It’s Wednesday, I’m in love
A bit of a story about how being goth saved my personality from the deadly disease that gets most teen girls: the desire to please.
I only wore black clothing for seven years because I was a teenager that was told it was just a phase, and I wanted to prove I could stick to a goth lifestyle. I often do that, stick with something out of sheer stubbornness.
In this scenario, I think being goth saved me from the culture of the late 90’s and early 00’s.
If I rejected them first, I couldn’t get rejected by the tall, blonde netball girls. Under the gaze of Robert Smith, my friends and I didn’t have to follow dating norms and could explore sexuality without labels.
We bypassed all the subservient virgin/whore dichotomy of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera by listening to Sigur Ros, PJ Harvey and Placebo. In our circle of goths, we adored the time we had to study Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein in year 12, and we would pass around Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles like the queer porn it was.
Being a goth, in the entire tradition of that word, meant that we fell in love with Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, the Bronte sisters, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. My friends and I would obsess about this throwback literature, then jump back to the 1980s new wave music scene and blend it with the 00’s metal scene.
All of this protected me from the deadly disease that gets most teen girls: the desire to please.
I love the undercurrents of society that encourages experimentation and exploration of things just below the surface of the norm. It’s exhilarating when you realise:
There are unsaid rules in every society
You don’t have to play by them
This week, I started watching Tim Burton’s Wednesday series on Netflix. The main character, Wednesday Addams (from the Addams family), has this utterly unique acceptance of herself and a rejection of society at large with heavily-influenced Oscar Wilde quips. I love how the character can process what she does and doesn’t want in a microsecond. It made me long for the teenage days of deadpan, monochrome reactions.
“I find social media to be a soul-sucking void of meaningless affirmation,” says Wednesday before divulging that she’s working on a novel, which of course, she composes on a typewriter.
Does the character have a superiority complex? Sure, but so does every male action hero; we’re just used to seeing dudes like Tom Cruise call the shots.
When you put a character like Wednesday, that so thoroughly knows herself, into everyday situations that she readily rejects, it’s a delight. It highlights how fashion is armour, and actions are indications of unique inclinations for each person. She pleases herself, not caring if it displeases others.
The series also shows that the world we see is a blend of reality and our version of it - and we all have our own understanding.
In the last two decades, meditation has made me colourful and kind. It’s given me the ability to feel and express a wider gamut of emotions beyond “got any blacker?” but I will always cherish the tiny black heart in the cavity of my chest, the pessimism that comes naturally to any situation, the blunt way I say it as it is.
I hope you found the subculture that made sense to you as you grew up. I hope that you continue to find your tribe in the undercurrents of society and that they hold you close and without judgement.
May you be cocky and confident in your abilities. May you know yourself and then navigate the world accordingly.
Thanks for reading Ripe, a fortnightly-ish exploration into creativity by Tash Keuneman, a former goth that has transitioned from black clothing to the colours of the rainbow 🏳️🌈