For myself personally, I use the goth label to describe myself because I love everything about the subculture. It has been part of who I am for most of my life. If you identify with goth for whatever reason (I am not getting into THAT debate here) I don't think being a parent should stop you. It was only until I started this blog that I truly realized that so many of us made motherhood our sole identity and so many of us have given up the goth lifestyle because we became parents.
I learned the hard way that you can be a mom but you can also be yourself too. Being goth or a parent should be an extension of yourself, not your entire identity! You shouldn't have to give up the things you enjoy because you created an offspring. I don't remember exactly how it happened for me. I went normal for brief periods (jobs) but always came back. Usually, I wore color in the first three months and slowly introduced things into my work clothes. If I were to pinpoint exactly when I completely went normal, I would say 2007. I got engaged and wanted so much to be accepted by my husband's family. I was also at a cross roads job wise and wanted something stable. I also desperately wanted a family. I never realized that I fully went normal.
I never really wrote here about what happened when I first got married. I don't want to go into details out of respect for my husband but let's just say that while my family has its dynamics, his side did not comprehend the fact that we married each other. I married Jay, not them. I tried very hard to be part of that family but I don't think they ever fully accepted me and I think they didn't like that Jay had responsibility to me - not them. Jay and I always put each other first and took this seriously when we married each other. We wanted to build a life together. We wanted them in it but we were not going to do it under their terms. As a result, despite making several attempts (usually it was me trying to convince him to see them) we had to end some pretty toxic relationships. It sucks that it happened but I am glad it happened before we had any kids. We also learned how to set up boundaries with people, something we never really did before and this has served some purpose later in life. I also wrote here about my miscarriage, I wrote about how hard things were in the beginning after Philip was born and to top it all off, I had post partum depression!
I think part of me went normal was due to the depression. I obviously went through a lot of shit in such a short period of time. I also felt like it was easier for me to be accepted by no longer dressing goth. I wanted to follow the masses because I needed to find a job during the beginning of a recession. I wanted to get along with coworkers. I wanted acceptance from everyone around me. This made me more depressed because I got the acceptance at a cost. You see, people started coming out of the woodwork because "now that you look normal, I want to hang out with you" was the excuse I received so I never let anyone new see me for who I really was. The non-superficial people who did actually took an interest in me and got to know me, often commented that I was a goth or I reminded them of a goth friend they had.
I also noticed that once I began to feel happier and started to actually listen to music again, my choice of music was always goth music. I still listen to some metal and classic rock but my go-to bands are always the ones that are associated with the Goth subculture.
Finally one day, something in me snapped. I said "fuck it" and I went shopping at the local goth stores. I bought black hair dye and I coloured my hair. I felt like I was a teenager again rebelling against my parents! I also felt like me again and despite the very dark clothing, I was happy. Voltaire coined it best "I am a Jedi in Sith clothing" and I think that is the best way to describe myself.
So yes, I will say this a million times over if necessary. I believe that as long as you don't neglect your kids, you shouldn't have to feel like you need to stop doing things or dressing the way you like (unless its dangerous or illegal or there is a strict corporate dress code but even at that, I found ways around it) because you have kids. My son has seen all sorts of people already. He knows all sorts of people and he tells me he likes the goth people the most because they are the most fun to be around with. He already accepts people for their visible differences. Some parents are going to be assholes to you. You may have some issues with the school (I did and I will get to that, stay tuned) but as long as YOU are a GREAT parent who loves your kid(s) the way you look has NOTHING to do with it. Philip already sees that some people can be assholes and is equipped to deal with that sort of thing. In fact, it sets a positive message:My mom is weird and doesn't care! That I can deal with difficult people with grace, class, and get my point across without being aggressive is definitely a valuable life lesson for him.
I guess getting these emails makes me sad because I look back at who I was back then and my heart goes out to these parents. I recall feeling very alone back then and now I want to reach out and say "you are not alone. I was there and if I can get through it, so can you. Parenting is hard enough as it is. You shouldn't have to sacrifice yourself or to stop enjoy doing things you enjoy doing" I don't go out often but I do. I was Sylvie before I became a mom and I should be allowed to be Sylvie too. Being a mom is part of who I am not my whole entire identity!