Cause For Concern

I have always been a mild, caring and compassionate person, and have always disliked seeing anyone in pain. Watching someone bleed has always been a distressing experience for me – I am filled with a swell of pity for them, you see. Being a Vampyre and blood drinker certainly provides challenges to this statement, but life is not without its challenges, is it?
Sure. Go ahead and laugh. It’s easy to dismiss those who self-identify as Vampyres as a bunch of loons who have been reading “too much” Vampire Academy, or watching Vampire Diaries. Most people who criticize never stop to think that people who identify as Vampyres may actually have good reason to do so – and that the reason might not involve mental illness at all – but a very real and very personal need which manifests as a hunger that is almost never satisfied, a hunger which gnaws away at us forever, stripping us of our own independence and sense of self-sufficiency – and indeed, our very perception of what it is to be like everybody else.

Contrary to how fiction portrays us, we do not lurk in dark alleys waiting for some hapless victim to come waltzing towards us, to their doom. Nor are there discreet blood bars set up as part of the Vampyre underground. Sure – would be nice, wouldn’t it? Probably easier as well.

But it’s not.

No. We engage donors, those angels of mercy who consent to help us by letting blood and allowing us to feed on it. Those caring individuals who allow us to draw on their life essence, in order to sustain us and make us feel better, to satisfy our hunger.

We make arrangements with these people, friends and allies – arrangements of a dark and personal nature. These arrangements are not without mishaps or incident however.

During my first meet-up with a new regular Donor, we met at her home. It was a nice pleasant drive out to where she stays, a quiet upmarket neighborhood, very private. We were alone together, and after a nice chat, we held Communion. She had told me she was a former cutter, and that she knew some vamps in the last city she lived in, and so when she told me she preferred to use a razor blade to a lancet, I expected that she knew what she was doing. She flourished it with a smile, giving the impression that she was quite familiar with the implement – and I watched her quickly slice into her left wrist. The blood bubbled up quickly and she offered it to me. I descended on it, and drank her in.

In just moments I had taken in more blood in one sitting than I remember having in… what felt like forever. The blood streamed from the wound, and didn’t seem to be slowing – and suddenly we both realised we were in trouble. She had managed to hit a minor artery – and within moments, before I realized something was wrong, my face, hands and the towel on her lap, were covered red.

In an instant my concern for her well-being took over – I found a pressure point in her arm, applied pressure, and placed her right hand there, telling her to keep it down. I rushed to the bathroom to find anything to stem the flow – a bandage, something to use as a tourniquet… nothing. I was facing a Vampyre’s worst nightmare – being with a Donor who might bleed themselves into an emergency room situation – and at the time, even the awkward explanations that would follow seemed minor.

I had washed my hands and face, just in case I had to rush her to the ER… imagine trying to explain to the medics how my friend had injured her wrist with a straight face – covered in her blood? That probably wouldn’t end well.

Luckily she is a fast healer… after about a half-hour, with the pressure applied to the wound, it finally stopped bleeding and was pretty much closed. We relaxed, continuing the jibes and jokes we had been making during the tense time. The whole time she had been telling me to relax. Me – the person she had cut herself for.

Looking back, almost nothing had gone to waste – I had licked pretty much all of it away, part of me thrilled, part of me disgusted with myself – but both parts recognizing that I needed it – and that it had been six long weeks since my last feed. The fact that she was relaxed the whole time and smiling at me just made it even stranger.

The problem with being a Vampyre is that – well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Sooner or later, somehow, somewhere, someone is going to have to bleed for you.

It changes us, feeding on human blood. It feeds us, yes – and we need it – but the act of watching someone cut themselves for you, producing the crimson essence of life – for you – well, let’s just say that it stirs something inside that won’t ever sleep again.

The dreams experienced after a feed are exotic and strange, the feelings otherworldy, and the knowledge that you have not just consumed human blood – but also taken into your very spirit, a part of someone else’s – and that right now, at this very moment, the blood-bond is forming between you – and your dreams turn red.

The more you get, the more you want. In your dreams, people slice themselves open far more carelessly for you to drink than in real life, and you indulge in a red vampire fantasy, drinking it all in. And you awake thirsty. And oddly enough, the longer you wait between feeds, the more desperate your dreams become.

Guilt? Yes, a lot of us do experience that. Even if we do feed consensually. Let’s just say I cling to my guilt, even when I look at the raw redness of the wound inflicted by my donor upon herself, and even when I thirst for it. I cling to it – because I know that if I ever let it go – I will lose the thing that still makes me human.

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About Octarine Valur

Octarine Valur - Founder: House Valur, South African Vampyre Community, South African Vampi(y)re Alliance (SAVA), SA Vampyre news (SAVN). View all posts by Octarine Valur

16 responses to “Cause For Concern

  • Aura Escher

    So true.. An amazing article, Val..

  • Winged Wolf Psion

    And yet, expressing guilt over that just generally annoys donors. Whatever you do, don’t refrain from asking for a feed out of guilt, because that makes us donor folk want to scream, it’s so irritating, lol.

    Most of us don’t think of ourselves as sacrificing something. We don’t perceive this relationship as one where you’re parasitizing us, or we’re doing you a great favor at some terrible expense to ourselves.

    Donors enter into these relationships for a variety of reasons, and sometimes it’s beneficial for us as well. Where is the room for guilt in THAT? I’m just trying to point out that it’s not all about you. Guilt is not usually an appropriate response when someone gives you a gift, or enters into a mutually beneficial partnership. Consider how that makes US feel, too.

  • rheanocturnum

    It certainly does change you. * sigh *

  • LilythRain

    Winged Wolf Psion, you make a very valid point that I know I personally am rather familiar with, but it is difficult to let that line of thought go. I have expressed almost identical sentiments as Octarine has pointed out in this article, and no matter how much it is intellectually understood that it is a potential boon for the donor, or that they do not see it as a horrible sacrifice that need be made, we often still cannot get over the fact that we have to cause someone a physical injury, with the potential for actual harm, in order to simply feel better.

    I don’t know why most sangs I know feel tremendously guilty. Perhaps it is a great blow to the ego to realize that your general health and well-being are almost wholly contingent upon the whims of another. I have been told that there is no reason to feel guilty. I have been told that there’s no reason to feel timid regarding asking, that there’s no reason to be concerned, or to express as much worry over the treatment of the wound itself.

    I understand that it is most certainly not only about the perspective of the sang, since that is also part of the issue, the fact that we must rely on the generosity of another person, the kindness of another person, and the feelings of the donor in question. However, I would like to point out that guilt can be a factor in a gift-giving if the recipient does not feel that they are providing a gift of equal benefit (we as sangs can never truly know what it is like for a non-vampiric donor). The same can be said of any partnership or relationship where you are fully aware of the wonderful benefits you are receiving, but are uncertain of the benefits the other party obtains. I love hearing donor perspectives however, as those are the only things that really ever alleviate any of the guilt regarding it at all.

    • Winged Wolf Psion

      Just as an example, I personally have CFS, and find that my fatigue symptoms are lessened if I donate regularly. (I’m not the only donor with CFS that has reported this phenomenon).
      This is not the only example of how a donor may benefit directly from donating.

  • Zero chan Nightskye

    Excellent article Octarine, and I wholeheartedly agree with you. I’ve experienced this with both of my methods of feeding. Drinking blood definetely changed me. At the same time, knowing someone has bled for you can produce guilt. It feels like you’ll never pay that back.

  • SangSavvy

    I am appalled at you, Octarine. I NEVER, EVER feed from someone who has struggled with self harm!!!

    How on earth could you not understand that her supposed relaxed happiness is the symptom of her own dissociation of her pain?

    Forget the issues with anything else. Feeding from someone who has harmed themselves in the past is unbelievable, and unethical in every possible way.

  • Octarine Valur

    Couple of points that seem to require clarification here:

    1) It was not exactly a first meet – it was a first meet FOR donation. My donor and I had known each other for several months before this happened, about a month ago.
    2) It is precisely because of legal considerations that I do not cut my donors.
    3) Mostly my donors have used lancets. None of the donors I have engaged with before have ever made use of razor blades, so yes, I do admit a certain level of inexperience with the format.
    4) Because I prefer my donors to cut themselves, I leave it up to them to choose the place on their bodies where they wish to donate from. It is their body after all, and so I think this is fair. Also, I am not in a romantic relationship with this donor, and neither of us feel comfortable with her donating from other body areas or getting naked for a feed.
    5) I in no way inferred disrespect towards donors in my article – I am sorry if some people find any “demeaning” remarks where none were intended. Those who know me will know very well that I have nothing but the highest respect and admiration for donors.
    6) I do have basic first aid training – which I applied quite effectively I would say, under the circumstances. Quite honestly, one does not expect an adult woman of 34 to just hack their own wrist, especially after demonstrating keen knowledge of cutting themselves in the past. Yes, accidents do happen, and yes this was an accident. She did not intend to hit the blood vessel, and I had explained I only needed a small amount to start off with, as this was a first donation.

    Yes, I suppose I could have mentioned all of the above in the article, but then I suppose the article would have shifted focus away from the aspects I did focus on – that of guilt and the emotions tied to feeding – and would have become just another of the thousand or so other articles out there that focus purely on the mechanics of donation.

    Thank you.

    • Tyler

      I believe empirically that no one in this situation was intentionally harming themselves. It is quite likely that even with “keen knowledge” of cutting one’s self that it can easily go wrong in a number of ways. The reactions from both of you where of a completely ordinary origin. When there is someone in danger, others are likely to come to aid. Now, perhaps things would be different if you had never previously felt any sort of obligation to donors, or even humans at all. In that case this would be something to be “concerned” about, but also very plausible and explainable. Yes, there may have been ‘diffusion of responsibility’ from the donor, but that is quite common and unavoidable with the human condition. This entire scenario is nothing more but a basic stimulus-reaction psychological play-through of some basic human principles.

      In utmost respect and in the prospect of logical explanation and reasoning,

      Tyler

      P.S. – If you wish to discuss anything further I am happy to do so, as i find this an intriguing story and one that could be elaborated happily.

      Phone – 615-556-5471
      Email – Barrettt46@yahoo.com

  • scribe62

    Good evening Octarine,
    What a splendid article and message. Well written, guts and feeling. Bravo.
    Having been in situations where things have gone wrong myself I can empathise with the story and I don’t think that you were remiss in any aspect of the event.

    One of the most important things about the “ethics” of any situation is the cooperation/non-cooperation factors involved, you made it very clear that the whole thing was up and above board so I don’t think there was any breach at all.

    You are, to my mind, a compassionate vampyre. IF I was a sanguinarian member of the community I would have no qualms in acting the same way.
    Kind regards,
    T.

  • SangSavvy

    That clarified nothing in the way of my comment specifically. Previous history of self-harm issues means regardless of if the cut is for self-harming out of depression, or in order to blood-let for a vampire, the persons brain and subconscious will interpret the situation as pertaining to self-harming out of depression. As a result of this, it is UNTHINKABLE and extremely unethical to feed from anyone who is ready to cut themselves for you, and has a history with self-harm. Of course they want to cut themselves – they have a history of self-harm. This is very logical, and very self-explanatory.

  • Winged Wolf Psion

    I’ve spoken with a couple of donors that had a history of self-harm, and they preferred to let the vampire make the cuts to avoid that association, but they have not found that it led them back into self-harm behavior.
    Don’t sell people short, they can actually fix the issues that led them to engage in that behavior in the first place. It’s not alcoholism, it’s purely psychological, and if the psychology behind it has changed, there is no reason that the behavior itself would magically recreate the entire issue. It may be an uncomfortable reminder, but they aren’t going to ‘fall off the self-harm wagon’ if they’ve actually corrected the underlying problem that led to it.
    That having been said, a vampire should most certainly be cautious of engaging a donor who has that history, but I disagree with the idea that it should be an absolute barrier.
    Now, if someone’s currently a cutter, obviously it’s a bad idea to allow that person to donate, as it would only encourage them to continue, and self-harm can escalate.
    I personally gave Octarine the benefit of the doubt, and she did say that she’s known this person for some time, so perhaps you should give her credit in being able to gauge the donor’s level of emotional stability…and you should definitely give the donor credit for being a free-willed individual capable of making their own decisions.

  • SangSavvy

    I totally disagree. I think it actually does play out like alcoholism. Self-harm is nothing to guesstimate. The triggers of that feeling are very strong, and regardless of if someone else is doing it or not, that makes no difference.

    Perhaps I am a little over-reactive, and you make a good point. And some people may recover from self-harm triggers psychologically. But for me it is extremely worrisome, and very rare for anyone to fully recover from automatically being triggers into dissociation when cut in any way.

    In this situation specifically, I guarantee that judging from the reaction of the donor, and how severe the situation was, this was ENTIRELY a trigger, and the amounts of dissociation going on were high.

    • Winged Wolf Psion

      I don’t necessarily agree. I’ve seen a donor accidentally slash themselves badly with a razor, before, and in that case, it was actually their first time, and they certainly weren’t a cutter. They also remained calm and unphazed–exactly as this other person was said to have done. As a result, I don’t see why you would assume that the ex-cutter is displaying some form of cutting-related reaction, when another person who’s never self-harmed displayed identical behavior, and obviously wasn’t ‘dissociated’ in that sense. I’m not saying you’re not right, I’m just saying that there isn’t enough there to assume that this created a psychological issue of any kind. There isn’t evidence from what was described.

  • Tyler

    I am intensely moved by this. I wonder if being an ‘ex-cutter’ made her more likely to become donor in the first place, and furthermore i suspect that this reaction is not due to anything related to previous cuttings. I may enlighten the possibility that it was the presence of a ‘Vampire’, not to discredit any of you, that caused the reaction which is noted. It is possible that some sort of fear reaction took place, much as one in water with a shark would produce. Perhaps they believed that when this intense blood loss was happening they felt that any further reaction, panicking, that they would be in more danger from a ‘frenzy’ rather than the initial problem of loss of blood. Also its possible that just out of the circumstances of having a vampire present could have produced a calmer reaction than what is ‘ordinary’. It’s possible that having someone in your position of ‘power’ could have overwritten their initial panic response. Of course these are only preliminary observations, more time and information would be needed to make a full report on this interaction, but i think that it does post some interesting questions, not for vampire-ism, but for donor interactions with these vampires.

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