It is very important for young people entering the vampire community to know the possible dangers of their decision. There are a lot of scary people out there in the world, looking to prey on the young and the impressionable. If you think you may be a vampire, or are entering into any “vampiric community”, there are several things you should keep in mind.
First of all, don’t listen to anyone who says that there are specific traits that all vampires have, and if you have them, then you must be a vampire too. While there are many traits associated with vampires, such as pale skin, dark hair, sensitivity to sunlight, intense eye color, heightened senses, and the like, they can also be something as simple as good genetics, or as severe as a true medical condition. While many “real vampires” bear several of the traits you will see splashed across web pages on the ‘net, many do not. There is no way to tell just by looking, or going down a list of so-called “traits” of “vampiric signs”.
Likewise, your manner of dress is nothing more than a form of personal expression. Dressing all in black doesn’t immediately make you Goth or a Vampire. On the flip-side, dressing in “average” style, doesn’t mean you’re not a vamp, or anything else. If anyone tells you that you have to dress a certain way to be what you are, then they really have no clue what they’re talking about. Don’t ever feel that you have to dress a certain way, talk a certain way or listen to a certain kind of music to be a vampire, or worry that if you don’t you’re not one. You are who and what you are; all that other stuff is just a matter of preference.
Read as much as you can on vampirism. Read the myth, the facts, the medical causes, and everything else you can find. The Fact section to the left has a lot of good articles, but read all you can, and don’t take any one site’s word as gospel. Truth varies from person to person; you will need to find your own truth.
If you are under 18, or even if you are older, I strongly urge you not to go out and tell the world that you think you’re a vampire. More likely than not, people will think you’re unstable, troubled, or just nuts. Some may even think you’re dangerous. Be careful who you tell, and how you tell them. Even family and best friends may not understand. Your best bet is to A: Wait until you are really sure of yourself and what you believe you are, and B: try to bring the topic up gently. Try starting a conversation about a vampire film, and infer that you think such creatures may really exist, but in a different form, or maybe bring up topics of the occult. See how that goes first. If the response is favorable, then try easing into telling them about yourself. Don’t expect people to readily accept it. It can take time, and a very open-minded and understanding person. When I came out of the ‘broom closet” as being Pagan, I was met with a great deal of confusion, misunderstanding and contempt. It has taken years for people to accept my beliefs. Imagine what it is like to “come out of the coffin”! I don’t even mention it, though I have had people ask, and that is usually an easy way to get into the topic, even though many of those who ask are very condescending about it.
Even though you may be tempted to tell your best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend, it’s not really a good idea, until you are really sure, and only if you believe they will take it well. Especially if you’re young, it can be devastating to lose your friends or boy/girlfriend because you outed yourself to them. It’s best to keep what you are to yourself. As lonely as it may seem to do so, it is usually the safest option, and will save you from the hassles of needing to explain yourself, and all the heartache that comes with people not understanding what you are. It’s especially important to not reveal yourself to your family, particularly if you are under 18 or living at home. Parents get worried, and the last thing you need is to end up battling with your parents over your behavior, or worse, being put in a mental health facility because they think you might hurt yourself or someone else.
If you enter into a forum or chat group, don’t go in calling yourself Lestat or Akasha, and ask to be “sired” or “turned”. In general, this is considered impossible. Don’t be dramatic, and don’t be insulting. Try to read up before you start chatting, so you know what you’re saying. If you’re role-playing, go to forums or chats specifically for role-players. Real vampires can become quite irked at newbies jumping into a conversation with lots of V:TM lingo and sorry attempts at being cool. Just be yourself. “Hey, I’m Jackie and I’m looking for information on whatever topic.” You don’t need to impress anyone. Just relax, be respectful, and you can learn a lot if you’re in the right place.
One of the most important things for younger people who feel they are “awakening” is to be VERY wary of groups, “houses” and things of that nature. Many of these places are more like cults than anything else. If you are asked to become a “childer”, someone requests to be your “sire” or people use other terms commonly heard in Vampire: The Masquerade, be careful! It may just be someone role-playing and having fun, but it could just as easily be someone trying to find an impressionable person to manipulate. All those terms and Old English verse can be very enticing to someone who is new to the vampire community.
Also beware of groups that have a “Prince” or “Master”. While there may be forms of hierarchy in some groups, if you are expected to obey blindly, or worship anyone, you should go elsewhere, quickly. Research any groups thoroughly before joining or entering. It’s best if you know someone who is already a member, and ask them in detail about the practices of the group. You don’t want to end up in some cult where you will be hurt or abused. While a group or house may be a wonderful place to be with like-minded people and feel comfortable, I urge you to use caution and common sense before joining any group.
On the same lines, be careful who you give your personal information out to. Especially on the internet, there are a vast number of predators looking for someone that is easily manipulated. Particularly if you are depressed, lonely, or suffering abuse at home, you are a prime target for the sleazy people that surf the ‘net looking for victims. Get to know anyone you communicate with before you meet them or give out any personally identifiable information. And always listen to your gut. Does the person sound like they’re dangerous? Are they using odd language, like “thou art beautiful” or asking to “sire” or “embrace” you? Are they demanding to meet you with little or no conversation? Are there heavy sexual overtones in their communication? These are all warning signs. Instinct is a God-given gift, don’t ignore it. If someone makes you feel odd, or uncomfortable, break off communication, or if you feel you may be in danger, tell a parent, trusted adult, or inform the police.
You should also be careful of what activities you engage in. Blood feeding, like unprotected sex, is a perfect way to contract a disease. Never consume blood from someone that you don’t know. Read my Blood Feeding & Safety article for more info on this. Before engaging in any blood activities, you need to know how to protect yourself, and your “donor” or “blood partner”. Please keep in mind that you should never engage in cutting, blood play or blood feeding just to be cool. It’s not cool. It’s very dangerous, and should only be done by mature adults who know the dangers and consequences, as well as the benefits of such activity. You should also never attempt to feed on your own blood. It does you no good at all, and can cause scarring, weakness and mental stress that you really don’t need.
Being a vampire is more than just a title you take on to seem cool or creepy among your friends. It is a very serious thing. You don’t just wake up one day and decide you’re going to be a vampire. It’s something that’s always in you, though it may take years to discover and understand it. If you are drinking blood or cutting just for the sake of doing it, or for the erotic pleasure of it, you may be a Blood Fetishist, and you might want to look into support groups for it. Being a vampire is typically expressed as having a need, not a desire, for blood or energy. Many vampires would give anything to be “normal”. It is not something that one would choose if one had much sense. It doesn’t make you cool, or immortal, you aren’t guaranteed to get laid more often or be respected by your peers. You are likely to be depressed, isolated, thought of as weird, a freak, a “Goth”, and be totally misunderstood. And being a vampire doesn’t mean you can’t be sick, and having certain symptoms doesn’t mean you’re a vampire. Be sure to see a qualified physician if you can’t sleep, feel depressed, can’t eat, or have any other ailments. Make sure to keep your body as healthy as possible, you don’t live forever.
I know all this may sound scary and confusing, and it is. But don’t worry. Once you have educated yourself on the topic, and gotten into some good groups, you’ll realize you’re not alone and will be able to find the information and support you’re looking for.