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RK's Primer to Vampirism and the Vampire's World
This is going to be an interesting one, as my brain decided just as I was crawling into bed that I needed to write this article. I've been seeing a lot of crap lately on a number of boards and locations, and I think it's time that I put forward MY view, to help clear the air some. So, without further ado...
To start with, my defining what a vampire is or is not may seem vague -- aside from the blatantly obvious things (ie, we need blood). But the BS of the movies is just that: BS. I am leaving precise definition somewhat nebulous -- primarily in an effort to spur self-searching, and to try and limit the potential amount of "deciding because one source said so". I'd much rather someone took the time and went through a number of large sources, before saying yes or no to something on this scale -- it leads to one being more sure of oneself.
However, the idea of being sure of yourself can and usually does come into question -- when the hunger strikes.
It happens, for its own reasons, that usually can't be 100% pinned down, but generally, it can be at least traced to some form of event -- heavy stress, actually incidentally touching another's blood, -- hell even watching a vampire movie or show. Don't laugh, it happens -- hence the waves of RPers that we have to weed out after every new Blade or Hellsing or similar movie; we get dozens of kids (age notwithstanding) out enjoying the scene -- but we do also get the few that are genuine, in their thoughts -- and fears. If you're laughing because I said scary, you're either cocky (like me) or haven't felt it. The hunger, and I'm going to stick primarily to my expertise of sang here, is something that will throw your world into a whole new level of chaos that you've never imagined, ready for it or not. It'll consume you, if left unattended, with far more fire than love AND hate combined. It is usually enough, even for the strongest amongst us, to crush ANY form of mental barrier we erect, or which has been erected for us. It'll tear its way through you, and it'll confuse the hell out of you -- to the point that people, even strangers, will notice.
Step one. Stay calm, and analyze yourself, your body, your surroundings and your pressures. In detail -- Starting with yourself, if you feel this obscene urge to bite, or more precisely, to feed off another's blood (warning, regurgitated line here) get yourself checked out, not by a shrink, but by a medical doctor. There ARE a number of diseases that have some similarities to vampirism. Either way, it's always nice to be certain there is nothing physically wrong with you. Note that I said not with a shrink. -- This IS my personal point of view, but I DO feel that any mention of vampirism, to any but the MOST open minded of shrinks, will either land you drugged up, funny farmed, or exposed to your family -- which, if you have a family like mine, would be the most nightmarish. (As a side note, I'm not saying my family is abusive in any way -- but merely, VERY old fashioned and old school.) Once you've taken care of the body, move next to your surroundings. What are you around? What is pressuring you? Do you have a lot of stress? That kinda crap. It may seem off topic, but believe me, removing, or otherwise dealing with, day-to-day hassles as easily and properly as possible makes your self journey SO much easier to deal with. Puberty makes this a royal pain, I might add, as often that alone triggers one's awakening. Trying to weed out your body growing and yourself actually awakening CAN be a challenge -- but patience is the key here, with yourself most of all.
OK, so you've addressed those issues, but what about the thought, most likely along with a number of urges. Now what? Well, the funner stuff starts -- you get to RESEARCH! Yeah, I know, sounds lame -- but this isn't some dreary ass subject your boring school teacher babbles incoherently about. This is something to do about YOU and you alone, at least for now. Herein lies the rub, however. -- There IS a LOT out there -- but, at my last check, about 75% of it is fluff, or otherwise garbage. Add to that the fact that every vampire, just like every human, is different, and you can soon see where the problem sets in. The trick, for you, is going to be sorting it out: what is real, what is RP or otherwise fake, and so forth. For sanguines, a.k.a. blood drinkers, you're easily going to find twice as much RP, or more specifically, RP and lifestylers mixed in with the knowledge you're going to need to survive. I'm NOT going to list sites here; that I leave up to each and every person to choose from, just as I'm NOT going to list sites to stay away from -- rather, I'm going to rattle off, from my experience, the key pointers you'll want to look for to find what you need, as well as what's worked -- and NOT worked -- for me.
Feeding directly -- this is the key issue, what makes us different (and there is no denying we are different) from the rest of humanity. -- Because, while we ARE locked in human bodies, something, that I have not as yet determined, is within us, driving us to fill this need, -- a need which one finds in short order to be worse even still than the need for food or water. Now, there are a LOT of issues here I'll address -- donors, blood safety, privacy, personal and legal safety and so on. To start --
1. Blood safety
While we vamps love nothing more than to ham ourselves up -- we ARE just as susceptible as any human to ANY blood-borne or otherwise infectious disease. AIDS, hepatitis, you name it -- you CAN AND WILL catch it by drinking blood. Think about it -- the very liquid that carries the diseases in another WILL be absorbed directly into you, the second it goes into your mouth and down your throat. By the time it actually makes it to the stomach acids, it's already had direct contact with your internal organs, and hence, your blood. Scary, isn't it? It'd better be. This is THE most important thing to keep in mind when you're looking to feed -- be it animal OR human. Note I said animal. I will confess right now, I've not fed from a live, or recently dead, animal. -- I have, however, used raw steaks, both cooked "blue rare", and straight, cold, from the butcher's block -- to work on my hunger while without a donor. It gets into ethics that I'll cover later, but suffice to say for now -- KNOW your source, as unequivocally as possible. When you're feeding from a human (and sooner or later, you will, if for no other reason than to answer the question of whether or not you are one), KNOWING your donor is 100% clean will be a mind saver, and a life saver. For this, the best you can do -- trust issues aside -- is have your donor receive a full battery of blood tests -- and, if at all possible, wait 6 months, while getting to know your donor and hi or her past (sexual and otherwise) and have the tests re-administered. The reason for this is, if your donor has recently been infected, many diseases take that long to incubate. AIDS, as a matter of fact, can remain dormant and undetected for upwards of two YEARS. As a side note, this is why Police/law enforcement members, as well as health care workers, if bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed to uncertain or contaminated blood, wind up taking tests immediately, 3 months, 6 months, one year and two years after the fact to find out. A VERY painful time for all involved, not knowing for that two years. NOT something you want to put yourself or your loved ones thru by ANY means.
Perhaps even more paramount in most of our minds than blood safety is trust. For us to feed, one of two things are happening -- you are cutting your donor to cause bleeding, or your donor is cutting him/herself to bleed for you. Either way, direct physical harm is being caused in this manner. I will not deny, I have had MAJOR issues with this for years, and I'm still not quite 100% comfortable with it -- but I deal with it, in order to survive. Now, obviously, this is where the trust part comes in -- and is far more an issue for anyone that may be less than legal age. For those of legal age, it has been known to pass off feeding as a blood or unusual fetish, such as a S&M or BDSM activity. However, for younger people, it's much more, er, debatable. All I can really say with this is, while adhering to the thoughts above concerning blood safety, you would probably already be building that trust level -- DONT abuse it. That being said -- don't let it BE abused, either. This is something that requires a great deal of thought and caution, as well as "working on the fly" approach -- but taking one's time, and being careful, are the safest ways to approach here. Further, I'll expand this to include discussing it with others. -- Online, we have a false sense of anonymity, where we think we can blend in with the background -- but keep in mind, you post once, and it is fairly easy for you to be tracked, both from the computer you're on, and online elsewhere. Take as may precautions as possible -- avoid revealing personal information (obviously) and if planning to meet in person, plan on open, public places to meet at, to help protect yourself. Again, lots of this IS common logic and so forth -- but our hunger does make it easy to forget this, so it doesn't hurt to be reminded. Legal issues can be included here, as it is an act between two (or more) individuals, so often, if in any doubt, best to put it off until there IS none.
3. Dealing with the Online Vampire Communities (OVCs) as a whole
As mentioned above, you're going to be dealing with this in your search for information, and most likely, personal assistance or friendship, unless you plan on absolutely no communication with anyone. Most likely you WILL be speaking with others, and wanting to become a part of an ever-expanding community. Here, I'm going to give a few pointers, based on my personal episodes and, how to say, mishandlings, both on my part and others.
Finally, I'm going to throw in a side note here -- Otherkin. In my opinion, this term includes vampirism, but also includes ALL otherkin, or, technically, "persons who have spirits that are not human". This includes therians, persons with, or are, within their human bodies, spirits of real earth-based animals and creatures. These are creatures that ARE, or have been proven to, once exist on this planet; for example, Raccoons (boo! *wink*), cats, avians, wolves, etc. This does not include such creatures as dragons, faeries, phoenixes, unicorns, gryphons, and so forth. These each tend to each have their own "sub-genre" and their own peoples within. Further, you will find, quite possibly within yourself, that Vampires are as well kin, be it thru past lives, visitors thru astral or psionic means, shared bodies, or so on. Vampires can and regularly are "mixed kin", and there is no harm or crime in that -- but for some it will make life a bit more, ahem, interesting. ;) For more information, obviously, research is again necessary. Hopefully, overall, this gives you a fair idea of what you're up against, and what to look for.
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
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