Punk Goth Rock Star Faces Society ~ a story about my daughter


My daughter dresses in interesting clothing. Her style would be classified as part punk and part goth. She wears heavy black eyeliner and has her hair cut in a very long mohawk, generously highlighted with greenish blue streaks. (The picture here is not current in fact it is about 2 years old; you can imagine the progression….=) She likes to wear Harley Davidson boots, but she also wears Chucks (high top runners) and Vans (slip on runners). She wears safety pins and colored paper clips in her ears. She has several pairs of black pants inlaid with over 20 zippers each. She often wears black fingerless gloves even when it is warm out. It is common for little kids to point at her and say things like “Mommy, look, a rock star!” Typically, the mothers will grab these little kids to kind of discourage them from approaching my daughter any closer… but as soon as her eyes connect with the eyes of a child, her smile melts any hesitation on the part of the parent and she gives those kids a thrilling moment in their lives ~ conversation with a rock star! She empowers them, she encourages them and she models to them that not everyone that looks different is BAD

I know that clothing often does express a bad attitude; it is often used as a wall, to keep others away, but this is not the case with my daughter, and I have always known that.

My daughter has homeschooled since grade 6, but this year in grade 11, she decided to go back to traditional school in a neighbouring town instead of going back to our local K-12 school. I was pretty nervous about the way that she looks and how she would be perceived. She is really academic and I know that not many academic kids in small towns look like her. I tried to encourage her to tone down her appearance. About 6n weeks before she started in the new school I made her stop shaving the sides of her hair. I tried to convince her to change the colors in her hair. I forbid her to wear her knee high lace up platform boots. I warned her that she would suffer rejection and that kids can be so mean, and assured her that I was just looking out for her.

I forgot that when she was 4 years old I started teaching her to be who she is and not try to be someone else. I forgot that by the time she was 7 that the biggest goal that I had with her was to empower her to be who she is and walk away from the kids who rejected her because she was not who they wanted her to be. I forgot that I myself had spent thousands of dollars in therapy to get out of the tight box I was in, the conformity box of meeting other people’s expectations. I forgot that my dissociated identity disorder was rooted in trying to be all things to all people and that so much of the money I spent on therapy was to learn who I really was! I forgot that her clothing doesn’t define her; it doesn’t make her who she is; Clothing ~ like wrapping paper, doesn’t always give a clue as to what the present is inside. I forgot my own mantra because I was afraid that she would get hurt.

So she went to school. No one in her classes talked to her. She phoned me at lunch time from the safety of her truck the first few days. My heart hurt for her.

But she met other people and she learned some great truths. I think I learned (and re-learned) even more then she did. Her appearance turned out to be a great screening process. She made friends with people who are willing to look beyond her style and were willing to get to know the person inside. She grew in her confidence because she chose to be herself and she knows that her value has nothing to do with her appearance. She is a bright light in an often otherwise dark world. Does it get any better than that?

As for me, I learned that my old belief system still creeps up on me all the time. Oh I could write pages and pages more on this… and rest assured… I will. =)

~Darlene Ouimet

13 response to "Punk Goth Rock Star Faces Society ~ a story about my daughter"

  1. By: Marie McRae Posted: 8th March

    I have been following your blog for several months now. It is very helpful to charting my progress on this journey. Thank you for your boldness to speak the truth in love.
    I also have a daughter who dressed this way (no, she did not shave her hair, but wanted to!)
    I, too, encouraged her and all my kids that they could be anything they wanted to be, but the most important thing was/is to be themselves!
    This is such an important lesson for “survivors”–I personally prefer the term Overcomers–we are NOT who THEY decided we are!! We are who God made us to be, and true healing is rediscovering that unique person hidden under the rubble of the abuse.
    What an awesome thing it is to raise children as who they are, and not who we think they should be.
    Thank you for sharing this with us. This made my day!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th March

      Hi Marie
      Welcome to EFB!
      Thank you for your kind words! I was a survivor ~ now I am a thriver! I agree with you about finding the original! I never thought I would get there, but wow, I did and wow I am pretty cool. 🙂
      AND now I am being who I really am too.
      Thank you for sharing! Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Ravin Posted: 7th March

    This is a great post!
    Our son also did the goth route and many other reinventing of himself. We supported each of his styles, even for school pictures. To us it was like you spoke of our way to let him be himself and not in a box that anyone put him into including us.
    Congrats on your daughters success!
    It’s a mother’s wonder when their child goes out and makes it their own world.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th March

      Hi Ravin,
      When my daughter graduated grade 12, she won a scholarship for being an individual no matter what anyone else thought. Tears filled my eyes. (she was never very accepted by very many of the kids in the school she finished in but the teachers took a closer look at her because of her marks.) It was hard because I knew that I was judged by many for the way she looked and dressed… people very often didn’t give her a chance but that was their loss. I learned a lot about people by watching all of that and I am really proud of her for sticking to the way she wanted to present herself to the world, and for me for not trying to get her back in some kind of “accpetable box”. Love your last sentence “It’s a mother’s wonder when their child goes out and makes it their own world.”
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi ushudnobttr
      Yes, wouldn’t it be an amazing world if everyone could embrace (and was encouraged to embrace) their individuality!
      Welcome to EFB
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: ushudnobttr Posted: 7th March

    Very beautiful story..what a beautiful young lady..she embraces her individuality and presses forword despite the world point of views are and hurrah to her mother ..not a lot of families support their”blacksheep”and that tends to further push them away..although trying to protect her daughter …she was reliving her own pain and fears..parents should be the ones children run to when there is a problem and rejection and forcing conformity tends to hinder that ..wonderful post !!!

  4. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th August

    Hi Lisa
    Welcome to EFB
    I worried about all that too. My daughter did get shunned and some people never gave her a chance and I found it hard to stand by also.. but just a quick update; it has been well over a year and a half since I wrote this post. My daughter has since graduated high school with honours. She won a scholarship for “being who she is” and not caring what everyone else thought about it while still maintaining excellent grades and being nice to others. She is leaving for University in 2 weeks and she is going to study Neuro Science. She no longer has black hair, she toned down the makeup, and she wears bright colours however her outfits are still unique. She does have a lot of strange piercings but mostly in her ears now. I think she is going to be just fine.
    Thanks for sharing, I think we are going to be just fine too!
    Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: lisa stan Posted: 18th August

    I love what you wrote, my 15 year old daughter dresses so crazy, has been for years. colored hair, lots of black eyeliner, she loves to modify her clothes. it is hard, she is so pretty and I feel like she misses out because peolple will shun her. appearances shouldn’t matter but they do! I try and accept her, but sometimes it is so hard… she is so beautiful and a very nice person, i feel that she might go down a dark path because of the music, etc.

  6. By: Cindy Leigh Garrett Wilson Posted: 25th February

    Hi Darlene,
    Wow, my response was long wasn’t it? I think I need a lesson in brevity! Thank you so much for being sensitive to my initial request not to publish my comments. I am happy to change my mind about it being published since you think others might have similar questions.

    I am enjoying everything I’m reading as I catch up on past blogs. There is no doubt in my mind that God lead me to your site.

    I’m looking forward to your blog on Friday…

    Happily staying tuned,
    Cindy Leigh

  7. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th February

    Hi Cindy Leigh,

    Thanks for giving me permission to publish your comment after all. I also want to thank you for your concern and consideration for the readership. I thought your comment spoke clearly of your sincere interest and not of judgment at all.

    I believe that many parents share this same fear, so I value the opportunity to expand on my thoughts about teenagers and their chosen style. I started a response to your comment, and it is almost 400 words already, so I am going to use it as my next blog post. Carla is posting later today, so I will post on Friday.

    I hope you stay tuned!
    Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Cindy Leigh Garrett Wilson Posted: 23rd February

    I love this post and appreciate how you were able to articulate the difference in what you had strived to learn and do for yourself…yet found yourself reverting back to past wrong thoughts when guiding your daughter. I am glad for you both for the lessons you learned and thank you for sharing them with me.

    I am curious though about your daughter’s gothic style. Don’t misunderstand me, I love when anyone shows the freedom they have when they express their difference in how they look. But I wonder about the goth look. Is it my upbringing that makes me think it leans towards a Satanic look? I have come so far in my own life in getting past thinking certain music is “of the devil”…yet I guess I am slow to get there in the “gothic” style of clothing. I am genuinely asking for my own education. Two of my four sons are still at home and in the middle of their teens. I don’t want to suppress their creativity or freedom to express themselves, yet I am stuck in my thoughts about the look of this style and what it appears to represent.

    I am new to your website and am reading as fast as I can because it speaks to me on many levels. I don’t know how these comments work. I would never, NEVER want to hurt your daughter or offend you…but because this website is about helping others I feel the freedom to ask for my sake…in no way being critical. And I am in no way implying that your daughter is into satanic practices.

    I don’t know if I’ll get a response or not but I thought it was worth a try to ask. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of the fellow sojourners in this life that have found the road a bit hard at times and are in need of a helping hand.

    A new reader,
    Cindy Leigh
    PS. I am hoping this will not be published, but if it is I ask again that anyone who reads this take it as a question from a mother that cares and wants the best for herself and her children.

  9. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th February

    Thanks Carla, it is great to have your personal opinion to back me up!

  10. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 18th February

    This post ROCKS Darlene. Knowing your daughter personally, I have seen that all you say is true. Her true inner beauty is so apparent, and her real self always shines through. Because she is empowered to be herself, her style doesn’t totally define her or cut people off- it’s just her style (like any other style)! I am privileged to call her my friend.

  11. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 18th February

    Awesome post Darlene~ your daughter, your realizations, and your reflections all rock! I am inspired.

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