Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sharing space with non-Goths

Responses to emails! The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed that I've taken down my email address from the sidebar - this is because I was getting deluged with so many emails that it was taking me literally months to reply to them. >.< So, huge apologies to those of you who sent me emails back in February and are still awaiting replies.

Today I thought I would begin taking a few of the queries sent to me and pop them up here (anonymously, of course!) so that other readers can share their thoughts and advice. After all, I am not an oracle, and there is usually somebody lurking around on this blog who has better advice than me. ;-)

I received an email entitled 'Brotherly Woes' back in February, in which a young lady asked, "I have a serious problem. I just happen to live with a passive anti-goth kid. As in he hates me being goth but is too lazy to do anything serious about it... yet. Due to the fact that my Dad snores and my mum's driven into another room leaves me sleeping in a bunk bed with my little brother. I'm so desperate to turn that room into a goths dream bedroom but I have no idea how to go about it as I have no idea what he might do, or what mum might too. :("

I don't have any brothers or sisters so I can't entirely relate to this dilemma, but I do know that many siblings are known to roll their eyes and make mocking comments about a brother or sister's interest in Goth. However, I wonder what sort of 'serious' action Little Bro could possibly take? A slightly younger friend of mine once had her Gothy skirts cut to ribbons by a sibling, and responded in kind by taking the scissors to her sister's pyjamas, so I DO understand the concern. But short of paying to get you lobotomised, I'm not sure that a sibling can actually stop one from being Goth.

Source: Let the Angels Commit
As for the bedroom problem, I don't think it would be entirely fair to insist that a kid who's not sold on the Goth scene live in an environment decked out in black velvet, but I can empathise with the need to put your own mark on the space you think of as yours. The best way I can see you approaching a compromise on this issue is to speak to your parents and help them mediate between you and your brother. No, it might not be ideal to stick bat decals all over the walls, but perhaps you could have a few choice posters by your bunk bed and indulge in some black sheets and skull-patterned pillows?

Hopefully if your parents understand your desire to have a little bit of spookiness in your surroundings they will give you permission to do what you can to your own area as long as you don't encroach on your brother's own space. (Also, having discussions with the parental units provides protection from siblings liable to 'accidentally' damage your Gothier pieces of decor in a fit of pique.)

Speaking to your parents might also help give you peace of mind about your brother's 'anti-Goth' tendencies. Depending on your brother's age, could it be worth having a conversation with him also about what it is he has a problem with about you being Goth? Is it really Goth he has a problem with, or does he just like having something to needle you about - in which case, feel free to ignore him. If, however, he has genuine concern or distaste regarding your appreciation for Goth, it might help to talk it through with him.

But, if he is the kind of little brother who likes to be aggravating, he may try to provoke you and cause an argument - don't let any provocative or unpleasant comments regarding Goth get to you. Just change the subject or walk away. Don't be drawn into any arguments with your brother on the subject as this will help keep your parents on-side - you don't want them to end up disapproving of your Goth-ness as well. Keep your cool and refuse to rise to the bait. With time, it's likely he'll get bored of trying to irritate you on that particular subject or simply come to accept it.

Best of luck!


Anonymous said...

Again, there are so many variables.

1. What are the ages/age difference? Perhaps they are close in age, and therefore once had a close relationship; as we age, our interests often change. Little brother may feel big sister is drifting away because of her newfound gothy lifestyle. I would talk to him, and if this is the case, I would set aside some "special" time just for him (this also occurs in mainstream families).

2. Perhaps little brother is a bit embarassed by big sister's appearance. He may not care, but his friends may be making comments. Again, he may be at an age where appearnces are really beginning to take on importance. Maybe she could tone it down a bit when she knows his friends will be around or when they attend a public event. Yes, she *should* be able to wear what she wants, but if a healthy family dynamic is important, there should be room for compromise. Again, maybe she can carve out some time, maybe even tone down her appearance and go out to lunch.

3. Where does she live? Small, conservative town, or progressive metropolis? Little brother may be old enough to hear about the recent attacks on goths, and is only concerned for his sisters safety, which is totally legitimate. Again, we *should* be able to wear what we want, but that's not always the best idea.

I'm sure there are other variables I left out, but those were the three main ones, in my opinion. As for the bedroom decor, maybe she can work out something with her mother and decorate the "spare" room as her haven during the day, but retreat back to her shared bedroom at night. I don't think it's too big a sacrifice to sleep in a plain room. Again, comromise may be the key here.

Tenebris In Lux said...

If the bunk bed she's sharing has posts that stand out a bit vertically, you can always drape something off of the posts (jewellery or scarves or fabrics). Even just the poles can be good for keeping clasped items or to tie around capes/similar articles, but probably it would be nice to have a talk with said brother about keeping his grubby and sticky fingers off of it! The poster are also a good idea because they aren't permanent like paint.

gin said...

I've had this problem with both siblings and dorm mates. The best thing you can do it meet in the middle. She needs to talk to the younger sibling and tell them that she wants to decorate and make a list of the type of things she wants in the room as well as gather pictures and the such. She needs to have the sibling she shares the room with do the same and then they together can come to an arrangement together. It will not only bring the two together a little, but also give the siblings some insight to one another.

OddGhoulOut said...

They could always split the room up. The little brother could decorate half the room his way, while the older sister could have her way on the other half. Hopefully this wouldn't cause any problems or create a rift between them.

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