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  • Writer's pictureAlice

5 Reasons Why You Should Embrace Your Gothic Side

Find light in darkness and lead a happier life

Moon shining over the forest

Most people are scared of embracing their Gothic side because they don't even know what the Gothic is.


If you are one of these people, you should know that it isn't your fault. You have not been told what the Gothic is, the same way you have been brought up to neglect horror.


School curriculums still have some upgrading to do in this regard.


However, it is up to you to question everything, to investigate the world around you from different angles and to keep learning about all those things that, despite looking intimidating or frightening, need your attention.


Everybody has some kind of morbid interest in scary things, whether it's because they fear them or because they feel drawn to them. Whichever way, it is important to follow that thread of curiosity to learn more about yourself.


In this entry, I want to tell you five reasons why you should embrace your Gothic side, yes, we all have one of those, and how this awareness will bring light into your very own darkness. And yes, we all have a dark side too. Learning what the hidden messages mean is vital if you want to find balance. All you need to do is to investigate.


Let's dive in:

REASON 1 - SEARCH FOR THE ORIGIN OF THINGS

When I talk about the Gothic I am not solely referring to its dark aesthetics, which is what most people think about the first time they hear the term. Images of depressed teenagers wearing black clothes, far too much makeup, extreme hairdos, piercings, tattoos and also...Wednesday, are probably some of the images that come to mind.


Well, friends, there's more to the Gothic than all of the above.


The term Gothic comes from the Germanic tribes known as "The Goths" who roamed the Earth as early as the 1st century and that could have Scandinavian origins. This part of history is a little bit confusing and still raises many debates.


This same name was used to classify a type of European architecture that originated in the late 12th century and prevailed up to the 18th century. The main characteristics are the long pointed arches, stained-glass windows, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, and spires.


But it also gave name to a literary genre that started with The Castle of Otranto written by Horace Walpole in 1764 and that, despite having suffered some transformations, is currently still very much alive and kicking. However, the real origins of the literary genre took place in Germany, but for some reason, it didn't root there.


Learning about the origin of the term Gothic is already encouraging in itself as it makes you use your critical thinking before making a firm statement about what it really means and how much it entails.


In my YouTube video Goth VS. Gothic, I tell you more about it.




REASON 2 - UNCERTAINTY AND PSYCHOLOGY


Now that you have a better understanding of the origins of the term Gothic, you can start deciding where your inclinations are. Is it the historical side of things? Is it the architectural part? Is it the aesthetics? Is it the literature?...or is it something else? Academics consider that the Gothic has become more of a mode than a genre.


I personally find the whole evolution and how many fields the Gothic covers fascinating. Even inside the literary space, we can see how the Gothic is like an octopus with many arms and legs that keep spreading all over, covering everything.


If you ask any expert to try to define Gothic literature they will all say the same: "It is very difficult to give an exhaustive definition because it reaches many spaces as it sneaks through the invisible cracks. However, there's a characteristic that we all agree with which is the aspect of "uncertainty" and, my friend, "uncertainty" is a constant that we breathe, and that can also be found in other genres. This backs up the theory that the Gothic is not necessarily limited to one space. It is liminal by nature and therefore it shows up in concepts like transitions or mood changes. That's why portals play an important role here.


Now you can see why the Gothic reigns the psychological as much as the supernatural as there is an aspect of unembodiment in the concept of uncertainty, which invites us to a deeper analysis.


REASON 3 - CREATING AWARENESS


This is how this goes: you feel intrigued by scary stories with ghosts, eerie houses with a strange aura, and enigmatic characters with a dark secret, among others. You start watching them and you can't get enough, no matter how scared you are.


There are some scientific explanations behind this reaction that I am not going to elaborate on in this post today. What's important for now is that you don't just stay on the surface of this feeling and that you can actually describe how these films, books, certain buildings and even music make you feel.


The more specific you are defining your reactions to the Gothic, the more you will understand those parts of yourself you normally hide.


Once you become fully aware of those thoughts and sensations, write them down, because only then it's when it all becomes real which is when you'll be able to work with them.


And just like that, the Gothic becomes a space of discovery that can help you understand what's going on inside your head at a deeper level.


REASON 4 - DEVELOP YOUR CRITICAL THINKING


As I mentioned at the start of this entry, it is important to question everything. That's how we stop being cattle and we start becoming our own masters.


Unfortunately, we are social animals and we need each other to be balanced. I say unfortunately because there are too many unhealthy people out there ready to snap our necks with their behaviour and words. That's how we either grow a thick skin or we end up being hugged by depression, PTSD and other mental issues.



I feel a bit like Sherlock myself lately. Don't you just love Cumberbatch in this role?


Yes, Arthur Conan Doyle created a Gothic character in a lot of different Gothic settings. If you don't believe me, start analysing all the elements you find in the stories. You don't even have to be an expert for your intuition to do its job.


When Sherlock questions the world around him, he starts seeing the patterns. With his behaviour, he encourages us to think outside the box. Even in his madness, bathed in toxic substances, he makes sense.


The monsters are all around us and inside of us. The question is if you are ready to do anything about them.


By being exposed to certain books, films and series, without knowing you are developing strategies to solve the problems you are presented with in your daily routine. I am not saying that you should go out there harming others. On the contrary, what I am saying is that you learn to put strategies and defence mechanisms in place against those social aspects that harm you. And all that, thanks to using your Critical Thinking through a context that invites you to question the world that you know, the world that you perceive and the world we have been socially fed.

REASON 5 - THE SHADOW


After you have become aware and have started using your Critical Thinking to question the world around you to figure out how uncertainty makes you feel and writing it all down so it is not only in your head, but it's also real, you have taken the most important step: facing the shadow.


As we navigate the real world, we push away the uncomfortable parts of ourselves in order to be accepted socially. These parts end up in a dark place of your brain that psychologist and psychiatrist Carl G. Jung called "The Shadow." Analytical psychologists say that looking straight into our shadows is very difficult and challenging but very necessary.


When you don't listen to what your Shadow is trying to tell you, you repress a part of yourself. As a consequence, this repression turns into trauma affecting many areas of your life and makes it very difficult to navigate your days.


If you still don't know how to access your Shadow space, you can start by analysing your favourite characters.

I have found a very clear example of the workings of the Shadow through the Supernatural character of Sam Winchester in Season 4, episode When the Levee Breaks or in Season 6, episode The Man Who Knew Too Much. Although these are not the only moments where we can see the Shadow in action, in all those cases the splits are obvious and very well illustrated.



FINAL THOUGHTS

In this entry, I have given you five reasons why you should embrace your Gothic side and how that can help you find light in darkness.


I have also invited you to be more critical about the world around you and taken you on a very brief journey around the meaning of the word Gothic.


Once in the literary space, I have talked to you about awareness and the importance of the shadow to become a more balanced person and lead a happier life.


Entertainment is not only a good way of spending time disconnecting from our daily problems. It can also offer us solutions to our daily problems from a space that, although disturbing, is safe for us to investigate from a cognitive and empathic level.


The question is now: How far are you willing to go to meet the other parts that make up your identity? Let me know in the comments.

 

Did you find this entry useful? Would you like to learn more about how the Gothic can help you learn about yourself? Subscribe to my monthly online magazine You Are Gothic But You Don't Know It for only €4.99 a month.


The profit made from readers' subscriptions goes to funding my project Female Representations of the Mother in Gothic and Horror Productions through Jungian Archetypes.


As an independent scholar and researcher, your support is crucial to help people like me to make the world a better place by creating awareness.


When you become more connected with yourself you will connect better with others and will lead a happier life.





Until next week, stay Gothic my friend!

Thanks for reading,

Alice

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