It's surreal to play a video game
and watch yourself do what you'd do in that situation even though you're not the one making choices during the scripted scenes. Maybe not with that exact dialogue, and maybe not after some of the life experiences you've had that the person-who-is-you hasn't. But it feels like finding out someone decided to write you into their story, and only realizing it after you already became a fan and told everyone how awesome
that character was.
Which made it mortifying to find out.
I do want to say that it's at least seemed to help with my mental health. It's been frustrating the last year or so, not knowing what I am and reaching for it but failing. Not knowing which feelings are mine and which are f!T's, and being discouraged that the only ones we both knew for certain were mine were the feelings of anger and helpless frustration. She went out of her way to use inclusive pronouns and try to consult with me on things, but I felt like she was wasting her time and that I wasn't a person in the same way that she was.
When we did the thought exercise of "If I were an FF fictive, which one would I be?", the answer came to me so hard it shocked me.
Afterwards I spent weeks not wanting to front, or talk to anyone, or even acknowledge who and what I was.
But that gave me the time to think about it, and the more I did the more it made sense. Not in the sense that I believe I'm a reincarnation, or an alternate universe version, or that I know any explanation at all
that makes my identity fit with this world. But in the sense that if I just accept it as an axiom, as a thing I've observed that I don't know the reason for yet, so many problems just disappear. I no longer feel like a non-person, or a partial person, or a monster attached to f!T. I have a much better idea of who I am and what I want, and I don't worry about being absorbed or neglected, or that either would be a good thing.
I realize I may at some point find something that explains my identity better. I don't worry about that, or feel that it in any way negates this one. I hope to continue learning more about myself.
And yes, I see myself as a therian still. In my headcanon, I believe it is called, FFXIII is a furry TF story, and I would have been physically transformed instead of branded. I don't know if it makes sense or not, or if "I" went through such a thing. But I don't feel that my wanting to move and behave that way is separate from me and from this identity, and I also feel that it helps explain why I'm so conflicted about my species. I don't want to be this thing, but it's a part of me whether I want it to be or not.
I don't feel that any of the above is irrational or unhealthy. I realize I'm not on Cocoon, I'm not in the Guardian Corps, and that I can't cast spells or use AMP technology here. I'm not going to jump off a ledge expecting to survive, or start a fight that I wouldn't have otherwise.
What I feel would
be unhealthy for me to do is to tell myself that these feelings don't matter, that I am what someone else says that I am, and that I ought to make myself think and behave the way that they want me to even if doing so hurts me or neglects my deeply-felt needs. I exist whether or not others want me to ... and I imagine that that's what they find frustrating, and why they expend energy trying to silence me and others. They feel it would cost them less to go to the trouble of doing so, than to simply let me be.
I feel confident enough in my identity, and in my ability to dismiss them as trolls, to finally write about it, even if I later (somehow) change my mind or discover more about my headcanon. I don't feel ashamed for not having the same ability set as the other-who-is-me, and I feel that I do, in fact, reflect what she is like or would be in my situation. I don't feel that there's reason to argue otherwise except to belittle me, or (more charitably) to make sense of what someone else finds confusing. I also continue to like Lightning as a character, and I feel that a lot of the criticism I've seen is because some guys are incapable of identifying with a female lead.
I'm not sure what to do next, except that I'm thinking of filling out a profile like the one that I saw
's journal (f!T wants to do the same). I'm also thinking of calling myself Claire instead of "v!T", because it's more personal and it seems easier to remember. I've considered cosplay, like with the outfit available in PlayStation Home, but it strikes me less as "looking the way I ought to look" and more as "dressing up like a policewoman".
Finally, I'm not sure if it's me or Taryn who thought of this, but we can't get out of our head the idea of a webcomic about Lightning rooming with a foxgirl. >_>