Truth And Dare

(Originally posted December 15, 2010) Hello everyone – My name is Octarine, and I’m a Vampyre. No really. Don’t let that fool you though – I’m really an okay gal. A little pale, maybe – perhaps a little shy – but I don’t bite exactly. Being a vampire – or Vampyre, as some of us like to spell it, has its upside and downside –  but hey, doesn’t everything?

To be honest, I’ve been wondering how this article would go. I even day-dreamed a little AA scenario where I would say “Hi, I’m Octarine and I’m a vampire”, and you’d say “Hello Octarine”, and then I would say “It’s been 48 hours since the last time I fed”. Then I might add hastily “…but I didn’t hurt anyone to get it.” Okay, I admit, it kinda got a bit weird after that… So, anyway. Blood, and Vampyres. Not much goes together quite as fittingly, except perhaps for the words “truth” and “dare”.

The truth?

Quite a lot has been made of vampires in fiction lately, with comparisons readily being made between the fictional stereotype and the occasional crime report employing the “v” word. Regularly I see headlines involving Vampyres and the words “killer”, “cult” and “satanism”. In almost every case, there is a high degree of panic, hysteria and sensationalism.

Many have been feeling the need to share their experiences, their sorrows, fears and concerns with their friends and loved ones for some time now – but the truth is, a lot of them feel too afraid or intimidated to do that. In a world where people are persecuted for trivial things like who their partner is, or which deity they believe in – imagine coming out and saying I have a need for energy that can only be satisfied by drinking some blood, or taking energy from those around me.

Of course, the minute somebody does this, and they hear “I’m a vampire” – things come to mind – things like “Twilight”, “True Blood” and a thousand cliche’ vampire movies – or the many news articles covering cult killings and abductions.  In short, they assume you’ve either lost your mind, or you’re off to join some satanic cult. The mind closes, the mouth opens, and you can pretty much bet you will never hear the end of it. Pretty soon you fear to hear the pitter-patter of the tiny feet of men in white lab-coats bearing sad tidings – and a straight jacket.

Is it any wonder many real Vampyres decide not to take the risk and remain hidden? Is it any wonder society only sees glimpses of us when they go to the movies or read the sensationalist news?

With that in mind, I decided to set the story straight.

So I’m a Vampyre. What does that mean? No I’m not undead, I’m alive and otherwise perfectly healthy and living a normal life. I like garlic on my pizza and have a good job and an active social life. I like elements of the goth aesthetic, but I’m not gothic. I’m not a satanist, I have never used drugs and have never burst into flames when going into a church. I don’t kill people, sleep in a coffin, or turn into a bat. And no, I don’t sparkle either, except when I go clubbing – and glitter cream gets in everywhere so it’s not a good idea. So then what exactly does “I’m a Vampyre” mean?

Many people out there – particularly those who accept the “satanic panic” news coverage as a true reflection of us, view what we are as a religion and talk about “the vampire cult” as if we are all part of some kind of dark scary occult movement that gathers in abandoned buildings to sacrifice babies or stray animals. They probably think we all know each other, like when they find out somebody’s gay they immediately ask whether that person knows their cousin Alvin in Atlanta, and add coyly “he’s gay too”. Well no, sorry, I don’t.

There may well be some Vampyres who belong to neo-pagan religious groups designed specifically for Vampyres, but there are far more Vampyres who are Christians, Buddhists, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, atheist – or whatever other religions are out there. Some people like to state that if you’re a Vampyre you can’t be a Christian as if you can’t be a donkey because you’re a frog. It’s interesting that they seem to believe that religion is some kind of inborn characteristic that disqualifies them from making the same lifestyle choice they have. Weird.

Most Vampyres I know don’t see being vampiric as a religion, but as something we “just are”. Like being caucasian, or having blue eyes. On the other hand, some in the Vampyre community consider what we are as a lifestyle, others view it as an as yet medically or scientifically unverified fact. In either case, as in any society, you have all kinds of people, and all kinds of opinions about what being Vampyre means. In fact, some of us will happily start an argument just over which spelling to use, vampire v/s vampyre. The simple reason I use the latter is because it is the older, and because it is more prevalent in my area.

As far as it applies to me, I would say that being a Vampyre means needing energy – not the kind of energy you find in an AA battery or in a power socket, or can measure with a voltmeter – but the kind of life-force energy you find in living things such as plants, animals and people. As yet, science has not found a way to measure this kind of energy – but in all honesty, that isn’t because scientists “know” it doesn’t exist and have proved it – it’s because they probably haven’t seen a need to.

What causes this need for energy? Well, that’s something I can’t answer. There are loads of theories on that, even among us. There are philosophies which view people as consisting of body, mind and spirit and each of these affecting the other and the whole. For whatever reason, we experience a lack of energy which is helped by supplementing our energy forms with energy from outside sources. All I know is that I experience this need. And when I don’t feed for a while, it gets worse and my mental well-being starts to suffer, shortly followed by my physical health. But as soon as I feed, the symptoms I recognize immediately improve.

Now some will claim that it is “all in my head”, and if you believe that being a Vampyre is a belief, then perhaps it is so – but how would this be any less valid than someone say, taking the sacrament, or attending communion? While some would argue that the idea of ingesting human blood is offensive to them, and compare that to the example of taking the “body and blood of Christ” as being a mere ritualized symbol – how does the symbol become any less “offensive” to them? Because they are replacing the flesh and blood of a man with bread and grape juice? They do it in order to satisfy their beliefs. Besides, nobody is asking them to drink blood because I feel I need to, and I’m certainly not going to expect that of them.

So how do we feed? Now that’s the interesting part, because that’s why we define ourselves as Vampyres, being vampiric, or having the need of an external source of energy. There are two ways, being to draw the life force energy, or prana, from a living being directly – or from the blood which we consume. Consequently, the those employing these different methods to ingest prana have become known by the ways in which they do so. Vampyres who ingest prana from blood are known as sanguine Vampyres, (or Sangs) and those who absorb it from the elements or from living sources, psychic Vampyres or (PSI’s). Those who need to or are able to employ both methods are called “Hybrids”. There is no real difference between the two (or three) kinds, other than the source of our prana. We are all Vampyres, neither is “more of a Vampyre” than the other. As for me, I predominantly PSI feed, but for various reasons, consider myself sanguine. That’s right, I drink blood, human blood, right off the skin of the donor.

So where do we get the blood? Some imagine that Vampyres – or “people who think they’re vampires” – roam the streets at night, dress like Dracula and bite people with plastic fangs. That simply isn’t true. If it was, there would be loads of “vampire-panic” stories to keep news reporters busy, and a lot more missing people.

Those of us who feed directly from people, whether PSI or Sang, do so with the help of willing, consensual donors. That’s right, there are people out there who know about us – know us personally, and are willing to help us in this way. In return we show them kindness, appreciation and gratitude. We even have an annual Donor Appreciation Day to reflect this. There are several codes of ethics which govern our community in terms of community, behavior, safety, feeding, and how to treat our donors.

When Vampyres drink blood, disease is foremost in our minds. Like anyone else, we are not immune to it and so we expect our donors to be tested regularly. In turn, we ourselves undergo frequent tests to ensure that we do not pose a health risk to them. Some, those who seem to think real Vampyres run around draining or “ex-sanguinating” people, wonder how much blood do I ingest at a time? The average adult human body contains 8 liters of plasma – way more than I could consume at one sitting, believe me. At most I take a shot glass worth. The effects of this small feeding lasts me several weeks.

And so now you know the truth about me and what I am. I don’t bite. Well, except perhaps on request. And only if I really like you that much.

The dare?

There are people out there who hear about real life Vampyres and dismiss us as crazy – but I’ll bet nine times out of ten those folks don’t bother to even find out what we are all about, and why we identify as Vampyres. Some who do, immediately judge us based on their preconceived ideas and claim we are mentally ill for our needs or beliefs, and readily employ their personal religious views to condemn us without stopping to consider that they are using their equally theoretical belief system to invalidate ours.

Dare to consider that people who call themselves real Vampyres are not suffering from some kind of mental illness or delusion, or having a breakdown – but that they are ordinary people who have ordinary lives, jobs and families – and for the most part, ordinary problems, just like you do.

Dare to consider that those who identify as being vampiric are not a threat to you, your faith, the world or anyone around them – but are simply, like yourself – making the best of the hand life has dealt them.

Dare to befriend us, talk to us and get to know us. We’re not just stereotypes, or “Twilighter kids” – we’re soldiers, bank clerks, parents, siblings, teachers, airline pilots – the guy next to you on the bus, the girl behind the counter.

Dare to show us the same tolerance of our lifestyle and diversity you expect for yourself.

Till next time.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. slklesko
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 19:31:37

    Interesting. I’ve never heard about the actual need for blood before but in a more metaphorical way we are all vampires. We feed off of each others’ energies just by being in the same room as them. People who you meet can either be energizing or exhausting depending on if they have more or less ‘life energy’ than you.

    Reply

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