I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Dune (Frank Herbert, 1965)
This blog was begun when I was in fairly intense states of anxiety and panic. It took me a few days to write, undergoing several revisions in the process. I hope you enjoy reading it.
This has turned from one of the strangest months in my life to one of the most intense, and intensely unpleasant. Since my last blog post I've had three panic attacks and a dissociative seizure. The last panic attack was possibly the most intense I have ever experienced. The anxiety is being triggered by my current animation project for university, which is an autobiographical account of events that took place in my childhood. Although the film is in fact positive it is also fairly harrowing and it is triggering panic attacks.
This panic has somewhat spilled over into my nascent life as a pup. Both Pup W & Pup X have interacted with me via text while I was having a panic attack. They have both been extraordinarily kind in their responses to me. I have towards them a deep sense of gratitude that I cannot adequately express.
Panic attacks are deeply unpleasant, as are the seizures. Perhaps more importantly, they make it impossible for me to function in the world. So, a visit to the quack was necessary; as I am writing this I am taking diazepam and paroxitine for the short term and long term respectively. As of he current time the medicatino appears to be working. Although I am still experiencing fairly intense emotional states they are far less severe and I am far more accepting of them.
I have been attempting to chat in various Telegram chat groups but, to be honest, I find them difficult places to navigate. I can find it difficult to interpret the tone of text based communication. Nevertheless, I have begun to form emotional connections with other pups. I came across a group, which I shall call Group S, which is for pups with mental health issues. The emotional tone of the chat is uniformly warm, positive and caring, loving even. It is entirely unlike any other chat environment I have ever been in and I have found it quite strong. It has had me in tears on several occasions.
I am forming connections with pups. Some are definitely sexual, my relationship with Pup W & Pup X have quite a strong sexual element. I have engaged in sexual activity with Pup W and my communication with Pup X has also taken on a sexual element. I have been conditioned to view my sexuality as something to be ashamed of, another to add to the list. This conditioning needs to be broken: it is unhealthy and prevents any real personal growth from taking place, or at the very least severely inhibits it. The very little experimentation I have been carrying out into the submissive aspect of my being is something that warrants further exploration.
However, another type of relationship has begun to emerge, one that I think has a deeper resonance for me. I have begun to engage with pups, one in particular whom I shall refer to as Pup F. My relatinoship with Pup F has quickly taken on a fairly intense emotional aspect. Both of us are going through difficult periods and we seem to have bonded during the process of attempting to support each other.
I have very quickly come to care about Pup F. Indeed, I would say that we have become pack mates of a sort. My relationship with Pup F is a strange one. We have never met, although I have no doubt that we will. He is married and due to fidelity to his husband is not interested in sexual activity with other pups. In certain respects, the relationship reminds of friendships I have had in the past. I tend to form quite strong, emotionally intimate but platonic friendships with heterosexual men. As Pup F is married, this feels a little bit like those friendships. However, this friendship touches on aspects of my being that have never been touched on in other friendships. Whether this is by chance or design, however unconscious, I cannot say but the fact that I am forming relationships in which these aspects can be explored is extremely positive.
The fact that I am forming connections within the pup community, however nascent they may be, fills me with a great sense of hope. Hope, of course, is a dangerous emotion and is really just a form of craving. But it feels good to connect with others, especially over a subject as intimate and personal as this.
It is in my nature to question things, I cannot help it. I question everything including myself, especially myself. My current experience is a mixture of different conditions colliding and I am having to tease apart the threads to see which conditions are giving rise to which responses. You see, I am faced with difficult questions. Why am I a pup? What does that even mean? Why does being around pups affect me so strongly? Why does being referred to as a pup affect me so strongly? How much of it is due to a neurotic craving for affection and affirmation? How much an expression of part of my identity?
In my recent sexual encounters, limited as they have been, I have been submissive. This is new and strange. Frightening and exciting, and potentially dangerous. I have stoped using Grindr as I am currently very pliable and it would be easy for someone to take advantage of that, indeed a couple of people already have.
This submissive side to my nature is also mixed up with being a pup as they both arose together. I do not know how much they are a part of each other or whether they are discrete phenomena within my psyche, insofar as one part of one's being can be said to be separate from another.
And then there's the hood. The mythical, out of reach hood. I view the hood as a mask and I find masks to have a strong effect. My limited experience of wearing masks has shown me that they have a disinhibiting, transformative effect on my consciousness. When I don a mask I begin to embody the thing I am representing in a way that I cannot without it.
The hood, of course, is a tool, ultimately to be discarded. Being a pup is not a matter of merely donning apparel but I cannot deny that it is an object that holds some importance for me at the moment. I suppose it is a little bit like a raft, needed to cross the river but unnecessary once the other shore has been reached.
This has been an intensely unpleasant few days. My computer died, which will make completing my degree problematic as I cannot afford to replace it. I have had intense panic attacks and seizures and at times it has felt as if I was being drowned in a tsunami of painful emotions. But it has also been a transformative week, filled with moments of genuine joy and gratitude. To borrow some metaphors from the Bodhicaryavatara (Skt. A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life), Group S turned out to be a jewel found in a dung heap, a medicine for the sick, a light in the darkness. The coincidence of coming across it when I was in such a difficult and painful state is simply astonishing and I am extremely grateful for the fact of its existence. Similarly, Pup F has turned out to be an unexpected delight. I would never have expected to form such a friendship, one founded on mutual care and support rather than carnal desire, so quickly. We are pack mates, a statement that gives me great joy to be able to say.
I will be going to a pup event next weekend. I am likely to be shy and nervous and I do not know if I will behave as a pup. It may be that I am unable to break through my self-consciousness without a mask. But I am going anyway. I need to meet local pups, make more connections and hopefully discover other jewels hidden away, gently sparkling among piles of refuse.