I thought it would be fun to write about how I came to goth in my teens in spirit of my post about growing up in the suburbs of Montreal in the 90's
From a very young age, I knew I was not like most kids. I was nerdy and geeky. I got good grades in school and was picked on because I was kinda goofy looking and awkward. I remember playing pretend in the schoolyard with one of my friends. We used to scare the other kids because we pretended to be vampires or witches or werewolves and even came up with backstories behind the characters!
I also read a lot and was quite advanced despite learning to read and write in English on my own (with a lot of help from my sister) because I did most of my schooling in French. I remember reading Stephen King's IT and Bram Stoker's Dracula when I was in grade 6 (I was about 11 or 12) The adults back then helped me with it though. I was afraid to walk by a sewer for a week but fell in love with Stephen King. I totally ditched my RL Stine books after that! I also loved reading Dracula because it not only gave me an interest in vampires, it got me interested in history and how people lived back then. I think I originally wanted to read Dracula because my favourite TV show was "The Little Vampire". From what I have read online, this was a Canadian show that later aired in Germany.
|This is where I got the image|
My first year of High School was not pleasant. These three girls in particular made my life a living hell. I couldn't go anywhere without them pointing and laughing at me. They often shouted "freak" at me in the halls. I was a metal head back then too and because I didn't follow their stupid preppy trends, it only added to their bullying. My outfits consisted mainly of jeans, a plaid shirt (tied around my waist), a band shirt, and Doc Martens. I used to shave my hair in an undercut from time to time. Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, I became friends with this one girl that was in a different class from mine. She was very tall and slender but was quite a character. She was a tomboy and had a reputation for fighting. Funny enough, that trio of bitches kept the taunting or shouting "freak" to a minimum when this girl was around. I thought she was cool. I was pretty innocent and naïve back then. She swore like a motherfucker and had a wonderful sense of humour. She was a metal head too and we were both weirdos together and life was great. I was very grateful for her friendship because I was lonely and there were issues at home with my folks.
My second year of high school got better.I ditched the metal head style for grunge because Kurt Cobain was at the height of his popularity and it was right before his suicide (murder?) That style didn't last very long. I experimented with punk very briefly as I was infatuated with Sid Vicious. I decided to say fuck it and went with my own style for about a year or two. There was only so much I could do with a stupid school uniform (or so I thought) and I had the urge to express myself like most teens do. If I had to describe that style, I would say it was Cyndi Lauper meets grunge.
At that time, things at home got worse. My parents are old enough to be my grandparents and had no frigging clue on how to raise a rambunctious, angsty teenaged daughter. I wasn't bad, really. I normally got good grades, I just liked boys and well my overly religious father had a hard time with that. He also had a hard time accepting my style, the music I listened to (I used to buy Christian metal CDs but remove the CD and put Marilyn Manson in the case!) and some of the friends I had. My parents also had a hard time dealing with the fact that some of my friends were gay or weirdos and we constantly butt heads on their rules.
It also didn't help that I was extremely depressed and suicidal. Not only was I fighting with my first serious boyfriend, I was constantly butting heads with my folks as well. Things spiraled out of control. I attempted suicide and I was hospitalized. I used to cut myself and did all sorts of crazy shit that I am not very proud of today. While I was in the hospital, if I remember correctly it was a family member who handed me an Anne Rice novel and told me that I absolutely had to read it because I would love it.
When I came out of the hospital, things changed for me at home. My parents stopped being so strict, I had more freedom, they were more accepting towards who I dated (re:they kept their mouths shut more - not all the time but they were much less verbal about my choices ) and my dad finally accepted that his daughter wasn't going to be a good little Catholic girl. In fact, I even brought him to the local occult shop I used to hang out at all the time. He even allowed me to have an altar in my room.
By this time, I was about 17 years old. I was going downtown a lot and had my own style. Everyone around me called me goth but I didn't really know what it was. I used to wear all sorts of weird, badly done makeup and coloured my hair every week. I had a lot of cargo pants, DIY a lot of clothes, and just did my own thing. I guess the best way you could describe it would be a mixture of mallgoth, punk, and grunge. I looked really stupid and I am grateful for having no photographic evidence of this phase.
I remember running into this girl who lived not far from me. She was one of the Waste island goths but was rarely around because like the most of us, was always downtown. She was much older than me. She came over to my place one weekend to hang out. She gave me a proper under cut and sat me down. She gave me a mixed tape with all the artists and songs listed on a sheet of paper. She asked me if I was trying to be goth and I told her that I didn't know what Goth was and wasn't trying to be anything. She looked at me, smiled and said "trust me, you're goth. Now listen to this shit girl and get better clothes"
I indeed got better clothes and fell in love with the new bands my friend's mixed tape introduced me to. By my last year of high school, I started going to clubs and meeting new people. I remember my English teacher teaching us Macbeth and I got to read all the Witches and Lady Macbeth scenes out loud. He also handed me a complete works of Edgar Allan Poe book . I wondered why was he giving me more work? He told me to just read it and to trust him. I did and it opened up a whole new world for me.
As for my problems at home? My folks were more accepting of my goth style and I ended up catching up in school. My grades plummeted they year I was hospitalized. My graduating year, not only did I graduate with honors, I managed to do my final two years of high school in one year.
Despite growing up and having to tone it down in order to get a real job, there were times I went normal but always came back. Goth to me is not only about the music, it is the art, the literature, and having a dark disposition in life. It is who I am and it took many years to fully admit that not matter what I do or how hard I try, I cannot escape who I am. You can take the goth out of the girl but not the girl out of goth!
And this Darklings was my babybat years.