Hello there! As an introductory post this is somewhat unusual, I suppose, but I have a strong feeling that most of you reading this will know me from my older, Goth-oriented blog Stripy Tights and Dark Delights (or, as it was known once-upon-a-time, The Ultimate Goth Guide). It seems strange to be posting in a new place and introducing myself all over again, but as my interests have grown and changed it seemed unfair to dump new posts on top of followers who were looking for Goth-specific content alone.
Before I get started on regular(ish) blogstravaganzas, I thought I'd go straight for the nitty-gritty and talk about the changes that occured to make me reconsider my time as a Goth blogger.
Are you still a Goth?
Goth specifically? No. Dark culture is still something I hold dear, but the 'Goth' label began to feel a bit restricting, and I have branched out a little. I still consider myself very firmly 'alternative' and enjoy experimenting with varied subcultural fashions running the gamut from punk to Lolita. Although many areas of my life have a definite dark tinge, I don't generally call myself a Goth.
Was it just a phase?
I'm inclined to say no - hopefully that's not just my vanity talking! By some (or many?) people's standards, of course, I never quite made it as a 'real Goff', but being a black-clad spookster for the last six years certainly made a big impact on who I am as a person and how I saw the world. Whilst I may no longer always feel the need to wander around beclad in a melancholic darkness (not that I was ever particularly melancholy - nor were most of the Goths with whom I became friends), making the choice to visually express the parts of myself that rose to the fore through dark culture was comforting, cathartic, enjoyable, challenging and fun.
As long as the part of me that drew me to dark culture in the first instance remains, I will still thoroughly enjoy such cliche activities as hanging bats from my ceiling, stomping around in my New Rock boots, tearing up my fishnets and kicking back with a glass of absinthe. (Needless to say, my taste in music continues unchanged - although those guilty pleasures are no longer so guilty!) Which is why I don't personally look on my time as a devoted darkling as 'just a phase' - it was, and is, an enormous part of who I am, no matter how I do or do not dress.
I started to feel disillusioned with the Goth scene around January this year, and that feeling grew until I was definitely sure that Goth was no longer a label I wanted to apply to myself, to the point of giving up blogging and taking time off from the internet to evaluate who I really was (cheesy, I know!), how I wanted to express myself, and essentially, whether the life I was living was the right one for me.
For me, the trouble with belonging to a specific subculture is that I felt I had to live up to other people's expectations of what a proper Goth should be if I wanted to 'earn' the label, which after a while felt limiting and uncomfortable. I learned that I prefer a more fluid, general descriptor like 'alternative', because there were things outside even the most vague boundaries of dark fashion drawing my attention, and I didn't want to just shut off the side of myself that wanted to (for example) wear florals and no make-up.
As I blogged back in March, "Long-time readers will know that crimping personal tastes to fit labels is certainly not what I'm about and never will be. I was reminded of those slightly awkward adolescent years when I tried to buy the 'right' clothes to impress the 'right' people, and something inside me rebelled against the idea of reliving a time when I didn't feel good enough to be accepted for who I was. The Goth label had begun to feel a bit redundant; I still loved most things about the fashion, music and culture but I no longer felt sure that the tag applied to me. I liked having the freedom to experiment with fashion, the quirkier the better, and experience different styles and genres of music without feeling like a fraud for calling myself a Goth."
I spent most of this year ricocheting between trying to reconcile my darker tastes with my newfound appreciation for other styles, and trying to shoehorn myself back into the Goth box (now there's an image!). For many people, Goth is more than a fleeting event in their lives - it works with most parts of their identity and fits them like a second skin. For me, sadly, it became only a smaller part of a larger whole.
What will you be blogging about now?
Oh, Goth stuff... ;-)
Well, yes, probably, some of that. Once dark culture has a hold on you, it never fully lets go! However, I don't intent to tout myself as a Gothy expert - simply what I am, an enthusiast and appreciator of that style and subculture.
I don't expect this blog to achieve the success that The Ultimate Goth Guide once did (more by luck than judgement), and I'd like to offer a huge thank you to everyone who came along for the ride and who gave their support. <3 If any of you do choose to stick around, that would be delightful, and I look forward to sharing my journey with all of you!
Many hugs and sparkly bats!