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Of Trains & Tunnels & Whats at the End
Im always saying that the light at the end of the tunnel doesnt have to be that of an oncoming train. This is a concept I want you, the reader, to keep in mind as we go, because Ill return to it shortly...
Young of every kind are angsty, panicky creatures. Put it down to inexperience and a lack of a frame of reference. I find this to be especially true of Vampires / Vamplings, but its certainly not restricted to our species.
I remember what it was like. Back then I tended to take myself too seriously. I thought being a blood drinker was a scary, though exciting, thing that would relegate me to the status of outcast for what, I was sure would be the rest of my short life. I feared rejection by my family, my peers, and even those i sought out as donors and friends. I expected to live hard, die young and even possibly go out in a blaze of glory.
In the end the truth has been far less dramatic.
For one thing, instead of dying a young rebellious outcast I am now a 45-year-old, respected member of my communities both online and off. I am a parent, grandparent, and office administrator, a homeowner and happily married to a man I adore. I am even comfortable in my own skin now.
By now youre likely telling yourself, Ya, but youre the exception, CG.
I used to think so, too, but its not true. Im not an exception at all!
Looking back I could have helped myself along a lot further and a ton faster, but in truth I just didnt realize that it was possible to be a happy, healthy professional and still be ME. Even when I started to figure that out for myself part of me still believed there was something twisted and broken about me, and maybe there is, but I can tell you this: it has nothing to do with the physical reality of being a Vampire.
I know; I know... Ive heard all about people losing their kids, being rejected by family, put in therapy, because they are not considered normal - but its not just true of Vampires who foolishly confide to their non-vamp ex-spouse or social worker that they crave blood. It can happen to anyone who defies what society deems as the norm. It happens to Pagans, drug users, prostitutes, ex-military personnel and single Moms and Dads. It happens to the poor and it happens to tons of folks who just dont have the income to fight the system. The problem isnt always as much about being a Vampire as it is about lack of discretion possibly mixed with poor judgement. We all know that hindsight is 20/20, but foresight is often sadly lacking, after all... Were only human, right?
Why do I say that? Because looking back I have no idea why I used to feel the need to tell people that I drink blood. Ego, perhaps? Attention? The hope for absolution of my sins that were not really sins at all? None of which actually matters at all, any more. Maybe I just hoped someone would make me feel special. I dont actually know. Whatever the reasons were back then, my perspectives have certainly changed.
Nowadays, I dont worry about any of it, actually. Most of my old concerns are irrelevant because Ive learned an important lesson. I learned to take care of ME. As it turned out, that was a lot easier than I had convinced myself it could be.
The first thing I had to do was give up the idea that i had to have a human blood. It took me a long time to get that one right. I had experimented and knew that animal blood would hold off blood rage for a period of time. So, I thought, What if I were to freeze the blood and use as I need it? It wasnt as simple as it sounded... Step one: I had to have access to enough blood to freeze. My partner and i worked a beef packing plant. I knew how to disassemble an animal and which cuts held the most blood, but even though i knew that much could get me by, I wanted arterial blood, if i could get it.
Note: In times of desperation I still buy large cuts of meat and organs and save the blood, knowing it will tide me over when necessary - but when I have a choice I prefer the security of being better-supplied than these temporary measures allow.
I found a couple of friends I trusted who where hunters and begged them to save the blood for their autumn hunting trips. Theyd bring it home to me fresh and sometimes even still warm. I would put it in a sterile container or Ziploc and freeze it. It worked, sort of... there was a downside. I discovered that it was a mistake to freeze blood in large batches as is. The blood would only last a few weeks frozen before it turned brown and tasted terrible, even when mixed with wine for bloodwine. Once it was thawed it had to be used right away, and getting a small amount of blood out of the large frozen container was not at all practical. I could freeze it in smaller batches, but again, only a few weeks and it was oxidized and icky. I also discovered the longer I stored it like this, the less good for me the blood seemed to be, as food. I went back to a donor when I got pneumonia for three months after lack of feeding caused my immune system to break down again, and I realized I was back to the drawing board.
Its a fact of Vampiric life, at least for most of us, that most donors dont donor forever. After a few months my donor started craving blood and I refused to drink from him anymore. I went back to fresh animal blood when I could get it, and bloody steaks when I could not.
A brainstorming session on my message board led me to consider glucose as an additive that might safely be used to prolong the storage time of the blood I was freezing. Id been doing some research and read that scientists in the field of cryonics were experimenting with glucose as a way of preventing ice crystals from bursting the blood cell walls when blood was frozen. Glucose is a common ingredient in wine making so I found it easy and inexpensive to purchase from a wine making hobby store.
I was AMAZED at how well it worked! Now I could combine blood with a small amount of glucose and freeze it for several months and it retained its colour and nutrition - or so my immune system says.
Once my need for blood was taken care of, the rest was much easier! I stopped telling people I was a Vampire. After all - my family knew, my close friends and the Vampire community knew... really, who else needed to?
Id written a book and Id been in a documentary, but no one ever asked me about it. I guess no one associates the online writer for Vampires with the office administrator in a business suit. (Insert laughter here.) I used my Vampiric charm to snag a professional career. With both my mate and I working good jobs we bought our house and started renovating.
Being a healthy, happy, well-adjusted, well-fed Vampire has made a world of difference in my life and what I am capable of accomplishing. When you are not starving and in survival mode, its easy to pull the rest together.
So... Here I am, a still-attractive, smart professional with a career and a mortgage. The train I thought was waiting for me at the end of the dark tunnel turned out to be the moonlight I still love to dance in among the plants in my garden at night and, amazingly, Im still alive, and even happy.
Is that the end of the story? Goodness, no! My hubby and I are looking at buying wilderness land in the mountains. Im thinking about raising rabbits.. **winks**
Its not the end, its just the beginning of a whole new chapter!
Eerie America TV Series
Eerie America could very well be called The Fodors Travel Guidebook for The Addams Family. I read some in-depth information about the show and saw the promo, and from what I can tell, this will be an absolutely AWESOME series if they can get it off the ground. (I'm actually praying they will.) Let others know and see who can help. This is something that should happen! Let's pull together and make it so!
New Orleans Vampire Association
NOVA is a State Recognized Non-Profit Organization geared toward helping the homeless in the New Orleans area and working towards its greater goals, including a homeless shelter in the Greater New Orleans area.
If you would like to donate money, food, or supplies toward the cause, please click here for more info or to donate.
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