PUNK ROCK GOTH and EMO TEENS~ labels are dangerous

Same Girl ~ Different Day

I would like to thank Cindy Leigh for her comments on my post “Punk Goth Rock Star Faces Society. My response back got so long that I decided to make it a whole post. If you have not read the post you can find it here, as well as the comments from Cindy Leigh.

 I think there are a lot of parents, grandparents and people in general with this same fear about clothing style. First of all I think that kids dress to express themselves in many different ways and for many different reasons. For some it is creativity, even art. For others the clothing is the wall they put up to kind of steer people away from looking inside of them, beyond the clothing; the clothing or the style is the defense or the protection and it serves a worthy purpose. Sometimes the way that a teenager dresses is even a cry for help or a cry to be seen as in need of help. For many it is simply the way they want to look. But this is not what I was getting at.

I try not to decide why kids dress the way they do and try not to pre-judge them for it because I have come to realize that other people defined me with their judgments and that did an incredible amount of damage. I had to learn how to think for myself and even what to think about myself when I was in my forties! I strive to meet people where they are at, and try to accept them however they present themselves. I find that this is empowering for teenagers, and they seem to trust me easily.

 I myself used to be pretty “gothic” but I was nothing like my daughter. I dressed in a lot of black because I felt black. I felt hopeless. Black helped me hide. Black was a feeling for me.  I was depressed, and my daughter isn’t. She is bright and happy. We have had a few conversations about these posts the past few days and she said that if she had to “label herself” which she never would, she would say that she is Punk with Emo influences. She corrected me that she is not Gothic at all. (oops) She is very clear that this is her clothing style and that she dresses the way she feels comfortable dressing. So you see even calling her Punk/Emo is a no no, because even that is labeling ~ which is defining! It gets complicated!

In our society, we good people talk so much about “reaching out with love…” but what does that mean? If we have already decided what is right and what is wrong, then we can actually do more damage when we reach out to others if we intend to eventually share our judgment. We react to “the looks” of people out of fear, but think about where that fear comes from. Think about where our judgments come from. They have their basis in fear, a fear that we have been taught.

My post was really not about Goth, Punk or Emo clothing. My post was really about acceptance. It was about letting my daughter be who she is, instead of who I think she should be or how I think she will be happier and safer if she looked different, because when I tell her that, I am actually telling her that her looks are wrong and bad, she feels like I am telling her SHE is wrong and bad.

My post was about trust and love and remembering what all the judgment that I lived with did to me.  It was about how I came out from under the oppression of being told how to live, how to think and who to be, when no one ever looked at who I was or appreciated ME for me and how I had to learn all that as a grown woman with children of my own and how much of my life passed me by. My post was about trusting my children, and trusting myself as a parent and it was about empowering others to be who they are and celebrating the individuality that each of us has to offer the world.

Today I embrace my individuality, I celebrate who I am and know what my gifts are. I would like to pass this freedom and wholeness on so I celebrate each of my three children’s individuality and try to encourage them to find and embrace their gifts and their uniqueness.

And at the end of the day, we all like each other.

Darlene Ouimet

8 response to "PUNK ROCK GOTH and EMO TEENS~ labels are dangerous"

  1. By: Mitchell Carlson Posted: 30th May

    First I want to say Emo and punk are two entirely different things.
    I just wanted to say that to anyone who thinks they are the same, it annoys me as a punk.
    Anyway good article.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th May

      Hi Mitchell,
      Oh I got totally straightened out on the whole thing after I wrote this post.. LOL I have a much deeper understanding of both now. (and a few others too) Thanks for taking the time to comment. =)

  2. By: Emo hair Posted: 13th March

    This was kewl =) count me in for more =^__^=

  3. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March

    Hi Debbie!
    You make some great points here. Clothing CAN be a warning sign and very often it is about the desire to fit in. Each situation is different. My favorite part of your post here is the reminder that if God has a plan for your life, then he has a plan for your son’s life too. I agree!

    I thought of something else when I read your post. I was not the most angelic teenager that ever walked the planet! And look at me now! My journey has been tough also, but I think that it is being put to the most excellent use now and my life is really a happy and full one.
    Thanks for commenting!


  4. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March

    Cindy Leigh, I can’t wait to see you with that purple streak! Sounds great! Thanks so much for your feedback and comments! I am so glad that you found this post helpful.

    Jeanette, Thanks for adding your insight and comments too. It is so hard to remember that EVERYONE has a journey that is unique to them!

    Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Debbie Posted: 28th February

    Dear Darlene,
    How wonderful it has been reading about your daughter and her individuality. Also, how it has benefited her in the area of “screening” friends.

    My son, just turned 18, used his to “fit in” when we moved to the city. He was alway unique, I allowed him a tatoo when he was 15, it was a cross with “faith” in a shash across it. He got his ears pierced when he was 11 and 12 years old. He loved his hair long and LONGER 🙂 And when we moved from Rural Nebraska to Omaha….he started sagging his jeans and wearing certain colors that made me wonder??

    And here’s the thing, we all KNOW our children and what’s going on at some level. I KNEW he was searching to be accepted, not expressing his individuality. Big Difference. But I didn’t know what to do about it. Of course I asked and he lied when questioned about gangs.

    I didn’t want to tell him he COULDN’T wear that stuff because of the reasons Darlene suggested, yet I didn’t want him to get hurt either. So I did the best I knew how. Bottom line, that’s all we can do. I could have forbid him to dress a certain way, but he would have found a way.

    He’s now just been sentenced to 4-6 months in a minimun security prison. His luck ran out and he was finally sentenced as an adult. He got involved with drugs and gangs within the first 2-3 months we were here and snatched a ladies purse. He’s been locked up for most of a year, and his sentence involves treatment, getting the last two credits to graduate and work ethics. He’s got three years probation and has to wear a monitor the first 90 days he’s out. But NOW I believe he gets it. I asked him if there was anything different I could have done to keep him from this…..he said “Mom, whatever you would have tried, I would have found a way around, I had to do this to understand.”

    Bottom line, if I believe God has a plan for MY life; then I have to believe He has one for him too. No matter what he wears, the decisions he makes will determine which direction he goes and how many lessons he learns along the way. My job is to love him no matter what. And as crazy as this sounds, we’ve never been closer then we are today.

  6. By: Jeanette Posted: 26th February

    Darlene, I’ve so enjoyed these two posts and am really really glad you were able to delve deeper into this with this second post, it has really helped me as well. Judging is such a vicious cycle. It hurts the one who is being judged BY me, and it hurts the one,(ME) who is judging, because it speaks of a way of life, a way of even seeing myself, it speaks of a critical spirit that flows from the inside out.

    I am a woman who is struggling in this area, having been raised in a critical and religiously judging environment, and having absorbed all of that into my being, feeling wholly unworthy and filled with self hatred and heavy judgment of myself and those around me. It is a long, hard process to be free from this, but the end result will be that I will be free to love myself as I was created to be, and that will flow out into being free to love others as they were created to be. And of course, we all know this is a growing process for all of us, and the young people have plenty of time to find themselves, and it will be a wonderful adventure for them if they can do it in that spirit of freedom without criticism from those whom they depend upon to love them the most!

    Thank you for all of your thoughts and wonderful insights! I’m thrilled that Cindy was able to ask the questions she did, it will help all of us in this area!


  7. By: Cindy Leigh Garrett Wilson Posted: 26th February

    Dear Darlene,
    Wow. What an awesome and more importantly, liberating view on this subject. You have opened up my mind and heart in one simple blog. It is my fears and misconceptions that have caused me to not be able to focus on the individual when they look a bit “different”.

    I love both of the pictures of your daughter and I want to cry when I think of the way I have looked at “punk” dressed kids in the past. How many times have I looked past a child because of my own fears? Hopefully not too many, but to think one of them could have been your sweet daughter makes me sad.

    Thank you Darlene for reminding me of what God has called me to do…love others without judgment. Individuality should be celebrated and affirmed, not judged. Looking at God’s creation you can see how creative He is and how much He loves uniqueness. So really, accepting a child that is brave enough to show their individuality should be affirmed and enjoyed.

    I hate that it has taken me this long to understand this, but that’s ok. I used to get down on myself when I realized I was still having to learn so much at my age (52), but not anymore. I have learned to celebrate it. So today I am celebrating the liberating lesson that you and your daughter have taught me…the lesson of not only should I not judge anyone for their choice of style in the way they look, but I should enjoy the difference! Who knows…maybe I will be inspired and “tweak” my style a bit.

    If you see a middle aged woman with a purple streak in her blonde hair don’t judge me…CELEBRATE ME!!!!

    Loving your blog,
    Cindy Leigh

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