My awakening is very difficult for me to narrow down. It was a process which I so masterfully hindered, that it dragged on for 10 years.
I grew up happily in a small town, with parents, brother, grandparents and uncle under one roof. The world was safe and protected and I felt loved. A world of family evenings, hugs, hot cocoa and stories read aloud to help me fall asleep. For a long time I did not know that there were children whose families were broken. To meet a child of divorce in elementary school alone was like an experience from another world for me. I was curious, adventurous, was one of those few children who didn’t cry the first morning in kindergarten, who explored and constantly looked beyond their own nose.
My home, however… was a Disneyland. The roles were traditionally distributed. People rarely talked about negative things, political incidents or extraordinary issues… And I realized early on that I belonged more to the complicated unknown world than they would have liked. Still, it was a nice, warm home.
My first experience with blood was a hamster bite. When I was about eight years old, it bit my index finger and I watched with fascination for a long time afterwards as a small lake of blood formed in my palm and finally slurped it up. It was intoxicating and my little heart beat up to my neck. I would have loved to run to my mother to tell her about it. But I stopped myself and put the experience in my inner box.
I was never afraid of me or disgust or thought I was any bad, but simply instinctively realized that neither the time nor the circumstances were right to deal with it in that moment. I don’t know what exactly triggered me to get an inner box in which I hid everything well and safely, had the potential to be awakened. Maybe I just always had a very good sense of what, where and how I had a chance for acceptance… or at least I thought I did.
And so I often sat in my room for hours with music, rode my bike alone for endless hours or walked through the forest in the evening and dreamed of the day when I would finally dare to let others take a look inside the box. I enjoyed details that others did not even notice, like ants running up a trunk or the shape of a leaf. Sometimes I would just stand in the forest and hug a tree, enjoying the feeling that it was alive. I was more at home in my own world than in the real one. There I could be myself and think adventurous or even bloody thoughts without having to be in the caretaker position.
This behavior alone gave me the reputation of being strange, at the latest in secondary school. Additionally I was also a very sickly child. My circulation was constantly on the verge of collapsing. I was often deathly pale and slowed down.
Since children and especially teenagers are wonderful creatures, I quickly became the victim of bullying attacks. This was bad in parts, but bearable, because I was not alone. I joined a group of highly gifted kids, nerds and girls with problems at home. We were outsiders, each in our own way, and dealt with it aggressively. Where the cool kids went to parties and got drunk, we talked shop on my couch for hours about StarTrek and the political turmoil of the Federation, played pen&paper role-plays, had glasses in the basement or swore soul mates over a burning candle. We even wrote little comics about ourselves. I was an undead alien in them – any questions?
Among my friends I actually managed to lift the lid slightly, very easily. I remember telling them about a blood dream of mine in which I drank human blood as a vampire. What I didn’t tell them was the euphoric feeling after waking up and the taste of blood on my tongue, which almost drove me crazy. But maybe I would have dared to do that at some point if I hadn’t gotten worse and worse.
As I got older, it became more and more difficult for me to keep the lid on the box. An enormous pressure grew in me to deal with what had been smouldering inside me for so long. The situation that nobody really knew my innermost being, not even me, became increasingly unbearable. I made a plan, went to the USA for half a year at the age of 16 with the firm intention of filling up my self-confidence and unpacking the box piece by piece after my return.
It went wrong.
As badly as it could have gone. I had only slightly lifted the lid, just making it clear that I wanted to go my own way in the future, when my parents already wanted their quiet, always smiling daughter from before and blamed my first boyfriend for all my “changes”.
It’s not nice when an otherwise so loving mother throws her first boyfriend out of the house screaming instead of taking me in her arms and asking me what’s wrong or the father standing in front of you: “When mom said: It’s a girl, you wanted it, didn’t you? Then I said yes” and leaves with tears in her eyes. I have always been very empathic, I suffered with everyone around me who suffered because of me, no shields, no strategy to deal with it… a downward spiral. I quickly became more and more withdrawn, which didn’t make it better. Learning that my brother, with whom I had such a close relationship before, was teased in school because of me, stabbed me in the heart. He kept his distance. They couldn’t help it then… a terribly overwhelming situation for everyone involved. Disneyland was on fire. We were all so desperate and hurt, and it stuck in my throat what was really going on with me, as far as I could even formulate it at the time. It became utopian ever to be able to address something like blood thirst and I slowly and steadily collapsed, feeling endlessly lonely. My friends asked what was wrong with me, the teachers showered me with reproaches while my grades slowly slipped into nirvana. At best I said “It’s complicated” or just nothing at all.
I just wanted to leave.
I dropped out of school after 12th grade. While my parents and my brother were on vacation, my boyfriend at the time and I rented a small van, cleaned out my room and rented an apartment in a city in the Ruhrpott.
Almost two years of radio silence to my family followed. Within a few months I had dropped out of school, lost my entire family and all my friends. The only thing I had left was an ailing relationship, which for 4 of the 6 years was merely a community of convenience.
Holding the box tightly became a cramped habit. I wasted all my strength for it, could hardly speak anymore, could not look anybody in the eye. I had no more blood thirst, I simply felt nothing at all. There was nothing left of me. An inner winter completely devoid of energy.
I fell into a life-threatening depressive phase.
There were moments when I thought very specifically about killing myself, talking to emergency hotlines, googling the most painless ways to die, thinking every morning on my way to work about what it would be like to throw myself in front of the train. Sometimes only the worry about the train driver kept me from doing it. I staggered deeper and deeper down… and finally I didn’t have the strength to hold the box shut.
Given my condition at the time, it’s completely crazy that I felt so much better from one moment to the next, but that’s how it was. I looked in the mirror and saw ME. The blood dreams came back, even stretched into the day. In a flash, the bath water in front of my inner eye turned to blood and I closed my eyes and immersed myself deeply.
I hated the triggering part of it and loved it at the same time because it belonged to me. I had missed it. I finally gave my awakening a chance.
My boyfriend and I ended the relationship and I started over. In my very first apartment of my own, I licked my wounds and went in search of it. Terms like “Vampire” or “Sanguinarian” didn’t mean anything to me at that time and since I had grown up with a modem on a single computer in the house, my addictive talents for like-minded people were limited. I did not know that there were others who were like me. When I googled “vampire”, I was always afraid of getting involved with reality fugitives or sectarian structures. Added to this was the ever-present voice in the back of my head that told me: “There’s nothing there, you’re just crazy.
I dived deep into the gothic scene, explored, tried out this and that and kept my eyes and ears open.
It was an accumulation of happy coincidences that I finally found a vampyric community that welcomed me with such open arms that I was overwhelmed at first. Finally I had a term for what was going on with me. “Vampyrism”.
In the community I got to know and love a man who gave me a real donation for the first time. We did it with a razor blade on his back. My first attempt failed because I just could not bring myself to cut him. While I was crying snot and water, totally thirsty and triggered, he made me a tea and took me in his arms. I felt so infinitely understood and accepted.
The next day the thirst was greater than my inhibitions and it worked. I remember that just before my lips touched the skin I thought “And now you’ll realize right away that all these years it was all in my mind. Then those bitter, electrifyingly tingling drops touched my tongue and tickling through each of my cells. I was completely at peace with myself.
My efforts since my early childhood to suppress my awakening almost killed me and hurt countless people. This is a frightening and sobering thought for me to this day. Just as vampyrism seemed to be one of those essential components that made me what I am today and therefore found its place in the box. This is not a hobby, or something you try out, not a kick you seek because you like vampires. I have no idea where it comes from… did I simply long for extraordinary dark worlds where my childhood was so harmonious? But why blood? Why suffer so much because of a longing? And why is my first violent memory with blood consumption something as trivial as a hamster bite? … but the bottom line is that none of this matters. I am fine.
As long and painful as my awakening was, I wouldn’t want to miss what came after that for anything in the world.
I had strength again. My health improved steadily. I have no explanation for this, except that a healthy psyche and finding an inner center certainly have a positive effect on health. The depressive feelings of that time never came back.
I found like-minded people and other donors who became family to me.
I have studied again and today I am pursuing my dream job.
I am in contact with my parents again. They will never fully understand what happened back then or what I am doing now, but they are really happy when I come to visit them. They see that I am doing well and that I am happy and that is enough for them. They do not ask. I am still hugged as warmly as when I was a child and I know that this cannot be taken for granted. Every year at Christmas I visit their “Disneyland” and enjoy it very much.
From time to time I even had contact with old friends again. Maybe I will deepen this again… sometimes I ask myself if I shouldn’t have given some people in my life the chance to understand me instead of just leaving. This is what I’m stuck with. And it always will.
And the man who gave me blood for the very first time? I will marry him next year after 10 years of relationship.
My life is beautiful… and it tastes excellent.