''How Do I Become a Goth?''
Beginning a new chapter of life can be daunting for anyone and because of this I often receive messages from those who are interested in finding their way into the Goth scene but are completely unsure of where to begin.
In my experience there are three very different types of people who will ask this hugely popular question of ''How do I become Goth?''. Firstly, we of course have the genuine individuals who are simply seeking advice on how best to get involved and where best to shop etc. The reason they feel the need to ask others is usually because they don't know anyone else who can guide them or they perhaps weren't granted the creative freedom to experiment when they were growing up.
For some people though, it doesn't seem to be a case of ''This is who I truly am but I don't know how to show it'', it is more of a way for them to rebel against societal and parental standards of who they should be. It is usually this defiance that perpetuates the negative and disapproving attitudes that the majority of people outside of the alternative subcultures hold.
Lastly and what I find to be the most upsetting, is those people who are so desperate for a sense of belonging that they force themselves to become Goth or anything else that is not who they truly are. This group is usually made up of impressionable young people who are struggling to make friends by being comfortable in their own skin.
For this reason I am always very wary when responding to this kind of question as I don't want anyone to partake in the very stereotypes that have created so many issues for everyone in the community. Most importantly though, I don't want to encourage people to defy who they truly are in order to fit into a certain group. Despite this, I am going to try and use this article to offer advice to those who fit into the first category.
Where to Start?
Some of those who are part of the subculture will frequently get into overly-heated debates regarding what they believe the most important feature of being a Goth is. Where some will claim that it is the music, others will fight for the freedom of fashion and in the end nothing is really ever cleared up for newcomers.
In my opinion everyone is entitled to their own views on the matter, though I do believe that it is important to at least learn the history before coming to your own conclusions about what you find the most important aspect is and so that is where I would suggest you begin.
What Kind of Goth Are You?
Over the years as the Goth subculture has grown, so too have the different variations ,some of which are completely unrecognisable from the the original Trad Goths. Due to these newer arrivals such as Nu Goth and Pastel Goth, there has been a lot of controversy and division created over which ones can be classed as ''True Goths.''
If you feel particularly attached to one style of Goth then this is of course what you will base your clothing off of. Some people however, decide not to select just one Goth style and prefer to combine a mix of their favourite fashions to create something that expresses them more as an individual. Others may go through phases of different Goth styles depending on their mood or what stage they are at in life. It is perfectly okay no matter which of these categories that you fall into.
The internet makes it much easier to research and discover Gothic music artists of which there are many, very fantastic ones. You will probably have already heard of the more famous ones like Bauhaus, The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees but there are a lot more out there for you, one of my favourites being Jack Off Jill (featured above) who sadly aren't that well known despite their immense talents.
Sadly, there is a major misconception thrown around that to be part of the subculture you can only ever listen to Goth music and nothing else. This is completely untrue and this mindset is what causes a lot of problems.
While it is good to appreciate the music, it doesn't necessarily mean you have to love it or make it the sole thing you listen to. There is no need to give up all the music you already love and that goes for everything else in your life. You are still an individual with your own thoughts, feeling and preferences.
Makeup and Finding Clothes
A lot of people find filling their wardrobe with Gothic attire to be a very overwhelming and costly experience but it doesn't have to be that way.
In another of my articles ''Goth Wardrobe on a Budget'' I show you some very affordable and easily accessible alternatives to shopping at large Goth brand stores. Even the simplest of clothing items if styled and accessorised correctly can become amazing Gothic statement pieces.
Of course when it comes to makeup it is completely down to you if you want to wear it or not, but if you do, then searching online can help with you to get inspired. Many YouTubers and Instagram users have detailed and easy to follow tutorials available and even those which are not necessarily angled towards Goths can be very helpful for those just starting out.
There is no initiation process to being a Goth and no one can tell you that you aren't doing it the right way. Be creative, be yourself, experiment and have fun.
As always I hope that you have found this post helpful and If you have any experiences with becoming Goth or any idols you are inspired by that you would like to share then I would love to hear about them in the comments section.