people who were otherkin or alterhuman (umbrella terms which refer to a personal identity which encompasses identification that is alternative to the common societal idea of humanity). People were kin for all sorts of reasons - psychological and religious being some of the more common ones. Along with the odd couple of synpaths, otherwise known as someone who would "kin for fun", or "kin because they relate to or identify with something". They were the odd ones out, but the community generally accepted them, so long as they were understanding of those who took kin seriously. There were discussions of kin memories, shifts, and, sure, people made fun of us - we were the weirdos who geniunely believed that we were animals! Fictional characters! Plants! But that was okay, because, within the kin community, we understood each other.

Then, in 2020, the idea of "kin for fun" began to grow in popularity.

Pre-2020, the people who "kin for fun" were the odd ones out - the ones that the community generally thought we were being kind to by allowing them to use our terms and our community, despite their lack of serious reason to be kin. But, as time passed, the "kin for fun" - or "KFF" community - began growing. They discarded the word 'synpath' in favor of just calling themselves 'kin', with no differentiating factor put between people who took it seriously and those who did it for fun. They began to take our terms without bothering to look into the other reasons why people might be kin. This group eventually grew to be the majority of the community, and then...

They looked back at the people who had been in the community since the beginning, and began to mock us. Laugh at us! For taking it all 'too seriously'!! Condescended at the idea of 'kin memories', being kin for religious or psychological reasons - anything that didn't fit in their idea of 'normal', because the otherkin community had been taken over by people who saw our serious beliefs as something that people only do for fun.

Within these past four years in the community, I have recognized a number of kintypes. All of them with serious and geniune feelings of connection behind them. But that hardly matters anymore. Because the only fucking way to make the public recognize your feelings as 'valid' and 'worth respecting' anymore is to say that you have a delusional attachment, or you're an irl, or a ficliteral or whatever the fuck the word of the month for 'having a delusion of being a character' is, before the community for that term collapses in on itself because it became 'trendy'. Because we have to medicalize every goddamn experience online in order to be taken seriously, I fucking guess.

I probably sound like a pretentious and bitter bitch who is angry that my community became mainstream enough that the original meaning became lost. Which I guess is true. I'm sure there are lots of people who have been in the community even longer than I have whose vision doesn't turn red when they see "kin for fun" being treated as the only definition that kin as ever had. Maybe they're just glad that kin is being normalized.

But I'm not. Because, for a small time, I had a community, and words to describe what and who I am... And now, I don't. And I watched that transition happen in real time.

Related reccommended reading:

My kinlist (if that matters to anyone)

My otherkinity shrine / information page

An essay on the alterhuman experience