Sometimes clichéd feelings are the most universal feelings. That is to say, they become clichés because they are felt by so many people in so many different situations, though each has sort of a common theme. And so I have little reservations in discussing my formative years as a typical weirdo. I was extremely rebellious yet didn’t have many friends to speak of, and have now figured out that this was due to my intense feelings of being misunderstood. I mean, who hasn’t felt like the world looks at you as though you have antenna sprouting out of your head?
These feelings are extremely isolating! If you are a person who has never identified with mainstream, “normal” society, it can be difficult to find a community in which you can meet like-minded folks and appreciate art that resonates within you. In my late teens I discovered the goth scene and suddenly it was like, WOW! I have discovered my place in the world! I quickly became obsessed with bands like Joy Division and the Sisters of Mercy and spent many drunken Saturday nights at the local goth bar, stomping away to EBM. And channeling my bitterness through wearing black became really therapeutic for me, and not entirely in some youthful reflexive response of “inner rage”, but more in the sense that for the first time, I was expressing myself through getting dressed. I felt powerful. Walking down in the street in an all-black outfit makes one look innately unapproachable except to other goths, and seeing one another in public felt like a secret handshake. I relished in using my appearance to feel like a part of a community. However primitive my emotions may have been, subculture hugely influenced what my identity would become.
These days I no longer have an overwhelming teenage desire to be understood. But I still retain that empowerment I derived from wearing weird things, and infused with my burgeoning feminism with romantic goth subculture. Surely there must be others who feel the way about clothes that I do!, I thought, and considered starting a blog. I started Latterstyle after the initial crop of bloggers began attaining success. Luckily I was approaching my mid-twenties when I started, and was just old enough to ignore the allure of Blog Fame and just blog simply because I enjoyed it. My only goals were to improve my writing and meet cool people. If I’d begun my blog when I was younger I think I might have gotten sucked into the blog world’s rat race, which can often feel like a desperate climb for fame and money. Although I am older than most bloggers I am friendly with, it is a relief that I began this adventure with my life being already somewhat established. It’s easy to lose ones identity in a creative project, but by approaching my blog with zero expectations, I don’t set myself up for any disappointment.
It’s really rewarding to be able to say that I’ve achieved the goals I had in mind when I began blogging! I have met wonderful people and my writing has improved tremendously, simply by virtue of doing it more often. And perhaps most gratifying of all, I have discovered people who understand me and who’ve struggled with the same feelings that I have. Ironically, as an adult I’ve grown out of a lot of those emotions! But honestly, they never really go away, they just change as you progress through adulthood, and perhaps wane in importance. Some people are just naturally inclined to feel different from everyone else, and that universal idea is why I blog. There is nothing more comforting to the human soul than discovering people who share your feelings!