A lot has changed in the past year for me. I went from a full-time college student to a full time employee, traveling the world and dedicating myself to my industry and career. I read fewer horror and fantasy novels, focusing instead on nonfiction, history, and art publications. I wear less winged eyeliner and fewer ankhs (although, casualty of working in the art industry, I wear just as much black.) My music taste has expanded, my circle of friends has expanded even more.
When I choose to describe myself, Goth is never as high up on the list as it used to be. It's always "art dealer, traveler" first. I reflected on this recently while making a social media profile. One of my colleagues from work called me a Goth once and I actually kind of jumped, I don't think I'd ever mentioned it specifically to her.
People age with Goth differently. Some people, yes, grow out of it. It's not a shameful thing to do. Other people hold Goth near and dear to their heart well into their old age. I seem to be pitching my tend somewhere in the middle.
I started out in Goth in my younger teenage years. My mother has always loved alternative music, from metal to Goth, and I remember coming home from school and hearing her and my aunt listening to Bauhuas. I started exploring forums about Goths, always struck by how rude some of these older, crabby people were and how defensive they were about "their" subculture. Now as an adult, I think if I saw a thirty year old speak to a fourteen year old the way some of them did on those forums back in the day, I'd scream at them. I was a kid, in love with this incredible amazing subculture and shocked at how adults could act towards other people my age. I did a lot of lurking, not much interacting, and developed an ingrained anxiety about being seen as a poser.
I never had to "push" liking Goth things. For me, liking the music, the style, the literature, the decor, always came naturally. But as a younger Goth, I do think I had to try harder to suppress my love of other things for fear of being called a poser. I listened to only Goth music, ditched pretty much all my other clothes, and only enjoyed books that other Goths seemed to approve of.
Fast forward to August 2011, when I started this blog in my junior year of high school. I've done a lot of growing in the mean time, my confidence has grown in more areas than one. One of the main things I thought when I started this blog was that I would make sure the next generation of Goth teenagers knew that there was no such thing as being a poser, that they could enjoy Goth however they wanted to. I can't count the number of elitist e-mails I've gotten telling me I'm spoiling Goth, but they swiftly get deleted. Fuck that noise.
The most common question I get asked on this blog is "How do I be a Goth?" The answer is always Here is a list of Goth things. If you like some of them and want to call yourself a Goth, you're good to go. It's followed closely by "Can I still be Goth if..." insert whatever qualifier you care to name here. The answer is always yes.
Some might think that this post sounds an awful lot like "I'm leaving Goth." But that's not it at all. The fact is, the older I've gotten, the less I've worried about seeming Really Goth. For me now, Goth is an aspect of who I am rather than something I feel like I have to work at to appease anonymous fuckwits. ,And, that's made me enjoy it more than I have in a long time. When I let Bauhaus mingle in my iTunes with Adam Lambert, Postmodern Jukebox, Tool, or whatever else, I actually enjoy it more when my beloved Goth music comes on. I can dance harder, knowing that Goth is a part of me that I'll always love, and that I don't have to worry about being called a poser when I dance just as hard for Kongos.
Looking forward? Who knows. I do have some travel plans that include some incredible Gothy locals, and maybe as I move up I can incorporate more Gothy elements into my style, but I'm not going to force it. I'm content to be what this blog has always said I am--an everyday Goth.
Goth gets better the less you worry about it. Who knew?