Sunburnt goth

I live in a country with an overhead continent sized hole in the ozone layer and one of the highest incidents of skin cancer in the World. Moving to the Sunshine State of Queensland three years ago has increased the chance of skin damage.

As I inherited moles from my parents, it is recommended, I should get my skin checked annually. Thankfully at a recent going over, I was given the all clear.

An early DNA test revealed my paternal heritage hails from Northern Europe while my maternal Romani ancestors migrated from the northern Mediterranean region to the UK.

Up until around age 12, growing up in England, meant happily playing in the sun sans sunscreen. Turning red was an accepted step to a ‘healthy’ colour. It appears my Caucasian flesh pigmentation is influenced more from the northern rather than the southern realms.

During the heatwave of 1976, while caravanning in Barmouth, Wales, I learned a painful lesson. Running around topless resulted in the most excruciatingly painful sunburn imaginable. It was too sore to even have fabric next to my skin. I slept on my front, lathered in calamine lotion.

Once home, I enjoyed an unhealthy fascination with peeling great sheets of dead skin from my body.

Freckles across my upper back and shoulders are a constant reminder of that day.

With age, I have found liberally applied factor 50+ protection allows my porcelain hued complexion to gradually morph to a honey glow.

The bizarre thing is, from early on, I sought to seek out darkness rather than the light. Maybe it was rebellion against a Christian upbringing. I hungrily devoured texts laden with the macarbre, vampires, devils, witches, fortune telling, the Tarot, dreams, ghosts, and Victorian gothic romanticism. If I had been more worldly wise and less concerned with what I assumed people thought of me, I would have embraced the goth culture of the 1980s. This may even have led to finding ways to link with the eastern Germanic tribes of the same name.

A career path into hospitality reaffirmed the need to hide my identity and fit into the expected ‘norm’. Perhaps, pursuing art studies should have provided a safe space for discovering my inner self and self-expression.

In some ways my stifled authenticity has stunted my development. Labelling myself a neo pagan in my forties, I indulged my interest in the occult. I read as much as I could, learned to invoke natural energies to enhance spell work and tried to understand the hidden meaning of symbolism. The launch of this blog coincided with the conclusion of my mystical journeying.

It is now, in my late fifties, I feel comfortable and safe enough to explore my inner goth. A Brisbane Pride March and Fair Day, scheduled for yesterday has been postponed due the risk of COVID community transmission. I was gearing up to launch my goth in facial expression at these events. This would have come as a surprise to my companions.

The photograph above captures a shaky handed and hasty first attempt at the makeup. I didn’t wait long enough for the primer and foundation to dry and managed to poke myself in the eye with the mascara brush.

I haven’t worked out what to do with my beard. Maybe purple-black glitter; glam goth.