Published: April 23, 2008
More often than not, my shifts, if you will accept the terminology, are involuntary, and usually triggered by fear or uneasiness.
Not long ago, I was drifting through Borders Bookstore, of all places, when I started to watch people more carefully.
Now, I am always watching people. I think my own species is one of the greatest entertainment ever devised, and besides, if I dont watch them, how will I know where they are or what theyre doing.
However, in this instance, I started to get more jumpy than I already am. I leaped into the air every time I saw movement, and I started to get this electrical feeling all around me, as though the tingling feeling indicated where someone was near me. My muscles bunched and my posture became lowered and crouched. My eyes got wide and twitchy, and I could almost feel my ears twisting towards the noises and my tail gently swinging.
Knowing from past experience that I was being impulsive, I retreated to a far corner and fixed my gaze on a shelf of books, not reading the titles or caring what they said, but pulling them out at random to stare at them and look okay.
When I shift voluntarily, it is not a very different circumstance, though I generally have the decision in mind that I want to be caninely aware.
Sometimes, I sit down, close my eyes, and feel out every bit of my body with my mind, becoming conscious of myself. I feel myself changing, feeling like something else, something different. I feel fur, the elongated hairs on my neck and lower back, prickling as though on fire. I feel ears, large, soft, and flexible, turning to face each new sound. I feel paws and claws, thicker and longer than my fragile human limbs. I feel a broad muzzle, tipped in natures gift of a wet nose. I feel a long, curved vertebra, ending thoughtfully in a thick, expressive tail.
And right now, I feel anger. I feel pent-up frustrations and caged enthusiasm from everything that is feral in me. I put a lid on my own nature, for too long, too often. And mentally- emotionally- psychologically- I am pacing, wanting out, needing the earth and the air and the water and the sun and the FREEDOM, so I can breathe again.