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..!!!

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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.

Ageism and the Greater Vampire Community

age·ism
[ˈājˌizəm]

NOUN
  1. prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age.
    “ageism in recruitment is an increasing problem”

 

 

Ageism has been a thing in the GVC for quite a few years now.  Sadly, this issue is NOT going to go away any time soon.

There was a time, when I first entered the community that it didn’t matter WHAT your age was, for the most part.  Indeed, I was, as I have recounted several times before, 13 when I first entered the Vampire Community as a FULL member.  I was taken under wing by a woman who was fully in her 30s, and there was a man who was above her in his 50s.  These things, in the past, were commonplace.  It was common for people to “give respect” to their “elders”, as well.  This system of functionality worked for decades.  It was the foundation that gave the burgeoning community its strength to fight the negative connotations of the name chosen to represent what we are and what we do.  Indeed, such words as “leech”, “symbiont”, and a whole host of others were debated upon, to all be tossed aside for the moniker, “vampire”.  Even then, our predatory nature was taken into account and accommodated for what it was that we did… “Live off of the living, breathing life-force of others” (as was taught to me by my first Elder, Ashanti Whitemantle).

This was fine throughout the 70s, 80s, and even into the 90s until… Enter one each club promoter and vampire fan…  Suddenly, there was a marked change in the way the “scene” laid things out.  It was no longer correct to be a person above the age of 30 and be in the community (this age has changed as promoters of events have grown older, however, it still is an underlying factor).  When I first stepped out of the shadows and began to work openly (at 25), I was told by certain members of the community that I had “limited viability” (Again, repeating mistakes made by the Gay Community, so I tend to draw a LOT of parallels).  It is as if people who are 30, 40, 50 or older no longer have a right to live, let alone celebrate the life that they have or have had.  This, formally, by way of the harsh treatment that many older community members get by the “thin-blooded, thin-skinned, overly demanding fledglings”, is AGEISM.  Pushing members out of the community because they simply don’t meet your unrealistic expectations of an age limit, is both heinous and FULLY a form of bigotry that is growing within the community.

No longer do we, as a community, celebrate the accomplishments of the older members of the community.  No longer do we, as a community, treat them with dignity and respect for the fights that THEY have had to fight so that the younger members of the community can continue to do their little party promotions and activities.  No longer do we, as a community, accept their experiences as a form of foundation for our own to grow on and move into the next level.

Ageism cripples the GVC on a nigh daily basis.  You can see this at EVERY major event thrown FOR the community.  There is nothing available for those who are no longer into the “stripper bar” way of life.  There is nothing for those who are no longer into the “bar” scene on any level.  (To add to this, there is nothing that is even NON-ALCOHOLIC for our brothers and sisters in addiction recovery at these events)…

Think about it.  I am soon to be 52.  I STILL enjoy getting on the dancefloor and shaking the dust off my ass to music, both past and present, for my OWN reasons.  I STILL enjoy celebrating life and meeting new people (and reacquainting with old friends).  I STILL enjoy living.  Curmudgeon though I am becoming, I STILL enjoy living. AND THERE ARE OTHERS LIKE ME OUT THERE IN THE GVC!!!

So.  Why the sour grapes when someone over the age of (currently) 40 speaks on their experiences within the community?  Why the sudden need to flock to just one person’s experiences over the more than 30 GVC members that fall in the 40+ category? Even as recent as March 24th, 2016, there has been a young person in the community disparaging “old people”.  How we are not part of the future progress of the community.  Really?  REALLY???  Are you fucking nuts?

First.  If it WEREN’T for the fact that we bled, sweat, and cried over self-identity and the creation of “safe places” for us to gather, there would be NO COMMUNITY.  No matter WHO claims to be the mother or father of the community… We would still be slinking around the outskirts of the BDSM community like some sort of parasitic growth, meeting in secret, as if we were ashamed of who and what we are.  We FOUGHT so that the “thin-blooded fledglings” can be self entitled little disrespectful shits towards us??  Not this faggot.  I FOUGHT so that I could enjoy the community, events, people, and places that I go to.  I FOUGHT, fang and claw, to step out of the shadows and break away from a group that was solely dedicated to secrecy and keeping its doors closed to be shut out by a group of little “flitters” that just crawled out of the bat closet screaming for recognition in the big, bad community that they haven’t done one damned thing to EARN that recognition.
The truly sad part in all of this is the fact that one of the CURRENT people calling for this stupid shit is a young man who hasn’t bothered to be part of the community, nor help with anything in the local community except ONE thing in which perceived slights happened that angered him, so now he is taking out on anyone in the community that will not bow down and kiss his ass when he makes an overgeneralized, broad-stroked, all encompassing statement that are just factually inaccurate.  He assumes, like so many of the younger people out there in the community, that EVERY Elder equates to the same person(s) who he perceived slights from.

Second.  I may not agree with EVERY community leader out there (and lord knows that I am an opinionated old fart), however, I respect their work for what it is… THEIR WORK.  I have had more than my share of run ins (sometimes like rams clashing in the mountains) with Elders who I feel have diametrically opposed views, however, I have ALWAYS respected them (though I can be terse at times, given health issues and/or lack of sleep).  Even if we have ended up in heated arguments (no other word for it) and been on diametrically opposed sides of an issue.  Lady CG, CJ, Deacon Gray, to name a few… *shrug*  That is just the way I am and I see NO reason to change this any time in the near future.

Third.  Riding on the coattails of those who came before you without acknowledging that they are still active and choose to remain active within the community is like cutting off your feet and trying to run on the bloody stumps.  Damned near impossible and stupid to boot.

How does one combat such stupidity?  Where do us “old people” go when faced with the potential amounts of inanity that is being produced by younger members of the community who are simply looking to make a name for themselves by denying the very basic fact that we… “old people”… are STILL going to be present in the GVC, no matter what they think, feel, or attempt to justify and that ONE DAY, they, too WILL BE AN “OLD PERSON”?

So… You think you can continue a community WITHOUT the root of it?  You’re either sorely moronic or haven’t followed a single ounce of history in your life… Cut the root away… EVERYTHING dies…

American Vampires – Another Rant

statue-of-liberty
This essay also appears in Vampires in Their Own Words.

Why do vampires in this country insist on forming “courts,” “covens,” and “houses” that take on the trappings of feudalism? If we were European, Asian, or Indian it might make more sense. Those countries have long histories of caste-based societies, complete with all of the problems associated with them.

But we’re Americans. Our nation was founded on the principle that all are equal in the eyes of our Creator and should be acknowledged as such by those around us. We waged a revolution to establish this philosophy as a fact and emerged victorious. Over the centuries, we have fought other battles, both military and civil, to expand the reaches of democracy so that all humans everywhere might enjoy the rights and responsibilities of this way of life. In some areas we have made tremendous strides. In others, the battle continues but we persevere, confident that our cause is just and that we will prevail.

Yet, in clubs and on the Internet, we revert to the very societal structure from which our countrymen struggled to free us. Is it a need for a sense of community? I don’t think so. There are plenty of people, vampire and non-vampire alike, who do not feel the need to be addressed as Elder or Lord or Mistress. There are egalitarian organizations everywhere that welcome all without the need to elevate an elite cadre over the masses. Surely those who seek a sense of belonging can have their needs met by one or more of these groups.

Why do we persist in subjecting ourselves to an artificial hierarchy? Why do we continually adopt false titles that have no basis in merit and serve no purpose except to offer a flimsy excuse for the bearer to put on airs and degrade others? Oh, I’ve heard all the standard lines about honoring those who serve our community and offering titles as a sign of respect.

Those excuses are simply not good enough. I know plenty of people who have worked long and hard over the years to better the community. They hold no titles and do not care for any. So recognizing achievement cannot be the underlying purpose of adopting a title. Are the titles hereditary? Of course not, because we abolished such counterfeit structures when we declared our independence. So, why do we do it?

Is it so that we can feel powerful? We have long felt ourselves to be outcasts, have felt the need to hide our true selves from the eyes of the world – is this irrational drive to adopt an even more discriminatory order a product of our need to feel special? Why do we need to justify our collective existence by establishing a system of recognition that oppresses others as we have felt ourselves to be oppressed? Where is our pride? How does subjugating each other equate to unity? How can bigotry and snobbery ever generate harmony among us?

How many times have we heard the call to “unite the vampire nation” under this council or that order? How many of those groups have fallen by the wayside or degenerated into harmful cults? If it is unity we seek, how can we ever achieve it by allowing our peers to subjugate and tyrannize us while we prattle on about how our so-called leaders bring honor to us by upholding the “old ways”? Honor is not a prize to be won or a gift to be given. It is something we know to be true about ourselves. No one can bestow it where it does not already exist and only we can take it from ourselves. There is no honor in assuming the façade of an outdated power structure. To say otherwise is to belittle and demean the warriors who have fought and bled and died to give us the freedom to choose for ourselves who is worthy of our respect and admiration. It is those brave soldiers who are truly noble. It is those who cherish their liberty, bought with the coin of sweat, blood, and tears, and use it to lift up all whom they meet who are the most honorable among us. Those who give selflessly and ask for nothing…it is they who display integrity.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

No pretentious title will ever hold the significance, contain the splendor, or bear the majesty of the philosophy that gave rise to those words. None ever could.