(Or, “Where goeth thou, beauteous stranger?”)
By Lady CG
So you woke up one morning and there, standing before you in the mirror is the same person you’ve been staring at for… HOW many years? But lately something’s bothering you… You don’t look any different, not really. You feel pretty good. But… something doesn’t seem right…
You scrutinize the person in the mirror, in minute detail. You see all the flaws and all the things that have drove you crazy for years. You see the same hair and the same eyes… or are they? It’s tough to pinpoint, but SOMETHING is different. Or, maybe the tip-off is that you’re over 40 and NOTHING really IS different! How very odd!
I remember when people started to admire the fact that my looks have never really changed. I can’t even tell you how many old friends have walked up to me and told me that I haven’t changed since I was 19 years old. They are wrong, of course. I’ve changed a lot! But, if you haven’t seen me in years, you wouldn’t know that. I don’t remember who first pointed out to me, that I came to a point where I stopped looking older and settled into what I look like now. I think I was going through some family albums just before my mother died. My sister pointed out that I look better than I did 10 years ago… I thought about it a lot, for a week or so, and then I came to my computer and started comparing pictures of myself, stored on my dusty hard drive… It was true. I’ve changed, but I haven’t. I DO look better than I did 10 years ago. In fact, I look younger! How very odd!
It’s not, you understand, that I haven’t changed over the years. I’m an older vampyre. I’ve been drinking blood for over 25 years. In fact at this stage of my life, it’s my primary source of sustenance. Whether or not that has affected my aging process is questionable, but to be honest I have no other explanation, and recent events lead me to believe it IS.
At 14 years old, I looked 20. (I never got ID’d drinking underage in bars.) By the time I was 20, I’d already lived a hard life and my eyes showed it. I was never ugly… but I looked worn, sometimes. Pregnancy didn’t agree with me… I gained a LOT of weight in the course of bearing 4 children. My skin stretched, I got a few wrinkles under my eyes, from lack of sleep and crying all the time as two marriages fell apart over the course of 20 years. I thought I was aging, and not even very gracefully!
Then something odd happened to me. I went through about 3 years of being very sick. I looked TERRIBLE! I had problems with my lungs, I had problems with my heart. Every muscle in my body hurt, all the time. I had two heart attacks, in a 6-month period. I thought I was going to die!
I can only speak for myself, but I went through some drastic physical changes. Its like one of my physical systems (i.e., circulatory, digestive, respiratory… you get the idea) was breaking down one at a time and then poof it rebuilt itself, stronger and better.
When it happened to my circulatory system I had two heart attacks, and my blood pressure was through the roof for a few months. Then, as suddenly as it started, it fixed itself. My doctors ran tests, tests, more tests… they can’t explain that there is no scarring now and no sign I was ever sick. My eyesight has changed. I see farther and my night vision is superb. But I can’t stand the sun, it’s too bright as well as too dehydrating and my very near vision gets strained easily.
An old vamp friend suggested that vampyric bodies need to change to keep up with rapidly expanding vampyric minds… and maybe he is right. My mental abilities are also changing. My perceptions are very sharp, especially at night and I’ve gained the ability to recognize other vampyres at some distance. I can also feel things moving around me for blocks.
I hated being a vampyre when I was young. It hurt a lot when I didn’t know how to look after myself. But as an “older” vampyre I don’t have those problems. My “hunger” is much more intense… but on the flip side of that I draw energy from other sources, now, which is something that was harder before; now I do it with no effort at all. It also helps that I know I can live on animal blood.
Another thing I’ve noticed is my ability to use Magick has increased about 100 times over.
(Oh and that from time to time I wake up with a strange vampyre in my room who disappears if I try to talk to him… but that’s another story.)
As I’ve said before, Vampyres seem to have an affinity for energy use. The ability is one that seems to grow with age, knowledge and practice. Mine has grown tremendously.
So MANY changes! In only a few short years! And it’s still not over! Mental and emotional changes, Psionic Changes, Physical changes… It seems that I am in a constant state of evolution! Where does it end? When does my life go back to some semblance of normality?
Then, when I was sure I would rather be dead, than alive and live like this any longer, it just stopped. I got better, or at least, the changes slowed to a pace I could deal with and adapt to more easily. I’m beginning to think that the changes I have been going through will continue, but at least now they are progressing more subtly, and the changes do not hurt like they used to.
One day, some time ago, I went to the mirror to get ready to go out for an evening and realized… something was different. I looked okay. I decided to skip most of the complicated makeup ritual I usually went through. My skin looked fine. A bit of eyeliner, some lipstick for my always-pale lips… perfect.
I started losing weight. Not a bit at a time… a LOT, and at once! In a matter of months I lost over 40lbs. I started to feel good! OK… something is DEFINITELY up! It came home to me, when I was working as a 38-year-old barmaid and 22-year-old guys were suddenly trying to take me home. I had to produce ID on three occasions in one month to convince young men that I was old enough to be their mommy!
So I started to wonder if other vampyres went through this…
We don’t talk about it much, 2nd stage vampyrism. A few years ago, it was one of those things NO ONE discussed. But I started asking around and was BLOWN AWAY by the number of similar experiences among vamps in my age group.
What was happening to us? I can’t even begin to tell you how amazed I was… My aging had changed!
I turned on the computer and started comparing pictures of me over the years.
Lining up pictures of me at different ages didn’t tell me much, till I put the pictures in a circle. Although I changed looks over the course of 20+ years, I was shocked to note that the picture of me at 17 was not significantly different than the one of me at 40. Hell, I was even sporting a similar haircut!
It’s not as easy as you might think to get used to it. I had a well-established concept of whom I was and what I thought I looked like. It changed. Pleasantly, but a change, non the less. It took a while to get used to it.
These days I’ve learned to like it, love it and take FULL advantage of it. I combine it with Vampyric Charm, to get what I want, and I combine it with Magick, when charm fails. I can attract almost anyone in a room, using my gifts and intuition. Even though a few years have passed, I’ve seen no signs that I’m aging much at all… In fact, I’m STILL getting improvements in strength and stamina, and the speed of my brain functions. Of course, part of the difference now is that I KNOW what I am capable of achieving and I work at it.
So it’s not all bad news! Being a vampyre is full of surprises, and not ALL of them are bad. Just be prepared for it. I’d have gotten through this much more easily if I hadn’t thought I was losing my mind! IF you’re going through it, and you’re tempted to check yourself into a sanitarium, don’t. You’re probably fine. And there is help and support for aging vampyres now!
Less than a month ago, as of the writing of my book [Practical Vampyrism for Modern Vampyres], my friend SphynxCat (of the SphynxCatVP Website) and I pulled together the very first Conference on Vampyric Aging*. It was so exciting! A Large group of vampyres over the age of 40 got together and discussed the Vampyric Aging process. What did we discover? Each of us discovered that we are NOT alone in our experiences.
For me the highlight of the evening was hearing others in my peer group talking about going through the very same things I’d been going through to greater or lesser degrees. Like normal human aging, it seems to vary somewhat from vamp to vamp and from male to female vamps, but most of what we go through is similar enough that we may be able to plot out a road map for those who come after us to follow. It’s an exciting development in our comprehension of our own species!
One of the results of the conference was a new Yahoo Egroup, specifically for discussion of our aging processes. We hoped through this new group to give support to those of us who are going through the aging process, track more of our common changes, and get that information out to younger vamps who will someday need it.
If you have an interest in this, the group was at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Aging_Vampire/ – Unfortunately, this group is now defunct.
“For older Vampire/yre and to discuss the problems they face. Posting links, gifs and just about anything vampire-related is encouraged. Most of us so far are in the 30s and above. No one under 21 please. Age must be in your Yahoo bio to join.”
The Vampyre Community is also planning more Aging Conferences. Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to update my book with even better information on how we Vampyres age, and how to cope with it.
If you go through 2nd stage or Vamp menopause, as we fondly call it (we know that not ALL vampyres go through this and or subsequent stages), remember help and support are “out there”. It’s a hard stage to go through, but it helps to remember that it’s not all bad. With the pain of evolution come gifts we can use to grow. We are Vampyres. We will adapt. It’s one of the things we are good at.
It’s one of those wonderful vampyric coping mechanisms that help us thrive.
- The transcript from the first Vampiric Aging Conference is at <http://www.sanguinarius.org/2014/10/vampiric-aging-conference-1-transcript/>.