Please, call me Orrery. I’m a peafowl. Not a hen; I have a train. Not a cock; I got rid of it. There’ll be art this time. You’ll see what I mean then.
Changing fursonas after fifteen or so years is an awkward and surreal experience, especially with how wedded my old name was to my species. “th’ buni” was more than a name. It was an identity, a whole sense of self. I so heavily identified with this self-as-character that a great many people never knew Kristy; they knew about the small white rabbit, or the clockwork automaton, or twelve bunnies in a buni-suit. She was me. I was her.
Now that’s changing, and even from inside it’s a little terrifying. There’s a huge history of behaviors and vocabulary that I’m still studying, trying to decide what can come with me and what needs to stay with her as I arrange for her to take a nice long nap in the hutch. She’s not gone, any more than Elbey is gone, but I can’t be her any more, and I’m still trying to make sense in my own head of how much “me” is “me” and how much “me” was “her.” How much is affectation that I can set down with the “character” and how much is core self that will follow into this new phase of self. It’s only been a few weeks, and I’ve already developed a weird nostalgia for her. Building oneself, especially while only half-formed, is a daunting task.
So, of course, the real question is why. What prompted this transformation? I suppose the short and simple answer is that I recently realized that an aspect of self I’d considered immutable turned out to be something I could actually control, and this new expression of self is a reminder to everyone that I can control it. That doesn’t sound particularly exciting or interesting, but that bloodless summation of the last six months, seven years, and majority of my adult life is the best way I can capture everything that’s about to follow.
From here, please understand that I’m about to tell the tale as I understand it, but that understanding is wholly confined to my own head and is not reflective of anyone else’s intentions or states of being. I have only control over myself and my own actions, and how I interpret the actions of others. Nothing in the following paragraphs is to be considered a reflection of anyone else. I believe everyone else involved operated only with the best of intentions and did their genuine best to do right by their values and their ideals. I don’t think that was always obvious, and I know I didn’t always act as though I believed that in the moment. I need to say it, though, because I want to make sure I do my best by the people depicted herein. Please don’t blame them. I don’t blame them. This isn’t even really about anyone else, except as a backlight showing me my own shape and the ways I need to change it. This is about gnosis. This is about personal transformation.
So with all that in mind, let’s unfold.
The peacock has long been a symbol of royalty across the Middle East and India. It’s also a prominent symbol for the alchemical process and has been conflated with and used as a stand-in for the phoenix in many alchemical traditions. The peacock’s tail is the emission of the rainbow indicating the successful creation of the elixir of life. Partial leucism mutes my colors and confuses my communication, as my autism skews my perceptions and interactions, but the rainbows my train casts are no less vivid or beautiful. As an exemplar of sexual dimorphism, my own queer and postgender identity is realized in taking the form of a peacock, an avian, and rendering it female through the addition of mammalian secondary sexual characteristics, identity queered in two dimensions. I may never escape my biology, but I can show off how little it matters to me when so much else clearly indicates my chosen self.
In adopting a new name for myself, I clearly state my own nature: Χρύση Πλανητοσκόπιον, Chrysi Planitoskopion, Golden Orrery. Self-made system, crafter of my own inner worlds. I am the tale I tell myself. I ask forgiveness of all those with whom I’ve failed to express myself, and I offer absolution to all those who may have hurt me. You didn’t know because I didn’t tell you. You’re not to blame. I’ll strive to do better in the future, and I will likely fail, but at least now I understand how to succeed. Most importantly, I understand why.
Ta kya te.