On World Goth Day 2020 I discussed how the Goth aesthetic was manifested from music and rebellion. The all black clothes and heavy dark makeup was like - is like - wearing the music. In the 80’s being goth meant succumbing to sadness and teenage angst. Goths, like the punks before them, crafted their fashion to be shocking and solemn. A goth’s eye make-up was artfully esoteric. From the perspective of the average citizen goths were just like punks. They were deemed hoodlums, dangerous and satanic. Parents were warned about the heavy metal and post-punk bands that were fueling their Goth children’s all black attire. Adult goths were “mopey two-stepping” at night clubs and would roam the streets in embrace before the sun rose. To the naked eye it would seem Goth’s are lathering themselves in animal tested makeup. It was assumed they drank too much and inhaled fiberglass by smoking Djarum Black cloves. Being the well known outcasts, it was also assumed Goths weren’t into physical activities as they were often found sulking on the bleachers or ditching physical education all together. All these years later, while the goths have grown up and the younger generation of goths are creating Goth sub-cultures, the assumptions that Goths are an unhealthful lot couldn’t be any more untrue. Perhaps the Healthy Goth is another facet of Goth Culuture.
In fact, Goths these days are at the helm of self-care and health. We treat our bodies like A Temple of Love. Most times. Witchcraft is prevalent amongst Goths and is a beneficial form of self-care; mentally and physically. Goths come from many backgrounds. Often the kids that never fit in to any clique in school, Goth's are the ones who’s energy radiates awkwardness and habitually receives ridicule and criticism. Other goths suffer from abuse and addiction which isn’t healthy by any means. But, their recovery is often comparable to surviving hand-to-hand combat. Some Goths were jocks and nerds who find wearing all black and dark eyeliner to conceal their everyday identity just to be themselves for a little while. Goths are living breathing art and artists. But, the one common denominator is that Goths are typically Romantics. This explains the appeal to the dreary post-punk melodies from The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The struggle to find beauty in such a mundane world torments the Goth and drives them mad with curiosity. Goths use music, visual art, travel, fashion and photography to express themselves despite if it makes sense to the average person. In fact, the Goth aesthetic is not for the average human at all. It's as if the Goth is in-tune with the obscure as a means to express themselves which is detrimental to self-care and overall health.
The Goths I have surrounded myself with range in age and, all thanks to social media, I can follow and see day to day happenings in their lives, and health is always at the forefront. We all prioritize our health in different ways. So, you can imagine my delight when I was able to find Black Widow Yoga @blackwidowyoga, a group that offers Metal and Post-Punk Yoga classes. Apparel too! They have been an excellent discovery as traditional Yoga classes never fully resonated with my spirit. Hell, I fall asleep listening to heavy jams and club beats.
Photo by @blackwidowyoga
Artful and clean diets are another popular form of art I see Goths embracing. Many have websites and Patreons dedicated to healthful eating habits. Jamila @thesoulfulveganista has been busy working with @afrovegansociety - a nonprofit that helps disempowered communities take back control of their health and environments through vegan living. Not evil at all coming from a bad ass metal head who teaches the importance about shadow work, is it? Thanks to Wesley Eisold’s recommendation, I discovered a Vegan German delight at the Hinterhoff @hinterhof_la, located in Highland Park, CA. There is a plethora of Goths who love to indulge in vegan treats. So, many that dedicate their time, art and energy in order to help humans, beasts and our home.
Photo by @afrovegansociety
Contrary to stereotypical belief, Goths yearn to feel at peace and feel good within. My dear Goth sister in arms, April is a Massage Therapist @greengoddessmassage and cannabis advocate. She is unholy and the kindest and most awakened Spirit I know. It's as if the Goth knows that our world can turn sour at any moment an it is important that Romantics know how fuel the body and soul naturally so that they have the energy to seek out beauty as well as create it and, Goths mimic that.
Photo by @greengoddessmassage
But, the Goth and their well being is not all love and light, in regards to their physical health. Health and strength within the physical body aids in clearer meditation which leads to a strong mentality. Once again, no one Goth is like the other. Converging amongst other Goths offers safety and a sense of home in a dangerous society. Trans people of all aesthetics are attacked on a daily basis but, especially black trans women. It takes a strength worth talking about. To be able to go out on a daily basis in a world where so many want to harm them for simply being. A lifetime of ridicule and many still have the courage to continue to show up to work with us, celebrate with us and create with us. How do they find that daily strength? Goths are assumed to be suicidal and sad all the time. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Goths can be generalized by average people but, no goth will ever fit into any kind of box.
Often accused of being unholy and unclean, many goths have turned away from religion and opted for a more natural form of spirituality. Witchcraft, Satanism, Wicca and others are popular amongst them. Rejected, harassed or abused by the religious leaders they grew up with Goths, often turn to tarot and Psychics for spiritual guidance. Divination helps the goth make a decision as does Tarot. Goths take part in rituals by candle light, eccentric dance moves and red wine. The power to control our lives lies within us and us alone and that is something the Goth embraces and expresses. While Goths are known for expressing their depressive states as a means of releasing their darkness often turning despair into poetry. The same goths can be found later on smiling while enjoying a picnic in the local cemetery.
It probably comes as no surprise that the Goth sex appeal is a popular fetish. Curious “average people” come to clubs in hopes to flirt with sin by catching a “BTG” performing a fire-dance or witness a live flogging. What’s absolutely beautiful is the confidence that on display in many Goth communities. Sexy people of all body types, of all genders and, non-genders, are on full display. How freeing, how empowering it is to witness a person of beauty, a typecast villain express themselves in such raw form. The bodies clad in nothing but fish-nets, a leather thong and, nipple -tape, the Goth perfects the image of raw pleasure. Even with that, it is an expression that should only be enjoyed with respect and consent.
The people who are perceived to be evil and arcane are the most kind, natural and genuine among us. Goths are all about self-love, self-acceptance and self-respect. They are the balance between peace and chaos. You can’t become a harbinger of both light and darkness if you can’t take care of your physical, mental and spiritual health. It takes gusto and practice to wear a corset for hours on end. It’s easier to dance in eight inch platforms after a nice, calming metal yoga sesh. While living much of their lives in the shadows Goths embraced their natural introvert during the Pandemic. So many connections have been made and there is a world full of goths showing off their talents from their living rooms. From the DJ’s that had us dancing and releasing on the sticky club dance floors to the vegans offering up their favorite recipes, Goths know how to embrace the darkness within and, in the world. The obscure often hold the secrets to healing. It may appear as a spiky studded pill to swallow but, it’s actually sweet, esoteric, loveably wild and often quite kind. Health is a habit for the goth, making room for creativity and healing to flow. So, the next time you encounter the “dressed-in-all-black”, heavy eye-lined Goth you are afraid to take your eyes off of; remember that they are walking, talking works of art.