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.
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