Through the various comments existing on one of my favorite blogs, The Ultimate Goth Guide, it appears to me that quite a few members of the Goth community suffer from a sense of isolation. They are alone in their communities, appearing to their classmates, co-workers and neighbors as outside the mainstream. Yet, they lack the much-needed support and camaraderie of other like-minded folks. For these people most interaction with fellow darklings takes place through the internet, which to a great extent, helps alleviate the situation.
Eventually, many of these folks, especially the younger ones, will become more able to visit clubs in other cities. They will have the option of moving to or visiting places where the scene and alternative culture thrives. The mobility and financial independence that comes with adulthood makes it all possible and those desiring personal interaction and friendship with other Goths will likely find it. They and their circle of friends--their common experience in the lifestyle, will allow for the development of a shared history, that will link them together culturally and socially for a lifetime.
My own dilemma stems from the fact that I don't have that shared history; and while I'm certainly old enough to be an elder Goth, I cannot lay any claim to such a title. Then again, I'm certainly no baby bat either.
Perhaps because of geographical location and my own personal responsibilities, I didn't discover the world of Goth until nearly twelve years ago when a new university radio station took to the airwaves and every Saturday night broadcast a program entitled From the Crypt, hosted by a young lady who called herself The Death Mistress. I listened to her program almost religiously; and in return, she treated me to the wonderful sounds of Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division and Type O Negative. I was also very surprised to learn that the Cure, some of whose music I already owned, was a vital part of this compelling subculture.
If I had been behind the curve for considerable part of my lifetime, I remained in stuck mode for several years after From the Crypt disappeared from the Saturday night lineup. It seemed that I was always trying to play catch up. For awhile, I had no idea where local Goth events were being held. Admittedly though, I tend to get reclusive and can very much be a creature of habit, always going to the same places in which I feel comfortable.
At some point I heard that events were being held at a venue on the west side of town. I had no sooner figured out where the place was located however, when it shut down. Again, I was left for an extended period of time without a clue. At the time I worked for the local school system. One day a student, who mentioned that her parents were Goth, told me about a new club where occasional gatherings were taking place. I had friends who sometimes frequented the same establishment for other programs who related that the venue was extremely smoky. As a non smoker and a somewhat reserved person who doesn't like going to new places alone I hesitated; not for very long, but I hesitated nevertheless--and the place shut down!
It is only during the past year or two that I have finally made the acquaintance of a few similarly inclined folks from the general area. Most of my developing friendships center around a tea society that meets once a month at the local library or Facebook friends who happen to show up at special metal events. Most of these people, wonderful though they are, tend to be considerably younger than me; so what's missing is that shared sense of history, that common experience, the camaraderie borne from people of a certain age drawn together by similar interests. Sure, the love of dark music, styles of dress and literature we hold in common; but it can be hard to fit in--to really fit in, when the age difference goes beyond a certain point. It's just natural.
Yes, I have friends with whom I occasionally get together, so it's not like I'm dying of loneliness or anything. I tend to be fairly solitary anyway, but I remain somewhat isolated in my gothiness; if I can use that word. My friends and other associates ask me questions about it from time to time, but they really don't understand it or relate to it in any way. They don't like horror movies, vampires, stories of deceased souls lurking in cemeteries, old-school Goth music, metal, dark ambient or black clothing; at least not clothing sporting vampires drinking from wine glasses filled with blood or other aspects of the macabre.
Although I'm sure that I'm not alone in my predicament, I do feel that my situation is somewhat unique. It would be great if I could eventually find the other older darklings who still reside here. I know they're around. But in the meanwhile, what's a person like me to do? Well, I guess I can be grateful for one thing; at least there's the internet.
Photo source: Gothicpictures.org.