“Ye Olden Days” of the GVC

There’s been a LOT of talk in the GVC of pining for the “old days”. Sadly, OLDER Vampires have forgotten what the “old days” were ACTUALLY like and the YOUNGER Vampires are attempting to succor themselves on a bazillion different stories of “past glories” created by a specific contingent of people without actually knowing or understanding what it is they are even asking to have happen.

Let me tell you something. Aside from the pageantry and the mildly outlandish need to drape everything in Edwardian/Victorian garb, the community WASN’T as glamorous and “glorious” as people want to remember it. It was dark, nefarious, and stained with attitudes and egos to the point that any normal person looking in would have turned from it as nothing more than a collection of nutters needing a much larger sanitarium for the clinically insane. From the outside view, it was nothing more than a wannabe gothic style rendition of club kids gone wrong. And the INSIDE look wasn’t much better.

Inside… Inside pompous ego driven drivel spewed as “the Gospel of So-N-So the Such-N-Such of the (now adding the word ‘modern’) Vampire Community”… Really? REALLY?? It has been established that there WERE Houses long before the dark nights at Mother’s from “back in the day”. Grinding music mixed with dark fantasy action, derelict souls, drugs, alcohol, and, on special occasions, violence to “offending parties” who may or may not have known what ‘offense’ they were accused of committing… We weren’t the “glorious beings” of unbridled wisdom, culture, and class that some would have you believe we were. No. We were decadent, dirty, and could get downright rude. Like I said, we were a gothic style of club kids gone wrong. And there is no glory or honor in that. PERIOD.

Yeah. Go ahead and long for the “Good Ol’ Days”, I’m gonna stick with watching the crop of new, up and coming community members and lend them whatever help that I am able, for as long as I am able, however, don’t think I will make it completely easy on them. It wasn’t easy on me, when I first entered the community, so why should I make it easy on the next generations?

“Respect my authority!!” seems to be a cry that both young and old alike tend to rally around, however, there’s one problem with that. Each area, each group, each House/Clan/Coven/Order, is more like its own city kingdom and ONLY the people IN these particular groupings hold any sway OVER those groupings. Your vaunted ‘authority’ extends to the limits of that which you THINK is your territory. And I do mean ‘THINK’. Unless you are a duly elected, voted for by the entirety of the public in YOUR city, county/parish, or state, you haven’t got a leg to stand on when claiming territory. Sorry to those who feel otherwise, however, this is why Feds tend to look at groupings of Vampires like gangs… We’re territorial over NOTHING… Especially with all the newfangled groups popping up in what was already established territories and undermining the established groups that were there before.

SPEAKING of (and to) the Younger members of the community… Since when, IN ANY COMMUNITY on the face of the planet, is it an AUTOMATIC action to grant respect to those newly entering the community? (There isn’t one) ESPECIALLY a community that has built itself up around a mythical creature KNOWN for being a bit of a bastard when it came to their own children and younger members of their species? A creature known for being the penultimate predator? When people come to me, who happen to be younger/new to the community and DEMAND the same respect that a person who has been in the community 10, 15, 20, even 25+ years in the community, the ONLY thing I can do is laugh at them and think to myself, “petulant child” and turn to the next person asking a legitimate question about what it is to be a Vampire. I’m an old fart from what seems to be worlds away. I grew up in TWO communities where Elders were treated with dignity and respect (whether or not they were currently doing things for those communities) and the thought of FORCING them out because they were too old did not cross anyone’s mind for long… And it DAMNED sure wasn’t sought after by people DEMANDING them to move over so THEY could take over. (Yes, there were exceptions to the rule, however, this WAS the rule) Elders were simply respected and sought out for council, wisdom, and understanding where we came from.

We, the older generation, are NOT morally obligated to just hand over everything we’ve learned through our years in the GVC dealing with our condition. You want respect, GIVE IT. I do TRY to be respectful, however, even I have my limits on how much attitude, stupidity, rudeness, and disrespect I will take before I blow a gasket at someone. When it happens, answers become snippy and sharp, filled with just as much attitude and disrespect as I felt I received. When one of my friends calls me out for being wrong, or I calm down and re-read my shit, I have been known to apologize. *shrug* I’m not perfect and have never pretended to be.

No. Instead, we have an ever increasing gap between disrespectful youth and active (and not so innocent) elders. So much so that the GVC, as a whole, has devolved into nothing more than an attention seeking shouting match over who deserves what and why they feel that way. This, to me, is the saddest part of being in the community. Such an impasse. Such a Great Rift. Such a fucking, drawn out, overly emotionalized drama fest that I can’t believe it is STILL going on with ALL of the people stating “let’s be adults about this”… JesusHChristOnACrutch…

How do we fix these issues? How do we, as an identity group, stop the madness that seems to be ever present in each and every topic posted in each and every group, blog, email chain, whathaveyou?
Answer:
1) Stop romanticizing the “Good Ol’ Days”. Those of us who lived through them and weren’t part of the “in crowd” (you know who they were) KNOW that they weren’t as glorious and grand as certain people are making them out to be. Ye Olden Days were filled with just as much horseshit, drama, infighting, anger, hatred, and jealousy that we see present in TODAY’S GVC. It is tragic to see the number of people trying to “relive their glory days” by assuming positions of power over OTHER communities… All in the name of “Ye Olden Days”…
2) Stop fantasizing that ONE certain group of people created the community, it was in existence before I entered it at the age of 13 in 1978 and some records, just from my initial ‘House’ dated back to the 1930s when we were nothing more than an “offshoot” of the pagan communities. I give them props for being one of the first to organize to the point of hosting out of the coffin events, however, they WERE NOT THE BEGINNING OF THE COMMUNITY and to play otherwise is asinine, at best.
3) Stop tuning out whenever any younger member of the community approaches you, if you are an older member of the community. Stop trying to intimidate and DEMAND respect from the older members who may or may not know (of) you. Stop assuming either way that respect is supposed to be mutual. Its not. Respect is an earned quality and only through action and dignity can you hope to earn it from people. In the GVC, most notably, respect is granted by some of us to everyone, until you prove your little more than shit and shinola, then, those like me, will show you courtesy, however, we will not respect you.
4) IF, someone has offended you, don’t pretend you didn’t do anything to earn that shit. Man/Woman up and admit that you may have done something to earn the ire and FUCKING APOLOGIZE! JesusFrigginChristOnACrutch!!! People saying “I’m sorry” (and meaning it) is about as rare as finding a virgin now-a-days to sacrifice to a volcano for good weather… (a joke fuckers, get over yourselves) Seriously, though, apologize and mean it. It goes a LONG way to smooth things over.
5) Remember that this is an ever growing, ever evolving community. As nuances are learned of our ‘condition’, each piece of information held needs to be re-evaluated as surely as the pieces of information coming INTO the community. No one member of the GVC… No one House/Clan/Coven/Order of the GVC… holds all of the answers to our condition. I’ve used the term “fully awakened” to describe myself, yet, even I know that I am still learning things about myself and refining the knowledge that I THOUGHT I held about my vampiric condition causing me to re-evaluate and refine how I approach my ‘condition’.
6) Remember that EVERYONE from the newest member of the GVC to the oldest of the old farts speaks from THEIR OWN UNDERSTANDING of their condition. If you do not understand something or need clarification to understand something better… OPEN YOUR FUCKING MOUTHS AND ASK IN A RESPECTFUL MANNER. It’s not that damned hard. Here. Let me give you an example… “Could you please explain to me a little more about what you meant when you wrote/said such-n-such thing in this group/discussion/email/interview/whathaveyou?” Some of you act like you haven’t been to preschool/kindergarten/first or second grade where they harped on subjects like manners…
7) STOP acting like you and yours are the end all be all of the GVC… You’re nothing but another cog in the wheel of progress that has led us from the shadows of reclusive ‘Houses’ to secretly communicating through BDSM mags and gathering at BDSM events to the open gatherings at places like Mother’s to the current incarnation of gatherings we see active in our community in recent years. You’re just another cog… And not even the most innovative one at that. ESPECIALLY with all of the “balls” looking, acting, and being virtually the same shit different location…
8) Start making MORE family friendly events. Yes. FAMILY FRIENDLY. We are seeing more and more members WITH children in the community. I’m not saying to indoctrinate the children, I’m saying plan a friggin day at the zoo, a water park, an amusement park, a family movie. Don’t you want to be able to say we are a WHOLE community? Our children ARE part of our lives and SHOULD be thought of in, at least, local events.
9) START adding LGBT friendly events. With as many of us that are, and have been, part of the GVC, you would think ONE of these money grubbing events would have pulled something in for them. Hell. Even the girl on girl action of the burlesque shows is ONLY to entice the heterosexual males NOT celebrate the Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transwomen of the community. Vanna turn a vowel for these fuckers so that MAYBE, just maybe, they will get a damned clue.
10) Remember, the next generation is watching, listening, and experiencing how the older generations treat them. Fucking act like damned adults and stop trying to speak ABOVE the younger generations as if you’re the most authoritative person on the face of the fucking planet. I’m hard on them, as I’ve mentioned before, however, I do it because I WANT to see them succeed where efforts tried by MY generation failed miserably… Get it. Got it. Good…

Well, this Grumpy Vampire is fucking tired as shit after working all day and typing this missive… Suck it up, buttercups. Only by working together, both generations, will we make this a better community for those following us… NOT by re-inventing the wheel and throwing the same sort of parties every fucking year, ad nauseum.

Sadly, I know this will not reach those it should. Those younger rising stars of the GVC who, though feeling the sting of my generation, are STILL attempting to better the community despite the upheaval of attitude at change that many members of the community bring to the table.

Remember, folks, stagnation equals death. Just like my very first ‘House’, if you stagnate, you die out.

Selah.

 

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Ageism, Youthism, Kitchens, Pots and Kettles…

Afternoon…
Captain grumpy ol’ fuck at your service…

So, you thought you heard it all yesterday? Well, hold on to your panty hose… that’s only part of it. I’d like to request, most respectfully of course, that the young people in the audience grab some popcorn and take a seat…

Right, with that out of the way let’s get to it…

I’ve seen blog posts by and engaged in conversations with senior people in the vampire culture who are vehemently against the perceived lack of respect shown by a great many younger members of our culture. Not all of the “old guard”, of course, not even most, but enough that it’s gotten my attention.

Many of the “old guard” want to have the Vampire culture/community – whatever you want to call it, commanded and operating in a particular way… well… news for y’all – the kitchen has been continually in a chaotic tumble since day one, cast your mind back to the writings of Lady Amy K in the 90’s and beyond, the so called “Psi-Sang wars”, look at the widening rift between the Sanguinarians and the rest of the culture today. Let’s cut to the chase my friends… and I know full well that much of what I am about to put on our table is not going to be what you want to hear, you’re going to take it, run with it, share it and watch as I get ripped to pieces by the veterans – so be it –care factor zero, truth hurts…right but as I mentioned to a friend the other day, it don’t matter who’s telling it, THE truth is still THE truth…!!! You ready? Very well… I realise, fully, that some of you are of the opinion that youngsters in the culture don’t know crap, that they don’t respect enough, that they are ill-mannered, bad tempered, petulant little children who should be railed against and demeaned until they stfu and go away – THAT’S BULLYING – out and out, pure as the driven snow BULLY TACTICS and you can’t dress it up any other way. Can you sit there and tell us you condone bullying? No? Then why do it? We, out here, can only guess.

You are intelligent, yes, you have been doing this a long time, yes, you have a great depth of knowledge and deep ties to the modern Vampire culture and communities but does that make you perfect? I’m not perfect, far from it but the one thing I can do is I can see that there are two sides to every story and that each side has merits – that is unless one side is a complete set of retarded clowns who haven’t got two single digit I.Q.’s to rub together. In many instances we olds do not always direct and employ our natural intelligence, knowledge, wisdom and intuition properly unless it serves to bolster our own ego and sense of importance in the pecking order, that is why we will not succeed in destroying nor stemming the flow of new and young ideas that are encroaching on what we believe to be our own “sacred space”. Whatever it is we are now aiming for it is going to be, in the end analysis, an amalgam of our history and young ideas.

If we fail to realise the bigger picture, to give heed to what we are railing against, we will end up tearing big holes in the community and we will end up losing the trust and respect that we do currently have with younger Vamps within our organisations. Our “protégés” NEED our trust and respect, that way they grow, bloom and become the best they can be to take over after we are dead. They, in their turn, will draw more young talent into the circle and so the Vampire culture will become stronger and longer lasting – if not we are gonna go the same way as the Ancient Roman Empire… and we will all be Nero’s, fiddling while Rome burns. The Vampire Community is based, and built on, decades of effort and work by a number of individuals who are highly respected, looked up to and are trusted… the “old guard” BUT following them are the “new guard” their protégé’s, their students. We OWE it to them not to trash young people wholesale, they put their trust and faith in us – well, he who calls the tune must eventually pay the piper, capiche? It’s a history that won’t be denied.

 

Yes, this is the “sandpit” of the VC, yes, it’s been that way since everything first got started… politics, arguments, rhetorical mass postings, disturbing discussions, trends and actions, questionable conduct, even borderline criminal conduct and those are the people calling pots black, on the other side of this tumult we’ve got the people banging on their kettles with metal utensils trying their best to make the most noise in the vain hope that everyone will suddenly recognise them, and them alone, as being the be-all-end-all of all things Vampire.

Bottom line, it’s been chaos, why are we so afraid of letting new young chaos in?

I’m going to ask you something now, a little favour, indulge me or not, ‘sup to you… sit down, close your eyes, no, keep them open so you can read… what were you like at 15? 16? 17? 18? 19?

I’ll share something with y’all – I first learned about the pleasures of the opposite sex, in a big way, at 12, I was smoking at 13 (56 now and still dodging the bullet – so what?) at fourteen I was brawling in the high school yard for no better reason than someone looked at this Skinhead the wrong way, at fifteen I was bashing the bullies at high school for picking on my geek or ethnic mates, 16, I became aware of my true nature (the blood is the life right?) 17, drinking like a merchant marine man and dropping “party favours”. I held the local land speed record for car surfing a half mile stretch of highway past a local police station (making cash on the wagers against me) held the record, local, for the longest continuous train surf out of the central city station, 18 and in my apprenticeship (they couldn’t sack indentured apprentices in them days) me and me mates spent more time calling off sick because we were ‘gone surfing’ or stoned off our freaking faces… etc. etc. etc. I could go on but I won’t, I’m sure you get the picture – WE WERE ALL YOUNG ONCE, we were full of piss and vinegar and we owned the fucking world, remember? We didn’t owe anyone anything, not respect, not obedience and not loyalty.

I am not saying this to be mean, belittling or demeaning… I am simply telling it like it is. Remember what I said, it doesn’t matter who is doing the telling, the truth is still the truth… The VC, like all of society, exists because it has become its own entity, its own force and its own support.

 

While it is true that the foundations were laid down as early as 1966 there will always be, and always have been dissenting voices, even within our own “oldster” ranks, those voices will, however, keep finding exactly what they have found so far – people annoyed, slinging mud all around the place and getting themselves ignored. Trust me, I been playing this game right alongside of ya – not always simply on one side (because in the old D&D parlance I am a “chaotic good character) As for the folks in positions of power who are going to clamp down on this unruly youth element – Best of British to ya, remember the 60’s???

I am GRUMPY that so many of the “old guard” think that these youngsters are assholes simply for saying something they believe. Their language isn’t the same language we grew up with, their society (in RL) is a prick of a place, really, and in order to survive that you need to be a prick right back… Law of the Urban Jungle – So, amigos, older and more senior, therefore supposedly smarter and wiser, get off the dreamboat, If you want the respect, show a little IN GOOD FAITH in return, if you want these young folk to hear your voice, stop moaning about how the younger generation has no respect, start listening to their ideas with an OPEN MIND, you do remember how to do that don’t you? When you speak to them use a proper voice and forms of address and respect the fact that when you’ve gone the way of this fella [insert T-Rex picture] they’ll still be here.

YOUNG PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE TOO AND THEY DESERVE A LITTLE COURTESY AS A HUMAN BEING.

‘Nuff said..!!!

Epilogue:
There, I’ve had my say, probably pissed off a good number of people along the way, I’ll say it again, TRUTH HURTS.

This whole comedy started with one writer’s personal opinion of a trend that they saw. Doesn’t mean ALL others thought that way but it has, with all the pissy, moany, whiny crap going on become exactly the thing that the culture has always roundly decried – a circular argument of “who can outbitch the loudest bitch” that is of no value, no substance and serving NO PURPOSE.

“Old guard” – stop moaning like an old hooker at a religious convention.
“Young guard” – stop moaning like an old nun at a Vegas hooker’s convention

It demeans all who claim to have intelligence.

Ageism, Youthism, Sandpits, Buckets and Spades…

Good evening…
Many of you may know (love/hate – strike out whichever is not applicable) me as Tim, Editor in Chief of J. Reason’s Real Vampire Life E-Zine…
Many of you may know (love/hate – strike out whichever is not applicable) me as T. Bey-Sahjaza a member, and Elder, in Goddess Rosemary’s Temple-House Sahjaza

WELL I’M NOT HERE AS EITHER OF THOSE SO DON’T EVEN GO THERE…

I’m here as a grumpy old f**k with a bad attitude and a need to tell all about it… these are personal thoughts and are NOT associated with either of the two fine institutions I serve.

Right, with that out of the way let’s get to it…

I’ve seen blog posts by and engaged in conversations with young people in the vampire culture who are vehemently anti-“old guard” for want of a better term. Not all of the younger generation, of course, not even most, but enough that it’s gotten my attention.

Some of them want to have the Vampire culture/community – whatever you want to call it, handed over to… well… I guess to themselves and whoever they perceive to be the “rightful” young heirs of it all. News for them – nobody gets handed nothing on a silver platter, or for free, in life. Let’s cut to the chase my friends… and I know full well that much of what I am about to put on our table is not going to be what you want to hear, you ready? Very well… I realise, fully, that some of you are of chaotic spirit and that your motivations and reasons for what you do are yours, and yours alone, to know. We, out here, can only guess.

You are intelligent but you are not directing and employing that natural intelligence and intuition wisely, that is why you will not succeed in whatever it is you are aiming for. You fail to realise the bigger picture, to give heed to what you are railing against. The Vampire Community is based, and built on, decades of effort and work by a number of individuals who are highly respected, looked up to and are trusted… the “old guard” if you will, below them are the “new guard” their proteges, their students whom, in their turn, will raise and nurture their students and so on and so forth… it is a lineage that won’t be broken.

This is the “sandpit” of the VC, we hold all the red buckets and spades and we decide who gets the “red buckets and spades” to play with – how are you going to break that? Even if you bring your own “red bucket” it won’t be a real red bucket, it will be a fake because you haven’t earned it. The very best that you can hope for is to be able to take your own “blue buckets and spades” and create your own sandpit, quite apart from the “Red bucket and spade sandpit” – understand? I am not saying this to be mean, belittling or demeaning… I am simply telling it like it is. Remember what I said, it doesn’t matter who is doing the telling, the truth is still the truth… The VC, like all of society, exists because it has become its own entity, its own force and its own support.

The foundations were laid down as early as 1966 and that’s a damn long history to be trying to be tearing down. There will always be dissenting voices, such as yours, those voices will, however, be just that… lone voices and maybe they will have volume but in the end analysis all they will achieve is getting people annoyed and getting themselves ignored. Trust me, I know, been there – done that years ago. Good luck with whatever your agenda is… methinks you’ll need it…!!!”

I am GRUMPY that these youngsters think that they can come along out of virtually nowhere and demand to be handed their “due” – get of the dreamboat youngsters. If you want the respect, EARN it, if you want a voice speak RESPONSIBLY, if you wanna play in our sandpit with the real red buckets and spades ASK NICELY.

‘Nuff said..!!!

Vampirism? Short and Simple.

Fake fangs, contacts, outrageous dress, role playing courts, monarch titles, and of course parties is really what makes one a vampire. That is vampirism right? That is the crux of vampirism and all those who do not do all that simply are not real. How could you think anything different?

Well happy April fools to you all because if you believe that shit you are most likely not a vampire and I wonder why you even here?

Vampirism is a simple definition. The need to feed. In whatever form one feeds. If you do not then that is not vampirism. The need to feed is not just a desire for blood or a fetish or any such thing. It is a real physical need that one will get sick from if they do not get it. Just like food or water or vitamins or this or that. There are plenty of theories and reasons why we need it of course, but in the end it simply boils down to the need. That is it. Sure it is always nice to know why, but that does not change the fact of ones need.

Short, simple and to the point. I do not see that nothing else much needs to be said about it from my end.

Ageism and the GVC Part Deux

age·ism

[ˈājˌizəm]

NOUN

  1. prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age.

 

So… With my last article, I ruffled a few feathers on the younger side of things… Now let’s see if I can do it again.  To aid me in this endeavor, I have garnered the help from a friend whom has more than a few resounding tete-a-tetes with me.  Alexia Ashford.  To that end, I thought I would present this as more of a “conference style” with two “guest speakers”.  Hereafter, my sections will simply be headed by “Z:” while Alexia’s sections will be headed by “A:” to which I am JOKINGLY going to call this “conference style” writing, “Alpha and Omega on Ageism”…

Z:  Ageism is a VERY real and present danger in the GVC, however, don’t just think that it flows towards the OLDER members of the community alone.  Ageism is far more sinister in its subtlety than that.  Because of the influx of “seekers”, “writers”, “investigative journalists”, “vampirologists”, and even the newly awakened/fledgling/noobies several of the OLDER members in the community are just plain cranky and burnt out, it seems.  They treat EVERY new person coming into the community as if they were little more than a nuisance complete with absolute disregard and disrespect for even the simplest of questions.

A:  Ageism is not something that should be tolerated in any community. All members have something of value, something to contribute. The relationship between the different generations should be a symbiotic one. We all benefit from each other.

Z: Yes.  Younger members of the community have felt the lash of ageism. People act as if they are bothering them with their questions and queries, instead of attempting to mentor them so that they receive good, quality information.  We ALL know that there is some true bullshit and oogie boogie shamalama dingdong teachings out there in the GVC.  We know that the information out there is multitudinous in its variations and yet, when a new person comes in, instead of guiding, mentoring, fostering, whatever fucking term you would like to put on it, we FAIL to step up.

A:  Ageism TOWARD the younger generation is another thing we must be aware of and vigilant to stamp out. It is the job of a leader to step forward and support our younger members where possible. I have noticed a distinct condescension in some spaces. I’ve seen people of my generation called ‘brats’, with nothing to worry about except ‘finding the right shade of makeup’. We must remember that, especially in the current political climate, it is imperative that minorities do not stand divided. We must build each other up, not tear each other down. As fresh faces to the community, the guidance that a seasoned mind can provide is incredibly useful. Guidance from a seasoned sang and the history of sangs in the VC has helped massively in defining where I go with my own personal projects.

Z:  I AM being general on purpose as to the terms of the Grumpy Vampire guidelines.  We point out TRAITS not point fingers.

I am not speaking about those people who, when presented with information, who simply REFUSE to even bother reading it and then continue to ask the same questions over and over again ad nauseum… I’m also not talking about those people that you have to EXPLAIN things over and over again because they just don’t seem to grasp the simplest of concepts.  Nor am I speaking of the person who “interviews” the community members until we feel like setting up recorded messages with all of the information that they’ve ever asked, which also comes over and over again, ad nauseum…

I’m speaking about those “newly awakened” who are ACTUALLY attempting to understand their condition.  Why is it that we, as a community, complain about stagnation yet stomp on the very fabric of growth that comes with enthusiasm? Or a genuine needs to find THEIR particular truth in all of this? Or the genuine desire to find where they fit in and how they can work to make the community a better place?

A:  As with all things, if a community doesn’t adapt, it dies. Younger people are a generation just starting to come into their own. For the longest time, I’ve heard “I can’t do this, the Elders won’t let me”. To me, that has never been the case. All leaders, young or old, respect action. You don’t need permission from members with more tenure to follow your passion and try to see your vision realized. A fresh perspective and passion is what we bring. WE are the generation that will inherit the fruits of that labour.

Question:  Why are you hard on the younger/older members of the GVC?

Z:  I’m hard on young ones, I know.  I don’t take the shit I used to take when I was in my 30s and EARLY 40s, however, when a particular young member of the community makes it past my bullshit-o-meter, I endeavor to give them support.  If they attempt a project that I have seen come and go 50 times already, I tell them why I feel it failed.  I never say “Don’t attempt that, it’s been done to death and failed every time.”  I LITERALLY tell them, “This has been tried before and failed.  Here are the reasons that *I* saw for the failure.”  More than a few people have misread what I was attempting to do, and that’s OK.  I will endeavor to continue this trend.

A:  I think the biggest reason I have been hard on some people in the community is a lack of tolerance for adaptation and change.  This is the case for me, especially.  I came into the community with an uncommon perspective and one that was, at the time, controversial.  I faced a lot of pushback for wanting a point of distinction between blood drinker who were secular and believed their need to be purely a physical phenomenon.  I think that the established leader should do whatever they can to lend support to worthwhile projects and cultivate a culture of innovation and idea generation.  Creating new projects is difficult.  There can sometimes be condescension or outright hostility.  This isn’t always the case, and it is far from everyone.  My greatest supporters have also come from the older community members.

Question:  How do we fix the ageism in the GVC?

Z:  We have to start changing the way we respond to or deal with new people asking questions.  ANY new person asking questions.  At least until they prove they only wanting to be spoon-fed information instead of actually digging for answers when they are pointed to information that has been garnered on websites or a group’s “file” section.  Change begins with RECOGNIZING when someone is being targeted for their age in EITHER direction and stepping up to correct the situation by both responding in a decent manner to whomever is asking the question and calling out the shitty attitude of the person answering the question…  Granted there will be times where a person feels bad, however, most people, when you point their attitude will offer an apology.  (In the way of receiving apologies… Be gracious.  It takes great courage for a person to admit they’ve screwed up.)

For real change to fight ageism, the answer is more simple than people tend to give credit.  Mentors are needed on the side of the older members of the GVC while ACTUAL students/seekers are needed on the side of the younger members of the community… It is a far more simple a solution that seems to be increasingly difficult to happen in the generational gaps that we find ourselves in.  Instead of slapping questions down, even when we’ve answered it time and again, we should answer the question and continue to point out where the information can be found and read.

A:  Change is nigh impossible when we are divided.  We should take care not to forget how we got here. We should not scoff at our seniors. Their contribution and hard work laid the foundation which allows us the benefits which we reap today. These are our founders. They have been through years upon years of successes, failures. Despite what we may think, very few ideas are original. Our tenured members have seen it before. They have valuable guidance and wisdom with regards to what went wrong, how it was received, and how we might do better.

Change requires action, and action begets respect. If you want to start an initiative, just do it. No one is stopping you. There are so many important things that need addressing and bickering among ourselves talking about the ‘old gits’ or the ‘stupid brats’ isn’t productive, helpful, and is not conducive to leadership. Further, it is toxic and spreads dissent and hate in an already small and fractured community. Let’s work together, shall we?

Question: What are the causes for ageism?

Z:  Honestly, the primary cause of ageism to the older members of the GVC are that many people in the younger generation forget that things had to start somewhere and had to be started BY someone.  Many forget that there ARE no new things under the Sun.  Things have been tried, time and again, and have all failed for one reason or another.  Listen when someone tells you, “this has been tried and THIS is where I think it went wrong.”  Don’t automatically think, “well that was then and this is now… I wasn’t on such-n-such project back then.”

When it comes to the ‘old farts’ of the community…  STOP.  Take a damned breath.  Don’t automatically drop into “is it this fucking shit again” and roll from there.  Sorry.  Not sorry.  We’ve all seen those “Elders” of the community who simply attempt to bully the younger members of the community simply because they don’t feel like answering a damned question.  Or those that attempt to judge a person based on the WAY they asked a question…  How are the young and newly awakened supposed to learn ANYTHING, if they keep getting shut down by the older members of the community.  It’s almost as if some of the older members of the GVC expect the newer members to automatically be up to date on more than 40 years of information and their myriad of shifts… *shrug*  Ludicrous, at best.  Damaging to the community, at worst.

A:  I think it is for two primary reasons.  One, it is indicative of the larger political context, right now.  There is a large gap between the old and the young.  Issues such as being LGBTQ, guns, feminism, sexual liberty.  Generations don’t necessarily define someone’s political views.  There are conservative youths and progressive elders.  Overall, though, there is a big shift on these core issues that the more someone looks at differences in age.

Secondly, I don’t think the divide in a community context is necessarily due to a generational difference.  I’ve been at the forefront of the split between one fraction of a community into a smaller, self-sustained one.  I think this divide is caused by the emergence of two different types of community.  Some are frustrated at the emergence of Courts in every neck of the woods by people who haven’t been around for long.  These are mostly of the younger generation.  As they are so visible, it can be easy to misconstrue this as ‘the younger generation’ when, in fact, it is a small segment.  I think the younger generation get upset that they feel their projects are not supported and that they get unnecessary grief from their elders.  Huddling in cliques without listening to other perspectives will never be beneficial for any community.

Zaar’s final thoughts:

As I said before, ageism is insidious in the very subtlety that it hides into.  It enfolds itself into the guise of everything from “you can’t tell me what I can and cannot do!” to “why don’t these damned young one’s  listen to a damned thing we tell them?”.  It flows through our communities with the ease of a Summer’s breeze and MUST be fought.  Just don’t automatically jump to the conclusion that you are being targeted by ageism.  Seriously stop to analyze what is going on around you to see if you are just experiencing an issue of miscommunication, or if this person is this way to EVERY person (younger to older/older to younger).  If they ARE that way with everyone… Don’t put up with it.  Call it out.

Story Time: My Path Through the Vampiric Community

About a decade ago, I wrote an essay that I jokingly titled “What I did over my summer vacation AKA How I became a donor”. Things have changed drastically in the community since I wrote that, let alone since I first found the community roughly 20 years ago. Heck, I’m on the third computer since that essay and my 5th hard drive. I might have the essay somewhere on a hard drive that isn’t dead. There’s likely a version floating around the internet somewhere, but it’s really out of date, so, this is a take on that, but more updated to fit today’s community and how we interact now.

I’ve sat on a precarious perch, one foot in the vampiric community, one foot out. I am not a vampire, though I have family, friends, and loved ones who are. I am not a “normal human”, “mundane”, “vanilla”, “nil”, or whatever colorful term people use these days to describe those who are not other. I’m otherkin (fae class, to be precise) so I can empathize, to a point, what vampires go through, feeling different in society. The road that I took for me to accept that part of me was rocky, to say the least. I can’t even imagine how much harder it is/was for vampiric people. So, as the kids these days say, story time.

I became actively aware that the vampire community was a thing when I was a young teen (around the age of 14, when I was able to access the internet without parental supervision), and it kept figuratively hitting me upside the head until I became an active member. I can honestly say, save for family, at first, I thought it was (pardon my language) a crock of shit. It was the late 90’s, Vampire: The Masquerade was not only a popular role-playing game but a show on television. All the kids in my circle of friends were into role-playing games, and V:tM was the newest cool thing. My character was a Toreador (almost always, if I have the choice, I’ll lean bard with the occasional dabble in Ranger/Cleric classes). I wanted to flesh out my character a bit, but since my father wouldn’t buy me the player manual I got on the internet, back BG, “Before Google”, and innocently searched for vampires. One of the first pages to come up was Sanguinarius’s site: http://www.sanguinarius.org. Honestly? At first, I thought it was, pardon my language, a crock of shit. “Someone’s going way too far down the rabbit hole” kind of thoughts. I refined my search, got the information I needed to fill out my character sheet and bio, and went on my merry way. Then I needed to look up some information about paganism. For some odd reason, up again came Sangi’s site. An online pagan radio station (we would call it a podcast these days since it was prerecorded, and you downloaded the mp3 to listen on your computer at your leisure) mentioned her site in the show. A website I wrote silly stories on had an article about vampirism that sourced her site. It was like the universe was trying to hit me upside the head with “Oi! Vampires! They’re important to you!”

My brother came out to me as being a psychic vampire during that time period. I eventually figured out that I was otherkin. The pieces all started to fall into place. I became a donor for my brother and a friend, another psychic vampire. We experimented with energy work. The fun thing we used to do to practice was energy ball hacky sack. (Like I said, it was the late 90’s. Hacky sacks were popular.) We did what we could to survive high school, and moved on to adulthood as we gradually graduated, myself being the youngest of the bunch. After graduation, my brother and I founded a House for our friends to find shelter and share ideas, help each other, what have you. It’s what a House does. By this point, my brother had joined the military, and through an internet chatroom, we found others like us scattered across the world (mostly also in the military, but some of us weren’t). This led me back to scrolling through the internet, looking for resources for our House and educating myself further, bringing me back full circle to Sangi and her website. A few years later, forums were super popular, so I joined hers.

If you haven’t looked at her forum through the years, hers was divided up into groups, like all were. There was the introduction area, the news area the silly area, then she and her moderators divided up the different members by what they were in the community. Sang, psy, donors, we all had segments. One public (everyone from the different groups could see the posts there), and one private (members of that classification and moderators only could see). I eventually graduated up to being a moderator there, myself. Thanks to those privileges, I could see a little deeper into the minds of vampires, since I could see into the private areas. This both fascinated and horrified me. I wasn’t a vampire. Part of me wished that they (the vampires) could feel comfortable to post these thoughts in the public area, but the other part of me was like “I’m not one of them, I shouldn’t be seeing this. The other mods aren’t like me, so should they be seeing our private area?” This spurred me to create my own website and forum (now defunct, though I still own the URL), and Sangi, who by then was my dear friend, christened it her sister site and forum, the donor version of her vampire site.

This had it’s own ups and downs. Some people in the community loved the idea. A safe place for donors to discuss things about being a donor, without the prying eyes of non-donors, it was new. And, yes, we had a segment for the vampires, and they had their private subforums. But the thing that stuck in people’s proverbial craws was that there were no vampire moderators or administrators. All four of us original founders and therefore mods and admins were donors. Not vampiric in any way (other than my energy signature can confuse people at times). They had this idea that my website, my forum (my name is the one on the bills), was a vampire site and therefore a vampire should be in charge. The fact that we refused more than annoyed people. Thankfully, we had people who cheered us on.

Eventually, through my work at Sangi’s and my own forums, plus some other locations, I was nominated and accepted as a member of the Voices of the Vampiric Community aka VVC. Since then, I’ve spoken at the New Orleans Vampire Association (NOVA)’s Cirque Du Nuit and at the House Kheperu Gather about being a donor and our side of the vampiric equation. I’ve had the list of vampires that I donate to change, some of whom are no longer a part of my life, though I wish them well. I’ve had a fairly lucky life when it comes to being a member of this great community. It’s had its fair share of ups and downs. I’ve had death threats, I’ve had stalkers, I’ve had my inbox inundated with “Can you find me the Edward to my Bella?” and “How do you become a vampire?”. I’ve also had “You helped me realize who I am, thank you,” and “Thank you for the inspiration, I want to change our community for the better like you did”. You have to take the bad with the good, but, as the Doctor said, “The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

People will always find things to harp on, poke at, until someone turns into a grumpy bear and roars. Not everyone operates in the community in the same way, and that’s okay. As long as no one is coming to harm in any way through what is done, my thoughts are “Whatever floats your boat.” I’m not saying I’m perfect, that I don’t have a temper, or that I don’t have opinions that cross others opinions, but I try my best, and that’s honestly all that we can expect from one another. A common thing said is that trying to get the vampiric community to agree on anything is like herding cats. For example, we, as a community, have never fully glommed onto the idea of using the term vampire. There are segments of the community who would say that those like me, non-vampiric people, shouldn’t have access to any part of it. Obviously, I don’t agree with that, but I’ll just tell people why. We all, vampires, otherkin, donors, “none of the above” but are pulled into the community through ties to any of the former… We are a community, for better or for worse. In the past 20 odd years that I’ve known that this was a thing, I’ve seen it grow, change, evolve… From ads and articles in goth ‘zines, to flashy blinky sites with a scrolling marquee, to forums, to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. I remember the “kindervamps” (what Sangi used to call the under 21 crowd in the community) being all obsessed with the Twilight franchise, Vampire Freaks, and having “raccoon tails” dyed into their emo styled hair. I remember fights with my brother over the color scheme for our first House website because he might have better fashion sense when it comes to clothes, his color sense when it comes to web design is horrific. AIM chats with friends in the community over the latest news/gossip have now evolved into DM’s on Twitter or Facebook messenger.

The one thing about us as a community is that we are adaptable. We tend to go with the flow, no matter what new thing is thrown at us. Some groups are reverting back to how it was before the internet and social media became what they are, and going back to being a purely offline thing, with meetings and social gatherings. Some groups still use the feudal system of governance: Kings, Queens, Regents, etc., and that works for them. Other groups are more of a democracy, with elected officers that change on a set basis, and that works for them. Some have never associated with an organized group and never will. Cool.

That’s not to say that we are perfect. We are a highly defensive group of people. If someone says something that goes against our personal worldview, quite often our first response is lash out and think that whatever was said is a personal attack against us. It’s always been like that, unfortunately, and we’ve never, as a whole, learned how to get past this flaw. In the preface to this article, I said that its inspiration was written about a decade ago, so I posit this challenge for our community for the next decade: ease down your defenses and don’t be so quick to lash out at opinions that differ from yours. Again, I don’t think we’re perfect. We’ll have upsets and squabbles. But we, as a people, can focus on improving ourselves. I look forward to the next decade with my friends and family in this big crazy community.

It’s Not About You…

IfTheShoeFits

Morgan Freeman image and quote found at Memegenerator.net

It seems the content created by the Grumpy Vamp team is striking a nerve or three in the GVC. Trust Grumpy when I say I am both amused and delighted that our blog is getting so much attention and sparking discussion. This blog may be new, but the team’s collective experience spans decades in the vampire culture. Whether you love Grumpy or love to hate Grumpy, the point of this blog is to provide an outlet for “old timers” in the vampire culture to present our views and experiences so that others can learn from them. We may be salty af, but we know our stuff.

So far, all of the Grumpy Vamp team lives in the United States, so our perspective is going to be somewhat US-centric. Don’t get it twisted – we recognize each area will have its own unique flavor just as there will be individuals who have different experiences than we do. That’s all fine and dandy, but some issues are so common they’re nearly universal.

As our platform grows, we’re bound to run up against narcissistic fucks who think we’re vagueblogging about them. We’re not. We don’t call out specific individuals, we call out trends we see in the culture.

That being said, if you think we’re talking about you, well, you just might be right. Maybe you should sit with that for a minute and contemplate your life choices.