Such a heavy question to open with after such a long break in posting, but my life has changed entirely from what I planned, so bear with me. One of my “goth” siblings, Sebastian Columbine, posted a video (click me) about their using the label goth, and how it has affected them. It’s insanely insightful and it has only made me like them more. I think the question of “Am I Still Goth” is a question that should be asked every now and then, if anything else to make sure the life you are living is in fact the life you want.
So am I still goth? Of course I am. June was a difficult month in every possible way and I asked myself this question every day. The conclusion for myself is yes, but the answering of that question for yourself might be a little different. It’s starts with how you participate in goth culture. I haven’t been participating the same way, sure. But I do participate. My goth experience was always isolated and personal, meaning being social was never really a big part of it. I care about the community, I care about my goth siblings (fellow goths who create goth content and make me very happy) and I try to learn as much as I can about the culture I want to be a part of, am a part of. I just don’t feel a great and terrible need to share that 24/7 with the world. It’s evident to me, in my make up, how I dress, what I like, what will capture my attention that goth is a big part of me. But is that a bad thing?
But isn’t labeling bad? Doesn’t it rob you of your individuality? I have spent the majority of my life being labeled everything from bitch to black to female to stupid to ugly and everything in between. Many of these labels are applied to me without me having any say, and hurt my reputation (becuase bitchy black girl was never said in a nice way). The second I saw there was a goth label, it was something I could take for myself, twist it fit to contours of my person and wear it any way I liked. It was viciously empowering. I am so much more confident for it, you can’t even imagine. That is not to say I will be goth forever, but it is what feels right for now. As for robbing me of individuality, not so much. I barely register the pressure to match the goth template, because I cannot stomach sacrificing my sense of identity for other people’s approval. Everything I picked and meld together, I do so because I like it, with or without the goth label. If you love looking like Morticia Addams then by all means do so. Live your fantasy. Just make sure it is who you are and what you want.
But if you don’t match the template are you really goth? Oh honey. The established pillars of goth are an influence on my work, of course, but if we only looked at the pillars, we’d miss what it’s holding up. A safe haven for the indescribable, for the deviants of the norm, a place for expression on every level, and you will miss out on so much if you cannot see goth for what it really is. If I ever had a goal with goth it would be that, to smash the expectation there is a mold to be filled. You pour goth into yourself, not the other way around. That’s why there is work we readily recognize as goth, and others we see as reaching to satisfy the standard. While there is no one true correct way to be goth, it is a lifestyle, it is a journey and the destination surpasses looking the part. So basically, I like things I see, I embody what I need, and I just live the strange life.
What if I like the template? Then that’s what you like and you like it as much as you want. There will always be people who like the established standard and the fact it is a standard is just coincidence. There are advantages and disadvantages to following it, sure, but I’m sure if you really like it then that won’t matter.
If all your friends are leaving the label behind, do you feel bad you still want it? Yes and no. The first round of this happening, a few years ago, several friends switched from goth to alternative. It took a little bit of time to appreciate the change was for them and not necessarily a reflection of what the label or my interest in it meant to me. So yes, I’m confessing to briefly seeing goth as juvenile and considering leaving it behind because was…not appropriate for my age. But I am not alternative, and it does not ring as true to me as goth does. Mind you not all my friends are discarding the label, and none of them have done it for the same reasons. In fact a few might have even become more goth for it. Goth and all its aspects was still satisfying for me, what I did/do with it is still pleasing for me and my identity within the culture is growing with me. So I’m still here, and I might be here for a while. I do get afraid that other people will not see it that way, and it might hurt me. But it is not their story to write, it is not for them to decide what makes me happy, and whether or not that is valid. I no longer feel bad about using the label because that in it self has a practical purpose in my life. I’m sad I no longer live on the same subculture street as some of my friends but I would like to think we still live in the same strange little town.
But what about you? Are you still a resident child of the night? Leave your story down below and take a moment to “Join the Exploration Party” at the top of this page. For more in living the strange life, goth or otherwise, follow me on Facebook,Youtube,Tumblr,Instagram.
Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.