I believe I'm a WOLF and I dress up using furry ears and a tail to howl in the woods

AN online investigator who identifies as a wolf has revealed to The Sun how she spends her spare time "wolfing out" in the woods and howling at the moon wearing fury ears and a clip-on tail.

Naia Ōkami, a 27-year-old woman from Seattle, Washington, identifies as otherkin therian, which is a subculture of people who identify spiritually as an animal rather than a human.

While Naia says she recognizes that in her physical form she is indeed a human and doesn't have four legs, internally she sees herself as a British Columbian wolf who has black fur and amber eyes.

"Being otherkin means I identify with an animal on a spiritual or psychological sort of basis," she told The Sun. "We know we aren't animals. We don't think we're going to turn into a wolf or anything crazy it's just sort of a spiritual belief.

"I see myself as a wolf, and I learned what I looked like though dream shifting. I've had dreams where I'm in the form I should be as a wolf, and I've had other dreams where I was sort of looking down at myself as a wolf, so I got a full visual of myself."

Naia said she started strongly identifying as a wolf around the age of 10 or 11, but it wasn't until she hit her teens that she discovered the otherkin subculture.

She started embracing her inner wolf almost immediately, first by wearing a wolf-themed necklace, and soon graduated to wearing furry ears and a tail.


Friends and family initially found her animal alter-ego "very strange", Naia concedes, however, they grew more understanding over time.

Other children at her school were not so understanding. Naia said she was routinely bullied for "vocalizing" her inner wolf by barking or howling in front of her classmates.

"When I was younger, I was a lot more openly expressive and potentially not in the most socially acceptable way," she said.

"Now I kind of get why [other kids] thought it was strange or weird. But I was just expressing something about myself. I was having fun and not doing anything wrong."

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As an adult, Naia insists that she's not howling mad, rather a "functional person" who just has unconventional spiritual beliefs.

"I'm not kooky," she said. "You have to put it in the perspective of a spiritual sort of thing, rather than 'Oh, she thinks she's actually a wolf.'

"And once I explained that to people, I think they started understanding a lot better."


Over time, Naia said she learned to control her animalistic urges, saving her barks, howls, and other wolfian behaviors for whenever she was alone or with a group of like-minded friends.

To blow off steam and embrace her inner spirit animal, Naia says she will "wolf out" in the woods or at home, howling to her heart's content.

While she doesn't externalize her inner wolf persona as much as she once did, Naia says she possesses other wolf-like traits in who she is as a person.

"I'm very loyal to my pack – my group of friends and my family – I'm extremely loyal to them.

"I'm also extremely loyal to my partner," Naia added. "I feel like I am sort of the protector role in our pack."

She doesn't think she can speak fluent wolf, per-say, but she claims her howls and barks are a kind of emotional language.

She explained: "Am I able to hold a complex conversation about a specific topic with somebody [in wolf language]? No. But it does all sort of have a meaning.

"If you're a close friend of mine, or somebody who's been around me and knows how I react to things, would you be able to interpret what I was potentially feeling or communicating? Yes, you probably would."


Naia says the nature of her job means she has to keep her spiritual persona at bay during work hours, which can be challenging.

But Naia, who works as an investigator helping to catch online predators, says she's able to integrate some of her wolf-life into her work-life.

"Because I'm focused on getting the person I'm investigating, so to speak, I kind of feel like that is a wolf hunting – hunting my prey.

"So while I can't express my wolf – by barking, growling, or howling – at work, I do still get to express a wolf part of myself.

"I think that's pretty cool that I'm able to integrate that side," she said. "But it can be hard to balance."

To blow off steam after a long day, Naia says she loves nothing more than putting on her ears and tail and "going absolutely wild and wolfing out."

When asked what "wolfing out" looks like, Naia said it can look different every time, depending on how she's feeling and who she's with.

Sometimes she taps into her spirit creature alone. Other times she will wild out with otherkin friends, or in the company of her partner, who, while they don't identify as any other creature, is incredibly "supportive and understanding", according to Naia.

Hoping to help others find strong support networks similar to the one she has forged for herself, in 2011 Naia founded a website called Kinmunity.com to create a space for other people like her to make friends and express themselves freely.

The website also allows users to find other otherkin therians living nearby.

A few years after setting up the website, Naia fell victim to memehood in 2013 after she appeared in a documentary about the otherkin subculture, which she claims was heavily scripted and cruelly edited.


During the show, she delivered the line: "On All Levels Except Physical I Am A Wolf," which later went viral on the now-defunct video-sharing app Vine.

Almost immediately, Naia said her social media accounts were flooded with messages of abuse and cruel remarks about her appearance and beliefs.

Even some of her peers in the otherkin community turned on her, she said, criticizing her for allowing herself "to be represented that way."

But even during the worst of the criticism, Naia said she was able to see a silver lining.

"There are people who recognize me as the wolf meme girl and I've got an actual fan base, which is all due to that," she said.

As far are those who disapprove of her lifestyle and otherkin identity, Naia says she simply doesn't care anymore.

"I've kind of taken that approach where there's gonna be people out there who hate me. There's gonna be people out there who don't agree with what I do, what I believe how I feel," she said.

"And I don't really have an option when it comes to that. They're never going to change their minds and there's nothing I can do about it, which I've come to accept.

"But something I've learned that I can control is how I react to someone being negative," Naia continued. "I can just say, 'Yeah, so what. Would you like to talk about it?'

"So by doing that I've sort of reclaimed my image. I can just say, 'Yeah, I'm the girl who was the wolf meme. But look at all this other stuff about me. I'm trans, I've contributed to the arrest of child predators, I'm an activist.'

"I'm able to kind of pivot back into saying, 'you know me for this, but you didn't know about all this other stuff that you'd never make fun of me over.'

"So, you know, if you want to hate me for being a little weird in how I express myself, but I have demonstrative proof that I'm literally doing things to make this world a better place to live in – then who looks like the fool at that point?"

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