It’s tough being unique in a historically conservative state like South Carolina. Encounters with stereotyping still occur frequently, stifling the events, people, places, businesses and resources that might otherwise relocate to support the scene which exists below the surface. But your gothiest life isn’t out of reach—use these tips to bring it to fruition!
Find the goth in the mainstream. Because the mainstream surrounds you, use it to your advantage. For example, shop at businesses that don’t specifically cater to goths (they certainly abound!). Pay attention to the details and find those that attract you. Could you dye that blouse black to make it work for your style? Could you create a similar look out of a shirt you already own? Take your cues from what you find and let your imagination run with them!
Travel. Many events, places, and businesses of interest are located both in and around South Carolina, though not necessarily Columbia. An hour and a half to Greenville or two hours to Charleston could be a much-needed daytrip culminating in a spectacular concert. A weekend in Asheville or Atlanta could provide the fresh, artsy atmosphere your creativity has been craving. Save your extra cash to take a mini-vacation that’ll gratify your inner goth!
Use what you have. It may not be much, but Columbia has sights, sounds, and shopping with which all local darklings should be familiar. The New Brookland Tavern hosts a variety of alternative musicians, and though most might not appeal to you, the few that do will be worth the patience. The Columbia Museum of Art is home to lectures and films that could energize your worldly, artistic sensibilities. When all else fails, use the growth of internet networking to find new friends to meet at a simple coffee shop.
Remain positively open-minded. Remember that cliché adage? Well, turns out, it’s true. Focus on the positive, and you’ll find your own happiness. Letting the negative rule your impressions means you aren’t in control of your opinions. It’s easy to get discouraged, but keep it from hindering you. Don’t let day-to-day drama drown your openness to new experiences. Someone you dealt with on one bad day shouldn’t determine whether you hang out at the Art Bar again. An article you read about how boring the South Carolina State Museum’s new dinosaur exhibit is shouldn’t deter you from checking it out if you love dinosaurs! Remember, you learn through tangible experience, and, depending on what you believe, this life could be your only one to gain as much knowledge as possible!
Go amateur. Tons of local people are creating their own merchandise, many with goth sensibilities. Emily Kudeviz runs Dread Falls From Grace out of Greenville and sells hair falls, which can be custom-made. Other SC artists teach their crafts. DIYers construct and supply clothing that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Support these entrepreneurs (or do it yourself!) to encourage their growth and get awesome accessories in return!
Stay involved. Follow acts such as Columbia Alternacirque which generate a welcoming, eclectic fan base. Get to know others so you can keep informed. Create your personal goth go-to network to enlarge the number of possibilities you can draw upon. After all, only through individual involvement can the group expand!
Of course, these guidelines are just that—guidelines. Tailor them to fit your exact needs and interests. And be sure to stay up-to-date on the Columbia Goth Culture Examiner’s newest articles for more information on the local scene!
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