Snarklings, it appears it’s again time for a discussion of how to continue being the person you want to be. There are so many letters from you darling odd creatures out there fretting about how to stay true to your gothy inclinations! The letter that recently caught the Lady of the Manners’ imagination and yanked at the strings of her fuzzy black heart was from Holly:
You could say I’m not a very ordinary girl. I am one of a set of triplets born three months premature. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and use a wheelchair. I also have ADHD and scoliosis. I had a very goth babysitter from the time I was eight months old to about eleven or twelve years old. I’ve been riding horses since I was eighteen months, and visiting the local goth shops since I was four. All through my childhood I wore all black and watched Tim Burton films and read books like Catwings and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. My constant companion was a little black stuffed dog and cat. I usually kept to myself and talked to my adorably frightful imaginary friends.
Now, a teenager, I wear Lolita, and when I cannot that is traded in for a black and white striped dress, large hair bow, and combat boots. I listen to dark soundtracks and bands like Nightwish and The Birthday Massacre, along with music boxes and scary soundtracks. I now own a rat named Draco and a black and white Andalusian horse named Leo, who I partially named after a fictional psychopath.
Because I am getting older, my family members are getting more concerned for me. My mother thinks my darkness is getting less cute and rather ridiculous (for example, I want a corset or waist cincher and the answer is always no), my sisters ridicule my clothing choices, and my grandma thinks I am off the wall mad (she insists that ghosts are not real when I have seen and talked to them for years).
I am concerned for my own future. All I can really do is ride a horse and write creepy, romantic novels and poetry. I worry that no one will ever want to marry me as I’m just a creepy little gothling in a wheelchair. I want little dark children named Severus Alexei and Alice Anastasia. My question to you, dear Lady, is how do I continue being my gothic little self as I get older, and even now?
“We are kind of gothic about cats.” Me, four years old
(The Lady of the Manners left Holly’s sig line in because she found it particularly adorable.)
First things first: In case you haven’t read them before, here are handy links to some previous Gothic Charm School posts about dealing with parental disapproval!
Of Dealing With Your Parents.
Of Fashion Choices and of Feeling Like a Fake.
Of Scary Books and of Becoming Who You Want to Be.
… Good heavens, there are 47 posts in the “Growing Pains” category on Gothic Charm School. Go, read!
Next, to address some of Holly’s specific concerns: the Lady of the Manners is just making a wild guess, but suspects that part of the reason your family is becoming less tolerant of your gothy ways as you get older is because they want you to have as “normal” a life as possible.
(A quick caveat: the Lady of the Manners is doing her best to avoid any sort of condescending or ableist language. If she has somehow failed at that effort or has said something problematic, please know that it wasn’t intentional.)
Because of the issues in your life, the people you meet will probably never immediately treat you like everyone else; add being a Goth to that, and you’ve pretty much guaranteed that you will always stand out from the crowd. There is nothing wrong with that. But your family (especially your parents) almost certainly want to protect you, and they probably think that expressing an interest in the weird and spooky is just going to make your life even more difficult. And, as much as the Lady of the Manners hates to admit it, they’re not entirely wrong. There will be people who think that it’s somehow “inappropriate” for you to be a Goth, and there will be other Goths who think you shouldn’t be part of the subculture. BOTH of those ideas are wrong, wrong, wrong, but you need to acknowledge those ideas exist so you won’t be surprised if (or when) you encounter them.
Talk to your family. Remind them that your interest in all things Goth has been a part of your life for years, and turning away from things that make you happy is a joyless concept that you don’t agree with. Suggest that they talk to your former babysitter about their experiences as a Goth. For that matter, talk to your siblings! How do they feel about your gothy inclinations, and would they be able to help you explain your feelings to your parents?
As to your hopes and dreams for your future, the Lady of the Manners can’t give you any assurances that things will turn out the way you wish. (The Lady of the Manners can’t give anyone those assurances, sometimes not even herself.) However, all that means is that you must keep those dreams close to your heart and keep working toward them. Keep writing your creepy romantic novels and poetry and see where that takes you. Be aware that the thing that could transform your life and help you create your dreams may not be immediately recognizable. The truth that is simultaneously reassuring and terrifying is that the future hasn’t happened yet, which means you can act to make it into the future you want.
Hmmm. In the process of answering Holly’s questions, it seems the Lady of the Manners has committed somthing of a pep talk, one she suspects that many people need to be gently thumped with. (The Lady of the Manners most certainly includes herself in the “many people that need to be gently thumped with a pep talk” collection, oh yes.)
In the spirit of pep talks and supporting each other, comments on this post are open! Moderated, but open! As always, be polite, be kind, and be aware that sometimes it takes the Lady of the Manners a day or two to get to reviewing and approving the comments.
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