Learning to Live

Written by: Sarasvati
Link to original: http://sarasvati.sanguinarius.org/years.html

When a person is subjected to a sudden change in life, the mind usually takes longer to adjust. Its also common that hearing one persons experience can help others in the same state. I've known this awhile, but have been lax in making this page. So, what follows is a chronological account of how I adjusted to being Sanguin... to the best of my memory. There may be some seeming gaps, it is either because I simply do not recall, or there are others involved who would prefer not to be mentioned ;) My hope, is that this recollection will help others. And if you want to share your story, feel free to e-mail it to me and I will begin another page :)

Prior to 1994

I can recall times where I knew something wasn't right with me. Not really the feeling of not-like-everyone- else commonly described, but more subtle. I have ALWAYS been "weird" so that is nothing odd. In 1992 I experienced what I think was my first major sun-induced migrane. Diosa it hurt :P I recall drinking alot of fluids as a child too... kool-aid, orange juice, etc. anything and often. I always loved red meat, though it was an uncommon treat in the house. I was a pretty good kid, no drugs or smoking. Listened to my parents about as much as any child ;) I was also rather religious, serving as an acolyte in my church and often trying to get my friends to go to church with me. Also, during this time I always tried to get to sleep by 10 pm, otherwise I knew I would be grouchy in the morning... because after 10 pm I was wide awake and had trouble getting to sleep.

1994

It was this summer that I use to mark the first major part of my Awakening/Realization. I was at a camp as a counselor with some friends. One of my friends was prone to getting into scrapes and did so there, walking into a branch and cutting her knee badly. I helped her by putting my hand over the wound until she could get something to staunch the flow. The result, then, being my hand was blood-covered. As we headed back to the main cabin, I walked behind her and cleaned my hand... by licking it. At the time, it seemed the most natural and normal thing to do. Since my friend was in front of me walking, she never saw me licking her blood off my hand. After that, what I remember is sketchy. I remember being very hyper the rest of the day, and that the headache that had threatened that morning was gone. it wasn't until that evening my mind slowed enough for me to realize what the hell had happened. I had drank someone elses blood! ...and it was good. That was a slap to the face. I tried to push it to the back of my mind for the rest of the camp, and did alright. I remember crying myself to sleep one night, though, thinking I had done a hellish thing and a million mental rebukes flooded my mind. I still didn't know why I had done that or what it meant.

After that week, I went back home. Still confused, but trying to ignore it. Thinking it a one time thing that would never happen again and I could just forget about. After returning, though, I remember going through what I know now as "withdrawal" essentially. I got sick, pain, stomach problems, and my attitude got me grounded more often then before. When I could I spent more time in the woods near my house I also got much more interested in helping chase the rabbits out of the garden in the back yard ;) Most of the summer was spent in distraction, walking the woods, staying out of the house and the like. I do remember feeling much more restless. I would go out to the woods and chase small ground squirrels and birds. It made me feel better.

Once school started it was easier to distract myself, but I noticed I ate less at lunch, but drank more. I was also more tired during the day, dozing in class and doing poorly in gym class. In October my family moved across country. looking back, I think during this trip was when I first got sun-sick. I don't get car-sick, but after the first day or so of driving, I was always on the sun-side of the car and I got very sick... vomiting, diarrhea etc after every meal. Not comfortable :P I still didn't associate blood with the alleviation of these problems, though. Starting in the new school before the end of the year proved to be enough to distract me from dwelling on and probably connecting, my health problems together as one.

1995

I had made some friends in school, very mixed group ranging from The Perfect Child to Goth Queen :) Had the usual problems of being a newcomer... got teased by the bullies and ignored by most. Largely and uneventful year, though this was the year I finally put it all together. Being new, I didn't make many friends, and being an introvert by nature didn't improve that much. I babysat, rather more like child care, over the summer as a way to make some money. At home, though, there was more red meat and we went out to eat more often. I began to realize I always felt more energetic for a time after eating a good steak... and being the curious child I experimented, ordering my steaks prepared differently each time. I found that if I had it Well Done, it made me ill. Medium and Medium Well didn't make me sick, but didn't make me feel more energized either... only Medium Rare or Rare did that. Hmmm. There is a book called "Lost Souls" by Poppy Z. Brite that I read much later... but I like it for one line "Four AM knows all my secrets." Thats pretty much how it happened, so the line serves as a reminder to me. I remember lying in bed that fall, tossing and turning trying to get to sleep when a random thought struck me... Medium Rare and Rare steak leaves blood on the plate, and I had cleaned it up with my roll at dinner. No second thought about it. Then my mind thought back a year to camp. And it clicked... Four AM gave up its secrets. It was the blood. Blood made me feel better. It killed the pain, drove away the dry feeling that seemed to be always present in my mouth, and made me a better person to be around. I resolved an experiment for the next time my mom bought red meat. It always was on those Styrofoam trays with the annoying meat tampons, but if you tilted it just right, some blood leaked to the edges. I would "steal" that out of the package and drink it and see what happened. A couple weeks later I got my chance. Perfect, since the sun aches and digestive problems were returning. I stole probably no more then a 1/8 cup out of that package... and it tasted awful, but had the effect that the steak had. Ok, so now I knew what made me feel better... but why? I didn't know of anyone else needing blood to feel better, only vaguely aware of the idea of a vampire in terms of Hollywood and Bunnicula. But I didn't have fangs, still could go into the church, and didn't combust in sunlight. Also, I had garlic on pizza and hadn't a problem with that. One puzzle down, opening a box of more questions. I refused to use the term "vampire" in association with myself. It didn't seem right, but I started reading more vampire books anyway looking for a candle. I became very depressed and suicidal for awhile as nothing I read helped. The start of High School found me in that state and continued to the next year.

1996

I kept trying to find something to help. School kept me busy most of the time, though. A friend introduced me to an online version of Vampire: the Masquerade and I dallied in there for awhile, hoping maybe there was someone like myself in there. Mostly no such luck. I didn't RPG in there so much as goof around and try not to get "killed" too often. When I got brave enough on a slow night to ask if there were any actual vampires there, all I got was cold responses and a bunch of "follow the links" mostly to other RPG sites. Not really useful. I child watched over the summer again until school started. I was still pretty moody and depressed. My parents bought red meat less often due to health scares, so I was ill feeling more often. I hid it, since being sick usually meant medications and I hated medications... they usually didn't work on me or I had all the side effects possible. This was not a good year. I started cutting myself to satisfy the Thirst. I snapped at my friends and was more stand-offish. I know they noticed, but I don't think they knew what to do. It wasn't normal for me in the least. Toward the end of the year I was cutting myself more then once a week to make the pain go away, but my own had stopped working for the most part. I experimented in keeping a small amount of blood in a little glass bottle, but being unable to keep it in the cooler, it went bad fast (and stank!!) So that idea didn't work real well. All for the better. I had been filling the little bottle on the weekends and then carrying it with me through the week, taking little licks from it whenever I could. I think this was bottom for me. I was depressed, Thirsty, suicidal and didn't know where to turn to. The only outlet the RPG room held for me anymore was that it distracted me from myself. An escape. Since I knew what regular medication did to me, I avoided other drugs as well.

1997

First part of this year passed like the last. Moody, depressed, Thirsty. But I had made a resolution not to cut myself as often. After all, it wasn't doing anything but making it worse by that time. I concentrated instead on convincing my parents we needed more red meat and steak dinners. Some what successful, that helped. The religious zeal I had as a child was pretty well gone. I began to drift away from all forms of religion, figuring that whatever higher power decided I should go through this hell wasn't one I wanted to worship anyway. I never was one for the idea of tests-to-make-you-strong anyway. Most of my friends were exploring Wicca, which I had looked at briefly and decided it wasn't for me earlier. So I mostly watched from the sidelines. For the summer, the child I had watched was old enough not to need a sitter so I got a different job later toward the fall. I think I began to reconcile with myself that fall. Since camp in 1994, I had been fighting the idea, hating it, not wanting it. I had found a fiction book, though "World On Blood" by Jonathan Nasaw. And though not exactly like me, it was closer then anything else I had ever read. For once, I found a book that had the idea of vampires leading normal lives! Maybe it wasn't so bad. I began to think of the good things about what I was. I still didn't have a name for it, but I began to accept that it was. That was also the fall I found Sanguinarius' page and #sanguinarius. Others! The revelation I wasn't some weird ass freak like I thought I must be was wonderful. There were other people out there I could talk to! They had the same problems and were willing to listen and help! Overnight my heart lifted and my depression began to go away. Zilla, Mirae, WickedKisses, AmyK, Holly... mostly names not seen there anymore, but godsends at the time.

1998

I started to work on this page in early 1998. Originally a pretty sorry piece of work... covering not only my bloody side, but also music and other odds and ends. "Aluka's House" that first draft lasted all of a couple months before I changed it over to be solely vampire related. This was also the year I came out of the coffin to a couple friends. They took it amazingly well. The first I told, took it well in stride. After I all, I know I had been a pain in the ass for months before...wanting to tell someone, but deathly afraid that if I did I would wind up in some mental hospital with no friends. So I had drawn it out. My hands still held marks of my cutting sometimes. Early in the year I told one, and later in the year others. I still kick myself for being so blind as to not realize that right in front of me, as one of my good friends, was another like myself. I had been so wrapped up in figuring it out and keeping my tongue I hadn't though it possible. The page began to grow as I did. I still often struggled between what seemed to be two sides, that of my calm and gentle nature and that of the violent "beast" I began to recognize, but at least I had names for some of the things. I could feel some small victory in that way.

I graduated from High School and went on to college. Uneventful summer for the most part. Answering questions from friends, one friend even offering to be a donor for me. Making that the first real human Feed I had since 1994. I was so nervous and Thirsty as I cut his hand. I often think it hurt me as well as him. I have never been good at inflicting pain on another, especially a friend. At this time I was still able to count time between Feeds in days or weeks. Once I got to college, it turned into months. That fall was the next low point. It is kind of embarrassing to tell now, but important. My beast got away from me. I used to often walk the arboretum on campus after dark as it was relatively safe and the sky was beautiful there. On one of these forays a friend was too worried for me and so wanted to walk with me. Looking back, I don't think my safety was his primary concern, but that is past. At any rate, we ended up at the top of the hill looking at the stars, his head in my lap. Another friend showed up unexpectedly. I should have left at the first pass, but didn't. Part of me was enjoying it. Make a long story short, between the two of them I became, ahem, aroused. I was enjoying it then, but the beast started to rise in me. I hadn't Fed or even had red meat for almost three months. Something in my mind went "click" like a switch and I lost time. Somewhere in that lost time I had locked my fingers around one friends throat and was looking down and growling at him. The other friend seemed oblivious to the problem was still gnawing away at my ear. He wasn't to happy to be told to stop by the first guy, and refused to stop until I said something, which I wasn't in much of a condition to do. Time crawled, I couldn't release or stop growling, but neither could I tighten my grip on his throat. Eventually he talked me down and I was able to let go, and talk. I told the second guy to stop and he did. I collapsed in the grass, unable to move. At the time, I couldn't remember from just after I first became aware of my arousal to collapsing in the grass. Time was lost. They were both treating me with care as I stumbled back to the dorm, but I couldn't figure why. All I knew was one of them offered to feed me, and I was all for that. Eventually the memories came back, though I am still missing a piece, I don't remember locking my hand around his throat.

This was a devastating blow to me. At the same time, the two guys and another of my good friends had an argument that really belonged in Melrose Place or something. It left me reeling, and my first semester there passed in a blur. before that all had happened I had written to a long time love/boyfriend of mine to tell him what I was. He disappeared faster then beer at an irish wedding. That left me hurt. I didn't really recover from these two slaps until after that christmas. That semester was hell for myself and many of my friends. I distracted myself again by immersing myself to try and help them. Yeah, I distract myself alot :)

1999

First part of the year I lived in a dorm. Not too bad, close to the arboretum, safe enough to wander around after dark. Let me deal with my thoughts. I continued to talk in #sanguinarius making connections and learning more. I worked with my then roommate to get an apartment for the next semester and finished my first year of college. Summer uneventful, I worked my butt off as a motel maid. Nasty job, good money. If I remember right, this was also the year I took over Vyrdolak's board and made it my own. I created the VampCards earlier in the year. Still added other pages. In the fall I moved in with my roommate to the apartment. I was still brooding over what happened the year before, and prone to staring out the window :P In terms of my sanguin self, I did finally begin to be at ease with it toward the end of the year. I got a job at the library late nights and enjoyed it. I began to live a little, realizing that I could wish and pray and hope, but it wasn't going to go away. I joined a martial arts club that fall as well, learning not only defense but control. It further helped my psyche, making control of my Beast easier.

2000

Moved to a second apartment early this year, and a third in the summer. My roommate had become unpredictable and annoying. The apartment I lived in on my own, and was probably the best thing I had ever done to help myself. I had a retreat, a place just my own where I could think and write and work on my page without interruption. I added the most pages this year, expanding and changing it. Continuing to answer e-mails and boards. I think it was also later in this year when Anti-Christ/Arkan showed up to be a pain in the ass. As much as I hate to admit it, he helped in my growth and realization as well. Him and a few other trolls that is. Each strengthened my resolve and tested my will, but also each confirming what I didn't want to admit to myself... I didn't have all the answers. Once I realized that and accepted it, everything became easier. I knew "I don't know" was an acceptable answer to questions, and that the questions asked may seem insulting, but looking from the perspective of an outside person, they were innocent. I received alot of support from people writing to me, making me realize I was doing something right. Even if I did still get threats every now and then. I believe it was late in this year when I gave up the term "vampire" for myself in all but the very broadest terms, and started using "sanguinarian" which seemed more accurate, and changed my page to reflect it.

2001

Early in the year was mostly consumed in finishing my undergraduate work. Little revelations occurred now and again through talking with others and sharing ideas. I learned not to take things so personally, and to allow people their right to opinion, and to disagree with mine. After all, none of us knows what makes us us and how to define who is and who isn't. Though I tend to base my page around one idea, I acknowledge there are other possibilities. I graduated that spring and prepared for graduate school in the fall. From this year on it has been little things, gentle realizations and acceptances. I sometimes still slide back and become depressed, brooding over what I can't do anything about, but these times are becoming fewer and farther between. Feeding became a rarety, but I learned to cope and substitute.

2002

I keep learning, keep adding and working and trying to help people in the same or similar boat as mine. From here until 2004 there was little change. No startling revelations or huge life changes.

2004

I decided the page needed changing, massive changing, and took it down to do so.

2005

Late this year I finally decided what direction I wanted the new page to take. WHere I thought my recources would be best used... thus the page became what it is currently. This is also the year I learned of the death of a dear friend and fellow sanguin... reminding me of my own mortality.