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The next generation

A hand-drawn illustration of an anthropomorphic Honduran white bat bust, wearing large round glasses and a pink sweater with a button badge reading 'Try Something NEW Every Day'. She's smiling with her mouth open, exposing her fangs.
Original Emy, as drawn by BatPunk.

Emy is a bat. She’s been my fursona since 2017.

For the first couple of years, she was a biological, glasses-wearing Honduran white bat. She was the first fursona I made after returning from my years-long hiatus from the furry fandom, and my first after publicly coming out as transgender.

Honestly, she didn’t get much characterisation. For a while, her biggest quirk was that she rarely opened her eyes for… very vaguely defined reasons. A bit later on, she played the ukulele and started wearing a poncho. During this time she was very much the “me, but a bat” kind of fursona with very little independence from her creator.

Then she became a robot.

A warmly lit room. The sun is setting outside of the window. Emy, a white, green and black, anthropomorphic robot bat, sits at a workbench. One wing has been detached and is laying in parts on the bench, whilst it uses the other to repair the parts of the disassembled wing.
Emy, but a robot. By Integration.

This change was initially intended to be temporary, but it ended up sticking. During this time Emy took on a new life of sorts. Finally, she came into her own as a character, with a backstory and relationships.

A robot bat was just far a more compelling entity to represent myself as. A robot was fitting for someone so cold, logical, and detached. It felt much more ‘me’. Over a year ago now, I concluded that, in many ways, it was me.

And for a while, all was good.

What’s the deal with fursonas, anyway?

In the furry fandom, fursonas are many things to many people. They’re a real “ask 10 people, get 11 answers” topic of discussion.

For some, their fursona is nothing more than an anthropomorphic animal avatar of themselves, not drastically different from their real-life identity outside of their species.

For others, a fursona might be an idealised version of their real-world self. Themselves, but maybe with a different body shape, maybe free of certain physical constraints, but otherwise still the person.

For others still, the fursona may simply be a character, a puppet to be played with, with a personality and background entirely independent of the person playing them.

Personally I feel I straddle these categories. My fursonas have their own names, backstories and lives. I sometimes treat them as their own beings when I write or produce art about them—but they are also reflections of me, their personalities intrinsically linked to the person I was during the time that I created them.

This state of connected–disconnectedness is a hard thing to juggle. My fursonas act like snapshots in time, being their own independent people whilst simultaneously, for some fleeting period of time, also being me. They are made to remain static, whilst I as a person do not.

Many furries will use the same fursonas for extremely long periods—if they ever meaningfully modify them at all—adapting their fursonas to reflect real-world changes or to maintain the idealised version that they aimed for.

Call it sentimental, but these are beings that I created, named, and gave life and history to. They are also me, my soul made manifest. It feels kind of wrong to rewrite or erase the character because I no longer relate to them as I once did.

So I don’t.

If my fursona doesn’t feel like my fursona anymore, I make a new one and let the old one live on in perpetuity.

Rising from the ashes

Earlier this year, I made a new character, Ash. I didn’t intend Ash to be a fursona at the time, but in a case of history repeating, she very rapidly struck a chord in me.

Perhaps I put more of myself into her than anticipated. Perhaps I found her species—a fictional race of genetically-engineered alien-hybrid shapeshifters named amphimorpho—conceptually relatable. Either way, she rapidly ascended the stairs of feeling like ‘me’.

I had unintentionally made a fursona.

To be honest, I’m not even sure how to explain this in relatable terms. How does someone create a hyper-relatable cartoon representation of their deepest feelings by accident? Heck if I know, but it happened. And it happened hard.

What about robat?

Adopting Ash as my fursona isn’t a move I made particularly lightly.

Emy was, and still is, so intrinsically tied to my online identity and presentation. I love bats. I love robots. I am robots. How could I present myself as something that was neither?!

I don’t have answers for this either. I can only do what feels right and, basically since her inception, Ash as my fursona has felt right.

But that’s left open the question of what to do with Emy. She’s probably the most recognisable identity I have—gracing this website, virtually all profiles I have on other websites, and the systems I use at work. Robot bat is very much my brand and the thing most people associate with me, something that is entirely desired and intentional.

I still love Emy, I honestly do, but Emy is also more representative of the me that I was and not the me I am now. How long can she remain as my public face before it starts to feel wrong? If the plaster must inevitably come off, why not get it over with rather than drag it out?

I don’t know. I just don’t know. Maybe a change will happen to my online presentation at some point, maybe not, but it’s safe to say that the noodly shapeshifter is firmly my primary fursona at this point—the latest in a long legacy of critters I use to represent myself on the internet.

Welcome to the legacy, Ash.

A quadrupedal mammal-like creature with a very long body and tail, long rabbit-like ears, cat-like legs and paws, and a mess of hair covering one eye. It's coloured a mix of black and white, except for neon green inner ears, paw pads and hair highlights, along with a gooey green tail tip. It's bounding forward on all four legs, yapping excitedly.
Artwork by Tuxedo Dragon.

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