I had imaginary friends throughout my childhood - before I can even remember. I don't think I ever looked at them as real. I acknowledged that they came from my imagination, and just doing it for the entertainment value, and maybe the 'company.' I enjoyed coming up with the different personalities, but I allowed whatever forms came naturally to stick around. I know there was a trio in my mind that consisted of a blue bird, giant moth, and bat. XD And then there were the bunnies and huskies... So I wasn't going for a "coolest and badest animals EVAR" crew.
But by far the most prominent creation, standing the test of time, was a black canine I called Tim. He had triangular, pointy ears, a long thin muzzle, brushy tail, and slight cheek fur. His coat didn't look very soft, but not horribly coarse either. He liked to sing along to the radio. :3 My memories of his personality aren't very distinct, but I would definitely say he was a "good guy." Tim was righteous, caring, and patient. Some of my first memories are of Tim.. See, we lived in South Carolina when I was two and three-years old. I remember Tim being in the car with me on the roads there, and walking beside me in front of our trailer home, and sleeping in my room. Even if I wouldn't say I knew this part of myself on a deep level, he was always around, especially when I needed him. I definitely remember him still being prominent in third and fourth grade. It was probably around fifth that I stopped envisioning him. Maybe I was trying to let go of imaginary friends because "imaginary" sounded like a bad word when you're that age.
But it was also in fifth grade that we received these little book catalogs. I loved them. I still remember seeing The Golden Compass for the first time.. Something about the image
on the paper caught my eye. I read the summary and that sounded interesting too. I didn't bug my mom for money, but I did borrow it from the library that year. I wasn't able to finish because my time in elementary school was over, and I had to return the book.
Middle school was such a big change. Everything was more rushed and pressured. But I adored the school library. I remember walking in there and seeing The Golden Compass propped on the top of a book shelf - a new
cover this time. My heart lept into my throat. I checked out the book and finished it this time. So it was then - sixth grade - that I began pondering dæmons. How cool would it be to have one? So I pretended I did
have one, and he was the coolest imaginary friend ever. Unlike with my i/f's of the past, this one was every animal in one incorporeal package! I loved having all these majestic beasts constantly with me. He could become a lemur, a cheetah, a falcon... anything my heart desired. But it wasn't just about the image. I enjoyed all of our chats as well. This guy had real personality. I wasn't used to such force and conviction from an imaginary friend before. When I doubted he was 'really my dæmon,' he assured me he was. He didn't like his existence being questioned. But still I brushed this off and only called him 'my dæmon' for simplicity. I still thought he was merely from my imagination like all the rest.
My dæmon got his name at random, from what I recall. I was responding to him off-handedly, or maybe condescendingly, and the name "Rookie" just popped out of my mental mouth. =P It was the first time I'd called him by a name, so he was insistant. "Is that my name? Kris! Is that my name?" And I decided it was. ^^ It wasn't until the next year that we realized his full name was Rannock.
It's also interesting to note that I didn't want to abandon Tim, but Rookie seemed to be hostile towards the idea of me allowing anyone else into our two-person circle. But Tim was part of my childhood and mattered deeply to me, even if I no longer thought of him that often. Rookie was new and loud and young... But Rookie won out, and eventually down the road I realized Tim and Rookie were one and the same, though I believe Rookie is the "right" one. When I accepted that he was my dæmon, it's like this whole new side of that persona was free to breathe.
I wanted to share my relationship with Rookie with others, but how could I? It would mean admitting to my peers that I had an imaginary friend.. social suicide. So instead I decided to make an online RPG based off His Dark Materials. But in reality the site was centered around dæmons. People could submit their (hypothetical) dæmon's stats to me: the name, form, personality... I even wrote my own Wiki article of sorts, all about dæmons, never admitting I spoke to my own. But I never put the site up as such. Before making it official I wanted the information of /some/ dæmons on it besides Rookie. So I asked my friends (again, hypothetically) if they had a dæmon what they would be like. The answers I received changed everything. (Even if now I believe I kinda misled myself in interpretting them how I did.) Friends who were bi or gay always said their dæmon was the same gender. One straight friend even said his would be male, then later corrected himself and decided female. And when the bi friend said hers would be female, I asked if she was sure, because that wasn't how it worked. She was sure. Not to mention that certain people felt theirs would change form, and others gave me just one form, and when they did, the form fit them. ...Maybe there was more to this dæmon thing than just pretend.
That's when I redid my webpage and felt confident enough to make it about REAL dæmons, as in our world's, not Pullman's. That's where it all began.