I sat down on the couch to find my eldest daughter Melissa watching a new series on Netflix called “Vampire Diaries”. My first reaction after finding out it is a horror with a *18 rating, “This is a load of hogwash, switch it off and do something more productive!” I’m no horror fan.
Then I met Stefan and Damon Salvatore and learnt about their story of undying love with a beautiful teenage girl called Elena Gilbert.
The Vampire Diaries is an American supernatural teen drama series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec and is based on the popular novel written by L. J. Smith.
The series is set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia and it follows the life of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), a teenage girl who has just lost both parents in a car accident. Elena falls in love Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) a 162-year-old vampire. Their relationship gets more complicated when Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) Stefan's older brother appears on the scene planning to bring back Katherine Pierce, their long lost love, a vampire who looks exactly like Elena.
Unbelievably, I sat on the couch intent on finding more and more reasons to change the channel, the less I tried to watch the more captivated I became. Lo and behold, I was hooked.
A 47 year old woman intrigued by a vampire love story. So much so that I ended up watching all eight seasons of Vampire Diaries in a matter of weeks spending every free moment glued to the screen watching each new gripping episode unravel.
Before long I had watched 176 hours of Vampire Diaries, that’s an awful lot of brain chewing gum. Was it all wasted time or was there something valuable that I could draw from the lives of these teenage vampires?
Quite a few lessons after all, making the countless hours spent glued to the screen feel not so useless after all.
Vampires Crave Blood. They go to any extremes until they can sink their teeth into the pulsating neckline of some unsuspecting victim. This may seem far-fetched, gory, and quite repulsive to say the least. However, it is not so far removed from our own lives, as we may think.
We are all addicted to something. We crave things. Things that consume our thinking until we give in and allow the dopamine rush to take over. For me, it is a sugar rush, chocolate in any form, bars, slabs, tarts, mousse a personal love affair that gives me a dopamine rush and that instant feel good feeling. That is the thing about bad habits; they provide us with instant satisfaction and momentarily turn off the cravings. But, bad habits bring nothing but sickness, disease, sorrow and regret in the long term.
Love Endures. The strong bond between Damon and Elena stretched so deep into their sub-conscious minds that it was able to bring them back to reality every time their humanity switch was turned off, allowing them to stray off the right path, easy prey for the many seedy villains that appear throughout the story.
No matter how bad things get the strength of the relationships between the friends and family members always gets them to the other side as they outwit and outmanoeuvre many evil characters.
In life, we need to forge strong relationships like this with friends and family members. It’s these relationships and bonds that hold us accountable, keep us on the straight and narrow, stretch us, and expect things from us that makes us better people capable of achieving our full potential and enabling us to reach our destinies and utilise all the gifts and talents we have been given. Helping us strive for our hopes and dreams and encouraging us to keep moving and to take the little steps towards reaching the goals we have set.
There are very few superheroes among us that can go it alone and make their dreams materialise all on their own, we need supportive people around us to carry us when we cannot walk. Find people that will challenge you, help you grow, keep you accountable, and make you a better version of yourself.
Doppelgangers Exist. Throughout the Vampire Diaries there are a few doppelgangers that exist. These human doubles look physically identical but are nothing alike at all and they proceed to fool people into believing they are someone else.
People see what they want to see and are easily fooled. In our day-to-day lives, it is much the same. We believe that things are good for us, we tell ourselves exactly what we want to hear until we longer hear reason. We guzzle down high sugar, high fat and high carb foods convincing ourselves they are good for us and we really need them. We stick around negative people knowing that they are dragging us deeper and deeper down a well that is very hard to get out of and yet still think they have our best interests at heart.
There is always a solution. No matter how bad things get and how deeply embedded in evil the vampires become there is always a solution. Something that will help them defeat the villains, solve the problems and get their lives back to normal.
Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed and bogged down in our personal stories that it seems like there is no way out. There is!
You must believe it and keep searching for the answers. Finding the right people to help you along the way.
The more things change the more they stay the same. A 162 year old vampire looks exactly the same despite living through many different era’s in history, wearing different kinds of clothes, seeing changing décor, mannerisms, etiquette etc. yet in all that time people and relationships stay the same. The same problems and drama exist timeless.
We are often guilty of moving our goal posts in the hope that our situation will change.
We must lose weight before we start to exercise. We must start exercising before we can lose weight. We need to finish off some fancy degree before we can start a business.
Nothing changes until you do. There will be no perfect place or time. Start somewhere, make the change, and keep moving. Little by little and you will see the rewards.
Appearance Matters. As long as the vampire’s kept up appearances, they could hide their true nature and no one would know they were blood sucking monsters.
Fake it until you make it. If you’re striving to control your eating habits and are trying to lose weight, keep asking yourself the question, ”What would a healthy person do?” and then fake it pretending that is exactly what you are, until its second nature and you wake up realising that is exactly who you have become.
Good triumphs over evil. Vampires are constantly fighting an inner turmoil of good and evil. There is always good. They simply need to learn how to control their emotions and let the good side dominate. The bad side does not magically disappear, it is always there but they must simply learn how to suppress it and keep it hidden.
We are just the same constantly toiling with good and bad. Knowing what we should be doing yet listening to the BAD voices that keep surfacing. We give in to our urges and cravings. Now it is time to suppress the bad and start letting the good behavior have more playtime.
Stay tuned for 176 hours. If we can focus so intently and stay glued to 176 hours of mindless teenage horror drama we can stay focussed on anything. Imagine how successful you will be if you redirect your focus, pick a new challenge and stay tuned for 176 hours. Pick something that will reward you in some way and then commit to 176 hours.
Initially, Kevin Williamson had little interest in the story, until Julie Plec urged him to read the novels and just like me, he was intrigued.
In Williamson’s words, "I began to realize that it was a story about a small town, about that town's underbelly and about what lurks under the surface."
Sounds a lot like human nature to me!
Hughes, Sarah (February 5, 2010). "The Vampire Diaries – Fresh blood for teenage vampire lovers". The Independent. London. Retrieved February 5, 2010.