Sangs write about what it is like for them so I thought I would do something similar from my perspective. I have a main sang, but I do also donate to others. With my partner, my primary means of donating involves razor blades and direct feeding, and with others it will be with needles.
Every time I do either, I know the risks and even though they are low and I do as much as I can to lessen the risks, it’s still there, I am quite fortunate to of not experienced any of the worse potential side effects; but it doesn’t change the fact that I have hundreds of scars from donating. It might not seem like a big deal, but it really does add up… Using needles is much better because it means you don’t have as many scars, but it comes with more risks and sometimes with me it’s not even worth the reward, which is both extremely frustrating for all involved and drives me to take even more risks because of that. Which I know I shouldn’t, but it’s hard not to when you know people are relying on you.
After donating you’re left with your cuts and marks, which can make things kind of awkward as you have to hide them from pretty much everyone else, which isn’t always easy. It kind of makes you paranoid and feel pretty shitty at the same time, you feel bad because you are hiding things and lying to people who wouldn’t understand and paranoid because you don’t what what would happen if they found out.
Being a donor isn’t just about donating though, not many would really see it, but for me, what I do and what happens to me directly effects someone else and that is a big deal – if I am unwell, need to take medications, accidentally injure myself or have trouble sleeping for a while, it pretty much puts a halt on me being able to donate. There wouldn’t really be much point as not only would it make me feel worse, but it wouldn’t be as helpful. So, I do my best to look after myself, but a lot of things are totally outside of my control.
Overall, being a donor is pretty shitty, but knowing that you can at least help other people you care about feel better does go a long way to making it worth it.
I’ve made a lot of posts about donors lately, so I wanted to address something on the sang side of the coin. Now, my opinion is firmly that donors are amazing people who deserve our respect. However, it would be negligent of me to not address the impulses and tendencies that sanguivores can have and how it can influence our thoughts towards people. It is a source of guilt for us, and I think some light needs to be shed on the hunter within us.
The hunger is something present in every sanguivore in some form. Often, when it starts to flare up, it is referred to as ‘twoofing’. I wrestled with this for many years. It was the first thing to make me think I was crazy. But it’s alright. We need to accept this part of ourselves. A beast locked in a cage will fight harder than one who is allowed to walk on a leash.
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:
Managing expectations with their donor, and being clear what the nature of their relationship will be from the start;
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;
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.
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.
Practice after-care with your donor. Dress the site appropriately, whether with cuts or needles.
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.
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.
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.
Giving blood is the ultimate self-sacrifice. Donors give of themselves to us for us to feel better. Or is it? Is giving blood such a huge sacrifice? Stay with me here.
Many sanguines are troubled by a notion of hurting the donor. The fact that a donor has to be stuck, cut, or somehow ‘harmed’. I feel that the innate nature of sanguivores is the cause of that. We have urges. We want to bite. We hunger for that blood. We twoof. We then feel horrible for doing so. Some feel ashamed, guilty. Some, over time, have accepted that this is simply who they are. Some stay stuck in this negative feedback loop of self-loathing. But donors don’t often feel the same way about giving their blood. The two perspectives can be in juxtaposition.
An article was recently posted on Ranker discussing the horrors that come with drinking blood. You can find it here. It demonstrates how many external ‘real vampire’ authors push for sensationalism and a juicy editorial piece for their readership. Unfortunately, this often comes at the cost of accurate data, proper research, and a thorough understanding of the subject matter. A more realistic article for me would have been ‘the horrifying consequences of NOT drinking blood. It’s not a choice. It’s a need, and something we have to live with. Our bodies fail us if we don’t.
Let me address the plethora of inaccuracies and logical holes in the article.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After my recent post about safety with blood feeding, I had the opportunity to answer some questions from one of our readers. I found this conversation valuable, and so have decided to share it below (with permission). It is a long one, but I think it’s worth it.