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V. S. Nightborn: My Awakening

V. S. Nightborn: My Awakening

In 2003, I was in my early adolescence, around age 12 or 13, I found myself feeling some weird things that my peers weren’t going through. I was suddenly and intensely very sun sensitive, the sun was so painful for both my eyes and my skin. Stepping into the sun even for the most brief amount of time, resulted in headaches, eye pain, and skin irritation. It especially felt unusual given the amount of melanin in my skin and eyes. I have vivid memories of struggling to be outside in the sun even with sunglasses or skin coverage. Going to my math class in the portable classroom was the worst part of my day in 7th grade. I was ravenously hungry, and no matter what I ate, which was normal enough at that age, but what caught me off guard, was the way I started to relate to blood. When I would see blood, either in person or on television, the hungry feeling intensified to the point of salivation and increased heart rate. There was nothing more difficult and overwhelming for me at that time, than being around the sight and smell of a bleeding person. When my friends had cuts or injuries I would have to excuse myself from the room. Everyone just thought I was squeamish, but I was starving. Ravenous. And seeing photos wasn’t much better. I remember being in a bookstore and seeing a book cover with a picture of blood dripping off a knife. I just stood there, fixated, mouth watering and heart racing for what felt like a lifetime. I was so hungry I could almost taste the blood on my tongue. I had so many experiences like this for years. At the same time, I was rapidly developing psychic and magical skills with the same intensity. I grew up in a family where psychic skills are common, so I always had experiences, but things really started to go into overdrive at this point in time. I was so overwhelmed by the energy and emotions of others that I couldn’t tell what was mine and what wasn’t. I could feel the physical pain others had in their bodies. I could feel the energy coursing through people, see their auras and occasional details about their energy body or spirit shape. Being around people was very difficult and confusing for me because being immersed in the energy of a lot of people felt disorienting  but also really good and powerful. There was this unmistakable rush I would get, I definitely thrived on being the center of attention, or being in close proximity to (but not directly involved in) conflict, but it was also extremely overwhelming. Sometimes I felt like I was drowning in all the energy and emotions to the point where I didn’t know which way was up. Almost like I couldn’t hear my own thoughts. So I would retreat into myself and spend lots of time alone until it drove me a little crazy.  I was also regularly seeing disembodied spirits and having prophetic dreams and visions. I was rarely sick, but when I got sick, I was super sick and sick for a long time. 

From a young age, I found myself relating to the vampire of fiction, their hunger and bloodlust made sense to me in a way I couldn’t articulate—as well as the intensity of the way they experienced the world. It felt so familiar and very much like what my newfound experiences were like, but I didn’t put too much stock into it or think about it too critically. 

On Samhain in 2005, I was grounded. In trouble for some teenage fuckery, I’m sure.  I wasn’t able to go out trick or treating or hang out with my friends. I had to stay home and watch television channels like A&E and the History Channel. Keeping me housebound on Halloween truly felt like cruel and unusual punishment at the time, but it really changed my life. That night, a documentary called ‘The Secret Life of Vampires’ came on and I was instantly hooked. This documentary asserted that vampires were real in our world. There were people out there who craved and drank blood, or felt and took energy from the people around them. They were hanging out in Nightclubs and dressing up, but they were also normal people who weeded their gardens, held normal jobs, and raised families. They spoke of the very same blood hunger, sun sensitivity, and energy flows that I was experiencing. They spoke of an experience called “The Awakening” that sounded so much like what I was going through. They had websites and online communities. A few of them even wrote books about this real vampire thing. 

As soon as I had computer privileges back I was furiously googling the vampire community, starting with the people and books that stood out to me from the documentary: Michelle Belanger & House Kheperu, Lady CG, House Eclipse, Don Henrie and his appearance on Mad Mad House to name a few. I quickly found a bustling online community and networks of websites dedicated to real vampires and their culture. I was looking for vampire people where I could. I even met a vampire, another teenager, on neopets. Her neopets guild was an extension of her online community: Vampires of Eternal Night (later TrueForm Within). VOEN was one of the few communities that had a designated teen area. Most websites and communities were 18+, especially websites focused on sanguinarians and blood matters for obvious legal reasons. Outside of VOEN, I had a hard time getting the resources and support I needed due to my age. Waiting the 5 years until my 18th birthday felt like a lifetime, but VOEN was a huge lifeline for much of that time (until VampireKitten turned 18 and things needed to be tweaked a little bit for her legal safety.) 

Around this same time, I also learned about Otherkin and Therians. I was endlessly fascinated with elves and fae otherkin. Very drawn to their energies and experiences, sometimes wondering if I might also be one, but my experiences were never much like the people I spoke to in those groups, so I simply wrote it off. The experience I aligned with the most was that of the vampire, so that was the community I immersed myself in.

In my first 5 years in the community I witnessed a lot of change and friction in the community. There was deep tension between folks who preferred different feeding methods. “The Sangs vs Psi War” as many called it. This so-called “war” was a clash of people who believed that psychic vampirism was the only legitimate vampirism, or that felt sang vampirism was the only legitimate vampirism. There was no room for both in some (but not all) communities, unfortunately. Lots of intense one true way-ism and absolute extremes. There was a growing community of self identified “hybrids” who fed on both, but some community groups online held a lot of suspicion of contempt for them. 

 I found myself not really fitting into any of those spaces. So much of my experiences were very sanguinarian in nature, but I definitely had lots of energy and psychic skills and experiences, but unlike many around me who called themselves hybrids, I couldn’t substitute one type of feeding for the other. They were not interchangeable. I needed large quantities of blood, but I also needed large quantities of life energy. I had lots of physiological symptoms, but also had psychic skills and beliefs in magic and past lives. Some sorts of the community accepted that, even viewed it as standard, other parts were openly hostile. 

This made getting support feel incredibly difficult, almost impossible at times, especially in terms of getting resources and help with sanguinary feeding. Sanguinarian spaces are, rightfully, a bit more guarded and protective due to the nature of the information. But given both the beliefs such as ‘everyone is really feeding on psi anyway, even blood drinkers are feeding on the psi in the blood’, ‘if you can feed on psi, you don’t need to feed on blood’ or bad blood between sangs and psi due to derogatory beliefs such as ‘sanguinarians are rudimentary, unevolved, and too unskilled to simply psi feed’, and ‘psychic vampires and energy aren’t even real’ there was a lot of mistrust. So many sanguinarian communities were very quiet and selective out of necessity and self preservation. Many of those communities wouldn’t let people in if you also psi fed. Some of the med sang community wouldn’t allow you access if you so much as believed in the existence of energy. And fair enough, energy is outside of the scope of that community and not a relevant topic of discussion. Some groups didn’t so much as care if you believed or not, but did ask you not to discuss such matters. Which is a very valid request. It just made my time navigating the community very hard. 

No matter how hard I tried (and boy did I fucking try. I went back and forth on what I thought I needed or what type of vampire I felt like), I couldn’t get away with only psi feeding, or only sang feeding. I spent months to years at a time trying to sustain myself on one without the other, but I needed them both. I had the physical needs and experiences of a med sang or sanguivore but I also had an energy need and lots of psychic and magical skills and experiences. I related just as much to Sanguinarius and SphynxCat’s resources as I did to the Psychic Vampire Codex. Sometimes I felt crazy because even though both things were deemed vampires, they felt really different and separate to me. They did different things for me and didn’t overlap too much, if at all. I never felt as good, well, or as balanced as I did when I was feeding on blood, life energy, and sex all at once. But it took me the greater part of 10 years to work that out. I was well over 25 before I felt truly settled in my vampiric identity and understood my feeding needs. And even after that, a few years later, I would finally dive into my connections to the fae and how that impacted my vampiric nature. It took me a while to work it out, but for me, my vampirism and my fae nature are one and the same. They are intertwined and connected and that accounts for much of how my feeding patterns and feeding needs present. I am Baobhan Sith, a Scottish shape-shifting fairy being known for a vampiric nature, taking both blood and life energy, depending on the lore. 

I guess for me, I don’t feel like awakening is ever truly done. Even now, 20 years in, I am still learning new things about myself and my needs and things do evolve and shift over time. One of the things I really appreciate about my early time in the online community was being in Lady CG’s community (other than having a really solid support in terms of my sanguinary needs) was I felt like I was getting a front row seat to the fact that awakening and vampirism is ever changing. Always evolving. I saw so many discussions on vampiric aging, second stage vampirism, and what it meant to be a vampire for decades and how the needs and experiences might change. I may have started awakening 20 years ago, but I don’t know that I will ever feel done. There is always something else to be learned about myself and vampirism in general.

About The Author

V.S. Nightborn

V. S. Nightborn is your friendly neighborhood Vampyre Historian. I awakened in 2003 and have been a member of the online vampire community since 2005. I am not a member of any particular house or bloodline, what some might call ‘Ronin’. I’m no expert, but I do think my decades worth of trial and error has resulted in valuable insight and experiences that I am happy to share in our community. In addition to my vampyrism, I have been a practicing Witch and Spirit Worker for the last 20 years with a focus on trance, journey, and relationships with the Fair Folk. Be careful, I may or may not be among their number. 😈 I’m incredibly passionate about preserving vampyre history & culture, and educating people—vampyre and non vampyre alike—about our community and needs. As Coven Historian, I own an ever growing library of books by, for, and about our community and experiences. If you need a resource, just ask!

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