“For months I have searched for a coven of this nature.” The mysterious email began. “Before I tell you our story, I must ask – is your house a roleplay group, or are you really Vampyres, as you claim to be?” At first glance, this email seemed to be just like the many we receive from seekers – those searching for Vampyres on the internet – or just looking for attention. All too often filled with drama, innuendo, and laden with roleplay themselves… but every now and then, one finds a real, rare gem among the
plethora of crap that hogs one’s inbox.
“Please note,” The writer continued, “for the safety and privacy of myself, a bleeder, and that of the one I bleed for, this email is registered to a fake account, and I shall refrain from using our real names.” The email was signed “Orion”.
I responded with a curt note that yes, House Valur is a real Vampyre group, we do not indulge in roleplaying etc – and received what was more than just a simple request for help in finding a Donor in the VC – and more than just a cry for attention from some emo kid playing “Underworld”. It was filled with emotion, genuine concern and need. It was really touching to see a Swan being so caring about a Vampyre. It was inspiring.
“Our story is as such: Myself and my “vampire” (we have never been all to keen on the word, what with the connotations it has, but to keep things simple with like terms) have had a long symbiotic relationship for years now. Jane, as we shall call her, was my childhood friend and we have grown together since then until now, where we are in our mid-twenties.
Jane showed signs of vampirism at a young age. Too young to have been influenced by stories or television, and too lost in youthful innocence to see that her needs were “wrong”, albeit very strange. In our circle of young friends, if one of us cut ourselves or grazed a knee, Jane would lick the wound til the bleeding stopped. Of course, nowadays I shudder at the memory due to the lack of hygiene – we have grown much more sophisticated in our older age. As we entered adolescence, Jane’s little oddity became an everyday thing, but had strictly become a secret between us.
We were normal children, for the most part – we had nice stable families, we were not interested in darker sub-cultures, we did well at school, but Jane’s need for my blood created a beautiful, intense relationship between us. At some point in my late teens, I began to question her needs. I was aware that without my blood, after a while she would become extremely quiet, speaking in monosyllables, this was then followed by days of sleep. Typical behaviour of someone suffering from depression. This led me to believe that Jane had a blood-addiction, that her childhood fascination with blood had caused some sort of dependency, either mental or physical. I began researching and discovered that vampirism was indeed very real and not too uncommon. I do not understand the reasons for it (although there are a few medical disorders that supposedly are the cause of it).
Jane had been amused at my calling her a “vampire”, but nonetheless I had planted a seed that there were others and for years, she was on the look-out for them. We did find the whereabouts of two covens, but both times Jane turned around and refused to approach them. We have since reached the end of our road together. I love Jane with the entirety of my being but I am now 4 months pregnant and both Jane and myself know that this is not the life to introduce a child into. Jane also needs to find herself and come to terms with what she is.
I am writing to you to ask advice or if you have any information on groups in our city. I cannot abandon my friend without a back-up plan.“
I responded with an offer to Orion, suggesting that if she felt her friend would benefit from a question and answer session, sho would be welcome to email me. I am very open about the subject and would try to help her as much as I could. What follows is a verbatim transcript of the dialog between myself and Jane:
Jane: “Hi, I was referred to you by my friend, who has called herself Orion..“
Me: “Hi Jane. 🙂 Thanks for the add. Orion told my you haven’t had contact with anyone else in the vampire community before? She told me you are a sanguine Vampyre, a blood feeder? First let me say that I am completely open to any questions you may have, and that I will help you in any way I can. My nightside name is Octarine, but my friends call me Val. I will be online for a few more hours tonight, so feel free to ask away.”
Jane: “Hi Octarine, thank you for accepting my invite. I am unfamiliar with most “vampire” terminology and don’t like to refer to myself as a vampire. I never had a name for it. This “thing” has always just been what it is.. I have never had any other contact with others like me – I have been curious of course but my hunger for blood has always been an awkward subject for me. My donor has also always been there and now that she is moving on I am forced to search for others… and I don’t really have time on my hands either. I feed twice a week on average. I have so many questions. There are things I have spent my whole life wondering. But at the moment my main concern is finding a new source and I have no idea how to go about that, which makes me a little scared. 🙂“
Me: “Jane, I understand your apprehension. There are a lot of things associated with being what we are that can be seen as negative, but there are also a lot of positive things, even though you might not see them so easily.
I also started out not knowing what this need was, and I also didn’t know there were real Vampyres out there, so I dismissed any thought that I could be that for a long time. I tried to bury it, and every time I did, it made me sick, weak, edgy, paranoid and emotionally very needy. When I fed, it made me healthy and stable.
When I was a child I used to bite myself for the blood, lick my friends wounds, eat raw meat and so on. That’s why biltong was always so appealing because the taste acted like a placebo. As I grew up, I started hesitating more and more, and sort of went into a downward spiral for a while. I fed wildly in a psychic fashion for a while, not realizing what I was doing. But that’s how we balance out, you see – if we don’t learn to control what we are, we start doing it subconsciously.
One day I started looking online for information, and found the truth – that I was not alone, that there were others like me, that there was a name for it – vampire.
Sure the negatives are the image associated with the fictional vamps and the myths, and perhaps to the satanic-panic image from the hard-core religious fringe. Besides, what “normal” person wants to drink blood? And that’s just it – we aren’t normal, not in that sense. We have a need for that, and denying that need is not good for us, and it is also illogical to deny something in order to make it go away, because I think by now you realize that it doesn’t go away.
Because it is a part of us, we cannot be rid of it, so the best thing to do is to embrace it, accept it and accommodate it in our lives in whatever way best suits us.
I get the impression you dislike your need, it’s like a curse to you. It can be difficult when the thirst bites down on you, when there is no source nearby to help, I know that feeling all too well. The thing you may realize is that for us as a community, some hate who we are, some embrace it, and others see it as an illness like being a diabetic. It’s just like having to take a medication, and otherwise it’s fine and dandy the other days of their lives. Being a vamp doesn’t mean wearing a uniform or dressing all gothic if you don’t want to. It doesn’t mean converting to some religion, or buying loads of books to gather dust on your shelf. It’s just one tiny part of what makes you who you are. And you shouldn’t blame or hate yourself for it, its not your fault.
There may not be any definite research on what causes it yet, but there is research going on in the USA, with steadily growing interest from the scientific and medical community.
Slowly but surely, there is the realization growing that we are an identity group that just hasn’t been recognized yet.
As to the terminology, it varies a little from place to place, but here, we tend to favor the spelling “Vampyre”, for various reasons I can go into later. Donors are generally referred to as “Swans”. Vamps who blood feed are called Sanguinarians, or Sangs, psychic vampires who feed of life-force energy without taking blood, are called PSI’s. I don’t want to dump to much info on you all at once, I will answer your questions and let you decide how fast you want to learn.”
Jane: “Val, You are right – I do see my need as being a curse. It has never allowed me to have any really close friends, other than my donor (or Swan as you call them). I have a distant relationship with my family as well. I am a firm believer that honesty is a fundamental building block of any human relationship, but this need is not something you can tell people – they do not understand – and while you say that some vampyres see the need for blood as taking medication and carrying on with their normal lives, I cannot relate to that as it is the centre of my life. Vampyrism is a lonely world, where I cannot be myself… living a lie, basically. But hating it changes nothing.. There is no ending it, and I can only accept it for now. You have no idea how great it feels to talk about this. [Finding a new Donor] is going to be a big step for me. I have so many mixed feelings about a new donor – me and Orion have always just done things our way. We had our methods of how to do it, when to do it and where to do it, which I guess differs from person to person. I don’t want a donor to feel used. Or to feel like dinner. And I don’t want to hurt them, which is inevitable because with blood there is always pain. Also how do you know if a donor is safe? Would it be weird to ask for a medical check up? I feel quite naïve asking these things – but this is sort of new to me. Thank you for providing the answers.”
Me: “Hi Jane 🙂 You’re right about the honesty, to a big degree – but there exists in every relationship something as too much honesty. Telling even a close friend your deepest darkest secrets or thoughts can either make or break that relationship. It doesn’t matter what it is, coming out as a different religion, sexuality or gender identity – and of course, being thus – all can affect relationships. People don’t have to know absolutely everything about you, just as you most likely don’t know absolutely everything about them, and would also most likely feel that you have no right to know absolutely everything about them. We are not as common as fiction portrays us, and meeting face to face and talking openly about this is even rarer than meeting someone from the same general location – especially in SA. It feels good, doesn’t it 😉 And that’s the basis of our community – helping and supporting each other.
We all know normal society frowns on things like this, mainly because they don’t understand, and because they don’t want to – but also because it’s fine for a child to fantasize about being a vamp – and to enjoy the fiction – but when you cross the line and actually act as one… well, then it becomes “dangerous” or threatening to them. That’s why we are pretty much an open “secret”. A portion of society knows we exist, few actually believe we do, and as such we exist both in their midst and on the fringes of their world.
Being different is often a dangerous thing, hun. Being seen to be different is more dangerous sometimes. In this case the truth can hurt you – even if nobody attacks you for it, you could be ostracized, criticized, labeled as crazy or weird – it’s not worth the risk.
Being a vamp isn’t something anyone can deal with – but nature is a good selector. You are different, you are a vamp, and therefore you will find the strength and energy within you to cope and deal with it. Don’t be afraid to make friends, don’t isolate yourself. Know that you won’t hurt them to get what you need. Know that there are many things about themselves they are not telling you, and everyone is entitled to a few secrets of their own.
‘But hating it changes nothing.. There is no ending it, and I can only accept it for now.’ I’m glad you’re seeing it this way, because it’s true. I think a large part of your issue here is feelings of guilt. We all have them, even after years of feeding this way. You would know what I mean. Your donor is someone special to you, someone you care about and hate to see in pain. You know it hurts them to sacrifice like this for you, but you need it, and she knows you need it, and so it is a mutual thing – except you feel that you lack enough to give back in thanks or to make up for her gift and token of love for you.
The simple truth is a hard thing. If you stopped, it would end this cycle of guilt, but you know you can’t, because you’ve tried before and it was unbearable – and so it continues. And so there is a simple choice before you – your donor is an adult and knows his/her limits, s/he knows what s/he is doing, and what you are asking of her/him, and so yes, you may cause her/him a little pain – but s/he does it for her/his own reasons. To help you, or to alleviate their own feelings. Some even enjoy it. If you don’t let what they do for you bother you, there is no quilt. If you allow them to cut themselves for you to feed off the
issue, where is your guilt?
The need is an all-consuming focus of our lives Jane. We function normally, whatever that means, but we are tantalized by the temptations of those around us. I wonder, looking at people around me, their scents, how does their blood taste? What will their energy feel like inside me? I am not a sexual person, Jane. I don’t think of sex, I don’t need it, I can’t remember the last time I had it – but when I think of relationships, it is emotional, and in terms of company and need.
More on guilt: Being a vamp doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t remove all choices from you. You can still be charitable, helpful, caring and loving. You can still do a lot of good work to help others in this world. I suppose a little guilt is a good thing too, because if we stopped feeling that tiny pang when we see someone we care about bleeding for us, what would that make us? What would be our limit then?
It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for proof of a medical test to ensure you get clean blood. I always recommend that vamps and swans meet at least three times in a public place before moving to the feed. Communion is something that can have many repercussions for us. Legal and personal. You are most welcome to ask me anything at all, Jane 🙂
“Val, You certainly make me feel slightly better about this condition. Maybe I need to start seeing things like a vampyre and not like a normal human. Maybe Orion leaving is what I need to get out of my comfortable bubble of denial. I’m trying to see the positive side of this situation.“
This email and the debate with Jane shed light on so many things for me, about human nature – as well as on the nature of us.