On the Causes and Effects of Awakening Early in the Life of a Popular Work
When I saw James Cameron’s Avatar, I knew for a fact that it was going to awaken at least some people; possibly a lot of people. The movie had a lot of elements that help trigger an awakening: powerful visual imagery; unearthly flora and fauna, even transhuman spirituality. And enough people saw it that odds are, if there were slumbering Avatar-kin out there, they were going to see it, and be moved by it.
Its obvious to me at least that the more people exposed to something the more likely it is that one of them will turn out to be kin of it; not because seeing it makes them kin, but because they were already out there, but didn’t know who they were until they saw it.
Unfortunately, the more people exposed to something generally means the more popular it is, and the more popular it is the more Taboo it becomes to believe you’re kin of it. People accuse you of jumping onto a bandwagon, or worse, being ‘flavor of the week’ kin, or only saying that you’re kin because the work is popular.
Don’t think that this is only a problem for fictionkin/otakukin either; more traditional otherkin run into it as well. You can not tell me with a straight face that there weren’t a huge number of Elf-kin awakenings precipitated in the wake of the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was there, and I know they were. Oh most of them won’t admit that it was LOTR that triggered their memories, even if they don’t believe they’re Tolkien elves, but simply received the first mental ‘push’ from there; because to do so would be to be mocked and ostracized. Why? To maintain some thin veneer of otherkin ‘legitimacy’.
The fact is that works, even myths and legends, become popular because they excite strong emotions in the people who are exposed to them. Strong emotions in someone who really has an undiscovered past life are the thing that is most likely to trigger them to remember it. Very few kin manage to rediscover their identities without some kind of exposure to material that is similar to their other self. This is NORMAL; this is natural.
Suddenly waking up when you’re 16 and remembering that you were an [insert kintype here] without first being exposed to stories and descriptions of [insert kintype here] is frankly weird! Why? Because these are really things that we’re not supposed to remember, or else EVERYONE would remember them naturally. Being a kin means one thing, you have emotional issues and unfinished business attached to your past self that you are incapable of getting over. Spontaneous memories means that those issues are so close to the surface even a new self can’t even start the healing process. Normally the past identity is buried by the new one, only to be triggered when a kin is exposed to ideas that cut through the new self and remind them of what was before.
The more people see a movie, the more likely it is to reach someone for whom it hits too close to home. I have little doubt that some of those awakened by Avatar are on only the start of their spiritual journeys and will turn out to have been elves, or wild fae, werefolk, etc, just as many of those awakened by LOTR eventually and through much exploration found out more about what had been reality for them, and maybe it wasn’t exactly like Tolkien’s writing. But for some of them, that first burst of enlightenment really was the truth. Legolas is out there- hoping to the high heavens that no one calls him on it.
Something being new and popular does not make kin of it more unlikely. Likewise, something being obscure and repulsive doesn’t make being kin of it more legitimate; it just makes it sound more legitimate because of the way humans in a society think. Every kin who sincerely believes who he is deserves the benefit of the doubt, no matter what or how recent his origins. If Twilight depicted more traditional, relatable vampires, I have no doubt we’d be seeing more vampire kin right now, like when Anne Rice’s books were popular. It’s not even about people being from these works; it’s about being exposed to new ideas similar enough to hidden memories that they trigger new thoughts, and uncover old memories. If a work being popular was all it took to make people claim they were kin of it I would see a lot more Harry Potters, and I haven’t met one yet.
Ps. sorry to anybody on my flist who sees this three times.