Owl's Nest

Alterhuman FAQ

What is alterhumanity?

When you picture yourself inside your head, what do you look like? Some people look like their body, or just a little different. Other people look a lot different from their bodies. Their internal self might be taller or shorter, thinner or fatter, and have all sorts of other differences from what they look like on the outside. Who you feel you are on the inside can be very different from what your body actually looks like.

My internal self doesn't look like a human most of the time. It's been that way ever since I was a little kid. That might sound really weird, but if people's inside selves can look very different from their bodies, then it makes sense that some people's inside self might not look human some or all of the time. It's inside them, after all. It can look like anything.

When someone's inside self doesn't fit perfectly into normal humanity, that's called being alterhuman. There are a lot of different ways to be alterhuman. Some people are animals inside. Others are machines, mythical creatures, and more. Some people even have more than one self at the same time. This is the bare-basic explanation, so it's worth researching alterhumanity more on your own if you'd like to know more. Alt+H is a good place to start.

Isn't this just clinical lycanthropy?

Clinical lycanthropy is a disorder where someone believes their body can actually transform into something nonhuman. The vast majority of alterhuman people don't believe this. We're very aware that our bodies are human even if our internal sense of self is nonhuman. That said, there are some alterhuman folks that have clinical lycanthropy, and these people deserve just as much respect as anyone else.

So what are you inside?

Instead of looking like a human, my internal self has a lot of different shapes that it changes between. Some of them are humanoid. Others aren't. There's a special word for people whose internal self changes shapes without really being any of those shapes: polymorph.

My sense of what I am inside changes depending on what I'm around. If I spend a lot of time around cats, then my inside self starts mirroring cats. I start experiencing myself in a catlike fashion, albeit through the lens of a human brain. I find myself mimicking their behavior and traits. Sometimes, I even feel like I have a tail or upright ears even though I clearly don't. I think it's partially an adaptation to help me get along with different critters, but I don't really care to pin down where it came from. I think it's silly to insist that everyone needs to know the cause of every identity they have. Identity is too nebulous and fluid for that to work very well!

Just in case you're worried about my sanity: yes, I know my body is human. I can't change that, and I don't want to. I think there's something valuable about living a human life, and I wouldn't want to lose that experience. My polymorphism is something that exists alongside my humanity. It's another part of who I am that's helped me understand myself and my experiences. I find it to be very positive. It helps me understand and relate to other creatures far better than I could otherwise.

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