Coming Out of the Coffin

Written by: Sarasvati
Link to original: http://sarasvati.sanguinarius.org/coffin.htm
Secrecy is natural to me, comforting, reassuring --Vampire Tapestry

Sometimes the hardest part about being a sanguinarian, is having no one to really talk to when something related to it happens. This feeling of isolation often leads one to wanting to tell someone, non-sanguin, about who/what they are... so they can have a confidant, someone to talk to. A bit tongue-in-cheek, perhaps, but the phrase "coming out of the coffin" is what the vampire community has been using to mean telling another non-sanguin about being a sanguin... like coming out of the closet for gays, and coming out of the broom-closet for some pagans. :) The hard part, though, is who to tell and how. I hope that in making this addition, I can give some help and advice to those wanting to know a way to do just that.

Everybody's situations are different, the people they know are unique as all people are, and so some parts of this may not apply to everyone. What I provide here is a very rough guide based mostly upon my own experience. Your experience may be different, and I encourage others to submit stories if they would like to enable this page to be as complete as possible. So, if you don't believe an idea will work for you, don't use it, or feel free to adapt... this is not a tried and true scientific process.

How Do You Tell?

Practice first

It helps with some of the nervousness, but I will say that the nervousness will still be there. You are a sharing a rather large and mostly secret part of your life, nervousness is normal. Starting lines such as "You know how I wear sunglasses all the time?" or "You remember how I acted when you accidently cut yourself?" are good starters which can, of course, be tailored to your own circumstances or experiences. They also allow the other person to ask questions and feel more involved in the conversation. Answer all questions as completely and honestly as you can. If this person is to be your confidant, there will be very little that can actually be held from them.

Avoid "the V-word" (vampire)

Use Sanguin, sanguinarian, blood drinker, or something along those lines, preferably the first two. This serves two purposes:

  1. You become the teacher, not the re-teacher. The usual ideas and denotations behind the word "vampire" are mostly eliminated. If the person does make a connection and ask if you are a vampire, I usually respond with either "not as you are thinking of it" or "a type of vampire". The response is of course up to you, those are simply examples.
  2. The strange term will usually inspire curiosity first, the person will want to know more and so not be so quick to reject the idea. Again, answer questions as honestly and completely as possible.

Use a neutral ground

Take the person to coffee, a restaurant, a (well populated for comfort) park. Someplace where you will probably not be overheard casually, but where there are others with in at least sight range. It puts the other person more at ease later in the conversation. Some people will still hold the idea that we are violent attacking sorts, the presence of others is kind of a security blanket "S/he can't hurt me with so many others around." idea. (not that you would anyway, but that is from someone who only knows books and fiction).

You may also consider writing a letter or and e-mail, or just dropping a lot of hints... all work for the most part, though depending on the person you may have to drop ALOT of hints... and possibly some rather blatant ones.

Provide other sources if the person wishes

E-mail addresses (feel free to use my own) and web pages the person can look over. Sometimes it is nice to have information from multiple sources, another type of security blanket. Questions are a very good sign. The more they ask, the better off it probably is. By asking the questions the other is getting a feel for what you are and who you are. Probably the two biggest things that I am going to keep repeating here are answer all questions completely and honestly and don't allow your self to get offended by anything they ask. Keep calm, a question may sound highly offensive, but it may be because they don't know enough yet to realize that it is offensive to you. Either ignore the offense, or gently correct them, but don't get upset and stuffy.

Don't press for complete acceptance!

Ultimatums are not your friends. "Believe me or else" will get you nowhere and probably alienate the other person. They will probably be skeptical at first, normal and natural. Things that drink blood to live are myth and legend to most, and that takes a lot of getting over. Understand their skepticism. There is little way, short of drinking in front of them, that you can prove what you are.

Who Do You Tell?

Close friends are usually good people to start with. They usually know you the best and can put pieces together once explained (ie: "You know how I wear sunglasses all the time?" would spark recognition in a close friend more quickly then in someone you just met).

If you have any pagan or non-conforming friends they are usually more quick to accept, or at least, not reject, then other types. Younger people are also in the same way. This is not a steadfast rule, though. I know a couple Catholic adults that were very calm about it (at least I am not in a mental hospital!) :) It doesn't always happen just the way you want it though, not everyone you tell will be accepting. I have had reactions ranging from "Yeah, I know" (*blink* whu?) to loosing a very dear friend of mine. Be careful! And understand that these are suggestions only. You are the only one who can decide to tell or not tell a certain person.

Should I Tell?

Only you can ultimately decide this, but to help, analyze your reasons for doing so very carefully. There are alot of reasons for wanting to do so, and some are better then others.

Reasons such as you want to impress your friends, or seem unusual or wierd, or unique probably are not the best ones. Usually this can land you in more trouble then it is worth. If you want the person you are telling to understand you or know you better that is probably a better reason. The ultimate judge of a "good" vs. a "bad" reason has to be ultimately yours. But think carefully about it. You don't HAVE to tell anyone.

To the World

People often will ask why we don't just show the world we are here since we are not a threat to them. The big answer is: they simply aren't ready for it. There is too much going on in the "normal" world for people to be able to take in and understand one more thing that is not the usual. A majority of the world is still arguing about same sex relationships... think of the conniption over a group of beings who drink blood! In all likelihood, it would not come out in our favor.

I do hope that someday in my lifetime the world will be ready so I won't have to hide anymore, but I also recognize that time is not now. That is why we stay underground and behind the masks we have made, its not safe yet. Too many people who would not understand... too many superstitions. Also, especially recently, too much bad press from those who go against the law. So, we wait and tell those we trust, but don't spread it to the world.