School might have sucked, your parents might have pleaded with you to listen to some nice pop music and maybe no-one really understood you. But it's still worth it.
Your teenage years are fraught with emotional difficulties, and societal pressures can leave an impact on you that lasts a lifetime. But while the new research suggesting that teenage Goths are more prone to depression shouldn’t be ignored, for many, being of the gothic persuasion is actually a lifeline connecting you to kindred spirits and a new cultural world that actually gets you. And sure, as you grow older you might lose some of your more childish gothic interests (you stop sitting in trees and collecting every single piece of Nightmare Before Christmas memorabilia you can find) but your blackened heart remains the same.
Here’s why it’s great to be a grown up Goth, as according to Resident Marie Claire Goth, Senior Beauty Editor Anita Bhagwandas @itsmeanitab
( Anita above on Halloween 2012, with a ‘friend’)
Halloween is still the best day of the year
If you don’t like Halloween, why in Satan’s name not? Here’s why Halloween is awesome; you get to dress up as your random alter ego for a night, while exacting all kinds of mayhem on those around you (you can – and should – get very drunk whilst doing this); you can dance like a tool to any number of childhood TV show theme tunes (see Ghostbusters and Addams Family for concrete examples); you can drag the festivities out for a week (that’s Halloweek, FYI, and I’ve trademarked it), and you can actually use your exhaustion to your aesthetic advantage by saying you’re a zombie. Also, Halloween just rules, Tim Burton knows it and he’s basically God.
You get to collect awesome stuff
When ‘regular’ people collect stuff they run the risk of looking weird, geeky and nerdy. But not you, grown up Gothling, because you’ve been collecting those things your entire life. You revel in them and your carefully curated selection of graphic novels, creepy figurines and animal bones is done in an ‘interesting’ way that adds to your allure. It’s never childish, odd or socially unacceptable. You’re mysterious, you’re unique, you’re kooky – and you’re working it like a macabre pro.
Shopping becomes really easy
As a baby-Goth, you just rolled into your local Blue Banana and picked up anything black and witchy your heart desired. As you get older, you transition into grown-Goth/posh-Goth/health-Goth/Goth-luxe/boho-Goth or one of the numerous self-styled fashion criteria of adult Goth that you prefer. Whatever you choose, the basics are the same. Black staples, accented with neon (cybergoth), white (trad Goth), lace (elegant Goth Lolita), or a casual top hat (steampunk) make getting dressed every day as easy as robbing a grave. Plus, it’s really simple for other people to buy you gifts – they just buy normal household objects for you with a Goth edge. ‘Don’t buy me black loo roll or a coffin-shaped pencil case’, said NO GOTH EVER.
You’re culturally advanced
Ok, that might sound like a humble brag – hell, just a brag – but while your contemporaries filled their teenage time trying to be popular and vying for the attention of the cool sporty guys, you were reading Poe, listening to The Cure and replicating Pollock masterpieces with your own menstrual blood. Your music, art, fashion and lifestyle choices may veer towards the dark side – but at least they’ve evolved past trying to look like Kate Middle-of-the-road-ton and watching Friends re-runs (#justnotfunnyanymore.) A ‘basic bitch’ you ain’t, but we’re not hating on those that are – we’re too evolved for that.
(Anita in 2003, during the ‘Cyber Goth’ years – goggles optional.)
Your friends are for life
Your teenage Goth crew and you are bonded for life. You grew up as outsiders and though you might have strayed into slightly more mainstream territory as you’ve grown up, in your heart you’ll always be pariah, a loner, and a misfit. And that suits you just fine, because your teenage mates are just the same. You still like doing the same things (loitering in graveyards, going to gigs, doing taxidermy classes) that you always did. But now as a grown-up, you’ve just got more money to spend on those cherished pursuits. Normal people tend to change their friendship groups more often, but as a Goth your core likes remain the same. I’m sure I’ll be still creeping around Kensal Green cemetery with my crew when I’m 80.
You’re ok with being alone
While lonely is another matter (nobody likes that), Goths have perfected the art of being alone. In fact we’re good at it. We don’t need the stimulus of gossip, inane chatter and ‘bants’ to keep us entertained. We create Goth-inspired boards on Pinterest, we walk around haunted derelict houses, we re-watch The Crow, we search on Etsy for things shaped like bats… In other words, we’re self-sufficient and we don’t need babysitting. When other people say things like, ‘I can’t be alone, I always need to be with people’ you roll your eyes. Before mentally comparing them to a pet dog.
Are you a grown-up Goth? Tweet us your thoughts @marieclaireuk @itsmeanitab