When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I began to have strange dreams. Many had occult symbolism; others showed me a figure I associated with Death. Between the dreams and traumas I had already survived, I had issues relating to my peers. One of my dreams set me off in search of a local cemetery. I found a sense of calm there that seemed to be lacking in my turbulent life as an adolescent. I tried explaining to my parents the dreams and the cemetery, but it only served to make my existence even more difficult. I found it easier not to inform them of the frequency of my visits to the cemetery or the durations.
As time went on, I would adopt many of the trappings of those who typically hang out in cemeteries. I began wearing more and more black, which was another source of contention with my parents. Eventually, my parents accepted the black clothing, but it reinforced the idea that it was far more burdensome to fight for the acceptance of my truth than merely conceal it. By 15, I had bought my first spiked leather collar. We didn’t exactly have a shop for gothic fashion in our area, so it was purchased at a pet store. I began wearing black lipstick and matching eye make up soon after. My sophomore year of high school, my parents were my transportation back and forth to school. I used the time in the morning to switch into black clothing and put on makeup. After school let out, I would switch back into more “acceptable” attire.
So many years later, I was finally able to begin my transition. It’s a reality my teenage self never considered possible. Now I work to reclaim those other forgotten parts of my soul, those bits I found that resonated but surrendered along the way. Growing up is hard, and we often sacrifice far more of ourselves than necessary in pursuit of the “rat race.” Paying the bills can be done in so many ways, and fitting in is often a matter of finding one’s place in the world. Why is it that we tend to be open-minded toward others, yet we become so unimaginative and judgmental when it comes to our own lives? After many realizations and epiphanies, I’m back to wearing studded collars and dark makeup. And like an echo that returns to the source, I’ve come home to a cemetery. There is a local cemetery where I meditate, read, and journal. I also work to clear some old paths and debris. If we all do a little, no one must do a lot. And for me, it is a labor of love.
I’ve grown up as a restless individual. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini rising. Perhaps it’s because I felt alone for so long. It’s possible that the trauma and years of distrust has been sown into my very being. Whatever the cause, my longing for tranquility is so strong, it can only be found in a cemetery. While other company brings politics, gossip, and small talk, the dead offer no trivial prattle or idle words. They are silent reminders that are time is finite and must be used wisely. It is easy to see which stones are for those who accomplished great wealth in their lifetime. It is even easier to see who was actually well loved. Their graves have fresh flowers and other offerings long after the date of passing. I am always moved by flowers or some other token left at an older grave, still remembered. To me, that is love. Love is facing the pain and discomfort associated with loss and death just to honor how someone impacted your life. So if you wish to connect with your past, see your future, or simply get your priorities in order, stop by your local graveyard. Just prepare for your world to come to a complete halt as you face the most grounding encounter in all of human experience: your own mortality.
Love and blessings from the Beach Goth,