It's a series I made for Fur Affinity, consisting in monthly rants from my character to his therapist. Though it doesn't represent real life problems (anymore), I thought it was worthy enough to post.
- Hi, Yure - said the analyst. - Please take a seat and get comfy.
I sat on couch and looked down at my feet-paws.
- So, what is your problem? - she asked.
- Several problems - I replied. -, but I think you will only need to listen to some of them.
- Okay, you can start.
I laid on the couch and looked up to the ceiling.
- My problem is my artwork - I said in a sigh.
- Artwork? - asked the annalist
- Yes, I'm a traditional artist. Recently, one of my friends said that he wanted a drawing, but that he didn't want something paw-drawn. So, I got angry. Look, I'm growing tired of this, there's a lot of digital artists in communities I belong, there's some awesome traditional artists too, but truth be told: an average digital artist in these communities has more popularity than these awesome traditional artists. Because of this, I decided to stick only with traditional art, to "change" this reality. But I'm not good enough and I decided that it's silly that I want to "prove" than traditional art is better than digital. Someone someday will do it, but I can't.
- Then, are you jealous? - the annalist took notes about everything I just said.
- Not exactly. You see, I just think that, if I can't do something for someone, I shouldn't be doing anything in first place. My art isn't good enough to improve the situation of the traditional style. Plus, people say that my art is good, but that it need digital coloring. It's frustrating, it feels like I'm going on the opposite way. I don't feel jealous, I just feel useless.
- Then, because you can't add something to the traditional community, you think you should stop drawing?
- Interesting... - she took more notes.
I moved my chubby legs a bit to get more comfortable, causing my diaper to crinkle.
- Yure, do you know any digital artists? - she asked.
- Yes, I do, they are good people. I have no anger towards digital artists whatsoever, I just think that it's unfair... It's unfair than digital artists receive more attention than us, traditional artists - I continued, feeling weird about it.
- Do you really think that digital artists receive all that attention you mentioned? - she moved her attention from her notebook to me.
- Yes - I sighed.
She took more notes.
- Look, Yure, I want you to draw something right now, so I can see some of your art and point it's good aspects. The fact is that some aspects of traditional art cannot be reproduced by digital means - she said.
- Like what? - I asked.
- Let's try something else - she said.
I sighed and, again, looked up to the calling
- Yure, you shouldn't stop drawing because of this. Don't people say that your art is good? - she said.
- Yes, they do, but it doesn't look good enough to my pee-colored eyes, especially when compared to other artists.
- Your problem is that you tend to compare your works to someone else's work.
- What is s wrong about it?
- Is that it makes you look at your artwork in a negative way. Comparing yourself to someone is good only when you see how to improve and what you should do. Comparing is good when you can actually learn something from it. Otherwise, it's useless and even harmful.
- I learned that I'll never be good enough and that I should just quit. The problem is that, if I quit, I'll disappoint a lot people. On the other paw, if I continue, someone will eventually ask me to go digital and that my "good" art will always be eclipsed by digital works.
- Then, you are jealous.
- Thanks - I said.
- No problem - she replied.
She took some notes.
- I wanna go to somewhere in this world where traditional is the only kind of art... - I said.
- Zimbabwe has a good weather - she replied.
- Come on, Yure... Maybe you should try digital. If sticking only with traditional is keeping you from improving, you should seek other ways to evolve.
- I tried and failed. Tried again and failed again and again - I sighed as I finished my sentence.
- Maybe you are using the wrong tools.
- Well, I tried the GNU Image Manipulation Program.
- Free software? - she asked, moving her attention to me again.
- Yes. Since I started using Linux, I grew more attached to open-source software.
- But GIMP? Maybe the problem is that you and GIMP doesn't match.
- Isn't like I'm in a syncing program - I looked at her, forgetting the ceilling - But I dislike GIMP so much. I mean, you open the program and what you see? Three windows and no place to draw. You gotta click in "New project" to open the actual paper sheet. Isn't like, for example, Open Office. It isn't straight forward, but I could figure GIMP out.
- Then I sucked at it because my paw isn't firm enough and I have no patience to learn the straightening and curving tools. I wanted to do it alone, because, when I go to streams, I see people doing digital works so easily that I think I'll look like an idiot for asking help about painting programs.
- Can't you learn from watching them?
- The more I watch, the more frustrated I feel.
She took more notes.
- When it started? - she asked.
- Last week... - I replied.
- And it was because of that guy who told you that he wanted a digital drawing?
- Yes... - arranging the issue in those words made me think that my problem is silly and that it isn't really artwork, but the way I look at it.
- Now, you see, Yure? Your problem is jealousy - she stated.
- How are you today? - she asked.
- Hurting - I replied.
- Ah, why? Still jealous of digital artists?
- It's slowly eating me from inside - I whined.
- I understand how jealousy feels, but can you recollect why this started? - she asked.
I nodded, ashamed.
- You are going to let a journal take your artistic life down? - she asked.
- Isn't the journal itself - I said. - It made me realize that doing traditional art is pointless. People always prefer digital now, especially in the furry fandom. Traditional artists are no longer necessary.
- Yure, do people request you?
- Yes, but if a digital artist was open for requests, they would prefer to request the digital artist. If someone requests me, it's because they can't afford a commission or can't find digital artists who are open to requests.
I sighed and held my head, getting nervous.
- Calm down - she said. - Did you realize how many times you said "digital artists" until now? Do you really think that the problem is their's?
- No, the problem is in me - I said. - I can't do better, I can't improve, I'm always drawing the same things over and over and over and over and over! If someone is requesting me, it's because digital artists are almost never open to requests, I have even seen a skunk girl that stated clearly that she doesn't do requests, even for her friends, despite her art looking good and almost begging to be shared more freely. It means that she probably spends a lot of resources on her art, therefore spend more time. Why do people tend to see art as comercial business? Do they ever stopped to think why art is for? It's reason, purpose? Why do people tend to evaluate art from how much it costs? What I have? Pencils? Ridiculous.
The analyst noticed that I was getting more and more nervous. Something really bad happened to me that month.
- Something else bothering you? - she asked.
- A squirrel - I answered. -, but that's another matter. I don't want to talk about it now.
She remained silent for some moments, giving me time to calm down.
- I'm sorry - I said, now calmer. - I just lost all my motivation to draw. Everytime I sit on chair, grab paper and pencil, I feel sick, I feel like wasting time.
- Yure, what is the purpose of art? - she asked, worried.
- Being beautiful - I answered. - I pretty much agree with Kant.
- Isn't your art beautiful?
- Then it serves it's purpose.
- No - I sighed. - People have better artists with more appealing stuff. I'm not necessary to them, except to be requested when people need free art, when people are so desperate that they doesn't care if it's traditional.
- You are being unfair for two reasons, Yure - she said, showing me two of her fingers. -: first, you are supposing that all your friends only request you because they want free art, therefore you just called everyone a leech.
I was silent.
- Second, you are supposing that all traditional artists are worse than digital artists, when you probably didn't see 10% of all the traditional art in the furry fandom, nor 5% of all the crappy stuff people do in Microsoft Paint.
- I didn't say that digital artists are better than all traditional artists - I said. - I really think that there's something in traditional art that can't be overpowered by digital, even if I don't have this caracteristic. The problem is the crowd. They tend to think that stuff we spend money is better than free stuff. Because majority of the traditional artists I know usually open spots for requests while it's rare with digital artists, people tend to attribute more value to digital art, because it's expensive. It's ostentatory capitalism. See why Linux is so underrated?
- But it's a problem with the crowd, not your problem - she got notes of my words.
- But if there's no crowd, then there's no one to appreciate art. Art can't live without crowd. What to say about all the great natural treasures we have, such the Grand Canyon, Amazonia, Stone Henge*, if no one was there to see them? Would these still be considered "art"?
She stopped to think. A long silence could be heard in the consultory.
- How many watchers you have? - she asked.
- 306 - I replied.
- What are you complaining about again?
Silence. She read some of her notes.
- You said that one of the things that bother you is the fact that people tend to put you in "second place", at least you think they do, instead of requesting you right away. Then, one of the reasons you are depressed is because your art isn't the best?
I remained in silence.
- The earlier you admit you are selfish, the earlier we can work upon it.
- I'm not selfish - I said.
- As you wish.
She took more notes.
- I like to suffer - I spoke randomly.
- What? - she noted it down too.
- When I'm hurting, I feel somewhat comfortable. There's something in self-pity that makes me feel good.
She paid careful attention.
- When I'm hurting, I expect someone to come to me, show understanding, give me attention, try to make me happy.
She got up.
- Then you crave attention - she said. - Your sadness comes from the desire to be constantly worshiped by your friends, to be someone important to them, you seek a place above them, isn't it? - she approached. - That's why you are always whinning, always whimpering to yourself, because you can't just post a journal about it for fear of being called a "dramatic", so you let this ruin you inside, you hope that someone will come to you, put a paci on your muzzle, put you in diapers and baby you. That's why you created me, you created this series. You are so desperate for someone to talk about it that you reached the ridiculous point of creating a fictional analyst for yourself. Because you try to suppress your desire for attention and can't just post a journal to feel better, for fear of losing the attention you already receive.
I looked at her and she wasn't there anymore. Another long silence.
- Yure? - she asked.
Following the voice, I saw her sitting on her chair, purring.
- Something wrong? - she asked again.
- No... nothing... - I said.
She put some pills on the table and give me a paper with some complicated names.
- You gotta take one antidepressant per day and, because, as an analyst, I must give people meds for anxiety, one pill against anxiety per day as well.
- Yes... - I said.
I took the pills and walked out from the consultory, wondering what was going on with me.
* Thinking about it, Stone Henge isn't a "natural" treasure.
- Hi, Yure - said the analyst.
- Hi, miss - I said.
- How have you been since last month?
- I pretty much could deal with jealousy with some help from friends. All that needed was to whine.
- "Whine"? - she asked, ready to take notes.
- Yes, as you said, I craved for attention, but didn't want to sound like a drama llama. Once I caved and assumed that I wanted attention, I worked to get it and it made me feel better once I got the attention I so needed.
- Interesting. Aren't you ashamed for doing that?
- Fun fact is that I never said that.
I tilted my head, remembering what happened last time. I shook my head and tried to forget that.
- So, Yure, anything I could help you with? - she asked.
- Recently, I have been trying to help a friend who has some problems with self-acceptance - I said.
- That's my work, you creep, stop stealing my crowd - she scolded.
- I'm sorry.
- My problem is that I can't take him off my head. I want him to fully embrace his deepest desires and to explore them, but he is scared of people thinking that he is a freak, because his inner self isn't compatible with his public self. I think that it's equivalent to lying and hiding who you truly are, because you think that your friends wouldn't accept you in your totality, or, at least, respect you.
- It's always a friend... - she said.
- It's a friend, you bitch! - I yelled. - I don't suffer with self-acceptance! I could prove if you had a cup of piss!
- Ow.. - she said.
- I'm sorry - I said.
- It's okay. So, you can't take your friend off your head, so what?
- It's taking away my sleep, taking away my concentration, taking away my stamina and time.
- Ah, you are worried, then?
- How bad is his problem?
- He tries to resist to a paraphilia, keeping it for himself. He won't post art related to it, won't favorite art related to it, won't watch artists who do it, unless they are friends, because his friends can't reject him for liking content that they posted. Unless that his paraphilia is stuck in his mind, he won't deliberately look for such content, even so, the time of exposition must be controlled and the paraphilia must be "suffocated" with something else once he is done.
- Sounds like someone is trying to give up on diaper fetish... - she said, smiling sarcastically.
- I'm not trying to give up on diaper fetish, you psycho bitch! - I instantly lowered my pants. - See?
Problem is, I forgot to put a diaper on. She closed her eyes with a disgusted expression, lowering her head some.
- Yure, I'm not into cub porn, so please... - she says.
I pulled my pants back up and sat back, blushing.
- So, how long he is like this? - she asks, eyes still closed just to make sure.
- One year - I answered. - Periodically, he get urges to get more involved with this, but, as I said, his inner self isn't compatible with his outer self. He could have two lives, which would certainly improve his self-esteem, would grant him more favorites and watchers, you know, two accounts. He said that he would do that, but I'm half-sure that he will give up on his idea and spend another year frustrated. So I uploaded journals and submissions to show him that it's okay, he seems to be reacting well to them.
- Nothing wrong with diaper art - she says.
- For the last time, it isn't me! - I yelled.
- Okay, okay, I'll stop joking, I don't want this story to get X-rated.
I blushed, knowing that I'm acting like an idiot.
- So, what is the problem again?
- I can't take that off my mind - I whined. - I try, I really try, I need to sleep, to compose, to write, to practice my own paraphilias, but thinking on how much he is probably suffering ruins everything and I can't enjoy myself.
- Are you worried because of a possibility? You know how "worry" is translated in Portuguese, right?
- "Preocupação" - I answered.
- "Pre" means "before", "ocupação" is "business". You are making yourself busy with something that didn't really happen.
- Maybe... but I'm so scared that he might be falling back... - I whined again. - I try really hard to help, but he doesn't show signs of improvement anymore.
- Maybe it isn't your business.
- Maybe - I said.
- You seem to be very worried about your friend's problem to the point of not being able to enjoy your life and mind your own problems - she pointed.
- Great, René Descartes.
- Thank you. It's called "excess of empathy".
- Canonical should get rid of that.
- You are so worried about your friends that, when they suffer, you suffer more than them, because, in your mind, their problems are always bigger.
- How can I make sure that their problems aren't so huge? - I asked.
- Do you think that, if his problem was really that bad, he shouldn't have broke down already? If it's really so bad, how could he manage to go a whole year with such burden?
I took some time to think.
- You see, Yure? - she asked. - You, on the other hand, could last a whole year suffering like you are now? Unable to enjoy yourself, to sleep, to... - she gestured with her right hand-paw - Come on, I know you like.
- Look who is making it a X-rated story now - I said, looking at her with a disappointed look.
- You brat.
- Makes me feel years younger.
She took some notes.
- Yure, have you tried to talk to him? - she asked.
- Several times, but I think I'm already being a pain, because he ignored one of my notes.
- Maybe he thought that the conversation was over.
- Probably. I then sent another note and he said "thanks, I got the advice". He seemed to be annoyed with my overzealous behavior
- Did it happened before?
- Yes, he isn't the first person I try to help because I go nuts if I don't.
- When it started?
- "Understanding Infantilism" - I replied. - While reading Bittergrey's life story, I cried. I swear I cried my eyes out. Then, while reading about the binge-purge cycle, I got terribly scared. I don't wish that to anyone, not even my worst enemies.
- Is it that bad? - she asked, taking notes.
- Yes, it is. But these are problems with root on self-acceptance issues. I felt so bad after reading that I wanted to devote part of my time helping people with their problems, to accept themselves and to enjoy all their good aspects. I hate when someone makes an oath like "I'll quit with my fetish"; it freaks me out and waves of thoughts invade my mind, picturing 1000 scenarios of possible suffering and guilt.
- I'm in this job since 2008 and you are one of the few animals that come here with a true problem. I wish furries stopped visiting me for problems they could solve themselves - she finished taking notes, bent over to watch me a little closer. - Yure, once you do your part, let it be. As a friend, you should still help, but, after giving your try, let your friend act by himself and think. I know that animals shouldn't rely so much on someone else's acceptance to be who they really are, but once he realizes how insecure he is, he will try to change. If not, he will continue suffering. But, Yure, keep in mind that no one suffers forever. Someday he will find himself, notice how silly he acted and be a new person. Some teaching come with maturity. You aren't their father, isn't your role to regulate their behavior or to solve all their problems. After all, accepting yourself also involves an amount of autonomy.
I nodded silently.
- If he needs any help, he will express it, it's when you act again. If you did your part, let him. If he needs further help, let him ask for it - she finished.
- That's all? - I asked.
- Do you want more?
- Well, according to Gedit, we are in the line 77, wanna make it to 100?
- I'm sorry, Yure, but your insurance only covers 70 lines per section.
- Take these medicines, they will help you to sleep. Just keep in mind, when you have these thoughts, that the problem of your friend may not be so serious. Also, refuse to "over-think", I mean, don't let your thoughts wander beyond the details shared by your friend. Maybe this is more of an art issue that a paraphilic issue. Your friend could even feel disgusted by what you think of his problem.
- I never thought through that side...
- Your big head must think on the right direction. You seem to be better than last month.
- Good - she said.
I entered and sat down.
- Hi, Yure - said the annalyst.
- Hi, miss - I said.
- I noticed you are bathed.
- Are you feeling better?
- Good - she said. - How is your problem with jealousy going?
- Going okay. Haven't felt it in a long while. Seems like it's an issue of the past - I said.
- Really? That's great! - she smiled a bit, a fake smile, but still a smile.
- What about the excess of empathy?
- I'm fighting it. It's hard for me to admit that I have to change, but, thinking about it, it won't be painful or anything. I'll just fight the thoughts whenever they come for no reason and not let someone else's problem interfere in my responsabilities, paraphilias or sleep.
- It's easier to state than make - she took some notes. - Are you aware that it won't be so easy?
- I know, but won't be hard either. Just takes practice and I have nothing to lose.
- That's the spirit - she took more notes.
- Any other problem you would like to talk about? - she asks.
- Not that I can think of - I replied.
- So, it's probably your last visit here.
- It was a pain to work with you, Yure - she said. - You are selfish, but also autruistic; you oscilate between giving too much attention and longing for it.
- Now that you spoke about it... - I pondered. - I really love to receive attention and it's the root of my problems with jealousy.
- Actually, it's the root of jealousy in general.
- Yeah... The more attention you want, the more jealous you get when it's denied.
- Exactly - she took some notes.
- On the othe paw, I care about my friends. I feel their pain when they suffer.
- I think I know what is going on, Yure - she bent over the desk a bit. - You care about them, but find it unfair that they don't care about you. When it was last time someone worried about how you were feeling?
I purred tiredly and my eyelids went heavy.
- Yes... no one really cares at all - I say. - Well, some of them. But these aren't the ones I want to receive attention from, because they are never suffering, so I'm never helping them. Those who actually have problems, problems that I care about and try to help them to solve, either trash my efforts or don't give me back the attention I crave.
- So, you are helping people because you expect something back? - she asked, preparing her pen again.
- No, but I still find it unfair - I say. - I don't really know, I don't think I help people expecting something back. But don't you agree that, when you help people and they get better, your friends were supposed to at least treat you better, care about your problems or at least get more involved with you? They just leave and continue life, forgetting me completely. This isn't friendship.
- Are them all like that? - she took more notes.
- No. I have a puppy friend who needed some help managing his fetish - I said, then a tender smile crossed my face. - He feel so happy that just seeing him smiling makes my day better.
She smiled and wagged her tail a bit.
- Great! - she says.
- Sure - I replied, sighing. - There's also a wolf who like hipnosis. I'm infatuated by him, actually. There are friends who show gratitude for how friendly I am. Friends who care.
- Then someone cares.
- Yes, someone cares.
She took a few more notes.
- So, Yure, tell me more about those ungrateful friends - she said.
- Well, there's a fox with a duct tape fetish who I have been trying to help. It was the guy I told you about last month - I said. - He stopped replying and continues his life as if I never existed. Actually, he have been recently acting like a jerk and his art skills dropped. I wonder why.
- Are you talking about it here because he will probably read this and become sensibilized? - she asked, taking notes.
- I don't think he will ever read this.
- Good - she wrote it on her notepad.
- I just stopped caring about him. Seeing my efforts and good intentions trashed by him makes me feel uneasy everytime I see him, because I still worry. But then he acts like an Alpha Bitch and I feel like I shouldn't be worrying with a jerk at all.
- Are you really Yure? - she asked.
- Yes - I answered.
- Damn... - she sighed, her hope of charging two furries for the same treatment shattered. - So, it really seems like you don't help people just for attention, but for friendship, but your friends get "tired" of you even when you have legitimate feelings towards them and it makes you frustrated.
- Gotcha - she said, finishing the notes.
I sat up.
- Yure, you don't need my help anymore. Just go home - she said.
- Really? - I asked.
- Yes - she nodded. - First, because your jealousy is justified and isn't causing you any more problems. Second, because you are in the path for recovering from excess of empathy. Come back if you need any help.
I got up and left, satisfied.