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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

How does Someone Become A Goth?

How does someone become a Goth?

If you ask five Goths that question you’ll get five different answers.

Some will say they were influenced by the fashion. Others will say they were influenced by the music. However, everyone’s journey into the Goth subculture is unique to them. No two stories about how they became a Goth will ever be the same. What motivates one person to become part of the subculture is different from another. So there’s no one general answer to the question.

Some people discover the Goth Subculture at an early age. Others discover the subculture when they’re teenagers. A few find out about it when they become young adults. And a handful find out about it in their thirties.

Some kids start out darkly inclined. They have an interest in dark things like vampires, zombies, ghosts and goblins when they’re little. They like reading stuff like horror books like the Goosebumps series. Or they like playing with Monster High dolls over Barbies. As they grow up they find themselves comfortable with dark dark themed comics like Batman, Spider-Man, and Daredevil. 

Other kids discover the Goth subculture in their preteens. As they start discoering things like horror movies and vampire novels they start seeing the beauty in dark things.

A large majority of kids discover the Goth subculture in their teenage years. As they explore the darker side of life they find it’s the lifestyle they’re the most comfortable with. That’s when they find Goth music, Goth fashions, and Goth makeup. As they start delving deeper into the subculture they start dressing in black and listening to Goth bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, London After Midnight, Type O Negative, Sisters of Mercy, and The Cure.

Growing up in the South Bronx, I lived on the dark side of life. As a kid in the 1980s I lived away from the kids in the projects in a rundown building on Park Avenue near the Metro-North tracks. I was the outsider kid who didn’t fit in with the other kids and saw the world from a uniquely dark perspective. Living around rotting abandoned buildings and seeing New York City crumbling around me I felt like I was in a real life horror movie. I saw heroin addicts roaming the streets like zombies in the mid 1980s and crackheads in the late 1980s. However, they were just window dressing.

The real monsters in the Black community as I saw it were the drug dealers and the hoodrat women who were addicted to the power they wielded over the Black community and terrorized everyone who lived there. Living around these tyrants I began to understand the difference between someone who was dark like myself and someone who was  truly evil.

With the Black community being a socially and culturally fascist state in the 1980s I didn’t get to know what the Goth subculture was about until my early twenties. I felt I could relate to a lot of what Goths talked about in their art and music. I grew up watching a lot of dark and spooky stuff like horror movies, and syndicated TV shows like Tales from the Crypt and Tales from the Darkside and Saturday morning cartoons like The Real Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice. And for some strange reasons when I had my first exposure to Goth characters like Lydia Deetz in movies like Beeteljuice and real life Goths in episodes of the Jenny Jones show I felt an instinctive connection to them.

Could I have been darkly inclined as a kid? Could I have been a Goth and not know it? Maybe. However, in spite of the information blackout in the Black community regarding the Goth Subculture, I’ve often incorporated a lot of dark themes in a lot of my stories and characters over the last 20 years. Colleen Anderson the first heroine I created back in 1989 was originally a Black Goth. And many of my novels like The Temptation of John Haynes had a lot of dark themes like a Black man working in a Corporate Hell with demons, vampires and monsters. And the E’steem series is basically just my interpretation of Monster High all grown up. So when I started writing my first novel featuring a Goth heroine Spinsterella last year, it was the easiest story I ever sat down to the keyboard to write. However after I finished Matilda’s story, there was one question that was left unanswered:

What made Matilda become a Goth?

And I wanted to answer that question in another book.

One of the reasons why I wrote Spellbound was to tell Matilda’s story of how she began her journey into the Goth subculture. After I wrote Spinsterella last year I started listening to many Goth YouTubers talk about their babybat years in the Goth Subculture and what motivated them be a part of the subculture. And that’s what made me eager to get to the keyboard to write Spellbound and tell the story of how Matilda Crowley the Black girl next door from Harlem became a part of the Goth subculture in the dark days of New York City in 1989.

 I felt that a story about the babybat period of a Goth heroine was a story that had to be told in Young Adult and teen fiction. So many tweens and teens want to learn about the Goth subculture and there’s next to no stories out there for them to read to see what’s positive about it. Yeah, there are videos on YouTube, but there really needs to be more literature out there so kids could understand what would motivate someone to become a part of the Goth subculture and help their parents understand why they want to be a part of the subculture. I believe if parents read a story from someone like myself who understood the subculture is all about they wouldn’t worry about their kids being a part of it. There are a lot of things parents need to worry about, but the Goth Subculture isn’t one of them.

Every Goths’ story about how they came into the Goth Subculture is unique to them. I’m hoping Spellbound will help people all over the world understand some of the reasons why kids, teens and young adults become part of the Goth subculture.

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