First and foremost, I am a vampire, by whatever definition or whichever spelling. I don’t mean I am a goth guy, dressed in black from head to toe and living the lifestyle, though in my younger years I did exactly that (partially because it drew the “right” people to me and partially because I did and do look really hot in all black). No, I am a vampire because of my nature.
As far back as early childhood, I exhibited the signs, much to the dismay of my bewildered family. I was nocturnal in a family of shiny morning people, closed and quiet in a family of extroverts, I even abandoned my bed to sleep in a pallet on the closet floor. By the age of twelve, I was lost, confused and alone –- an almost stereotypical outcast, living on the fringes of familial and school societies. Within that year, I learned my true nature. Being the bookish introvert I was, of course I learned it from books.
Over the next few years, I came out of my insular shell, though not out of the coffin, so to speak. I found friends among the rest of the outcasts; while still solitary, I was, at least physically, not alone. At fourteen, I tasted my first “donor;” a friendship that grew for years but never turned sexual. From the perspective of time, I see now that my life would have been so much simpler had I then learned a lesson about sex –- sex replaces blood, at least for me. Though I had three consistent blood-partners (two male and one female, if that makes any difference to anyone) during the wretched teenage years, it wasn’t until I was nineteen that I finally learned.
When finally I shed the last vestiges of my humanity and gave in completely to the Hunger, indulging for the first time in direct contact (mouth-to-wound), I learned a fiery chemistry I had wasted. It is a with nostalgic and tenderhearted smile that I remember the night. What would be to most people a scene from a blood-fetish porno or a nightmare is to me a fond remembrance of innocence, exploration and joy. For the first time, sex and blood became connected in my mind.
Through the next several years (my early twenties), I kept the image of the Dark One, but less and less I relied on literal blood. Though I was safer with my few carefully chosen blood-partners, I had much more fun with my many less carefully chosen bed-partners. I became, in short, a slut, and it amazes me that I survived those years healthy and disease free. Through those experiences, I also learned.
Now, at thirty, I can draw energy from anyone at almost any time. Physical contact is still best, and yes, I still feed heavily during sex (but people expect to feel drained after that). From across a room, I can select a single donor, focus intently and take what I need from him/her. Conversely, in a crowd, I can simply open myself and let the energy pour into me without singling out anyone at all or having any single person feel drained. As I have mastered my nature, my hungers, and myself this has become my primary method of feeding.
Thirty years. As I look back over my life and see where I began, what all I have done and been through, I shake my head in awe that I lived so long knowing so little. Now that I am older, there are a few accommodations I make to my life. I remain a nocturnal creature, but the life I have made for myself is primarily diurnal. Oddly, this vampire who existed on the fringes has become a teacher in the mainstream. Aside from setting three alarm clocks to make sure I get up on time, there are some distinct advantages to my chosen profession.
First and foremost, I love what I do! What better profession for a bookish knowledge seeker could there be than sharing knowledge and guiding young people, many of whom are as lost and confused as once I was myself? I adore all my little goth and skater-punk children (though I do try not to show favoritism in the classroom, they know they hold a special place in my heart). Some secondary considerations that make education a wonderful place to be: my classroom has no windows (therefore, no sunlight), and I can control the lighting, noise level, humidity level, temperature and all the other little quirky considerations necessary for my personal comfort (though I do forewarn my students that I tend to keep it rather cool in class, so they should dress appropriately). Finally, young people surround me all day. I feed very lightly from my own students (I certainly don’t want them getting sleepy in my class), but I do open myself fully between classes, when there are upwards of a thousand teenagers crowded together in the halls.
Within the past two months, I have learned a new trick. I don’t know if this is a development of my powers or simply something else I had not yet learned, but in addition to taking energy, I can give it. I’ve not yet learned to accomplish this without touch or on a mass scale, but I am working on it. For now, I content myself that if young person in my charge needs a little jolt to bring him or her fully awake and to life, all it takes is a hand on his/her shoulder, a pat or a little shake to make it seem normal, to transfer a bit of my gathered energy excess.
At the end of the day, and sometimes it is a fourteen-hour day, I come home to my space. I no longer live in a black cavern with accents of red and silver (though I do still like the style and am drawn to the dark); my home is light and cheery despite the blinds and heavy curtains, with tons of color that indeed (as per color theory) do make me feel both energized and at peace. As confessed, I am still drawn to he dark, so my few visitors always find interesting tidbits in my home: from the odd accessories on my bookshelves to the hand-made old-style box bed. When I get curious looks about some of the various gods, bones, stones or other trinkets, rather than a fully honest explanation of how they are used in ritual, why I am drawn to them or what their significance may be, it is easy to laugh and say: “Well, what do you expect a science teacher to collect?”
I don’t hide my life or my past, but neither do I flaunt it. I suppose I am still “in the coffin,” but unless and until I again develop a blood hunger that cannot be supplemented some other way, there is no need to delve into the topic with anyone. Hopefully, when and if I do settle into a monogamous long-term relationship with someone, I will have not only a life partner and bed partner, but also a blood partner. The lessons I have learned in life, from fledgling to now, have served me well. My primary lesson is simply this: whatever one’s need, there is always more than one way to fulfill it (or as I might say to my anatomy classes prior to dissection, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”)
Thank you for creating this forum for us, a place to talk and share and, as the Nike commercial says, Just Be. I wish I’d had someplace to go two decades ago, but life has not been bad despite my flailing about. To answer the question you might ask, no, I have not acted directly as a mentor for any other fledgling.
I do have one young person this term that I suspect may be one of us, but I hesitate to out myself. Instead, I have an open library in classroom, complete with fiction and non-fiction alike (I don’t even attempt to hide my taste in reading material), an when I come across interesting things, I share them with my classes. Perhaps tomorrow, in our regular Monday journaling of “What did you see / hear / read / do this weekend that relates to this class?” I will share this site with her class. Cryptozoology is something I have previously discussed with my kids, and this weekend’s release of the film “Underworld” should make it a fairly simple segue.
There is more I could say, a whole life-time of experiences, but I will leave off there. Once again,