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Monday, 6 December 2010

Your life, your choices

Readers of my old Piczo site may be familiar with my rants... I was a little unsure about re-posting them here, as re-hashing the whole 'we're soooo misunderstood' theme is beginning to smack of teen angst. But the old rants were popular and received some great responses, so as you may have guessed I'm going to risk it. This particular rant is especially heavy on the angst, but I still feel that the basic points are valid - if you want someone to grow up confident and well-adjusted, stop putting them down.

Source: Tumblr
I received dozens upon dozens of messages on my old site which went something along the lines of "My parents don't want me to be a Goth because they think it's weird/evil/bad/Satanic/whatever." After a while, this started to seriously wind me up. Since when does somebody else - anybody else - have the right to decide how another person should dress and choose to live their life? Your family love you and only want the best for you - but how can they know what's best for you if they're not willing to understand you, to listen to your side of the story?

When are you allowed to make your own choices? How is insulting your dress sense, your music, your piercings or the colour you've dyed your hair going to help you grow into a well-rounded adult? All it's going to do is take away the feelings of trust and faith that you had in them, because they're not listening to your thoughts or trying to understand WHY you've chosen to dress this way. All it's going to do is make hurt you, make you feel alienated, as though your choices and feelings have ceased to matter.

It frustrates me when I have advised people to talk to their families and they tell me that their families won't listen. How are you supposed to have a strong relationship with your parents (or whoever) if they won't listen to how you feel? I know, I know - they feel threatened because you're not going to look like their sweet, innocent little child any more - but I can't understand how they can feel that how you look and who you are is THEIR choice and not yours!

It gets worse when these family members start with the insults. I had to put up with a load of crap when I started dressing Goth - "You've ruined your looks! You used to be so pretty!" "Where's your broomstick?" and my personal favourite, "Let me take a photo so that in five years' time you can laugh at how stupid you look!" Well, guys, it's nearly been five years, and I'm not laughing yet...

When I was sixteen-ish, a friend of mine who was also into Goth invited me over to her house. We were chatting in the kitchen when her dad came in, and went straight into a tirade at her ("What are you wearing? Get that shit off your face! Goths are trouble! You look like a fucking freak show!") until she was in floods of tears, successfully making himself look rude, ignorant and intolerant by choosing to speak to his daughter that way in front of a stranger (me). Her make-up was simple and tasteful, her clothes were not offensive or revealing, and the most 'trouble' we had gotten into that day was ordering extra cream with our hot chocolates. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather my children grew up creative and open-minded than foul-mouthed and bigoted.

Surely our families should be pleased that we have enough self-confidence to re-invent ourselves the way we'd like to be and stand out from the herd? That we're creative enough to have our own style? How can these people who love their children so much not realise it hurts when they're putting them down?

In a nutshell - you can't choose someone else's path. Be proud of your Goth kidlings and stop showering them with insults. Maybe it's just a phase - and if not, you need to learn to accept them for who they are and how they've chosen to be. Don't judge the Goth subculture until you have at least attempted to understand it - just because your child has chosen to become Goth doesn't mean they're going to be 'bad', antisocial, deviant or delinquent.

Listening to: Dragonfly - The Cruxshadows

6 comments:

MissGracie said...

I was lucky enough that my parents didn't mind when I got into Goth fashion. My mom bought my school clothes from Hot Topic and weird CDs for Christmas with out batting an eyelash. She still is a wee bit uncomfortable going in public with me when I am really dressed up, lol. She says I look like I am from the circus, which is a compliment. My dad never really cared either, but during a time I was kind of acting out he threatened to take away my clothes, but I started doing better in school and he realized the way I dress was not responsible for my behavior. My current roommate lived with her grandparents and they wouldn't let her dress up, she is getting back into wearing lovely clothes, but she is still a much more casual, practical person than I am!

Brandi Davis said...

I suppose that I'm fairly lucky in the whole "parents vs kids" war. My mother says it's a phase, and my father gets frustrated that almost all I ever buy from the nearest mall is black clothing, but other than that, they're okay. I definitely feel sorry for those who aren't as fortunate as I am, of course.

Anonymous said...

My parents don't mind what we are into as long as we're happy. Creepy kinda runs in the family. My nan (on my dad's side) loves witches and vampires. I had a friend who said my family is creepy in a good way.
It's kinda sad to see parents not wanting their kids to express themselves. I was said to be lucky that my parents don't mind it.

Batty Maddy said...

My mom didn't mind at all when I started getting more into goth fashion. She never cared that I dyed my hair all sorts of colors (back in my mallgoth days) or wanted piercings (I only got a couple). She's just fine with any sort of fashion (as long as it's not too revealing with my younger sisters) or hair dying or styles that we want to get into. As long as we're all not out doing drugs and getting into trouble and doing good in school (applies to younger sister only now) she's fine and happy with whatever we want. My grandma on my step dad's side is a little uneasy about it, though. She's not used to seeing things like goth haha

~† Nanna †~ said...

I'm not totally goth, but the goth is my favourite culture. I discoverede the goth when I'm was 12. In the exact time, I identified myself and felt in my soul that was what I wanted for myself. I can't explain how I love the goth culture. And I'm sure my parents think the goth is a evil/bad/s*tanic/weird thing [Detail: today I'm 18!!!]... I want to express myself since I'm 12/13, but I'm afraid of my parents and the other people, beacuse of the violence. My country [Brazil] is a liitle bit violent, many people don't respect the others... >.< Now I'm buying my own clothes and I'm afraid of it too. [Hey, sorry for my bad english! T.T]

Anonymous said...

I'm super lucky to have really tolerant parents. They tease me quite a bit, but it's good, silly, friendly teasing. My mom is pretty much just fine with what I wear. I think she's a little sad she can't buy pretty colorful clothes for me anymore, but she understands my urge to be different. My Dad's fine with anything I wear as long as it's not a skirt. If I wear a skirt he'll be all like, "No, don't become all girly on us! Next thing we now you'll want to go to the mall, and wear lipstick, and eyeshadow..." Oh, that's the other thing, they don't let me wear make-up. At all. But it's pretty much all cool. They'll let me in time...

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