I have been accused of many things over the years. The ones that get me thinking are when I am accused of behaving in a manner that is not exactly what I thought I was doing.
The example that still boggles my mind happened when I was twenty. I was in Americorp and that January we went to Phoenix en masse to attend a Martin Luther King Jr festival and project. We marched in a parade that ended at a park with booths and what not. I don’t know why I was by myself but I went to the booths. I stood in a very short line to get the autograph of one of the Jamican Bobsledders since my brother was a huge fan. I got in line to be tested for Sickle Cell Anemia – hey you offer a hypochondriac a chance to explore a whole new disease they may have and she’s got to take it (for those curious, I tested negative).
While in one line, a black man I knew asked me if I was trying to be black. I couldn’t even respond. How was I trying to be black? How was doing all the activities at an event trying to be anything other than myself? It’s not the first time my motives have been questions when I didn’t realize I had a motive. Sometimes a duck really is a duck.
I have always had a problem fitting in. I’m too preppy to hang out with the “goths” and too “goth” to hang out with the preppies. I’m grateful to have found a group of friends that didn’t care. But that didn’t make life easy. I have always teetered on this line of Martha Stewart and Stephen King.
Stephen King once told a story about a door and remodeling his house. I can’t remember the details but how “normal” to be in love with the door you picked out. I’ve seen a few pictures of his house and it doesn’t resemble the Addams family at all. Why is that shocking? Because we are all expected to fit into a particular mold.
My brother and his girlfriend are having a baby. They are super goths and don’t want pink for their coming baby girl. Why? I’m sorry but pink is really hard to avoid when they register at Walmart.
All of this starts swirling in my brain. I like black – I hate monochromatic so there’s no way I am going to dress all in black. I know it’s slimming and it does showcase my betty boop socks quite nicely but it’s rather boring.
Before I continue – let me explain something very important. Gothic refers to a type of art from the 1100’s through most of the 1400’s. The Goths were an actual people who influence music and architecture. Gothic style most likely included more colors than just black.
I don’t know how Gothic became this mismash definition. I often think of Gothic literature when I think of Gothic – Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Dracula. That romantic tragic genre of stories often located in some grey stone mansion (perhaps the architecture led to the genre name). How it moved from that to being dressed in black and listening to noise is beyond me. Not that I believe all goth music is noise – it just seems that it’s progressed there (or maybe I’m just old).
I think of myself as Gothic. “I myself am strange and unusual.” I dream of that large looming house, deep fireplaces, moors and foggy hills where I can watch the waves roll in the moonlight. But I don’t fit in because the movement went on without me.
I have always struggled with this. I love dresses and color. I love baking and crafting. But I have a problem. I have a secret life. I have a split personality.
One side is June Cleaver with her pearls and plate of homemade cookies. She believes in cooking from scratch, is perfectly content filling her evening darning socks (darn, darn) and planning the next PTA meeting.
The other side is darker. She loves gory horror movies, Alice Cooper and Halloween. She loves haunted houses and is slightly afraid of the dark because she watches far too many horror movies. She has a passion for books with vampires and graphic novels.
I know there are other women (and maybe a few men) out there who feel the same way. Somehow they must hide half their personality because it doesn’t fit with the crowd. They laugh when they are caught as if they are making a joke but inside they are crying or berating themselves.
This coming month, I’m going to be sharing some of the things that lead to this post. I’m nearly done with my collection of Hopeless Maine ornaments. I’ve decided that we are doing a black and red Christmas. I’ll be making ornaments. Maybe it’s because I totally skipped decorating for Halloween and I can’t move on until I get a good haunting going or maybe it’s because it’s time for this Goth to come out in pink. There’s nothing wrong with it. The original Goths wore lots of color. Heck, if Alice Cooper can golf professionally then this Goth can craft a perfectly horror-ble Christmas.