Originally posted to the Vampire Community Message Board on February 6, 2007.
A lot of times, young people come to these boards and ask THE QUESTION: “Am I a vampire?!”. Most of these persons seem to be confused about changes they have been noticing in themselves, changes others told them that they perceived, an intense fascination with vampires resp. vampirism, and numerous other things.
Despite the fact that the policy/philosophy of the VCMB states clearly that WE CANNOT TELL if someone is a vampire or not (and probably also shouldn’t, in all honesty), people still come here and want to know if they are vampires or not.
Those of us who have been here for a long time are very familiar with that kind of questioning. Some young person, who has stumbled upon one of the numerous “symptoms lists” on the net, is unsure and confused — are they vampiric? Are they not?
However, it doesn’t seem to concern most of them what kind of answers they get — if members answer with, “No, you probably aren’t”, or (more mildly) with “Please read the main site and the boards in order to learn more”, the person who wants to know if they are or aren’t a vampire just presents us with more “evidence” why we should tell them that they are vampires. This has, sometimes, turned ugly.
In order to prevent this, I’ve tried to compile most of those questions usually asked, including the “evidence”, complete with possible explanations.
Just remember Rule #2: There are “mundane” explanations to so-called ‘secondary symptoms’ — “mundane” being the version without vampirism.
* I feel confused and alone / No one understands me / I have no friends
Now, feeling alone or confused is not uncommon; in fact, most people feel like that at one point or another in their lives — mostly during puberty, at the onset of puberty or shortly after it. This is not to say that adults don’t feel misunderstood, alone or confused at all. It happens to the best of us, no matter how happy we are with our lives.
The main question is — why do you feel confused? Why do you think no one understands you?
Most of the time, those feelings arise from problems with social interaction. Yes, people can be unfriendly — they can appear to be uncaring, they can appear to not understand you and your problems. However, have you tried to actually change this situation? I know, it is easy to just give up and think “no one understands me, I am alone” — but the point being, have you REALLY tried to change this?
Most often, people who don’t seem to understand you and your problems/feelings do so because you didn’t really talk to them. Yes, you might have started to talk, but usually, it’s not with the goal to have an actual conversation/discussion on how you feel, but with the goal to just rant until you feel better.
How would you feel if someone walked up to you and started to talk about their problems and feelings without listening to what you actually say in response?
Plus, chances are — if you are a teenager, and try to talk to your friends (who usually happen to be teenagers as well, let’s face it), — they are most often too caught up in their own perceived problems of being alone, misunderstood or confused. This creates a vicious circle, in which both parties are trying to convey how they feel, but don’t get an actual response, because the recipient of the message is not actually listening — instead, he or she is trying to think of how to tell the other participant about their own problems. That’s not communication.
As already mentioned — feeling confused, alienated or misunderstood is nothing uncommon. In fact, it might very well be one of the most common feelings that humans experience, especially during teenage years. It is, however, NO indicator for vampirism. Not at all.
As for “having no friends”… again, ask yourself WHY. The answer is usually not “because I am a vampire”. Look at the world around you. There are so many people who say they have no friends — yet they don’t decide that this is due to some nebulous concept of “vampirism”. Plus, being a vampire won’t change that. Most of the time, it will just make your life harder, more complicated than it already is; and harder to make real friends on which you can depend, no matter what situation you are in. Think about it. You can change that you have no friends — communicate with people, listen to them, talk to them (NOT about vampirism, mind you), and find a social niche in which you can fit in. It’s not that hard.
* I am fascinated with vampires!
Happens every other day. People get actively interested in vampires, pixies, fairies, werewolves, therianthropes, cars, light bulbs, witchcraft, magick, reading, history, physics… or Formula 1 racing. Based on that alone… really, it doesn’t make you special. It just makes you a person fascinated with vampires.
Plus, it is rather safe to assume that your obsession/fascination/active interest is more geared towards those vampires you find in fiction instead of those you find on these boards.
Let’s face it: We are not all beautiful, seductive, rich or happy; we still have to pay bills, taxes; we still have squabbles with our landlords or parents; we still have to go to school or hold a job or attend university-lectures at ungodly hours in the morning; we have no super-abilities; and most of us are a pretty moody and angry bunch.
In short: Being fascinated/obsessed/etc. with anything doesn’t make you that thing. If you are fascinated by sports cars — do you really think you are or are becoming a Porsche?
If you’re just fascinated with the reality that we so-called real vampires™ face, then you are of course more than welcome to hang around the boards and chat with us. You don’t have to be a vampire in order to do that. Just accept that a fascination with something, as intense it might be, doesn’t turn you into the object of your fascination.
* I have bitten someone / Someone bit me
Biting is a powerful symbolism in today’s pop-culture, amongst teenagers and adults alike. It conveys sexual connotations, anger (and the stereotypical image of the Hollywood-vampire who bites people to drink their blood), more often than not, in a definitely sexual/erotic manner.
Considering the sheer among of vampire fiction and movies these days, it is not hard to imagine that the mind automatically makes the connection “being bitten/biting = vampire”.
Honestly, how many of you can pin down the moment they “learned” what a “vampire” (Hollywood version) is and does? The archetype of the vampire has become deeply ingrained in today’s society — most of the people you ask how they learned what a “vampire” is will probably respond with the name of a movie, or/and, upon further inquiry, say that they don’t know. Vampires are pretty much everywhere in the western culture — and the subconscious easily makes connections between events/feelings and archetypes.
* I have studied vampires, I know everything about you, I know that you are not like those in the movies!
You know everything about real vampires? Well, congratulations, you are several steps ahead of us who actually classify ourselves as real vampires.
Again, knowing a lot about something doesn’t make you the thing you are knowledgeable about. For example, what would you think if someone came up to a person belonging to the goth, metal or punk subculture, saying “I have studied you, I know everything about you — that’s truly a sign that I AM one of you!” without having ever listened to the music associated to those subcultures, has no relation to the philosophy of those, and looks like a lawyer in court (nothing against lawyers, of course)?
* Random Thought: “Am I a Vampire?”
Actually, when I was a child, I once had the thought “Am I a deinonychus?” popping up in my head, after having been one of those dinosaur-freaks for some time. I became even more fascinated with dinosaurs. However, I am no deinonychus… nor any other kind of viciously cool dinosaur. Unfortunately.
So, that is no indicator at all. If it was, I’d be a deinonychus, and a lot of other people would be a lot of different things. Random thoughts are most of the time just that — random thoughts. They are no indicator that you are something else — for example, a vampire.
* Thinking of blood drinking vampires turns you on
Sorry, but that sounds more like a vampire-fetish or haematophilia than like vampirism. Vampirism is a condition of as of-yet-unknown causes — but one thing about it is sure: Thinking of blood drinking vampires as a turn on is not part of the condition. Ask around the community — most, if not all of us, will confirm this to you.
However, there is nothing wrong with having a blood-fetish, or a vampire-fetish. You might want to join the rather big Lifestyler-scene; if you are of legal age in your country, you might want to consider joining the BDSM scene, as those people are into blood-letting. You might even want to consider becoming a donor to a real vampire… the possibilities are there. But you have to accept that an intense liking/sexual attraction to the image of the vampire doesn’t make you a vampire.
* You get a burst of energy when other people are getting emotional in any way
That doesn’t only happen to real vampires. It happens to perfectly normal people, too. I know a lot of perfectly normal people who, for example, get a burst of energy when they are, for example, playing a particularly thrilling role-playing game together. You can ask anyone out there — you don’t have to be a vampire in order to feel energized or drained by people’s emotions, feelings, or whatever.
Granted, real vampires seem to be prone to empathy and unconscious draining of others when emotions are high — but still, this is not limited to vampires, and doesn’t make you one.
* You feel “drained” and/or exhausted in the sun
Again, this is also something which is not limited to vampirism. What about your sleeping schedules? Stress? Have you considered “mundane” reasons for this — staying up well into the night before going to sleep, stress, medications…
If you truly feel exhausted when outside during the day, the first thing you should do is see your doctor.
On a side note: We don’t ask you to see a doctor if you think you might be a vampire so that you can tell us that everything is alright with you. — A lot of people who come here and are asked in a friendly, sincere manner if they have consulted a doctor before jumping to the conclusion that they are a vampire, come up with either fake diagnoses or the usual, “Yes, everything is fine with me”, after having complained here about various feelings of being tired, having difficulty with sleeping patterns, etc. This is not why we ask you to consult a professional. Not at all. You don’t have to prove anything to us — but there are a lot of medications that can make you feel this way.
* You seem to have “heightened senses” (for example, your hearing increased, you can sense people in a room, your sense of smell gets better, you are more sensitive to touch)
Such things can happen during puberty. Remember, this is a time in which the hormones in your body run wild, rearrange themselves, new hormones get produced… etc., etc., pp. ad nauseum.
Granted, heightened senses can be one of the secondary symptoms of vampirism… but, IF you attribute this to “heightened senses”, that still doesn’t make you a vampire.
Hormones can also run wild in adults — the brain is not a static thing that never changes as soon as we left puberty behind. Changes in the hormonal make-up of the brain, and thus the body, occur often in adults. Also, neural networks can be formed which make it more likely for someone to react to certain stimuli more easily.
* I have difficulty eating “normal” food / I can’t sleep at night / I have been feeling weak/drained for some time now
Check your doctor, immediately. As I already said — we don’t tell you to check a doctor in order to validate for us that you are, indeed, vampiric. We ask you to do so because it is YOUR HEALTH. What if you were suffering from a disease that could possibly harm you permanently if it goes untreated? You don’t need to prove anything to us. Just see to it that you are healthy. After you ruled out every “mundane” (to reiterate myself: “mundane” being the reality that doesn’t include vampirism and doesn’t make it the reason behind everything) possibility, you can start considering vampirism.
* I like rare steak
Ask a waiter in a restaurant — rare steaks seem to be very popular. Amongst NON-VAMPIRES. Having a preference for eating your steak rare doesn’t make you a vampire — neither does chewing chewing gum, by the way.
* I drank my own blood and it made me feel better / I liked it…
Stop it. Just stop it. Consuming your own blood doesn’t make you a vampire — granted, some of us use it as a substitute when we’re desperate, but still: It doesn’t make you a vampire.
Plus, as a real vampire, you can’t gain energy (which is what we have come to sort-of agree here that what we need) by consuming your own blood. As Lady Slinky put it very aptly — you wouldn’t throw up and eat your vomit if you are hungry… if you would, there is surely some community online that caters to your tastes.
* I am aggressive
Again, this doesn’t make you a vampire. Yes, most of us are a little bit more angry resp. aggressive than your average neighbor… but aggression alone doesn’t make you vampiric. If you are having difficulties controlling your anger or aggressive tendencies, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consult a psychotherapist. It doesn’t make you a “wrong” person to talk to one of these guys.
Conclusion: The only thing that makes you a vampire is a GENUINE NEED for other people’s blood and/or energy. You can have as many secondary symptoms as there are available… but you still won’t be a vampire without the Need.
Of course, you can convince yourself that you “need” blood and/or energy… but still: Are you happy with that? Take your time, learn, live your life, and look inside of you. Being a vampire, or rather coming to the definite conclusion that we are vampires and not just deluded people, has taken some of us a lot of time. Some of us “old people” have had to figure it all out without The Great Internet — by examining our reactions, what we do, how we think, etc., etc. pp.
If you need an online community to tell you that you are a vampire, you should take a break and examine yourself and your reasoning.