How furries helped Jei Cheetah reach an impossible goal
by Patch O'Furr
Amazing… I saw Jei share that 3 years ago, he was 300 lbs and could only watch others dance. If you can’t dance, you can still watch and learn from videos. Now this cheetah is a dancer. Because of you furries! What a story. This is why I love furries so much. <3 After I saw his video, I asked him to tell his story.
"I'm Josh, a full time college student from San Francisco, but most know me as either Jei Cheetah, or Haru.
Through childhood, I always had a love for animals, and it lasted into college. I eventually came across the world of furries, and before long, I was in a subculture and community that I felt a true connection with from the start.
While getting involved about 3 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was numerous fursuiter videos on youtube. Seeing them interact with others in a super fun way always brought a smile to my face. I especially enjoyed watching fursuit dancers do their thing on stage, in videos, and at meet-ups.
I wanted to be a suiter as well, and especially to dance in fursuit on stage. But one thing held me back, and that was myself, or rather, who I used to be.
Due to depression and overall laziness, I was at a bad place in life. I spent days sitting around on the computer, being super inactive, and eating the worst possible food. I was almost 300 lbs, and could barely walk up a flight of stairs without getting totally out of breath. I was very limited in what I could do.
I watched more and more fursuiters doing their thing, especially in dance competitions- like Mangusu, Kwik, and V. In my condition, it would be impossible to do the same. How could I ever dance in suit, if walking up stairs left me winded, and I'd break into sweat from walking more than a block?
Something had to change. I set a goal, that no matter what it took, I was going to dance like my heroes. It started a long journey to improve.
It wasn’t easy, but as soon as I started changing meals, taking walks in the mornings, and using the dreaded stairs instead of escalators and elevators, I slowly started seeing results. My stamina increased, and I started teaching myself to dance. There were times where I felt totally silly, and thought “you can’t do this, why are you even trying?” but I would remember my goal and keep going.
After 3 years of hard work and sore muscles, I finally felt ready. BLFC’s fursuit dance competition marked the completion of a long journey that was hard, but so very worth it. I was there, doing what I could only dream of years ago. Looking back, if someone told me I would be 100 lbs lighter, dancing in front of judges and an audience, I would have thought they were crazy. To be honest, I felt crazy for doing it! But when the music finished and the crowd broke into applause, I had done what I once considered impossible.
For the future, I plan to improve my dancing in and out of suit. I started taking dance choreo classes at college, and I’m getting into other dance styles. I’m very grateful to have help and advice from some amazing local dancers. I may have accomplished my goal, but I can always improve.
If I can tell others one thing, it’s that limitations we feel are often just mental blocks to overcome. Will power and dedication make anything possible. Our amazing fandom has the most supportive and encouraging people in the world. You can achieve your goals, no matter how impossible they seem.”