Pieces Of A Whole

Written June 27, 2009.

My blood is old. My atoms are made from the stuff of dead stars. My people - both of them, all of them - have been here for a very long time in people terms, though only the blink of an eye compared to those stars. The lonely fact that I am extinct does not escape me. We are fading memories, stories passed from elders to youths, turning to naught but mythology. I know so little about my own bloodline.

I have been learning how to balance. Snake sleeps (for now, not much longer--) in heavy, draping coils, crippled by the restrictions on my body's movement, the lack of space in which to dance, the dearth of full stretching to keep my bones limber. Cat stretches out, curious and cautious in new places, impassive and observant of the activity around her; she is some mix of unwavering confidence (catfaith) and uncertainty about her own strength and skills. Human listens intently, intense, reading and feeding on the input of all senses, interpreting and making sense of everything, controlling every outward-external word and action and expression.

(Yes, human is an animal too - she is a very smart one, a calculating and calculated one, able to analyze others and self, able to choose what to reveal and what to communicate. She still has wordless needs, desires, impulses, reflexes - but she still watches and controls, even if it's a split second after the raw feeling arises.)

All of this she and her and my and me - I am one person. I am not an animal and a human. I am animalfolk. I am whole and I am strange, a hybrid but not a duo. Different chambers of a heart, rather than entirely individual lungs of a pair. Even the not-self-identity influences on who and what I am, like Snake, are incorporated into me. I see your ripples and I raise you waves of my own. Give me that frequency, that note, and I'll pour it from my own lips instead of relying on it always coming from yours. In doing so, it will become impure, be bastardized, be adapted, and evolve because I am not the original source; even my best efforts to keep it unchanged won't work because I am only me, and this me is very different from everything else I have ever known.

This is what Shapeshifter is. I don't see and then mimic; I see and then become. Gut-deep, bone-strong. What I like I take for my own; what I take for my own becomes what I am, not some external possession or skin-shallow mirror. I don't keep these souvenirs of my soulwork in a bag at my hip; they're the scars rippling my flesh and the swaths of darker fur staining my hide. I am a patchwork golem, self-designed and self-built and never, ever finished. I am powered by Water in its unpredictability, fluidity, and depth. I take the shape of my container, and my container is what I consciously shape.

I am not different people; I just have different pieces of a whole soul.

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