So I’ve had an epiphany about vampires. I thought I’d discuss said epiphany here, though this is a more personal sort of post than what I normally do for discussions, drawing more on my own experiences and thoughts and feelings. We’ll see how it goes! Maybe I’ll try to do more deep dive kinda discussions in the future.
I was thinking about chronic illness and how, in some ways, I still feel like I’m 19 or 20 years old because that was when my chronic illness started. About a year after that, I basically became housebound, and I never got to experience all of the adult life transition sorts of things other people do in their twenties. And yet, there’s another part of me that is actually 30 and has had these ten years of experience and has changed and matured, just in a different way. (Hell, a part of me feels far older than 30, but I don’t know how relevant that is to this discussion.)
And then I got to thinking about vampires. Because I read a lot of vampire books, and I’ve often thought about how they are portrayed, whether they actually seem like they are the age they are, what they might actually be like in terms of personality, emotion, maturity, etc. What I seem to come across most often is a portrayal in which the character mostly comes across as the age they look, aka the age at which they were turned.
And I realized, the fictional experience of being turned into a vampire is a similar situation, in some ways, to the real life experience of becoming disabled or having your disability reach a point where you become housebound or bed-bound (for me and some people, at least, though I can’t speak for everyone). In both situations, you are, usually quite suddenly, kind of removed from society and the life you knew. Life continues to go on for those around you, but for you it kind of stagnates, and you’re not really part of it anymore.
Again, I’m not saying this is how every disabled person’s experience is. I’m also not trying to downplay disability by saying becoming a vampire would actually be the same. (If only!) And perhaps many people feel kind of stuck at a certain age, or, at least, I think many people still feel mentally like they’re far younger than they really are. Perhaps it’s not just a disability thing. Though I do still think the element of being separated from society and unable to partake in the experiences others in your stage of life are experiencing, and knowing some of them will be forever unattainable now, is a unique sort of experience that not everyone goes through and that adds another layer (though it could potentially be caused by something other than disability).
So now I’m realizing, maybe it makes sense that a lot of vampires seem to basically act the age at which they were turned. Maybe you really would kind of get stuck there mentally, in a way. Yet there would be other ways in which you would still grow and mature from the experiences you’re having, and sometimes that would show through.
I don’t know where I’m going with this, it’s just an interesting thing to think about. Of course there are other factors that would have an effect on vampires and play into why they are the way they are, but this is still an interesting new way to look at the portrayal of vampires in media. Maybe even an interesting perspective and experience that some writers can bring to vampire characters.