Otherhearted

From Otherkin Wiki
The otherhearted symbol proposed by Tumblr-user aestherians[1]

Otherhearted describes a person who has a strong fundamental connection to a species or character which impacts their core sense of self. This is most commonly described in terms of identifying with a being as opposed to identifying as one.

The object of an otherhearted person's identification is their hearttype. Some people use the suffix -kith synonymously with -hearted, and kithtype with hearttype.[2] Some people in the early animal-hearted community used 'theriotype' to refer to hearttypes as well.[3]

Experiences[edit | edit source]

The primary experience of otherheartedness is identifying with something rather than as it. The identification is still strong enough to be deeply meaningful to the person experiencing it.[3][4][5] The nature of the connection has been described in a variety of ways, including seeing the being as family, wishing or aspiring to be the them, being "almost" one of them, or feeling like they ought to be one but are not.[6][7][8] Some people in the original coining thread used the phrase "animal around the edges".[3]

Many people come to the conclusion that they are otherhearted after questioning therianthropy or otherkinity, but ultimately concluding that those labels do not fit.[3] The deciding factor for some otherhearted people is that they still consider themselves to be fully human. Even so, many otherhearted people describe near-identical experiences to therians and otherkin.[3]

Specific experiences reported include seeing oneself as an animal in one's mind's eye, empathizing with or acting out the movements and behaviours of an animal,[3][4] and feeling phantom limbs.[3][9] Some otherhearted people describe yearning to be their hearttype, sometimes to the point of experiencing species dysphoria.[7] They may deliberately invoke some of these experiences as a way to become closer to their hearttype.[3]

Participants of the original thread in which the term was coined were often only daemians in addition to being otherhearted.[3] However, in the modern community, many otherhearted people are also therians or otherkin.[2][10] Some of these people remark that they feel more deeply emotional about their hearttypes than their theriotypes or kintypes; they feel that there is no reason to feel strongly about something they simply are.[8][10]

While the term was originally coined only to refer to animal identities, some people also have fictional characters as hearttypes.[6]

Etymology & History[edit | edit source]

The suffix '-hearted' was formally defined on The Daemon Forum in 2011. In a thread about therianthropy, many members of the forum expressed that they related to therians, but did not feel like the term was fully accurate for themselves. Others felt it fit, but simply did not like the connotations or community surrounding the term - a frequent reason for this was the perceived emphasis on spirituality and past lives.[3][4] Yet others expressed scepticism about therianthropy being anything more than identifying with an animal in the first place. Many participants in the thread began to call themselves animal-hearted as a result of this discussion, taking inspiration from another user, ed'Rashtekaresket, who had been calling themself 'horse-hearted' on the forum since 2008.[5] They state that they "stole it pretty wholesale from Tamora Pierce's Wild Magic series".[3]

After pages of discussion, ed'Rashtekaresket proposed the following formal definition:
"_____-hearted: One who identifies as fully human, but who identifies strongly WITH a particular animal, similar to a totem. May experience phantom limbs or certain animal behaviors, but does it as a way to become closer to an animal to whom they feel connected. How's that sound?"[3]
According to tumblr user bitcheshavebirthdays, the term "never got picked up much".[11] It reemerged in 2014 when it was suggested to people perceived to be misusing the word "otherkin".

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. aestherians. "The results are in!"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Renata. (March 22nd, 2016) "Otherhearted: What exactly is Kith?"
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 various. "Therian Chat"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Atlas of Mossland (atlas-of-mossland). (January 26th, 2018) "Common Themes in the Early Animal-hearted Scene" (Archived version)
  5. 5.0 5.1 House of Chimeras (liongoatsnake). (August 17th, 2014) "The History of the Term Animal-Hearted"
  6. 6.0 6.1 fromfiction. (September 25th, 2016) "Anonymous asked: Isn't fictionhearted feeling a familial relationship to that character?"
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Flock of Changes. "Being Almost-a-Cat"
  8. 8.0 8.1 monkeytherian. (August 14th, 2017) "I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while now just to get some thoughts on the subject organized..." (Archived version)
  9. Atlas of Mossland (atlas-of-mossland). (January 19th, 2018) "An Interesting Find" (Archived version)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Velvet Wings. (January 6th, 2016) "A deep Connection" (Archived version)
  11. bitcheshavebirthdays. (June 26th, 2014) "I identify as my kintype ..." Comment on "on ‘as’ vs. 'with’".