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Alternative in a Mainstream Society

Updated on January 23, 2016
social thoughts profile image

I have a B.A. in English with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. I have been a goth since I was fourteen, and pagan since fifteen.

Why choose a natural look when you can choose multiple colors?
Why choose a natural look when you can choose multiple colors? | Source

As a long-term Goth, I am not comfortable wearing subtle makeup. My personal favorite eye shadow color is a blue-violet. Yes, I love red lipstick. When I go to interviews, however, I wear as natural-looking makeup as possible. I am not dressing for me nor am I comfortable, yet I do it because it's what is expected.

I am an artist. When my makeup looks like that, I feel someone has torn my tools and canvas away, commanding, "Look like everyone else!" Well, excuse me, corporate world, how does my dressing gothy ruin your business? My artistic personality makes it easier for me to function rather than having a severe mental blockage. You can guarantee that this style of dress you prefer will first make the interview more awkward and, if you do hire me, slow my progress in your company.

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Why be Alternative?

After years of ridiculous questions and unprovoked looks, I have learned that those who question alternative people are afraid to be themselves because of the judgments by others who are afraid to be themselves. It's a cycle. They have been taught to hold everything in. How does one do that? That has always been my question. I know everyone wants to be themselves. How can anyone live a healthy life following what others expect? No one really wants to live according to another's agenda. We would be happier people if we did what was right for us. Why did I choose to be alternative? The real question is "Why did I choose to be myself?" I have no desire to be someone else.

From R&B to Vampires

In August of 2001, I was devastated to learn of Aaliyah's death, and wanted to see Queen of the Damned for my birthday in January, even if it would not be released for another month. I was not yet a Goth, and vampires scared me, but I loved the film. My brother's previous influence of metal music combined with the amazing makeup witnessed made me fall in love with The Vampire Chronicles. Of course, my brother was always a fan of Anne Rice, and did not like the film as a portrayal of the book, any more than other die hard fans, but it inspired me to read the real series. After I began reading, I was hooked. Anne Rice became my favorite author and still is to this day.

Musical Inspiration

The Queen of the Damned soundtrack is the one thing many agree is decent, even those who loathe the film. It features beloved vocal artists such as Jonathan Davis, Jay Gordon, and Chester Bennington to name a few. I remembered there was a song I had not recognized, but loved. One day, I asked my brother if he knew what it was. It turned out a friend's girlfriend was a big fan. The last song of the film is "Before I'm Dead" by Kidneythieves. The voice is unique with haunting lyrics backed by intense intrumentals. I still credit them as a major influence on my style and undying love for the subculture, today. By the following summer, I was experimenting with Goth styles, and wearing only black. I entered my Freshmen year of high school in 2002 a Baby Bat.

Positive Responses from Society

One interaction in homeroom stays with me. I had made dots below my eyebrows with my liquid eyeliner because I always loved seeing it on other Goths. A so-called preppy classmate was sitting near me and paid me a compliment because of it. She told me how nice it looked, and how she wished she could do that. I wanted to ask, "So, why don't you?" It puzzles me why anyone wouldn't wear what they want to wear if it doesn't harm anyone and makes them happy.

From sixth grade to senior year, I walked to school a short distance. I dealt with traffic and was never hit by a car. I endured the frustration of waiting for all of the cars, mostly owned by spoiled teenagers who felt it necessary to drive to school just to show off their new automobiles. One afternoon, I saw a freshmen neighbor looking timid about crossing the street with so many cars zooming by. I waited for her on the other side of the road and walked home with her. We didn't really talk. We just smiled at each other. A few days later, my mom told me that her mom greatly appreciated that I had made sure her daughter was safe. Sure, I may dress in black and embrace the dark side, but damn it, I care about others! Perhaps, from then on, that family will view Goths in a positive light.

A sarcastic door sign.
A sarcastic door sign. | Source

Negative Responses

I could rehash negative responses as a Goth from over eleven years. Yes, I have been called a "devil worshiper." How cliché! I have been asked if I slit my wrists. I'd rather yawn! I will share a little story. I was (lighter than my natural) blonde for about three years, and had purple streaks for a few months. In 2013, I was in line at JCPenney to buy my mom a gift. The woman in front of me complimented my hair. Then, she noticed my streaks and asked, "Why did you ruin it with pink?" The comment no longer makes me angry, but those moments make me wonder how infrequently people think. Firstly, it's purple, not pink, and my hair. Secondly, I'm a stranger. Thirdly, she's ignorant of the fact I am a loving daughter. Need I say more? I didn't respond.

Ideal Society

A YouTuber by the name of It's Black Friday did "My 10 UnGoth Confessions!" She enjoys being nice to those who aren't alternative because it shocks those who expect us to be mean: "...be really nice to them. They'll never see it coming." I have always been similar. I enjoy surprising those who assume all Goths are cruel or rude by being friendly and smiley.

© 2016 social thoughts

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  • lawrence01 profile image

    Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

    The lifestyle here is pretty relaxed.

  • social thoughts profile image
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    social thoughts 16 months ago from New Jersey

    Lawrence,

    That's it! I'm moving to New Zealand!

    Wait! Then, I won't be "alternative," anymore. It would be like I'm trying to fit in, unintentionally. I better rethink this!

    Haha In all seriousness, thank you! You're very sweet, and that sounds fascinating!

    I appreciate your kind words. :)

  • lawrence01 profile image

    Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

    Social

    If you wear black then you'd fit right in here in New Zealand! It's the national colour and everyone wears it all the time!

    We don't see that many 'Goths' here, but everyone tends to do their own thing anyway! Walk into a church and not a suit will be in sight, but you'll see loads of Sweatshirts (Black ones) shorts and Jandals!!!

    Keep up the 'being yourself' it sounds great and it's what we're meant to be.

    Lawrence

  • social thoughts profile image
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    social thoughts 16 months ago from New Jersey

    Bill,

    Your comment cracked me up! You're so kind. Thank you. Same to you!

  • social thoughts profile image
    Author

    social thoughts 16 months ago from New Jersey

    Michaela,

    Yay! I am pleased to learn that you love them, too! Most Goths I have met know of them, but rarely list them as a favorite or significant influence.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

    You know how I feel....no reason to repeat. If you change I will stop being your friend....kidding, but I think you get the point.

  • Michaela Osiecki profile image

    Michaela 16 months ago from USA

    Wow, another person who's a fan of Kidneythieves! I hardly ever meet anyone who's even heard of them and I have most of their albums!

  • social thoughts profile image
    Author

    social thoughts 16 months ago from New Jersey

    Thank you, Jodah. Good for you, too. :) My mom and my aunt have always been like hippies, as well; except, they love darker things, too. It's always a pleasure to attract energy from people like yourself.

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 16 months ago from Queensland Australia

    Good for you social thoughts, keep being yourself. You would think that would be easier than putting on a false face to please society..but unfortunately it isn't. I have always been a little bit alternative leaning towards the hippy side of things, not so much in the way I dress, but in my lifestyle and where I live. I never judge anyone on their appearance. More people should just be themselves, live and let live and the world will be a happier place.

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