I am 23-years-old and have not lived a lot of life, in a sense. Yet, I often find myself thinking about my younger years. In my younger years, I always felt different. I always felt like I was abnormal in a sea of normalities. In retrospect, I felt different because I was different. I have always been attracted to alternative Rock music, Goth culture and style with a heavy adoration for art and film. What’s more, I didn’t know any African-Americans that were interested in the alternative scene, so I began to emphatically believe I was strange and unusual, similar to Goth icon Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice.
The person I credit for creating my adoration for the alternative scene is my Aunt Dana. She unabashedly blasted the likes of Marilyn Manson, Nirvana, Incubus and the Deftones over the speaker of her white 2000 Dell computer. I so vividly remember, as a little girl, being captivated by harsh growling voices over reckless symphonies. When I first heard Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” I was enamored with the creepy soulfulness of the song. With lyrics like, “My girl, my girl, where will you go? I’m going where the cold wind blows/ In the Pines, the pines/ Where the sun don’t never shine. The song was simply angelic.
When most people think of the Goth culture, they probably picture the high school kid with dark nails and Tripp pants kicking a hackey sack in the air. However, more than outward appearance, Goth’s sensibility is an attitude that reflects the darkness within oneself. This group of people were known for being the loners in school, usually associated with being a little shy but mostly considered far too deep for anyone else to care about or take notice of. Goth.net, a resource set up for the benefit of the Goth community, defines Goths as a group of people who feel comfortable within each other’s company. The major binding factor among Goths seems to be their sense of detachment from “normal” society, and a feeling that they do not fit in within these normal circles.
What I found so beautiful about the alternative and emo culture is that this community rejects what society expects of them while also embracing the darker things in life. Self described weirdo and musician Alicia Gaines, in a Vox article entitled, Meet the Black Girls of Goth states, “that being a part of this culture can mean daring to look at what frightens others or finding the beauty in ugliness. It can also be about questioning what is normal and how that questioning expresses itself.” In addition, I have always had a natural inclination and comfortability with the darker side of life. I am a huge fan of horror films like, The Shining, The Serpent and the Rainbow and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane because they made me drawn to the stark absurdity of existence. I began to view the often scary and morbid aspects of life in a obscure romantic light. I firmly believe that Goth is not a state in which one should dwell on gloomy, morbid, or depressed feelings but should rather appreciate the somber aspects of life in a poetic way.
An aspect that I wholeheartedly love about myself is that I have never been scared to be weird. I have never been scared to venture from the norms of society and I have never been scared to venture from the norms of being a black woman. I know there is no “set rule” to being black. Yet, I’ve realized that being black and alternative is a very rare commodity. In addition, the Goth community does not have a lot of representation. I am an African-American woman who is apart of a culture that does not have a lot of black representation. In spite of being a minority inside another minority, I found so much solace in this group. I was also able to find comfortability in the dark and obscene.