For the last three days, I have been holed up in my apartment trying to write this amazing piece about the relationship between goth and normal. (I’ve been doing other stuff too…right now this is my baby.) It’ll get done eventually, but I’m stuck on this one part: how we use the word “normal”. So on the first cup of coffee for the morning, it’s time for a dive into the void with Zakkarrii.
“I’m not normal” determines relationships.
I honestly don’t know many people who really enjoy living the loner lifestyle. We’re selective, yes, but we like to be social. Weirdness, albeit a mass generalization, can be used to describe other people. I’ve asked my friends every time they want to introduce me to someone, “Yeah, but are they weird like us?” and if the answer is “Mmmm, they’re kind of normal…” I’m really not interested in meeting them. What is interesting to me that we build these cliques within goth culture based on our shared connotations of “weird” and “normal”. That’s part of the democracy of goth and its various sub groups. If you look really closely at the individuals who make up say, Cyber Goth, they have shared attitudes about loads of things that aren’t even relevant to Cyber Goth culture. Then you watch how they interact with other groups and you can trace the root of those interactions back to, not the appearance or the music, but this collective definition of what it means to identify with certain facets of goth, I want to study it all so bad…but let’s go deeper.
“I’m not normal” provides distance and reassurance.
For decades and not just with goth culture, being a “sheep”, a “follower”, being “normal” were considered terrible things. God forbid you have similar interests to a lot of people, even though there are other factors involved to determine a degree of interest. “I’m not normal” reassures us, we’re not sacrificing a part of our individual in group activities we’re not entirely sure we want to be a part of. It’s like a self-affirmation of sorts, “I am maintaining control over my identity.”Even in the smallest of moments, like the “What’s a girl like you/not like other girls” scene, which I have seen play out so many times, I sometimes mouth the words from behind my glass of wine. We use it to draw lines without saying how we feel about things specifically. It’s a catchall as if saying the words “not normal” are the equivalent of actually being a talking unicorn. Words…unicorn…sounds that only matter if people are truly listening versus being a mythical beast. Onwards, deeper.
“I’m not normal” justifies past exclusion from groups.
Show of hands, who here has been made to feel unwelcome from any social group ever? All of us? Great. Is it too far-fetched to imagine that sometimes when we say “I’m not normal”, it’s just shifting blame of being ostracized on ourselves and not on people being assholes? I couldn’t find an exact study about this, but here’s the proof: Some people are so desperate to fit in, to have a group, they change or pretend to be more like that group. But let me take it one step further. I think we use it like a fucking crutch. Loads of us have built careers out of our unique brand of badassery, we had to! What was the alternative, hmm? Be “normal” and die slowly inside everytime Jerry asks to get drinks after work? N.e.v.er. But that’s the thing, we, goth kids, you and me, we crave that uniqueness every day. I think we could achieve just a little bit more if we stopped “fulfilling the prophecy”. We are not normal, so let’s wiggle into our darkness and spill it out over every room we walk into. I’m not saying the struggle is a blessing, but we have to forgive ourselves, not just for being different, but for thinking even for a second that there is something so wrong with us, we still don’t deserve to fit in anywhere.
I do all of these things, especially the last one, and I would like to do them less. But enough about me.
For the 666: What is normal to you? Do you think about being different often? Do you say anything that might be in the way of realizing your full gothy potential?
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Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.
Zakkarrii Edison Daniels