this post was originally made on pillowfort . i reposted it to tumblr, where it generated a good amount of conversation, which i believe was a big part of what lead to the coining of the word archetrope.

so this is a question and a conversation that comes around every so often in the alt+h discord, on tumblr, and in some other places:

is identifying with an archetype otherkin? more broadly, is it alterhuman?

to the latter question: definitely yes. but i think we could stand to let it stand on its own as an experience, for a number of reasons. so here’s my attempt to write a bit about my experience with this concept, pin down what we’re actually talking about and its unique dimensions, and possibly reach people who are doing the same thing in the interests of building a community around it.

to start out with: what am i talking about?

there are people in the alterhuman communities (and outside of it!) who consider things like 'royalty' or 'pirate' or 'ranger' or 'mad scientist' part of their identity. I’ve seen a lot of people simply using the ‘kin’ label for this. and, like i said, I’ve seen a lot of people asking questions about it, often as a hypothetical experience, but also many times wondering if other people also feel what they feel.

there is a historical precedent – the silver elves in one of their books on ‘types’ of fae mention the Daundre, who are ‘rangerkind’ - a (presumably fictional or otherwise not-of-this-world) population of humans considered explicitly otherkin by dint of their connection to the wild and disconnect from society at large.

but for me, the ‘kin’ label is ill fitting. for me, it sits in a space partway between our understanding of ‘kin’ frameworks and gender ones. when i say I’m nonhuman, I’m describing an experience that affects my self image, the way i filter information, certain desires, my sense of embodiment, and so on. when i say i'm butch, i'm making a statement about where i sit in relation to men, and women, and femmes, and straights, and to Society In General. i'm making statements that might give you a clue as to how i'll dress or act, or what my values might be.

when i say I’m a pirate, I’m kind of saying both.

so what’s my experience? other-life experiences of literally being a swashbuckler aside, why does this speak to me? in what way, in this life, am i tangibly experiencing and manifesting this?

it’s more than just an aesthetic, though cultivating a particular Look is not not part of it. i think it’s a very pirate-ish thing to want to look flashy - it's only jolly roger enamel pins and barely-buttoned hawaiian shirts right now, but i'll have my 17th century frock coat eventually. i think it's also worth pointing out that people who do dedicate themselves to presenting a specific way like this are still not considered normal, even if it's 'only' an apperance thing.

but also, i think i would be deeply unhappy if i lived too far away from the ocean. it’s a bucket list item of mine to buy a boat one day, and i already have some sailing experience. i spent a lot of my formative years travelling and moving around the world and now i get itchy if i stay in the same place for too long. i’m really, very queer and i like to let people know that. i’m a strong advocate of freedom of information, the abolition of intellectual property, digital privacy and decentralization, as well as just generally striving for a system of (non?)governance that radically departs from the current social order.

pirate is a nice way to put a little bow on top of all of that. it's a thread that loops through all these seemingly disparate concepts and draws them together, creating a narrative.

i have similar but less definable relationships to the idea of kingship, and to some kind of village wiseperson, sage-on-the-mountain type role that I’m mostly calling druidry (see also this). that latter one’s complicated by the existence of actual ordained druids, but honestly? someone whose job it is to look into the future, perform magic, and mediate the spirit world is not having a typical human experience in western society. I’ve seen plenty of people talk about feeling alienated from humanity and the world at large because of being god- or spirit-touched. they’re welcome to call themselves alterhuman too - the original definition pretty much outright says so.

and, sure, you could still argue that anyone can experience oneness with nature, or concern about the state of copyright law, or the otherness of being queer, or a pull to leadership positions. these things on their own are normal human experiences. and yet. people do not move through the world calling themselves pirates and kings and magical girls and paladins and supervillains, at least not all the time, and not sincerely. not the way i do. i don’t see the way i live reflected in society, nor do i feel there is space made for me to do so. and i don't think that any current alterhuman communities fully encompass what i'm experiencing either.

reader, do you have an experience with an archetype you adhere strongly to? that affects your sense of self? how does it affect you? do you feel like you stand out from other people because of it? come tell me about it. we can make the space ourselves.