Monday, 30 May 2011

10 things I wish someone had told me when I was a babybat

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Source: Google
This post is inspired by a Juliet's Lace post that I linked to in my first blog round-up post (which I'm glad everyone liked, by the way!). I mentioned that I thought of her post as 'things I wish someone had told me when I was a floundering babybat', so this morning I figured, why not do a post on exactly that!
  1. Wearing something other than black won't kill you. Or get you banned from the Goth club. One of my first acts upon deciding to 'go Goth' was to exorcise every single non-black item of clothing from my wardrobe. It took a while to weed everything out whilst still retaining a functional wardrobe, but boy was I determined. This... is not necessary. Whilst, yes, there may be some items in your wardrobe that simply will not work with a Goth aesthetic, no matter how much you customise them, there are plenty that will, and they need not be black. If you have a browse through just this site for starters, you will come across dozens of pictures of spectacular Gothy outfits involving plenty of colour, whether as an accent or the main theme.
  2. Other Goths are not scary creatures that need to be impressed. They are just people, like you. To be honest, I have not long since got past the stage of being intimidated by my fellow Goths; even when I joined Blogger, I was very shy of extremely well-dressed, talented people like The Green Fairy, OpiateVampire and Miss Gracie. In my younger years I was very nervous, especially when attending clubs and concerts, that someone would point and shout out, "Hey, you're not a real Goth, you're a normal person in disguise!" and would spend ages stressing about what to wear, how to dance, etc, in order to make a favourable impression on my fellow clubgoers. Only recently did I twig on that, despite the supposed bitchiness and snarking within the Goth scene, a Goth club is, basically, a room full of people enjoying themselves, dressing to please themselves and not giving a monkey's armpit about the sartorial opinions of anyone else in the room. So it doesn't actually matter what you choose to wear, as long as YOU are happy and comfortable in it. Yes, there is bitching, because Goths tend to gossip in the manner of little old ladies, and yes, you will find assholes everywhere, but the people worth bothering with are the ones who don't care what anybody else thinks of what they're wearing or whether or not the other clubgoers think they're a 'real Goth'. I THINK that made sense.
  3. If your friends don't want to be your friends once you've started dressing differently, they were never really your friends. One of my best guy friends was a real fashion victim, and couldn't bear to be seen with me after I started dressing Goth. Nowadays, if I say hello to him on the bus, I get completely blanked. So I've stopped bothering; I have a lovely group of friends who I know would still be my friends if tomorrow I decided I was going to shave my head and start dressing like the Bay City Rollers (although they would probably worry). Having your friends turn on you over a matter so small as clothing is very upsetting and frustrating at the time, but it's a quick and easy way to find out who's still worth your time and friendship. It's their loss, not yours.
  4. You can still have non-Gothy interests. We are people, not members of a hivemind. Plus, if you can accept a bit of stereotyping, us darkly-inclined types are supposed to be intelligent and creative also. Why would a creative person allow themselves to be shoehorned into a jelly mould (is that a mixed metaphor)? The whole point of self-expression is exactly that - expressing yourself. If you love playing football, watching Glee, listening to Ashlee Simpson (guilty) or other activities or interests that would make other Goths gag, who cares? You shouldn't. And probably no one else will either (except the occasional Gother-than-thou elitist, but no one likes them anyway) so roll with it. There's no need to sacrifice other interests or aspects of your personality to be a Goth. We all have our guilty pleasures and interests outside of the Goth scene, honest.
  5. Laziness can ruin an outfit. Even now, online, I see a lot of beautiful outfits spoiled by boring or badly-applied make-up, accessories that don't work, or simply lack of attention to detail. Some fabrics don't look nice next to each other because of subtle differences in shade and texture - this one caught me out a lot. We all go through a learning curve when we begin to experiment with Goth fashion; don't get stuck in a sartorial rut through laziness.
  6. DIY doesn't have to be difficult. I avoided DIY for years because I didn't want to do a bodge job, and because (get this!) I thought brand name stuff bought from alt shops was 'more Goth'. Moving on swiftly. Often, T-shirts can be an unflattering length or shape - but this is so easy to alter, don't put up with it! (T-shirt makeovers tutorial coming soon...) Safety-pins, badges, lace trim etc can really change the appearance of a garment and make a real difference to your outfit.
  7. Brand names do not make you 'more Goth'. Actually, one of the 'signs' that someone has been in the scene for a reasonable amount of time is being able to create stylishly dark outfits through thrifting, DIY and even mainstream stores. Mix-and-matching brand name items doesn't hurt, but you don't have to buy your entire wardrobe from Hell Bunny (or similar).
  8. You ARE a 'real Goth'. I don't know if others had a long-lasting phase, as I did, of feeling insecure in their Goth identity and worrying that they might not be a 'real Goth'. But basically, in case you're uncertain, a real Goth - a) enjoys some 'real' Goth music (amongst other genres, yes you can still like rock, metal, trance, techno, pop, or whatever else floats your boat, even hip-hop. Click on my 'music' tag in the sidebar to find out some more about what constitutes Goth music if you are unsure) b) is likely to have an interest in dark, Goth or alternative fashion. Of course, Goth encompasses more than simply music and fashion, so again I encourage new Gothlings to have a browse through the archives to learn some more about the ins and outs of this fascinating subculture... but if the music and (to a slightly lesser extent) the fashion are of interest to you, and you want to be part of the scene, then YES, you are a 'real Goth'.  
  9. Being Goth doesn't mean that everyone is against you. Yes, people may stare and even point, but quite often what they have to say to or about you will be nice or even encouraging.
  10. There is so much in the world of dark, alternative fashion and culture to explore and experiment with; unless you really want to, there is no need to limit yourself to one look, subset, or music genre. Keep an open mind to new things.
Speaking of new things, visit Russian darkwave band Stillife's page to grab a handful of free downloads! My favourite is Remember Me (Rosary Mix).

P.S. Some people have been sending me messages through Google Friend Connect - unfortunately I can't receive these as they go to an incorrect e-mail address and I haven't yet figured out how to change it. Please feel free to leave a comment, or leave me your e-mail address and I will get in touch. Thanks. ^^


Kitty Lovett; A Charming Notion said...

To mention that horrible ex of mine, he used to go on about how I wasn't a real goth because I'm such a budget goth and because I buy from any shop that has stuff that appeals to me. I'm a "bad goth" because I'm not into goth rave techno and getting totally wasted every day of the week.

If I'm "not a real goth" so be it. I don't care what other people think.

Anonymous said...

Hear hear!

Kitty Lovett; A Charming Notion said...

I have several cats, most of which are ginger. That's, like, anti-goth. I have a grey kitty, though. She keeps trying to eat gravy.

Dirgesinger said...

Nr. 3. What a learning experience it was to learn that...

Stephanie said...

Good post! I've dealt with the "gother-than-thou" types. Usually, they're the ones pretending. ;D

Either way, you rock, yet again.

Maeam said...

Applause, applause! I'm planning on buying clothes through the dark Etsy community as well as name brands, mainstream stores and thrift stores. Already found some very good finds in thrift and mainstream.

Angel of Darkness said...

Oh yes, how I wish I would have known all that when going goth.

Tenebris In Lux said...

I can definitely relate to the first one. Aye .. once I knew I was going Goth, I purged my wardrobe! Bad, bad mistake .. and I regret it four years later :-P

HattersMadGirl said...

This post is so encouraging, I say "thanks" to you once again- your blog is inspiring and just "straight to the point"... I wish other people than "us" goths would read this too. (and yes... I guess I am now goth? Surprisingly. Haha.)

Sal Kaye - Still Dark @ Heart said...

Great article!
I very much enjoyed reading it.

Honestly, I don't think these topics apply to babybats only.
Take me, for example: I'm a 30 years old "used-to-be-Goth" person with a busy work-life. I can't goth-up all the way I'd like to - my clothing has to be work-appripriate all the time. On some days I simply don't manage to add something dark to my outfit. On these days I still wonder "Am I a real Goth?". Even people my age need to read encouraging posts like this one from time to time. ;)

Hayley said...

Thanks so much for the advice! I really should stop being lazy with my makeup...
Although, I'm wondering, is a "babybat" considered any goth under 18?

Saskia said...

I think I've had every one of those doubts at some point. The one about friends is sad, but true. I've lost 'friends' too because I started dressing differently.
Great post!

purplepumpkin said...

Thank you for this. Number 8 was actually refreshing to hear. I get told all the time that I'm not goth because I wear color, but that's not always the case. I really enjoy your blog, keep posting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy Im 12 (turrning 13 in a few days) and I`ve been going on this site looking for something like this. To help me with something and this helps alot thank you. And I just want to say I really enjoy your site and so does my friend. So thank you so much for making this and the rest of your pages! <3

cam. said...

Great post.
I enjoy your blog a lot. :)

RubyAlison said...

I just want to leave a comment to say that this blog has quickly become one of my very favorites and I really look forward to your posts, and much enjoy going through the old one's in the mean time.
Best dark wishes, RubyAlison

Anonymous said...

Hi! I've just discovered this blog and, as a thirteen-year-old babybat, this reasures me very much. I do have one question, though. My sister is two years older than me and she claims to have "started going goth" before me, which, I'll be honest, is almost true. She did start wearing darker colours before me and claimed to be goth even though she would just be wearing a black t-shirt and jeans (that was the case back-then). Of course, she evolved over the years and became more of a goth after a while (shes still a babybat though...) Later on, I was inspired by this and decided to go goth. But, she kept accusing me of "copying" her. However, that was not my intention. Even to this day (about two years after I started going goth, and let's agree that for the first year-and-three-quarters I wasn't exactly anywhere near goth, yet neither was she...) she still accuses me of copying her whenever she gets the opportunity, and let's just say she isn't too polite about it. I would almost dare say that she's been bullying me.
Now, she's been getting worst, and getting cocky about it. She's being the typical mallgoth and whatever you've listed on you're blog as non-goth.
Below I listed a few things that she does:
Telling me that I'm not a goth.
Telling me what I should and shouldn't wear.
Constantly telling me how ugly I am and how I don't dress like a goth at all.
Telling me that I'M the mallgoth.
Telling me that SHE'S the real goth and that I know nothing about goth, and being cocky about being the only goth in the world (she believes, or at least she makes it sound like it.)
(I might've left out a few things -.-)
I've been trying to ignore it for a long time now, but I just can't take it anymore, and was hoping you could help me out and maybe give me some tips.
I know it might've sounded like it took my sister and I a while to get in the real goth (it took us years) but the main reason for that is because we live in a tiny shit town in Canada where there are no goth stores (the closest is a two-hour drive from here), much less clubs nor other goths where we could get an inspiration for our goth look.

I thank you for reading, and I hope it made sense. I apologize for the huge post...

InfiltratorN7 said...

To the anonymous poster above - have you thought about contacting Gothic Charm School with your problem? You might also want to consider posting to a more recent blog post by Amy, I'm not sure if she checks this far back!

It's not really fair of your sister to bully you the way she does. Have you thought about talking to her or your parents about it? Making it clear to her how you feel?

It does sound like a bit of a contradiction in her behaviour when one minute your sister does not like you 'copying' her but the next is telling you how to dress as though you must fit into a mould and are not allowed to have your own interpretation of the fashion. This is of course nonsense. You can dress how you want. There are no rules to being goth, there is no goth cabal, goth card or goth points system. Just be yourself.

ultimategothguide said...

InfiltratorN7 - I did pick up this comment, have done a post for the anon but I don't know if she found it or not. It's here:

I highly second the GCS recommendation. ^^

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