Friday, 25 August 2017

My normal years and how I rediscovered Goth

**pulled from the old blog**

 "Not all girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. I am made of sarcasm and wine and everything fine" - anonymous

 As a teenager, I experimented a lot with my style. Even back then, I had a unique way of dressing.  I also became a total mall goth/baby bat. All that changed when my friend played The Sisters Of Mercy for me. I was so happy, I was crying. That was the sound I was looking for and deep down, I knew the music I was listening to wasn't really goth. My baby bat days were almost over! Don't get me wrong, I still made some rather...ahem..questionable wardrobe choices in the beginning (ie. a woolen cape in the middle of a summer heat wave) my music repertoire no longer consisted of mainly Marilyn Manson and other bands that would fit the famous "mall goth" category.

By the time I reached my mid-twenties, I ditched the goth wardrobe and wore what everyone else wore. I hated it. I felt like I had to be "responsible" and grow up. To me, being goth isn't solely identified with the clothes you wear. It is just that, clothes. Despite still listening to the music and reading what would be considered Gothic literature, it hurt me that I gave away my Goth clothes to Goodwill but I felt like I had to change. I was at a point in my life, I needed to settle down in a job and I started to think about starting my own family. Having children was really important to me.

Ironically enough, those were the darkest days of my life. I never recognized myself when I looked in the mirror. I wore clothes because I most certainly couldn't go out in my pajamas. I also went through a lot of personal trauma around that time which also didn't help matters. It was easier to blend in but blending in didn't offer me any personal comfort either.

Every time I wore something, someone, somewhere, would make a comment on how I would make a good goth! Shopping was no longer a fun filled experience, it was an ordeal. I bought what was on sale because why spend good money on something I didn't really like? My friends would play spot the goth undertones because as much as I tried to say I was no longer goth, I was on the inside and it reflected in some of the things I would wear.

Being goth wasn't a choice, it is part of who I am. It is just like if you were gay, you didn't choose to be it, you were.

During those times, I had blonde hair, wore blue jeans and pink tops. I made friends with people who dressed like me and I felt alone. What hurt me the most, when I was "normal" certain people, be it friends, acquaintances, even family members (I do emphasise certain, not ALL) was the acceptance I got from these people because I ditched the dark wardrobe. I was finally accepted by them because I was dressing more within their views on what people should wear. I was a sheep.

 I was very pregnant with my son back then. Lots of pregnant ladies get that huge nose before they give birth, I was one of them.Holy shit!

Not long after I had my son, something in me snapped. Being pregnant and a new mother put lots of pressure on me.It seems like no matter what I did, my parenting choices were always scrutinised and I was often made to feel like a bad parent. I didn't co-sleep, child abuse! I bottle fed, oh no, my son is going to end with a low IQ and not thrive! I drank coffee while pregnant (the one coffee per day my doctor permitted)  I was committing infanticide in the womb! Everything I did and ate was placed under a microscope and judged. I realised that as a teenager, I never cared what people thought of me. That was liberating. I held my head up with pride. I was happy. I surrounded myself by like-minded, less toxic, more positive people. As an outsider, the non-goths would never guess this but these were the people that held me up. These were the people where I was able to converse with and actually enjoy talking to since I didn't have the usual boring conversations that centered around more mundane, boring subjects.  I was never made to feel like I was doing something wrong. We talked about art, music, and life in general. These conversations left me walking away with having learned something new. This is where it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe...I can go shopping and get some new things that are black? Something in me "squeed" at that thought about returning to the alternative stores that I used to frequent and my husband commented on how he has not seen me that passionate in a long time. We went shopping that weekend and I spent far too much money.

That shopping experience stood out. I remember how nice it was to talk with other like-minded people within the Goth community. This is one thing I like about Montreal; The majority of Goths in this city are super friendly and nice. I am sure you can meet the occasional elitist or asshole but for the most part, my local community seems to be pretty welcoming and not very judgemental. Well, these are my personal experiences, maybe it is not the same for someone else?  It was breathtaking to have conversations, usually somewhat silly without someone looking at me like I was from another planet. There is so much more than talking about kids, the weather, what sports team won and other boring details about the game play. It was nice to talk to someone and not hear "it is nice you look normal now. I like what you are wearing" sort of conversations. I got to talk about bands that I listen to and other like-minded subjects.

I slowly starting integrating new pieces in my wardrobe. I dyed my hair dark purple. I got my labret (lip) pierced. Things were coming along nicely. I felt happy. I smiled and I had a wonderful realization: your life, hobbies, interests and other general things that make you happy should never be put aside because you became a parent. Yes, I do not have the time or energy I used to have to go clubbing but life doesn't stop because you become a wife and a mother. My husband fell in love with me - the goth me, not the person I became and Voltaire's song "where's the girl" holds true to him when I went normal. You have no idea how much I appreciated him standing by me during this time.

So these were my "responsible years" where I foolishly felt like I needed to do everything right. There is so much pressure on young parents these days! Having my son enabled me to see the world once again. I realized there was more than just being a parent. I did not have to stop living because I had a kid. I could still be me AND a mother AND a wife.

Children learn from their folks. What kind of example was I showing my son by being so unhappy? I want him to be comfortable with who he was and here I am showing him the opposite. I wasn't comfortable with who I was. I didn't like looking in the mirror because it felt like a stranger looking back at me. I became everything I morally was against. Worst of all, I was teaching my son a lesson I really did not want him to learn. Me finding goth again wasn't a rebellion against society, as much as it might sound like it was. Me finding goth again was coming back to who I was.

My work has no issues with the way I look. I respect the fact that while I do have some advantages that I didn't in previous jobs there are still some limitations, which I respect. Outside of work, there are times that I do feel judged or my parenting skills are questioned because of my outward appearance but I know that deep down, this also happened when I "fit in" I learned that no matter what I did or didn't do with my kid would be under constant scrutiny by people. Just like an elitist asshole within the Goth community, I chalk it up as them projecting their own personal insecurities on me. As time went by, I learned to not give haters the time of day. I have better things to do and worry about so I go about doing what I think is right for MY family. Fuck them!

More and more each day, tattoos and piercings are more acceptable in workplaces than they were 5 years ago. This is from my perception, I am sure it is not the same everywhere. On the other hand, I am lucky to be in a position that if ever I choose to find employment elsewhere, now that I have enough work experience under my belt, I will never take out my piercings or cover up a tattoo for a job ever again. Most importantly, I hope one day my son will never succumb to social pressure like I did. I hope he never should feel that he needs to change anything about who he is for the sake of fitting in. Especially with his peers at school! If he were to come home and tell me he was gay or transgendered or super conservative (you, know, as means to rebel against me), it would never be an issue with me. I would still love him.  It is sad that currently, these trivial things are top issues while the more important things such as world hunger are never a top priority. It seems like the world needs more love now then ever.


  1. Thank you so much for posting/reposting this! While my path has been different, everything you said rings true for me. I am so glad you found yourself again! :)

  2. Syl, this is a great post <3 At 37, I have come back to goth in terms of dress and makeup (never quit listening to music, reading, etc). Like you mentioned, even dressing normal didn't make me feel like I fit in because I knew I was not being myself and I was mostly bored when interacting with more "normal" people. And what you said here "I held my head up with pride. I was happy. I surrounded myself by like-minded, less toxic, more positive people. As an outsider, the non-goths would never guess this but these were the people that held me up. These were the people where I was able to converse with and actually enjoy talking to since I didn't have the usual boring conversations that centered around more mundane, boring subjects" basically sums up my experience as well. Last night I went to my first goth night since 2012. Everyone was so friendly, and being in that environment, dancing to my music just felt like I was home again. Anyway, thanks for sharing your inspiring story; I am childfree but I imagine the pressure to fit in as adult is much harder when you add being a parent on top it.



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