It’s time we sort out this “baby bat” business. If you are a baby bat, welcome! If you’re well past your baby bat phase, also welcome. We have cake, hugs, and so many things to explore. If you’re not entirely sure where you fall, read on.
A baby bat is someone who is new to the culture. Some people find this term to be offensive, on par with the idea of noob, (also known as a n00b, newb and so many other variations). Most people I’ve spoken to look back on their baby bat years as a fond memory, not a shameful, traumatic experience. The term is not meant to be offensive or condescending, though it can be used that by angry elitists with sticks so far up their….business. There is no shame to be had in being a baby bat, everyone will go through it and it is a time for figuring out your place in all of this.
The baby bat phase can occur at any age, but it seems to be more common as a young teenager. But that could just be due to the gap between older goths being open about their experiences or involvement and goth being seen as more of a teenager thing in society in general. Signs of a baby bat usually stem from an ignorance about things in the culture, mainly the idea of community and the music and an overt focus on appearance. This ignorance isn’t bad, mind you, and we’re all ignorant at some point about something.
Sometimes you can’t tell who is a baby bat, and sometimes…it’s kind of all up in your face. It’s this weird conglomeration of the superficial idea of goth (Hot Topic, that weird sadness that is the hollow pretend sibling of depression, a presence that is not unlike “having something to prove”) and actually being a goth. (Having something to prove being that they’re goth enough, faking it till they make it, slightly, I would say, aggressive about the whole thing). I was never big into clubs so I kind of can’t speak for that aspect. Some goths think you aren’t truly goth until you’ve had that experience, but I personally think it’s a rite of passage that you can choose to have. (Of course for the goths I’ve met who don’t participate in the club scene, they’ve paid attention to everything else.) There’s an unfinished, shaky air about them and it’s a little different from anxiety. I watch for this when I go to goth clubs (I really can’t do the club thing correctly *sigh*), mainly looking for those that deviate from older, more polished goths.
So how on earth do you know you’re done with the baby bat phase? You just do. I’m sorry, let me be more helpful. Goth is a label you choose for yourself. When you first get started, it’s like a long coat that doesn’t quite fit right. As a baby bat, this coat is heavy, it pools around your feet and you’re overwhelmed that everyone can see how wrong this is on you. So you go and you learn all these wonderful ways to make the coat fit better. You figure out the parts of the culture that speak to you the most, and the waist fits better. You find the bands and the books, everything with some symbolism and you sew them into patches on this coat. The more you do, the more you find, the better the coat starts to fit until it feels like it was made for you,so perfect, a second skin. Sometimes you have to take the coat off and be someone different but you count down the minutes until you can wear the coat again. You know when your coat fits because there is no question whose coat this is.
I can only speak in metaphors. *shakes head* I can’t stand the shame that goes into being a baby bat. I lived for my baby bat years. I’ll never be new to goth ever again in my whole life, so it was important. I’ll probably create something especially for baby bats that people can add to. (My dream is just flood the newcomers with resources, so we can have more full fledged goths sooner…easier? I don’t know it’s 4am).
Have some suggestions to add to the skeleton of a page for baby bats? This might be a recurring topic, because I only brushed the surface of it here. Leave a comment/link down below. (Please don’t use short links. If I can’t tell what it is, I’m not opening it.) Or leave a comment on any of the other places you can find me: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr. I’ll know what it is when I see it. Oh and you don’t ever want to be called a “mall goth”. That’s like…oh my god, no. Not that.
Until next time,