For years, I never even knew I was a goth. Having been homeschooled until high school, as well as attending high school in Vermont, there wasn’t much exposure to “alternative” lifestyles. But, my mother was a hippy (or as they called themselves in the 60’s, Freaks) so, being unique and free-spirited was a normal part of my growing up.
When I first entered high school, I tried very hard to fit in. And, more recently, during my entrance into the world of office employment, I once again tried to conform into what was expected of me. But, it didn’t feel right to me. So, recently, I returned to myself. I gave up trying to conform and became who I wanted to be or who I was. I wear the clothes I want to wear. I wear black lipstick and eyeliner whenever I feel like it. And, I am much happier and confident now.
So what is “goth”? I don’t really think it can be easily categorized. I’m actually still figuring it out for myself. The problem with our culture is that people tend to slap labels on everything. But, labels don’t always fit nice and snug. Sometimes they won’t stick, sometimes they peel off and fall away after a while, and sometimes they’re just a misprint. I mean, are you goth simply because you listen to music that’s typically goth and wear black? Or is it a way of life?
What is goth to me? Gothic, to me, is a form of artistic appreciation and expression that encompasses things and concepts which can be dark and mysterious — sex, death, fear, horror, pain, evil, cruelty, disfigurement, sorrow, grief. Gothic culture, for me, is not a celebration of these things but an ability to find beauty in places where others don’t often look.
When you have that kind of mindset, you have a natural appreciation for things that others with different tastes might find spooky, eerie, or just plain sick.
It doesn’t mean you actually want to go out and hurt other people. Plenty of “mainstream” people (a term I hate to use) find macabre subjects entertaining, too. For example, horror movies are more popular than ever these days. Millions of people flock to films like The Haunting or The Others, yet those same people freak out over someone dressed all in black walking past them at the mall.
Having grown up in the household that I did, there were many comments regarding our “weird” family, I’ve always been used to people making faces or rude comments. For awhile, we were known as the ‘Lesbian Witches’, which I never quite understood, other than we were 3 females living in a house together. Of course, a single mom with one daughter who always dressed in black and another daughter who can’t seem to wear matching clothes nor attends school, probably attracts attention. But, the most basic fear is of the unknown–things we don’t understand. I’ve often find that the Goths that I meet, who are even a little bit scary to ME, are often the sweetest, most gentlest people.
It’s also important to accept yourself for who you are. Anybody can wear black and put on white make-up and call themselves “freaks”, but only that person knows what their outlook on life really is. I’ve always known I was different from most of the others around me. That’s the real reason “gothic” people are scary to most other people. They’ve chosen to express themselves in their appearance and you can’t generally hide from that.
Think about this…most serial killers are from middle class families and no one ever suspects them. Who would you rather sit next to on a bus late at night, the guy wearing thicker eyeliner than you, combat boots, and black clothes or the guy who looks just like everyone else, whose name happens to be Ted Bundy? All I mean by all of this ranting is one of the most basic things we’re taught when we’re little and seem to forget as we get older…don’t judge a book by it’s cover.