It was quite a week for news and drama in the community! So much stuff crossed my desk I wasn’t actually sure where to start with this article. There was one common theme running through every bit of the stuff on my desktop and I thought “CG maybe you should start there”, and so I want to talk about “Staying in your lane”.
The Greater Vampire Community is a culture made up of many “City States”. Each group makes its own rules and has its own unique society. We come together in common areas that act as community gathering places for news, support, information and many other reasons. One of the groups who consistently cross borders and are shared across the community among Vampire groups are Donors, thus we talk about them. A LOT.
As I was preparing to write this article, a video about Vamps and Donors came across my desk. The week before it was a fracas in chat channels, prior to that it was an article written by a friend, and so on and so on, the common theme of the issues was, unsurprisingly donors. You might wonder how Donors who are our friends, lovers or sometimes our acquaintances, people we respect, love and sometimes even revere could possibly be the subject of more or less constant fighting in our community, but they are.
Now please do not get me wrong. This is NOT an article bashing donors. Nor, surprisingly is this an article bashing Vampires.
Donors are deserving of the special place we give them in our community. They are deserving of respect, support resources, groups, havens (I particularly recommend Black Swan Haven, by the way) and every kind of safety precaution we can possibly offer them, or they can create for themselves. I am in full support of our donors.
I am a Sanguinarian Vampire, a Blood Drinker, as most of you know. It has been my mission for nearly 20 years to support Vampires in their public and private lives. I believe Vampires are worthy of resources, avenues for fun, Houses, Courts, Support sites and… privacy.
Sometimes it’s difficult to have all this going on in the community and NOT have issues of people bumping heads, having hurt feelings, or feeling that someone(s) strayed out of their lane. We share places in cyber space as well as on terra firma. Many types of groups are represented with many beliefs and many different approaches to Vampirism, it’s not possible for us to always agree, sometimes agree or even to agree at all on some subjects. In the past, it’s been possible to keep peace by folks just “staying in their lanes” but recently people seem to have a bee biting their asses when it comes to the practices of OTHER people.
Oh, don’t start to wince or get defensive. I’m not about to take the whole community to task. In fact, I am advocating for patience. Let me explain.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “Opinions are like Assholes, and you do not have to do anything with anyone else’s asshole” It’s somewhat funny and it’s very true. When I was handed the video, I was told “CG you won’t like it”. In truth, I was not offended by it. The video was a tirade by a Vampire leader who’s been around for quite a while and who is entitled to his opinion. The video was NOT politically correct, but when have I EVER been politically correct, and it made a good point when it stated that what goes on between a Vampire and their donor is no one’s business beyond the Vampire and donor. If the donor isn’t being abused, I totally agree. Was the video course? Yes. Was it tactless? Yes. But we in the community should be accustomed to some people just being straight up. Not everyone is or wants to be tactful or politically correct. And I agree that there is a problem with people “staying in their lanes”.
The same was true of the chats I read. Did a Vampire say things they should not have? Yes. But that wasn’t my problem with the chats. Where some people saw a group defending the safety of their donors, I saw a group who didn’t know whether this person was telling the truth or not but was willing to mob a poster who said something they disagreed strongly with and try to say that unless one was licensed to extract blood they should ONLY use animal blood.
OK.. stop right there, WHAT? Whose business is it where we get our blood? When did we start allowing people to become THAT intimately involved with OTHER people’s feeding habits? If it had been a DONOR in there saying they were harmed by someone, I might be right there in defending their rights to be treated well, but this wasn’t the case. It was other people deciding how Sangs were allowed to get blood! Like, how the hell do people think they can even enforce that? THAT is NOT staying in your lane. I’ll tell you right now, no one is going to tell me how I must feed or where I must get my blood. No one. No one is going to scream at me about donor safety when my donor is NOT accusing me of mistreatment. Period. End of conversation.
Thankfully this wasn’t about me, but it was about another Sang, and as a blood drinker I have an issue with people deciding for me how I can treat my donor, what I can call them and so on. THAT is between ME and my DONOR. No one else. If my donor is happy it’s no one else’s business. If my donor has a problem I would HOPE they would come to me, but if they didn’t feel they could, I would hope they would go to someone or somewhere they feel safe and get help. But until that happens, my donor, my business.
We try to really look after those we love in the community, especially our donors because they are vulnerable. It’s really good to see them so loved. It’s awesome when people point out mistakes to new people or people who might be endangering others, but it’s NOT alright to mob them and then toss their names all over the community over an imagined issue that, as it turns out, never existed in the first place.
The correct way to deal with people who are making mistakes is NOT to drive them underground but to show patience and offer resources, so they can choose a better way to do things. It is NOT OK to mob and attack people to the point they leave the community feeling they need to hide their practices underground or kill themselves. It’s happened. Many of us have lost people we loved to the cruelty of mob mentality in and out of the community. It happens because people do not stay in their lanes and think they have the right to pulverize other people into the ground over something they say or do. I’ll stand up right now and say HEY! It is NOT OK!
Look.. we all come here, to the VC for many reasons. Many who come here are looking for support. The first communities to come online for the VC were support based. What good does it do to scream and holler and drive people away or to their deaths? How does that benefit the community? How does it teach anyone anything? There are simply too many people / busy bodies who think this is acceptable behaviour. Who feel they have a RIGHT to stray in to other people’s lanes. If you’re one of those people, in my opinion you do not have this right. People are entitled to their business. They have a right to tell you only as much as they feel safe telling you and while you have a right to object and disagree and have an opinion, it is NOT OK to start to believe that your opinion should matter to the person you are criticizing. Chances are they don’t care at all. If they do NOT care, you do not have the right to pursue them, jump on them or call in your friends to mob them. It’s WRONG.
What goes on between a Vampire and their Donor is THEIR business. Mobbing people, ruining lives, reputations and bonds is NOT OK. Driving people underground, driving them to suicide, is NOT OK. Learn to stay in your lane.
And for those who are harassed or tired of the opinions of others, take my advice and remember that opinions are indeed like assholes. Everyone has one. You do not have to do anything with it, just because they throw it at you.
If YOU feel abused by other community members, remember that there are GOOD support groups and safe places out here both in real life and in cyber space. Some of us really are here for you. I mean that. There is no such thing in the VC as a member or even a group that can force you out if you choose to stay. If you NEED support, please reach out. If you have no one, then reach out to ME. It’s what I am here for. Never let another community member damage your mental health or deride you to the point you want to harm yourself. Get in touch with one of the leaders you trust. We can help you to get help. We care.
And for those of you who think it’s OK to stray into other people’s lives without invite or ruin someone over what you believe is a mistake… Stay in your lane.