Fictionkind Challenge - 30 Days - April 2022

This challenge was written by chrysochus on Tumblr.

Note: Day 9 (which asks about appearance), Day 10 (which asks about our favorite blog), and Day 28 (which asks about our favorite fanart) have been excluded here.

Day 1: What is your fictotype? Are you a specific character, a nonhuman species, or both?

Both. As a noncanon Meowstic, I am a member of a nonhuman species. As Ivlis, the Devil of Flames, I am both nonhuman and a specific character. As Maizono, C-ta, and Mika, I am just a specific character, though the humanity is called into question a little considering the ties being a Meowstic has to being Maizono for me, and how as Mika I did not consider myself a human, but rather a crow.

Day 2: Do you experience dysphoria? How so?

I would say I do, perhaps. It tends to be a little more subtle for me than theriotype-related dysphoria, which is more obvious in the sense of “this body is entirely the wrong shape”. It tends to ebb and flow from “mildly discomforting” to “if I don’t sleep right now I feel like I’m going to lose it.”

It’s about the voice coming out of my mouth, in both sound and language. Relearning speech, and being frustrated with my brain not bringing me things I feel I should know. Looking in the mirror is just as disorienting. Feeling cold, feeling like the core of heat in my body has been stolen away, for I was never cold in the past. I used to be able to feel the world’s energy within me, and know the flames within me, and have some degree of confidence in the skills I built throughout my lifetime, that I feel clumsy without it. Soft, squishy limbs. A reduction in ability to communicate nonverbally, comparing to the ‘resources’ I had for such before. Feeling like I’m not where I’m supposed to be.

With having multiple fictotypes, there’s a conflict that makes things tricky. What length of hair will “feel most right” when it feels like we’re being tugged in opposite directions? What things will make me feel at home, when I always feel like I’m missing something? How do I avoid things in my environment that will trigger these feelings, so I can ignore them as much as possible to keep functioning?

Whether this counts as dysphoria is up to a reader’s opinion, I suppose.

Day 3: Who are you open about it with?

I’ve been open about it with online forums and chats that are specifically fictionkin-friendly, as well as one highschool friend who was tolerant of it. I keep quiet about it otherwise.

Day 4: Do you participate in the fandom of your source? How do you do so?

I used to much more than I currently do. Generally, the media I get fixated on and my sources heavily overlap; my sources tend to be some of the only media pieces that actually stick with me long-term, because I can’t fully separate myself from them. As such, especially around the times of my awakenings, I was involved in the respective fandoms.

For some sources, I separate myself mostly for my own good; one source tends to have a great deal of violence towards myself, as I am one of my creator’s favorites to treat as a punching bag. It doesn’t feel particularly good to see yourself drawn as the subject of violence often, so I tend to stay away nowadays, though I will sometimes check for updated information about those I knew.

In times I was more than just “your everyday fan”, I was the admin of one of my source’s wikis for a few years, and staff for longer. It was rough, and I very much separate myself from the fandom of that source nowadays. It is a fandom rife with both KFF and non-kin who mock KFF; both misuse the words our community uses on a daily basis. I couldn’t take it much longer.

Day 5: Do you fictionflicker?

Heavily. I tend to fictionflicker after most things I read or watch, so I try to be careful about what I get myself into. The intensity of this varies greatly; it can be anything from ‘vaguely taking on similar mannerisms, speech, and self-image to a character present in the media for a few hours’ to 'fully feeling as if I have become that character and taken on all their emotional baggage for several days afterwards’. Most fictionflickers fade entirely at some point, but there have been a couple that have residue that stayed with me due to the intensity with which I experienced them.

Day 6: When did you realize you were fictionkin? How long have you been in the community?

I realized I was a Meowstic mid-2014. It was not out of nowhere, as in years prior I had suspicions of being some kind of ‘psychic nekomata’, but it became clearer what I actually was after playing Pokemon X with a friend and being struck with the knowledge of where I had lived.

With community, it depends on whether you mean just the fictionkin community or the 'kin community as a whole. I started getting involved in the fictionkin community in 2014 after I realized I was a Meowstic. I believe I have been present in the overall 'kin community since late 2012.

Day 7: What was your introduction to fictionkin?

It was a long time ago, and I don’t remember exactly, but the first time I heard of it and saw people call themselves such, I considered myself an otherkin who didn’t have any belief that fictionkin were possible. Somehow, being a demon made perfect sense to me, but being a fictional character didn’t, despite them both having no physical proof of existing in this world. When I realized I was a Meowstic, it was kind of a ‘reality crisis’ moment of realizing that what I didn’t understand was indeed real and that I was experiencing it.

Day 8: Are you similar to your fictotype in personality? How so?

In some ways yes, and some ways no. It’s one of those things where despite the firm knowledge that being similar does not equal being ‘kin, I am or was at some point quite similar to my kintypes. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to objectively analyze my current self versus my fictotypes (for, well, the reasons of them being my fictotypes), so I’m not sure if I can word it well. Under a cut since I go into it.

As a Meowstic, I had no canon personality, so I can only speak from my memories. I was irritable and short-tempered, a contrast to my cheerful brother and stoic sister. I think I still tend to be snappy and irritable, especially when stressed, though this also ties into my being Ivlis. I’m less outwardly aggressive, but that also lends itself to not having the physical power I used to, as well as this world’s circumstances being different.

As Maizono, very few of our external reactions actually reflected what we we were feeling inside. This is something that reflects how we were upon awakening moreso than now; someone who could easily fake whatever emotion we wanted if it served us well enough, and felt empty for it. A bit interesting, since if you looked up my (as Maizono) personality elsewhere, it says I have a “cheerful, sweet, lighthearted, and supportive personality”. However, it does note that “she tends to hide her feelings when she is under great pressure by putting on her public persona”, so I suppose the difference was that I did that around almost everyone, rather than just in stressful moments. Nowadays, I think I’ve separated a bit from my old presentation and am trying to be more true to myself, rather than being fake on the outside and feeling like I don’t have any actual feelings behind that mask.

As Ivlis, as mentioned, the irritability and snappishness is a big one. However, its root was very similar; we both lash out as a result of feeling fear and interpreting it as anger. We hate being belittled, and constantly feel like people are intending to hurt us, so we’re always on edge. I can’t say I find satisfaction in seeing others injured nowadays, as I once did, but I think that was a result of the circumstances we had rather than a core part of us. If you weren’t brutal, you were going to get destroyed. This world, away from the primary people who used to torment me then, I think it allowed me to become softer than I was there, because I could actually relax a little more.

As C-ta, I’m surprisingly similar, even though we may seem extremely different. I tend to be withdrawn, nervous, and aloof; his tendency to be loud, chatty, and sociable seems like the opposite. However, similar to Maizono, much of the sociability I showed as C-ta was an act in order to protect ourselves, as well as the one dear to us in C-ta’s case. For some time I mistook C-ta for a synpath rather than a fictotype, because I assumed the reason I felt a connection with him and the world was because I also have obsessive tendencies and take perceived criticism badly.

As Mika, it’s a little complicated. We both tend to doubt ourselves often and rely on others to tell us what we “should” be doing, but also have strong feelings on what we think “should” be done. We’re both afraid of guys and strangers, tending to be timid or nervous until people get to know us. We can be passionate and outspoken about our interests, chatty to the point of being annoying. We both have a hard time identifying as something “human”, but I don’t know if that counts as a personality trait. And, as one would expect, parts of our personality comes out differently because of our differing circumstances. We both tend to dislike conflict, but my current feeling comes off as much more “irrational” due to the lack of what would make it understandable in this world.

So ultimately, I guess the answer is… we’re similar, in the sense that we have all the same “stuff” inside of us that made us become who we are/were, but because of the different lives we lived, that “stuff” evolved into different forms that best suited where we were. And sometimes, I still have pieces of that “stuff” and how it evolved in those worlds, and it feels ill-fitting in this world because you can’t properly trace it back to something, because its core is from elsewhere.

Day 11: Have you ever met other fictionkin? In real life or online?

A therian I used to know in real life also ended up being fictionkin, but we already weren’t particularly close by the time I found out.

I’ve met plenty of other fictionkin online by virtue of having been active in the community this long. Nowadays I mostly keep to myself aside from a server or two, but I used to be active in several Skype-based ‘kin networks’ some years back, when you could actually trust the people in them to be 'kin.

Day 12: Have you ever met canonmates? In real life or online? How did it go?

I’m not sure if this question is referring to the definition of canonmates I was first exposed to (people from the same piece of media as you, which people tend to call sourcemates nowadays) or the definition I see more often now (people from your exact same universe with the same memories as you), but if it’s the former, yes, I’ve met many online. If it’s the latter, no, and I don’t try to.

When kin networks were popular, I joined a few, and there were naturally many people from my worlds there. From my memory, it was a lot of fun; the spaces I was in weren’t obsessed with matching memories to make sure they were “my version of [character]”, so we just chatted about our canons, memories, and other interests we shared. I considered people I was close to “my version” of the character regardless of whether it seemed like we were from the same universe or not, since they were my friends and I’d always think of them when I saw the character.

It felt really… nice? To be able to reconnect with people, even if we were completely different now, and be able to reminisce about old times or apologize for things we felt bad about. It felt like closure. There were times I’d feel paranoid about “being replaced” by others who shared my fictotypes, but I wasn’t in the best mental space back then, so I wouldn’t consider it the groups’ fault.

Day 13: Have you ever met doubles? In real life or online? How well did you get along?

I’ve met a few online, none in real life, with mixed results depending on when and who it was. As a default setting, I’m not very good with doubles. I don’t have anything personal against them, it’s just generally better that we don’t interact, for my sake, so I generally block them when I see them. I feel like I’d be better with it nowadays, if still a bit unsettled, but in the past it used to trigger dissociation in me and make me feel like I was just a part of them, instead of my own person.

For a specific example of why it sometimes unsettles me even nowadays, as Mika, there was a character who I had a complex relationship with. This life, to me, sometimes feels like a chance to get away from that character and control my own self, instead of being controlled. However, many doubles have had very positive relationships with that character and still adore them, posting often about how they miss them. As that relationship was very rough for me, in times of weakness, it sends me into doubt that maybe I’m exaggerating my feelings and misunderstanding everything that happened to me. Therefore, it’s typically much better for me to just avoid them as a whole rather than meeting one, speaking to one, and finding out that we had entirely different feelings about that character that might make it hard to really… connect.

However, as a sort of “exception”, there was a time that I befriended a double in a server for fans of our canon. I found that because we were the same character, with similar feelings and things we still struggled with that happened to both of us, we could really understand what it was we were going through as “residue” from being them. Thus, a sort of “C-ta support group” was created, for anyone who’s C-ta and feels like they want to discuss issues we might struggle with as a result of being so. That group is likely the most positive experience I’ve had with doubles.

Day 14: What are shifts like?

While I am always my kintypes, what I define as a shift is when my experiences from being that fictotype more heavily overlap this world’s experiences to the point that I feel out of place. I’m a “mix” of my kintypes, but a shift boosts that kintype’s effect like a program suddenly eating almost all your CPU. I try to work through the nonsense that happened to my kintypes as best as possible, but strong shifts undo that work temporarily because it makes everything feel more raw, I guess. I always struggle at varying amounts with complicated feelings towards those in my canons, but shifts can make me feel like I’m back there physically, and might aggravate old wounds from then. It amplifies the difference between my current vessel and my fictotypes’, as well. It’s not like they’re inherently bad- it’s just a part of myself that already exists- but it’s one of those things that makes me wish I had like, one fictotype, maybe, and that’s it. It’d be simpler.

Day 15: How do you deal with kin-for-fun?

Avoid them as best as I can, which usually means blocking and muting people constantly. Means the majority of ‘kin spaces online are completely impossible to be around, which has narrowed my options of places that are tolerable to be, but I can’t stand watching people continuously misuse our words and then say they don’t care or it’s not that deep if you explain what the words actually mean. And I still stand by that the only funny kin jokes are those made by actual 'kin because they actually know what they’re talking about.

Day 16: What are your thoughts on symbols, flags, etc?

Personally, I don’t like them much. I’m not going to yell at people who do them or whatever, they’re just not my cup of tea. It feels like people get so focused on what symbol or flag they can assign to a word they made that it overshadows the actual experiences associated with it. There are positive things about symbols and flags, like being able to discreetly signal to others of one’s community in public that you’re the same without alerting outsiders, but when elaborate flags and symbols are made for everything possible, it muddles things up; they all look the same, just various types of colored stripes, and can’t really be told apart unless you have the memory (I very much don’t) to remember 500 new terms people came up with for very specific experiences. But this also stems from how I personally consider labels; as a shorthand to explain an experience to another individual without having to write out a whole paragraph to explain every time. Aka, for interpersonal use. There isn’t a need for a fancy word for “past life kintype” because it’s already very short and self-explanatory.

Day 17: Does fictionkinity connect to spirituality for you?

I personally believe that I have no way to 100% ascertain the exact reason why I am fictionkind. As such, I am not set on a particular explanation; it could be spiritual, it could not be. I tend to use spiritual language like “past lives” out of convenience, because there isn’t really another good word for “thing that you feel like you were and have memories of being but don’t feel like you currently are”. Reincarnation tends to be an easier way for me to bring up ‘kinity with non-kin when needed, as well; if they are a spiritual type, they tend to be less opposed to it since they understand that people have personal spiritual beliefs. It doesn’t feel like an impossible explanation to me; it makes sense if that is the case. So I have no qualms about seeing myself as either spiritual or psychological or a mix of both.

Day 18: Does fictionkinity connect to neurodivergence for you?

I wouldn’t say so, no. I could be wrong, of course, but it doesn’t seem to me like it does. It’s one of those things that if I thought hard enough about it, I could make an argument for it, but as a casual belief? It’s not one I generally subscribe to. I see it with my theriotype, but not my fictotypes.

Day 19: Do other people notice your similarity to a character or species?

No. My being a cat is very obvious to people, but the fictional part of myself is much less so. With the range in my fictotypes’ canon personalities, you might not expect them to blend in such a way, either. There have been times where I roleplayed as a fictotype and those I was writing with said I was “like the irl [character]”, but that’s only because of the existing association, not something unprompted.

Day 20: How do you express your fictotype? Clothes, merch, cosplay, maybe even name?

I don’t express them much. I have most of their names as alternate names for myself that have been used in the past by others, but nowadays I mostly go by my main name. Otherwise, I don’t like to stand out, so I don’t try to mimic canon-related clothing. I do have a small charm of one of them attached to my bag, but it’s small enough that no one really sees it. I guess you could call singing a form of expression because of how it is tied into a few of my canons, but I’m not sure if that counts.

Day 21: What’s something about the fictionkind community you wish was different?

Hard to say. “I wish copingkin/KFF didn’t take over so we could actually believe people when they said they were kin” probably isn’t interesting enough to say. Maybe it’s that I think a focus on finding people who exactly match one’s memories is dangerous, as well as looking for people expecting to re-form the exact same relationship that you used to have. We’re the same, and yet we’re different… because of our new upbringings and lives, we’ll never be the exact same as how we used to be. It hurts, not having them with us, but I feel like the effect of thinking we have them back with us creates expectations for people that can’t always be met. Maybe some common misconceptions as well, like needing memories or shifts to be fictionkin, but that exists in any ‘kin space, I think.

Day 22: What’s something about the fictionkind community that you appreciate?

That it exists and we’re not just floundering in our experiences alone, for one. Another thing that’s nice is that even if we’re not from the same canon, even if we have no idea who another’s fictotype is, we sometimes still have experiences that we share and understand in that particular way one understands “this happened, and it wasn’t here, but it happened, and it affects me” or “there is someone who I will never meet again, and who technically never existed, and there is a certain kind of grief associated with that.” Like, that’s very… that’s very fictionkind, in my experience. It’s the specific way fiction and reality blur for us due to our origins. And I don’t think I could find that anywhere else.

Day 23: How do you approach consuming your source? Analytically, obsessively, casually, reluctantly, etc…

It depends. My sources have been fixations in the past, in which the answer would be obsessively, but at current time, I wouldn’t say they are. A few of them I avoid because of the emotional baggage involved, and only tend to check in when something interesting seems to be happening or if new information has come out regarding myself or those close to me. I used to be a lot more into being really involved in my sources and their fandoms, but I think I’m just tired at this point. And when I have interests that aren’t my sources, it’s very refreshing to not feel like it personally involves me. So maybe “casually” would be the best fit for now? Or “from the sidelines”?

Day 24: What’s the worst anti-fickin take you’ve ever seen?

Not sure about objectively the “worst”, but. I used to buy into this myself years ago, but maybe “you can’t be something that never existed.” Like, you could say the same of dragons, demons, angels, fae, and any other mystical creature that has no physical proof of existence upon this earth. Just because you have experience with communing with them through dimensions, doesn’t mean that dimensions with supposed fictional beings don’t also exist… but it’s harder to wrap your head around how those are equally fictional until you’ve had experiences like this, I think.

Day 25: What’s the best anti-fickin take you’ve ever seen? Respond to it.

I’m not sure if any take like that can be called the “best”… But if it’s just another take I’ve seen, there have been concerns that we are disrespecting the work that our creators have put into our source. However… creativity and hard work, and the possible existence of other worlds that mimic the creations of this world, can exist. As a writer myself, weaver of stories, what am I reaching into when inspiration floods me, when I see visions before my eyes? I can spend hours writing, and whether I am creating or reaching from something else, something further from this world, it does not cheapen the work that I put into it. And the existence of archetypes and age-old patterns through stories show that there is always “something” driving our depictions. To creators… you own your words, your worlds, the things you see and create, the individuals you have breathed life into. But as one sees in fanfic, an infinite number of possibilities exist that stem from those individuals, the different ways their lives could go… and as infinitely as their paths stretch, is it so far-fetched that a shard of them may be within someone else? Just another AU.

Day 26: What are some songs that remind you of your fictotype or source?

I actually have a lot of these, since I keep playlists about most of my fictotypes, but I’ll focus on a few songs that I feel stand out for this. The exception I have is for being a Meowstic; I don’t think I’ve really found music that resonates with that part of myself.

“Music People” by IAMX stands out the most for me being Maizono. It touches on the darker parts of what life was like, and also my fear that everything I did will go to waste and that I would be forgotten. Especially the line “Don’t be afraid, we will remember you forever.”

“Almost Human” by Voltaire stands out the most for being Ivlis. I have a lot of songs on my playlist that are more about the emotions of rage and fear, but this one really touches on my past, especially with the line “Is it really such a crime for an angel to speak his mind?” I was never an angel, but my father, the god of our world, did throw me away for daring to question his motives.

Though it might seem like a meme, “Falling Inside the Black” by Skillet is a song that stands out for being C-ta. I first saw it in an AMV type thing (looks like it’s been privated by now, unfortunately…), but ended up resonating with it. It touches on both the fear of being in the ‘game’ and how I idealized the past where A-ya and I were children.

I have fewer songs that I’ve found that stand out for being Mika, but one is “Kodoku no Shuukyou / 孤独の宗教” by syudou. I relate it a lot to the relationship that I had with someone in my canon; unhealthy, fixated, blind to faults. It might not fit the song’s story exactly, but the vibes are there.

Day 27: What are some other characters/species that remind you of your fictotype?

Because of being a Meowstic, I’ve always been drawn to nekomata/bakeneko, and thought I was one before I knew that Meowstic existed. I connect to Houndoom as an extension of me being Ivlis, as well (Devil/demon -> hellhound -> Houndoom connection), and how they resemble creatures that lived in my world. Enta from Sarazanmai is a character who I see parallels with being C-ta, as well. He’s different from how I was, but seeing him creates a feeling like looking back on one’s younger self. There are probably others, but these are the main ones that come to mind.

Day 29: Do you have activities that connect you to your source? (Food, hobbies, interests, etc.)

Sewing is one of the few things that gives me positive Mika feelings. Also eating leftovers and random things I find around, weirdly enough. Keeping hard candies with me and sucking on them, too; it’s something I did back in canon, and I’ve done it in this world for as long as I can remember, too. Singing could be something that connects me to being both Maizono and Mika, but it feels closer to my fictivity (which I decided not to talk about for this challenge). It’s primarily singing songs that I used to sing back then that connects me to them rather than singing overall. I don’t think there’s really anything else; I don’t have many positive associations with being Ivlis or C-ta, and any activities related to being them are generally negative occurrences.

Day 30: Talk about what it’s like to be your fictotype.

A Meowstic is a creature of the hunt. We use our abilities to protect our territories and provide for ourselves. We, and I presume other Pokemon in my universe, have an innate sense of Those-Watching, Those-Above. This translates to a respect and awareness of Legendaries. In a shift, I am alert. I feel like I am lacking a sense; even if I lift my ears, I do not have any better of an idea of the world. I do not have a good sense for how others feel, what they are thinking, what their intentions are, and it feels like being blind to the world compared to how it used to be. And it brings back memories of Pecha berries whacked off of trees to enjoy with my siblings, and a current insatiable sweet tooth.

When I think about being Maizono, I think about how a part of me still struggles with understanding what self is best to show to the world, what people want to see. It’s a struggle that shows up less now than it used to, but behind the mask, who am I? Something complex and vile, something no one has to see; and there’s that side to us where if it’s someone really there for us, we want to shield them. Of wanting to put our talents forward, but the fear of being manipulated again; of being more cautious, not throwing ourself into dangerous situations for the sake of a wish.

When I think about being Ivlis, the first thing that comes to mind is how cold I am, how it feels like my heat has been stolen, and it irritates me. How the bundled rage burns in my stomach, of lashing out and struggling with how to appropriately deal with fear. Of relief of being in a world away from where I used to be, coupled with a conviction that they are still watching and laughing, and the feeling of things not being right. Of talking about wings and feeling tears on my back, of the times in high school I thought I was going to die because of the pain in my chest. Of wanting to be superior to all, and hating everyone in my way; of wanting to not be seen, because that attracts enemies. Of feeling like I’m going to burst sometimes from the power within me that is unable to be harnessed; of creation, of destruction, and a world where my abilities only exist in phantom form. Of, strangely, the fear of fire, because it is not my fire. It is not a fire I can control, or hold within my hands, or nestle close. It is a foreign fire that will destroy me.

When I think about being C-ta, I think about how much I would like to not be C-ta. If only kintypes could be dropped, huh? A fictotype I try to avoid feeling as much as possible; with all the envy, remorse, despair. There’s nothing good about being this way; the times where I can do nothing but grin and whisper an adored being’s name, of struggling to be apart from them. Of remembering the time spent with A-ya like a warning; being that way, thinking that way, only hurts both yourself and others. Don’t be so defensive; don’t assume you have a strict, unchanging position in others’ lives.

When I think about being Mika, like other things, it feels like another chance. Another warning. To take hold of myself, to control myself, to live my own life, to not live for someone else. Regardless of that, it’s still a struggle to not put my all into helping others, crushing my health for no reward all so that the finished product can be better. It’s irritation and suspicion, and it’s wholehearted devotion. It’s that distance from humans that also exists in many other forms. It’s feeling embarrassed when connections line up too well, like in some ways, I haven’t changed at all. It’s how awakening made sense; I don’t want to be this way, but like it or not, it’s what I am.

There are plenty of ways that being my fictotypes overlap (how could they not? I am all still myself), but it’s a little hard to illustrate, I think. And man… if we could choose kintypes, I’d stick to like, one, not this many. That way, I wouldn’t have to write so much every time. /joking