When Sanguinarianism Is A Chore

So, this is going to differ a little from the usual angle of sanguinarian self-empowerment because I think it’s important to be real about our struggles and share relatable experiences.

We need to ‘feed’. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to be the best we can be. It doesn’t impact only us in isolation if we do not. That said, it can be draining and exhausting to keep up with. This is especially the case with heavy feeders because it requires that much more upkeep.

When someone is new to sanguinarianism, particularly if it began in adulthood, some can adopt the ‘uber predator’ mindset and find ‘the hunt’ exhilarating. This isn’t a problem at all, but it can be when those individuals condescend or look down on those who’ve been dealing with this for a very long time and have grown weary of it.

To me, this isn’t new and shiny. I’ve been dealing with it for my entire teenage and adult life. Being a sanguivore to me is an identity only insofar as it has shaped my life as I’ve grown, and with the perspective and experience it has given me. I don’t invest much thought or time into it; only my work with TRC and my passion for providing support and content for sangs. My life priorities are quite different than the sanguinarian community or an identity as a sanguivore.

When it’s for the purpose of maintaining health and you’ve had to do it for decades, collecting blood can become quite a chore. When you need to collect a lot of vials or need multiple donors, this can be even more so. Like a vitamin or medicine that you must go through hassle to get every time. Some can get by on animal blood, but those like me who are allergic to it cannot. That’s not to say blood can’t be exciting, passionate or intimate; but that does depend on circumstances and context, and is not the reason why blood is ingested for the vast majority of the time. It is for health maintenance.

I grow tired of the hunger. This thing can be exhausting. Yet I know this too shall pass. There is no point dwelling on an inevitable part of my condition. I don’t even know if I’d change it if I could because it’s shaped me in so many fundamental ways. It’s introduced me to some wonderful people.

A lot of people turn to me for advice on dealing with being a sang, and honestly it’s so much easier to deal with when you have experience and you’ve gotten used to it. However, I have days where I get fed up with it too. There’s nothing wrong with having moments when you just feel exhausted by it and we all have them now and then. This isn’t always an easy path to walk, and by sharing some of my experiences, I hope you realise you’re not alone when you have frustrations. As always, TRC is here to provide the community and support you need in both your dark moments and the good times.

– A

Sang ‘Feeding’ – Where To Learn Venipuncture

Many sangs require blood in a certain volume. Many stay underfed because they don’t know how to take what they need safely, or even that they need such an amount. As med sang ‘feeding’ methods have become more mainstream, a lot of curiosity has erupted about our practices. Some query how they can safely do the same things so they can get the volume they need.

The problem with this is that it’s impossible to write a guide for this, not only due to potential liability, but because it is such a complex, technical procedure. I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Venipuncture is actually a minimally invasive surgical procedure technically. People go to school for it for a long time. It does carry serious risk and consequences if performed negligently which I’ve covered in previous articles.

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Sanguivore Society: Our Culture, Conduct and Precedent

Cover art: Garth Knight

We have long espoused that blood drinkers do not have rules. There is no governing body. We have no laws other than those set by society at large. Laws are rules enforceable by an authority/the state which we are all expected to follow. Blood drinkers do not have any such authority, nor (I believe) would we ever. However, blood drinkers do not operate in a vacuum. As with all gatherings of people around a commonality, there are unspoken ‘rules’ or courtesies that we all follow. Cutting in line won’t end you up in Court (a real Court, not one of those vampire ones), but it will get you some serious side-eye. This is just one example. We are all, to a greater or lesser extent, expected to follow common sense boundaries set by society.

The blood drinker community is no different. There are unspoken courtesies that, over the years, have come to be properly expected of those involved in a topic so sensitive as blood drinking. Some people could lose their livelihood if ‘outed’. These can include things like discretion, trust, integrity. Not sharing confidential information, not blabbing or bragging about things that should remain private/between personal conversations. Talking about ‘the hunger’ and shameful feelings in the confidence that it will stay within that conversation. Use common sense. Be safe. Be trained. Don’t make the rest of us look bad through inappropriate or dangerous behaviour. There are little regional things I’ve noticed too – even so far as one sang offering another their donor, sharing sources or offering some vials of blood as one would offer a beer; a sign of generosity. There are obvious safety concerns with that with blood testing, but that is outside the scope of this article.

Due to the nature of blood drinking and the vampire archetype, it goes without saying that sanguivores will be perceived/related with the whole ‘vampire’ bit. Some circles handle things in their own way. If an individual is particularly dangerous, ‘community warnings’ or ‘excommunications’ can be posted.

Despite no ‘legal’ binding beyond the actual laws we are all expected to follow, how leaders respond to situations does set a precedent. We have to be extremely careful in how we handle situations as they arise. People watch, people remember, and people expect consistency with someone’s principles. We set for ourselves a margin of acceptance within which we manoeuvre. As with law, each case is unique and facts change; but if we flip flop from one stance to another, our integrity and conviction will not be taken seriously.

I rarely defend people in situations. I defend my principles and what I think is right. Sanguivores are my first priority. That includes them, their donors and overall well-being. We make mistakes and what is important is that we learn from them. The precedent we set lays the groundwork for what kind of community culture is to follow. It is the responsibility of leaders to cultivate a culture that is conducive to the growth of its people (i.e. sanguivores). An example of this is with a dear friend of mine whom, several years back, accidentally botched the slaughter of a rabbit for blood. Another sang made this public. Despite becoming highly proficient at the skill, she was vilified and called ‘bunny butcher’. I have always been of the opinion that it was breaking an unspoken, almost sacrosanct, rule to not sell out another sang with something highly confidential discussed in trust. If she were still alive, and if the community culture is one of learning, she could have been able to educate someone to avoid her mistakes. My stance on such things has never changed. Of course, if someone is breaking ACTUAL serious laws, they should be reported to the authorities accordingly.

As always, the precedent I want to set for sanguivores is one of openness, learning, guidance, and support. I will always stand by my convictions in that regard and openly oppose anything which I feel creates, or could create, a hostile environment for sanguivores. We walk a difficult path with few who understand, and deserve safe spaces with those of like-kind.

No, Donors Are Not Your Food Or Farm Animals

There has been a trend lately that has been bothering me. The talk of donors as cattle. Some of it is subtle, but it is there. It is the same insidious condescension and oppression that other minorities experience, and as feeders, we should know better.

Donors aren’t things to be ‘farmed’. We should not objectify our donors. Donors are autonomous human beings, and we have a symbiotic relationship. In fact.. we need donors. Donors don’t need us. Wanting our donors to be healthy should be common decency as a human being, not viewing them as an object of use.

I have as much of a predatory nature as anyone else. Mine is intense and I had to practice daily meditation to control myself for years. That doesn’t mean we are okay to treat other people as food. Some may say the blood itself is objectified and not the person. When someone objectifies a woman for sex, they are still objectifying her as a person.

We have a responsibility to encourage the right attitudes towards the very people who help us stay healthy and sane. If I was a blood donor and was spoken of in that way, I’d walk right off. It alienates people. There aren’t enough visible donors as it is. We are all human beings, and we should care for one another regardless. Donors have autonomy. They cannot be farmed. If you treat them poorly, they will leave and there’s not a thing you can do about it. It’s that simple.

Every sanguivore is responsible for:

  1. Managing expectations with their donor, and being clear what the nature of their relationship will be from the start;
  2. Making sure their donor is tested and keeping current with paperwork, taking into account any recent risk exposure such as sex. HIV takes weeks to show up on a test;
  3. Having thorough and complete knowledge of how to draw blood safely and best practice. This involves more than YouTube videos. Take a course (you can buy a venipuncture one online for $70), read books. Build on your knowledge. I’ve done a course and have practiced venipuncture for years, and I still read books on it to develop my knowledge and keep it fresh. There are several available on Kindle. Learn about the human circulatory system and sites to avoid, regardless of how blood is drawn.
  4. Make sure the donor is safe to donate. Ensure they are not malnourished and do not take too much blood. Be mindful of things like a self-harming history if drawing blood through cutting.
  5. Practice after-care with your donor. Dress the site appropriately, whether with cuts or needles.
  6. Treating your donor with respect. They are not food. They’re doing this to care for you. They deserve nothing less than your respect and appreciation.

There are more things, but this is a start. Be safe, be mindful and be CAREFUL. Know that how you talk about donors reflects on you and also influences how others see them.

Why Blood Donors Are Always Welcome At My Hearth, and Expectations of Donating Intimacy

A toast to blood donors

toast

Blood donors are great. Seriously. Let’s raise a glass and give a hand to all of our blood donors.

No, this is not another April Fool’s article, by the way.

I was surprised at the response to my article about the nurture of blood donors. The number of donors who commented about sang abandonment was interesting indeed. It saddened me to see that people who understand something which is, let’s face it, pretty weird to the outside world had their heart broken for caring enough to give.

Now, I know there are two sides to every story. I will attempt to cover some of these points here. Still, I wanted to write this piece to share my personal appreciation of donors and share some thoughts about blood donation.

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The Facade of Perfection, and the Value of Failure

This is what is so admirable. Overcoming adversity, the willingness to be different, a pariah, all for the sake of one’s own values. The willingness to stare failure in the face and shove your middle finger back at it. The people who don’t give a fuck about adversity or failure or embarrassing themselves or shitting the bed a few times. The people who just laugh and do what they believe in anyway. Because they know it’s right. They know it’s more important than their own feelings and their own pride and their own ego.

– Mark Manson

In society, we have an expectation to live up to. We aren’t skinny enough. Not wealthy enough. Often, people feel the need to protect themselves from the masses. Online, we can portray a version of ourselves that we want to be. Egos are protected. This breeds defensiveness. We want to feel successful. Some are so afraid of failure that they never even try.

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Principles of Marketing, Building a Community and 4 Steps To Create Value

As a professional, I have a voracious appetite for knowledge. I spend time learning in the majority of my free time every day. Lately, I’ve been enveloped in the world of marketing, and I can’t help but think of how the core principles mirror what is needed to help in building a community.

These principles are: providing value, a point of differentiation, and then segmentation, targeting and positioning.

What do I mean by this? Firstly, you can’t make everyone happy. Medical sanguivores have very different experiences from some self identified vampires. The not using vampire alone is a point of difference. Criticisms sometimes arise regarding segmentation, but I find this a necessary principle. To focus on your niche of people, you position yourself to provide the greatest value to that niche. Content and support tailored specifically for them. This is one of many reasons that I encourage everyone to acknowledge and celebrate differences. Find your tribe, and work tirelessly to provide for them. You will never please everyone and if you try, you won’t be providing the best value to everyone. Someone will be doing it better than you.

How to create value? Well, there are a whole number of ways. Here are some things that come off the top of my head:

  1. Create a culture of learning. No one comes to anything knowing it all from the get go. Even masters continually learn, and it’s the ability to move between learner and master that helps the best leaders provide for their people. Keep learning. Encourage learning in others. Share information and knowledge freely, and help others to cultivate their skills. Help them to provide value in their own ways.
  2. Find your pain points and target them. Discover what is missing and what there is a need for. I did this when I saw a clear need for atheist, scientifically-oriented sanguivores whose needs were not being met. This could be something like knowledge about blood safety, or what additives are safe to consume. These needs will differ drastically depending on the individual. Tailor your efforts accordingly.
  3. Build infrastructure. Not everyone has the time, resources or personality type to create an organisation or group. Some people desperately need it all the same. Some are too young to be able to establish a group. Build. Create. Start projects and help to make things better. Do in-person meets and training sessions. Provide the framework for growth and people will follow.
  4. Ask questions and leave ego at the door. Listen to what people are telling you. As with market research, study your target audience and ask for feedback. Observe. Ask what people need. Serving those who need it is a privilege; exercise humility. Ask how you can better support those around you and what would make their lives better. Help them find their own voice. Work for the betterment of others, not for the praise or swelling of your ego.

Teaching others and sharing knowledge is extremely rewarding, and by finding your niche and applying the above principles, you can help to build a support network that provides for all those within it.

A

Bitter Or Better? Just Do It – Thoughts On Productivity

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Everyone has their opinion on what can be done better, what improvements can be made, or how things should be run with a project. A recurring theme I notice is people who are disillusioned with the status quo or how things are being done. I often then ask, “why can’t you start these things yourself?”..

One thing I try my hardest to do with med sangs, or to be honest, anyone who asks is to encourage people to take action. It’s easy to get bogged down with your doubts and thoughts. It’s easy to believe you’re not capable of making waves, of enacting change, of helping others.

The people you surround yourself with greatly influence how near or far success feels at any given time. Action begets action from others. So what if you’re new? So what if you don’t yet have it all figured out? So what if you don’t yet command the respect you desire from your peers? These things come along the way and with time. People respect action and someone at least trying to make things better for people. If you screw up, at least you’ve learned lessons along the way. This can pertain to a number of things; starting a meet up group, a new organisation, a business, or a movement. People join when they see action and believe in your message.

I try to facilitate and encourage my friends to write and create projects. I aim to support initiatives of others if I agree with them. I think it’s important for us all to cultivate creativity and passion in people by giving them tools, a platform, and support.

Are you bitter, or do you want to make things better? If the latter, how? What can YOU do today to create value for other people?

Forget the haters. Leave behind the negative self-talk. Believe in yourself. Take action. Just DO IT.

A