How I went Goth

May 22nd is World Goth Day so I’ll celebrate it by rambling on about my past and how I may or may not be goth.

Let me start from the beginning…

Back in my teenage years, I used to be quirky and happy and weird. My usual attire was a T-shirt and jeans, paired with a sweatshirt in the winter months. I wasn’t picky when it came to music, and was willing to listen to just about anything. And some of the kids who hung around my core friend group could be described as goth. I wasn’t close to any of them aside from friendly hellos, but deep down, I liked their fashion choices.

There was this girl I used to call my best friend though. She called herself goth. I’m not going to get into our whole history, but basically we were friends in middle school, kept in touch throughout high school, and ended up going to the same college. Her favorite pastimes included burning me mix CDs of her favorite music. While many people would say most of the bands she listened to weren’t technically goth, they were definitely “goth-friendly.” She was determined to get me into them.

And she succeeded. I liked a lot of the songs, and put them on my iPod. And listened to them on my way to school, and when making art in my art classes. I still listened to my usual hodgepodge of music genres, but now had these bands added in. The 69 Eyes, Nightwish, HIM, Within Temptation, Kerli, and others I can’t think of at the moment.

Fast forward two years later. I was taking a drawing class. And the teacher wanted our final project to be a series of three drawings that tied together somehow. I forget the exact requirements. But I remember the idea I immediately came up with.

A series of gothic-like drawings that all took place in a cemetery. Weeping angels, crows, skulls, the whole lot. In black charcoal. It was going to be so bad-ass. And so I worked on it.

Now picture this.  Happy, bubbly me sitting in the classroom. Wearing a white hoodie paired with pale blue jeans and sneakers. No makeup. Hair tied back in a basic ponytail. And what am I drawing? A crow chilling on top of a human skull next to a headstone. And I’m listening to The 69 Eyes for inspiration. That’s when it hit me.

What the bloody fuck was I doing listening to goth music while drawing a series of gothic imagery while being very obviously not goth? What were people going to think when it was time for me to present my masterpiece to the entire class? What was I thinking???

I was thinking that crows, skulls, and weeping angels were rad as hell. Along with the music I was listening to.

Afterwards, I went to my then best friend to tell her all of this and it made her very happy. One thing led to another, and next thing I knew, I was buying studded belts, fishnet gloves, and dragon necklaces. That summer, I spent a lot of time on Myspace discovering new bands (which goes to show you how long ago this was). Though none of the ones I loved were technically goth. I was gravitating towards industrial and symphonic metal. Bands like Deathstars and Rammstein and Sirenia and Xandria. I went back to school a new woman.

I dressed in gothic accessories and black eyeliner religiously for nearly two years but slowly stopped for a variety of reasons. But now, ten years later, I have a sudden interest in doing so again. I’d rather not scare all my coworkers, so I’m slowly incorporating the eyeliner, dark colors, and belt into my daily attire. I’ll add in necklaces later, starting with tame ones. Unfortunately, I’ll be leaving the fishnets at home…

That aside, I’m not sure what to call myself. I absolutely love the style and overall aesthetic. But a big part of being goth is listening to actual goth bands. And the only “real” goth band I listen to is The 69 Eyes. Along with some songs from other goth bands. My favorite bands are either classified as industrial or symphonic metal. Though I wouldn’t call myself a metalhead for the same reason I’m hesitant to call myself goth. But if someone who didn’t know me, saw me when I’m dressed up, they’d probably think I’m some sort of goth. Or up to no good. Or both. If I ended up at a goth meetup, I’d probably be able to fit in. I know enough to get away with calling myself that anyway. All in all, it probably depends on who you talk to. I’m not going to stress over it. I’ll just go with the flow like I do with everything else.

But if symphonic metalheads are a thing, I’m calling myself that. Maybe I’ll call myself that regardless.

As for what happened when I presented my gothic masterpiece? The teacher actually asked how someone like me drew something like that. I kid you not. I ended up explaining that, though I didn’t look it, I thought gothic things are cool. A few people laughed, and it ended at that. I just wish I could find those drawings, but I had gotten rid of a lot of drawings I made, and those must’ve been part of what I got rid of. And I could’ve sworn I had kept digital pictures of them stored away somewhere, but I’ve checked all my spare USB sticks and portable hard drive. They’re gone for all eternity. Like my soul…

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