A not-so secret: I was a pseudo goth in college.
I wasn’t into garish makeup, nipple jewelry or public-display bondage. Nor did I mope around any more than a normal, pained 19-year-old does. (I grew up in Hawaii for chrissakes.) But I did sport patent-leather boots, own a few long black skirts, and had my hair cut into a drastic triangle bob for awhile. Draping myself in uncomfortably warm clothing was just your typical teenage advertisement of “I don’t belong here.”
The other day when I acknowledged my goth past during a random conversation, a friend who I’ve known only few years was surprised. And I can understand why: I smile a lot. I laugh at shit that isn’t even funny. Once, to my dismay, I was actually called perky.
My sunny-goth paradox only speaks to my lack of full commitment to a specific role. (Disclosure: I was also a pseudo punk, a pseudo boho, and a generic all-around alternative kid. Again, this was Hawaii and we didn’t have much reference for the nuances between genres; they were all just “different” and required daily trips to Goodwill.) Aside from the “making a statement” purpose, I did things because I liked doing them, and more than anything else at 20 years old, I liked spinning around and flailing my arms in a burgundy dress to Peter Murphy, amped up on a few rum cocktails.
These days I rarely go out dancing anymore. I have to work Friday mornings and usually spend Friday nights catching up with friends over beers, having actual conversations. But if you opened up my closet right now, you’d be swimming in a sea of black pants and boots. Too much color on my body still makes my uneasy, and if Sisters of Mercy came on at the bar, I’d probably push you out of the way to do some body swaying.
(Above: 1998, the year I went as a dark fairy, whatever the hell that is, for Halloween.)