When did you first Realise you were a Goth?

SwoopGuy's picture

After reading a recent post, this kind of popped into my head.  So, given the premise that all of us were not born wearing PVC and crushed velvet, eyes laden with black make-up, and Siouxsie Sioux crooning next to our cribs it would then be logical to conclude that at some point we “became” Goths.  My question is, when did you become a Goth?  Or if you observe the notion that you were born Goth, when did you realise your gothic nature?

Was there some great defining moment, or did it creep up on you rather insidiously?

Here’s my first crack at an answer…

The first time anyone called me a goth was when I was in university (20yrs old), but that is likely due to the fact that those in the community of my youth hadn’t heard the term before.  I’d been inclined towards mostly black clothing from junior high onward (admittedly there was a transition from my “rocker” period to an appreciation of more gothically influenced sounds). 

The horror genre had fascinated me from as early as 6 or 7 years of age.  Starting with a stunning werewolf hallowe’en costume I wore in the first grade – only surpassed recently.  In junior high I developed a love for horror movies, first with werewolves, and then vampires.  In high school I gained a fondness for horror literature, ranging from Poe to King.

The full fledged gothic club scene didn’t come into my life until I finished my first university degree and returned to Toronto.  Here I was introduced to the longest running goth club in North America.  After a few months of general shyness, I eventually felt like I had found home.

Well there you have it.  Just a snapshot of me, and the things that I feel played a part in my realization of my Gothic Nature.

I don't consider myself a Goth.

I love the music, understand the culture of 'goth', have experienced my full measure of "the dark night of the soul" and consider myself "goth friendly".

I suppose I might qualify as an 'honorary goth', if nominated I will accept.

as with most goths (and seemingly everyone here) i dont consider myself goth *waits for the gasps and shock to subside.......*

Buti was a biker kid without a doubt! i asked my parents for black and haley shirts, i had combats an a leather jacket by the time i was 7. Honestly i think of myself as a metalhead but all the metalheads i know call me a punk, all the punks i know call me a goth, all the goths i know call me a rivet head, all the rivet heads i know call me a cyber goth/punk and since i dont know any of those...........the moral of the story is no one admits to me being like them *cries like an emo kid* just kidding

When I first relise I was a Goth way back when they never had a word for it.

I guess when it was when Siouxsie was still a punk rocker.Then Pow! out came her album Hyena.

I am not sure if I am what one could call goth. Interest in vampire/werewolf stories and the characters linked to them as well as growing desire to wear dark clothes is where I am at.

*loves the Underworld movies, wants to have Cravens wardrobe, as well as the gun specialist's*

I don't think I really consider myself being Goth, I  just have my own sort of style since grade 8. I tried to fit in with everyone else but it never really worked, I've allways been called freak or strange because I like skulls and bats on my clothes. My dad was a D.J so I got to listen to a wide variety of music since I was little, but the punk and new wave music always appealled to me more than top 40. I'm actually more like a dark skater punk if you really have to have a label, I usually tell people at work when I get a hard time about it , That I'm just me. One co-worker says" your just trying to look different", So I called her a clone and now she won't talk to me. Like that's supposed to be a bad thing,  ;DI don't think so!. I've always liked horror movies, Even when I had my older sister sitting on me and making me watch them when I was 6 or 7 and scared out of my tree. Halloween is also my favorite holiday even more than Christmas. I think Goth is more a feeling than a woredrobe but it's probably a bit of both.

I'm not sure entirely if I am Goth or not, but I love Goth culture, and others (especially these days) call me "Goth". I've tried to organize my thoughts into some sort of general timeline but as my memory of my youth is sketchy (long story as to why exactly) I know it's going to fall apart somewhere along the way, sorry.

Perhaps I wasn't born Goth, perhaps I was, but I think I can safely say that my dark side took strong root in my early infanthood.

Most likely due to certain traumatic events, at less then 1 year of age I had decided to shut out the world. I hated being touched and was only content if left totally alone in a quit room without any light. Over time this changed, but to this day I am still quite happy when left alone in my dark room to my own devices.

The older I get the more black I wear, but ever since I was little I loved black. It was my fave colour until my teen years when my fave became (and has remained) deep/dark purple (I've heard it described as violet)

I grew up in small private schools and never tried to fit in or had any desire to. People would call me strange and I thanked them for the compliment. While other kids listened to upbeat pop music, I listened to oldies, classical, rock, and rap (thanks to my older brother). In grade 10 I heard a girl in my class listening to Bella Lugosi's Dead in one of the computer labs and loved it... we got talking and she introduced me to Bauhaus and perhaps Siouxie and the Banshees.

Sometime around grade 10, might have been the summer between 10 and 11, the local convenience store started carrying Heavy Metal magazine. I was thrilled as I had for many years loved the old Heavy Metal movie. The first issue I bought featured a gallery of work from Luis Royo, from his upcomming 3rd Millenium collection. I fell in love and my persuit of Royo lead me to discovering Goth artists (I love the net).

The first time I was ever called "Goth" was the start of grade 11. I had started reading up on Demonology and Demonolatry, and took pieces of that to create my halloween costume that year (a black robe with a white mask on which I used black ink to paint various symbols, under the mask I had also painted other symbols onto my face). I creeped out many of the teachers, one of the more Christian ones never talked to me again (before that I was a favourite of her's). At the time I was known around the school for composing "dark" music and listening to strange stuff (marilyn manson, bauhaus, siouxie, cradle of filth, mastermind, bowie, white zombie... and I think rammstein might have landed that year). We had uniforms at that school so I couldn't wear black or else I would have, but one kid a year older then myself asked me something along the lines of "so at home, do you dress up in black with makeup and stuff?" he didn't mean it to be insulting, he actually liked my music and the whole Goth thing... he wasn't into the culture himself, but had friends who were as I recall. He was the first to get me thinking that I might be Goth.. a question I still ask myself to this day.

By grade 12 I was regularly browsing Goth sites online. I have loved Vampires and Werewolves and the Occult as far back as I can remember. I can recall when I was about 11 years old, being at summer camp and the head of the cabin reading Stephen King short stories to the group of us before bed. Years after that I discovered Anne Rice, and both have become well loved writers for me. When I was young, maybe from the age of 4 to 7ish I dreamed of being a wizard and able to do black magic so I could destroy all the jerks and jocks I met. I used to find stuff around the house and mix potions and then test them on plants to see if it had any effect: greatest success was a green runny sludge that turned all the leaves of a living bush in the garden it touched brown and dead before my eyes. I imagined using it on people but never did (although I did enjoy picturing them dying horrible deaths).

I was never rebellious, my parents are very open and accepting about most things and so I had nothing to rebel against, except when my mom - being a good Christian - forbade me from my studies into Demons... at which point I told her I could do whatever the hell I want and she couldn't stop me, and I was right. I've since drifted away from those studies, but it was my first and pretty much only moment of teenage rebellion. It was their openness I think that made me Goth more then anything. They allowed me to be exposed to all kinda of ideas and concepts and art and music and movies and literature. I have been a fan of Poe and other poets since my youth, I recall listening to a recording of The Pit and the Pendulum when I was in elementary school and it got me hooked to Poe.

Since I've hit College I've met friends who are into the Goth scene and they dragged me out to clubs with them. Now we've lost touch but I still hit up Sin City and Sanctuary whenever I can. As I've said many times, I have always loved Gothic culture and the dark beauty of it. Now I'm hitting my mid 20s and I'm deeper into it then ever and the more I embrace it the more at home I feel.

hmm... maybe I wasn't the oddball everyone thought: I just hadn't ever found the people I belong with til now.


So you want to know when I first discovered when I was a Goth? Way back before they even had a word for it.


I've been called goth since 8th grade when I dyed my hair blue. I just wore basic things like black jeans and a black t-shirt. I began to be frequently asked if I liked Manson, Slipknot, etc. and because I didn't like that music and didn't want to be associated with it I rejected the goth label. I told everyone "well, I'm not a goth, I just like black...I listen to metal, prog, classical instead..."

This year, 10th grade I started dressing nicer - skirts, makeup, nice shirts - and got more goth comments than ever before. Even though I have a normal hair colour now. (Well it was dark red but it faded to like a normal brown) I also began to realize that 'goth' wasn't so bad a label after all, the real 'goths' at least. Besides the metal, prog, and classical I was and still am fond of quite a bit of gothic and deathrock music. I've also liked a lot of stereotypical 'gothic' literature  - Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, etc. - since I was still a trendy 7th grader.  I still don't exactly consider myself a goth. I don't fit a lot of the gothic cliches - never been depressed or suicidal, don't think about death, generally happy in life, don't wear very much makeup - and while these things may not be a necessary part of 'gothic' many people seem to think they are.

I've never been goth, but this reminds me of the first electronic music record I bought.

It was Front by Front, by Front 242, and the year was 1988.

I remember that I had heard a track somewhere, don't know which one or where I  could have heard it. I didn't know any one who listened to electronic music at that time. And we didn't have MTV, either. We didn't even have cable TV.

I remember I went to Skoghall and the record store that was there (Imagine! A record store in Skoghall. Unbelievable! -It was run by the same guy who opened Knastret in Karlstad later on, the guy from Dublin Fair. It closed down many years ago, of course.) and asked to listen to the album.

I was 14 years old and terrified of the tall headbangers with long, sticky hair who always hung out in the record store. Skoghall was full of headbangers in the late 80's. It still is, by the way, nothing much has changed, except that the record store - and most other stores - has closed down. They didn't have any special record players for listening to the records, if you wanted to listen you told the guy behind the counter and he played it on the speakers in the store. So I stood there, embarrassed and scared, trying to look cool. I remember the manager looked at one of the headbangers, laughed and asked -It's not really your kind of music, hey? The headbanger laughed back and started talking about guitars and double bass drums and effect pedals and other metal stuff. No one cared much about me, standing by the counter, looking at the album sleeve, feeling small. I tried to act cool when I said I wanted the album, but I am not sure it was a very convincing act.

But I walked out of there, 14 years old with my first electronic music album in a plastic bag.

Front by Front, by Front 242.

It's still there, in the LP rack at my parent's place.

I lived in vancouver until I was 12, and then moved to the Okanagan. For the first few years, i tried to fit in, and be like everyone else, as it was very clique-ey.

After a while, I got sick of it, because I never did fit in, with my ideas and what-have-you. I figured "Fuck it, if i'm going to be a freak, i'll be a freak on my own terms", and I did whatever I thought looked cool. I didn't know what I trenchcoat was, but I sure loved my moms, and wanted one of my own. I hadn't seen Matrix yet, though it had been out for sometime, and wasn't prepared for the rush of "Hey Neo".

Columbine happened recently too, and I was known as the "Columbine Kid" for the next couple of years.

Anyways, I also got called Goth alot, though I had never heard of Goth before. One google search later, and I was in love. Here was a whole world of people like me, wheras before I thought I was alone.

My favourite places were Gothic Miss Manners, and

I started off with "Yeah, i'll wear black, but never make-up or anything like that"

Then I painted my nails "Ok, I'll paint my nails, but never that stupid face make-up"

Then a friend did my face, and I loved it.

I am now the guy at the back of Sanctuary with the cape, velvet clothes, elaborate eyes, and stuffy Cthulhu.

I looked back on things, and realized, when I was little, I loved batman and beetlejuice, and though cartoons like looney tunes were lame. When I was 9, I bought the Complete Works of Edgar Alllen Poe, The Raven being my favourite. I realized I didn't turn goth, I always kinda was, just didn't know what goth was...

one day I found an old kindergarted drawing book in my moms basement, and it was full of graveyards, skulls, and people dying... Kinda scared me, but made me smile.

My mom went to luvafair back in the day, so I supposed she saw it coming. The first time my father saw me done up he called me a fag and kicked me out of the house. First time my mom saw me, she laughed, and took me to the pharmacy to show me real make-up, and how to put it on properly.

So theres my story...

For me, I think I realized I was goth when I lost my Christian faith. Now I realize that many goths are Christians, many aren't. This is just the particular point in my life that I would pin point. As a child, I was always facsinated with the occult and horror films. Throughout high school, my looks changed so much, you could have grouped me with any culture. For a while, I was a homie, then I went total preppie in grade 9, then a skid by grade 12, into college I discovered the new age lifestyles and wore black predominantly.

Mind you, I've never been called a goth per se, but this past summer, I was on the ferry to the Sunshine Coast to visit my mom. I was wearing my black jeans, belt, ramones t-shirt and a black Toronto Blue Jays hat, also rockin' the chain wallet with an ankh hanging off the chain. I was standing in the food line up, and this guy turns around to ask me something about the ferry food and he stops in mid-conversation, looks me up and down and says, "so who just died?" I nodded and asked what did he want to ask me. It was something about if the White Spot burgers had triple O sauce or not. I answered yes and added "no one died, thanks for asking." Then he apologized.

when i was 8 i have always been the odd one preffering to wear dark cothers. when i was younger my antie told me my mum wanted me to wear a pink dress n i eouldnt put it on. i screamed the place down lol

I finaly realised I was a goth in year 10, when I was approached by random strangers with either "OMG, are you like a goth, or something?" or "Oh, hey, didn't I see you at Gallery Serpentine/ Enmore Festival?" Granted at the time, I didn't know about Enmore Road, or Gallery Serp, but thats what google is good for! Finding that store was deffinatly my turning point. As in I was no longer "or something?" I was a goth.

First time I decided to visit Gallery Serpentine on Enmore Road, I walked past a bunch of people who didn't give me strange looks. Instead they sized me up, and greeted me warmly. Coming from South West Sydney, I was...shocked. Usualy when some one sized me up, in my black pleated skirt, GP boots and a black top(+choice eyeliner), I'd be just about ready to run.

On the other hand, my mummy was always an odd lady, I must say that I never had anything to rebel against. In primary school I never fitted in, being 'that girl from over seas', and in year 7, I was refered to counciling because some one's parents thought I was a 'Goth and a Satan worshiper, and a bad influence on their children.'. So I suppose I spent the next three years in denial, pretending to just be a normal geek.

Well, there is my life-as-a-goth story.

I've told this story a few too many times, so I'm prone to just give the Readers Digest version now.

There are plenty of influences I can point to but I'll chalk most of it up to my WWI-era parents. My mother was a teenager in Nazi occupied Belgium and my father lied about his age and was a teenager in combat in Northern Africa, Italy and Western Europe. My siblings and I were never sheltered from the reality of death and war. My father's history books were in easy reach and I can recall looking at pictures of real death when most kids were getting Dr. Seuss read to them.

My father had an upholstery shop and vinyl and PVC were an everyday part of my life. My mom used to make vinyl mini-skirts for the elder of my two sisters way back in the early 70's.

Art and history are also a part of my life. I run into my ancestors at art galleries. My mother took me to Montmarte when I was 11, and I was well versed in the history of the place including things like Toulouse-Lautrec death by syphillis.

There was always music around. Because of the varied tastes of my siblings and parents. I was exposed to a little bit of everything. Thinking back now and the music that stands out in my childhood ( < 10 years old ) memory are Beethoven, Bizet, Deep Purple, Led Zepplin, Lou Reed, The Door, Abba, Tommy James and Shondells, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Beatles, Dean Martin, ... you get the picture. When I was ten I started buying my own records. Some of my first purchases were Pink Floyd, Queen, Billy Joel, The Who, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the Sex Pistols.

I can't remember *ever* being like the other kids in school. I never dressed the same. Never cared about having the right brand clothing. In elementary school they never knew what to do with me: one year they would put me in with the "smart kids" and I would cause too much trouble, so the next year I would be in the class with all the troublemakers and cause even more trouble because I would be bored out of my mind.

When "goth" came along, I was already there. I was raised with 400 years of artists and intellectuals behind me. Black wasn't the colour of "goth" - it was the colour of avant garde artists, beatniks, Weimar intellectuals, cabarets, speakeasies, dreadfully elegant flappers, the belle epoch, absintheurs, Romantics, and Dutch masters.

There are days when I look at what "goth" is to some people and I want to divorce myself from the term, but I remain who I am, regardless.

I think I first realized  I was goth in grade eleven.  Up until that point I was like any other girl.  I went out of my way to buy the clothes, listen to the music and have the hobbies that would make the popular girls like me.  I was so desperate for friendship that I was ignoring who I was.

Over the summer between grades ten and eleven I bought my first tube of black lipstick (monumental to be sure) and slowly started filtering the colour from my wardrobe.  My grade eleven school picture shows me with hair in a black bob, an off-the shoulder black top and black lipstick all sticking out against pale white skin.  Truly, my transformation had begun.

From there on out I was called a good number of things, witch and demon most popular (I did go to a private Christian school, remember), but every once in a while "goth" would pop up among the taunts.  I denied that claim as vehemently as I did all the others, although I knew in my head that's what I was...

It wasn't until after highschool that I could really call myself goth and not be afraid of reprocussions.  My dad hates it, my mom went through it (but "grew out of it") and my brother and sisters are embarassed to go out with me when I'm all decked out, but this is who I am and I am glad I can say now, with pride, that I am goth.

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