Baxil (baxil) wrote,

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An open letter to an e-mail correspondent

Hi there --

It figures you would drop me a line while I'm in the middle of writing a character into my web-serialized novel that's having a crisis of faith ... :)

I really appreciate you taking the time to write me despite your fears. It takes a lot of courage to open up to a stranger to that degree. Thank you for showing me that respect and trust. I'll respond in kind, and I hope you can get something useful out of it.

The truth is, being a dragon (or thinking myself to be one; take your pick) doesn't make me an authority on the phenomenon. I have no desire to lecture. I don't gain anything by convincing you of any conclusion. All I know is what I believe, how I got there, and what it has meant to me. If sharing that helps you find your own sense of self -- to get closer to the truth; to find new inner strength or peace or closure -- I've done good. That's the goal.

Whether you end up thinking of yourself as a dragon or not.

You talked about your fear that this is crazy. If you'll let me unpack that for a moment, it sounds like there are three elements to that:

- Fear that you're believing something unhealthy.

*Any* belief system can be unhealthy if you misapply it. Look at the spectrum of Christians in your life -- from the level-headed ones to the disturbing obsessed ones. So this is always a valid worry, and a good reality check. But the bottom line is: is draconity inherently harmful? As a 31-year-old, married (to a lovely human ;)), productively employed, drama-free dragon, I would say no. My draconity serves as a source of stability and strength, giving me a framework for understanding this crazy world that explains my place in it and offers confidence that I can grow to be more than I am (in any of a multitude of ways -- including growing more into my human body, when I want).

- Fear that you're believing something irrational.

The principles draconity rests on are really pretty mundane ... they're just ones that aren't common things for the average modern Western citizen to think about. If you choose (as I and many dragons do) to take the viewpoint that draconity rests on some essential self being non-human, the only hypotheticals it requires are the existence of souls; humanity being non-unique in having souls (which seems only logical unless you're a Biblical literalist); souls being able to shift between species in some way; and dragons (or something close enough to what we define as "dragon" to trigger the association) existing somewhere, not necessarily on Earth. I must point out that there are also many dragons who believe in their identity despite rejecting one or all of those assumptions: many are quite serious about their draconic identity while believing they are tapping into some collective consciousness, archetype, or affirmative mental construct. I won't speak for them here.

The bottom line is that there aren't any mental leaps of the "2 + 2 = green" variety once you lay down and build from the basic assumptions. However, in this more than anything else, the best thing you can do for yourself is to not take my word for it. Poke, prod, challenge. Figure out what dragons mean to you, what level you relate to them on (personal?/extrapersonal?, literal?/metaphorical?), and whether your experiences with the world allow you to believe in dragons or not. Take as much time on this as you need or want; give yourself permission to revise your answers along the way.

What you get out of your draconity depends on what you put into it, and the more you dissect the question and come up with an answer, any answer, that you can accept with your full heart and mind with a minimum of reservations, the more your beliefs will ultimately mean to you.

- Fear that you're believing something other people will mock.

If you're a dragon, you are. However! :) Quite frankly, my experience over more than a decade of draconity has been that the quiet, unashamed public airing of such a fringe opinion is a wonderful litmus test for other people's capability to interact with you as a mature adult.

*Huge, huge disclaimer:* The previous sentence should *NOT* be read as "Other people have to accept my draconity or they fail." NO! WRONG! The litmus test is for *empathy*, for *curiosity*. For traits that have profound impacts on every aspect of your friendships and relationships. Some of the best people I know are the ones who found out I was a dragon, gave me a chance to explain myself, and said, "Your beliefs are bizarre, but you're cool anyway."

The reason I call it a wonderful litmus test is that, one, friends you can respect and trust are worth their weight in gold -- and, two, most people respond in surprisingly mature ways if you give them the chance. Are people going to mock you? Yes, because you are on the Internet, and the Internet makes people stupid. But the amount of hassle I've gotten for it away from the professional trolls has been very low compared to the rewards.

You've currently got friends who seem likely to mock the idea. That's going to have to be a factor in whatever decision you make. I do urge you to consider, though, that if they truly respect you, they're not going to let a thing like your spiritual/identity beliefs stand in the way of your friendship. If they don't really respect you ... well, you'll find out fast, and it'll hurt to find out, but IMHO you're better off in the long run knowing.

* * *

As far as your history, and love of fantasy -- it's up to you what sort of causal relationship you want to draw. Were you always interested in dragons because of some prior connection, or is it that connection that's creating the idea of being dragon? Either one is a perfectly valid conclusion, depending on the other assumptions you make. It's one of those "reptile or the egg" questions.

But personally ... I think it's a combination of the two. Draconity is about the interaction of two worlds -- a human body and a dragon soul -- and the more you embrace it, the more you have to learn to reject false dilemmas.

Would I have discovered my draconity if I'd had a childhood free of fantasy? Of course not! I'd still be the same person I am now, but I wouldn't have the framework to describe and unify all of the feelings and desires and mannerisms -- I'd channel it elsewhere and call it something else, or stagger through life reaching for something undefinable and unnameable. But at the same time, who I am predates my reading: it's what persuaded me to pick up that set of books in the first place. There's a delicate interplay, a drawing-out process, a self-refinement continually at work. Those choices ultimately led me to choose to call myself dragon.

Which brings me to my last point of the moment: Draconity, ultimately, is a choice. You have an identity -- you are you, and the label you choose to slap on it won't change that. If you really are a dragon in some essential way, then your choice isn't to "be" dragon or not -- it's to acknowledge it as such, or not.

So draconity is about claiming that you in a framework that improves your life. I wish you luck as you seek answers, and if you want to discuss this further, I'll do my best to oblige.

Dream well,

Tags: draconity
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