There’s a little website I’ve been following ever since my days in retail: Not Always Right.com. It’s full of stories about customers who were wrong, and couldn’t understand why. As the years went on, they expanded to complaints about idiot co/workers (Not Always Working), students/teachers (Not Always Learning), romantic partners (Not Always Romantic), family members (Not Always Related), friends (Not Always Friendly), healthcare (Not Always Healthy), legal (Not Always Legal), and uplifting stories of hope (Not Always Hopeless). They honestly need to add a “Not Always Vampiric” section.
A common adage in the world is “Just because you have an opinion, it doesn’t make you right”, but people sadly keep forgetting this. Just look at political debates on your Facebook and Twitter timelines. Every person in those arguments has an opinion. Are they all right? They think so. Doesn’t mean they are, though. There’s a political cartoon that has been floating around, which people interpret as “Both sides are correct in their thinking”, the true meaning going over people’s heads until an edited form started in circulation. As it states in the edited form, only one of those people is correct. You have to look at other factors to determine who is in the right: Landmarks, other numbers on the ground nearby of the same style, etc. Same goes for views in the Global Vampire Community.
Vampirism, if we look at it from a medical standpoint, would be classified as a “Spectrum Disorder”, much like Autism is, where there are similarities amongst the people with the condition, but significant differences from person to person. Another spectrum it could be compared to is the political spectrum from Conservative to Liberal. So, let’s take a closer look at it in that viewpoint. We’ll put Sanguinarians on one end, Psychics on the other end, and Hybrids in the middle.
Now, Suzy Q is a pure psi vamp, has never tried blood, or has and it made her vilely ill, but she feeds on her environment primarily, so she’ll be Aaaaaalll the way over here.
Johnny is a Med-Sang (a Sanguinarian vampire who believes that their condition is purely physiological, and not metaphysical in any way, shape, or form). He’ll go to the extreme other end of the scale, like so.
Now, Mary is a hybrid, who leans sang heavy, just barely using psi energy, often subconsciously. She’ll be in the middle, but closer to Johnny than to Suzy.
Thomas is also a hybrid, but he only takes blood when he has a very strong craving, say, once every few of months, if not longer. He’ll be closer to Suzy in the middle area.
Matt is a hybrid, but he needs everything in fairly equal amounts. He is what some would call a “pure hybrid”. He’ll be smack dab in the middle.
Now, you might be asking “But, Pixie, what about the two other arrows close to the extreme?” Lemme give an option for them. The arrow close to Johnny is not a hybrid, but a sang. But Harry the Sang thinks that his vampirism isn’t purely physiological, but also maybe something metaphysical. Perhaps he thinks that something with his soul caused his vampirism, who knows. He might have tried to feed energetically and it did nothing for him or made him feel worse. Let’s put him on our chart.
Now, the last psi arrow. Well, let’s say that Suzy gets her energy from her environment like elemental vampires, not necessarily from people. But, on the other hand, Kay can’t do that, they need a human donor for their psychic energy feedings. She is still a true psi, blood makes her sick or does nothing for her like Suzy, but she can’t feed off of say, a thunderstorm or a tree.
So, now we have our little group of vampiric friends. They are all vampires, so, by some people’s opinions, what works for one should work for the others, right? Wrong. Kay can’t feed like Suzy can, even though they are both considered to be Psi’s. Thomas, Matt, and Mary are more similar, but also different in subtle ways. And what works for Johnny and Harry wouldn’t entirely work for Thomas, since he rarely needs to ingest blood to stay healthy. Even Johnny and Harry have their differences in how they handle their feeding. Johnny goes very methodological, documenting what he ate, how often he feeds and at what volume, any other medical conditions that might plague him, etc., whereas Harry might go at it with a more spiritual approach. Yes, he might feed as often and the same volume as Johnny, but he doesn’t think his vampirism is something that a medical or genetic test can find.
A problem that we have is people thinking that all vampires are vampires, and that’s pure fallacy. It’s more like the dog analogy: All collies are dogs, but not all dogs are collies. All Sangs are vampires, but not all vampires are Sangs. And even further than that, not all Sangs are Med-Sangs, and not all Psi’s are Elemental Psi’s. There are extremes on both ends of the vampirism spectrum, and learning to look outside of your own little box, where you’ve neatly explained to yourself what your vampirism is and why we might have a more cohesive community. No one caring what kind of vampire you are, and when told “Hey, that doesn’t work for me, I’ve tried it”, you back off and take it in.
The same goes for vampiric politics. Some people are Ronin, the vampiric equivalent to the Pagan Solitary Witch. They alone determine their vampirism, not where they fit into the community. Some need to be in a group for support but say a smaller one, consisting of family and close friends. Others need to be in a bigger group, like a House or Court, with varying ranges of castes, ranks, or positions.
Same rule applies here: What works for you won’t work for everyone else. You can evangelize the wonders of your path from here to Timbuktu, doesn’t mean that your path would work for me, or for the guy sitting next to me.
There is a difference between giving advice and preaching. There’s a difference between taking constructive criticism and learning from it and jumping into defensive mode whenever someone says a negative opinion about your beliefs. The better person works on learning said differences and focuses on giving advice and taking constructive criticism and not preaching or lashing out when someone disagrees with us. Not only are you stunting your growth as a person if you lash out at people who disagree with you, but you’re stunting the growth of new members of the community, making them afraid to come forward with their questions, opinions, and ideas so they stop learning, hiding in their little corner away from the Negative Nelly’s.
“But, Pixie!” you cry. “Why should I back off if someone says something doesn’t work for them? They must be doing something wrong or they need more practice, obviously. I’ve been a vampire for umpteen number of years, so, therefore, know more than noobs!” Wrong. You know more about your form of vampirism and your section of the community than most. You don’t know much more about any other kind of vampirism than Joe Blow down the street who just watches vampire movies for the scare factor. Until you are able to walk in their shoes, feel their needs, suffer from the negative side effects of their specific kind of vampirism, you honestly don’t know jack squat, and this is the point where you’re to go “Oh, okay then.” and back off. Phrases like “This works for me, but your mileage may vary” are better than “This works for me, so it should definitely work for you.” The latter phrase implying “If it doesn’t work for you, are you sure you’re a vampire?”, which can have significant negative effects on the new members of the community, and the community as a whole.
If you’re a member of the Global Vampiric Community, you need to realize that just because you’re a vampire, that doesn’t make you always right.