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 — DON’T 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.
A. People making nearly or totally unbelievable claims. Here are but a few specific examples to give you a fairly broad idea:
i. I am personally aware of one self-claimed elder, who also made the claim that sanguine vampires could survive without feeding on human blood, for all their lives, and claimed that she’d done so for over twenty years. Well, in my personal experience, after twenty-seven MONTHS, hardly over two years, I was ready — quite literally — to find the nearest human and slit them from ear to ear. Sorry, but in my experience, substitutes only go so far, before they go no further. Yes, they work reasonably well for some, and NOT so well for others. My whole point with this particular example, is to keep in mind that, eventually, you’re going to need to feed for real, and beware of those that tell you otherwise.
ii. I have run across a number of separate individuals that claimed the ability to read minds, a.k.a. telepathy. Now, we vampire DO tend to be far more empathic than the average human (and indeed, most of us use this to our distinct advantage); however, I’ve yet to run across one that could back the claim. However, this is more an example of being able to shield one’s emotions so as not to be as easy pickings for others. Keep in mind, as a newly awakened vamp, you will find they SEEM to know what you’re thinking — probably because, if they’re real, they went thru much the same on their own, and if they’re NOT real, probably spent a considerable amount of time reading about it from those that ARE, so don’t be thrown by this.
iii. Those claiming to be elders. Now, touchy subject here, as there are literally hundreds of various boards and groups out there, each making this claim; but there’s a number of things here to look out for — what KIND of elders these people claim to be (i.e., self-titled, whether they claim to be 400 years old, TURNED is one of my personal favorites for a laugh, and so on). Usually, one finds that someone that’s a true “elder” is merely someone who has been IN the community, — and I mean REAL not just online, — for a substantial amount of time, and is widely respected for their knowledge — AND is one that doesn’t use the title themselves. Far, FAR more often, you will find people that claim the title for themselves, usually accompanied by some long-winded bullshit title stemming from their board or group — and is younger than I am (I’m all of twenty five at the time of writing this article). To paraphrase Foamy the Squirrel, “These people REALLY need blood poisoning.” The best course of action here is to observe, keep quiet, and when you see signs of self-grandeuring and a select number of people essentially kowtowing to a select group, bow out and look elsewhere. This invariably leads straight to such wonderful things like drama and arguments — something young vamps get ENOUGH of, I’m sure.
B. Now let me touch on the boards and groups themselves, some of this I’ve already partially touched on.
i. Boards claiming ancient ties. I personally have yet to see ANY board group or otherwise prove ANY existence of ANY ties with Anything in this regard — ALL the time I’ve run across this, I’ve proven it to either be directly out of an RPG of some form, OR its just total BS meant to lure unsuspecting people in. Either way, its a BIG time warning sign — not one to be tangled with (unless your like me and enjoy screwing with peons 😉 )
ii. Boards demanding strict adherence to “board structure” (i.e., Elders, councils, and the like). Generally, this is more a case of the owners and their close circle of friends getting their rocks off by being lost in lala land. Otherwise, it IS straight of an RPG — a true warning sign, if you are wanting to be in the real crowds.
iii. Boards with longer “rules and obligations” or similar, than most warranty cards on vehicles. Pretty self explanatory here, — it falls back generally to the “either RP or people lost and wishing to be IN an RP or the TV idolized version of vampires.
iv. Boards with posts or comments expecting high posting and turnover. Generally, but not always, the staff on these boards are more concerned with their post count and seeing how many friends they can make, than they are about reality. It’s one thing to see the owner asking his or her mods to post regularly and keep tabs on their board. It’s quite another when this is passed to the members. Usually, this is far more hassle than it’s worth.
v. Blatant or obvious drama. You’ll see this very quickly upon perusing a board that’s afflicted with it — people bitching, ranting, or complaining at, or to, or with, each other. This is one you’ll find where, if you enter, you’ll quickly get sucked in to take sides — though I will admit I’ve been guilty of this myself. This ties back to learning how and who to trust. If drama is present, it’s VERY easy to get hurt, betrayed, lied to or otherwise. Use EXTREME caution if you suspect this.
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.