As A Goth, I’m Secretly Loving Quarantine
Now that hand-washing technique has lost its novelty, quarantine survival strategies seem to be everyone’s new obsession. From meditation, to workout routines, to heavy drinking, every friend and family member wants to tell you about their personal way of beating the doldrums that accompany having to stay inside most of the day. The underlying message there is that for most people, live without socializing is deeply painful — and having to spend time with no one but yourself, your significant other, or your roommates is some form of punishment.
But real talk: I’m loving this. As an introverted, death-obsessed horror movie addict, I’m living my best life in quarantine. Surrounded by my books and records, quite literally living in my own little world, I am in goth paradise. And as the quarantine period extends and the future remains uncertain, I have to wonder if the hardest part of this for me will be eventually returning to everyday life.
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Before going any further, let’s make something clear: quarantine is no joke. There are people living in parts of the world where COVID-19 is an ever-present daily threat and thousands of people have already tragically lost their lives. Their struggle is the reason that respecting quarantine is so important.
On top of that, I can work remotely — a luxury many people can’t afford — but my life lost her job due to coronavirus, as did almost everyone else in her field, and that’s changed our lives dramatically. If you got laid off due to the coronavirus, I’m so sorry, and if you are out there right now working — whether you’re an EMT or a supermarket employee — you are a fucking hero.
So I certainly don’t want trivialize anyone’s experience — but for a certain type of weird, dark individual, finally being left alone for an extended period of time is incredibly relaxing.
It seems like what most people are upset about when it comes to quarantine are the destruction of their socials lives with the cancelation of all public gatherings; being unable to casually leave the house, which forces one to binge-watch endless movies or learn to knit; and the overwhelming uncertainty of it all, a feeling of dread that makes us wonder if we’re in Act I of an apocalyptic storyline (or even worse, a religious parable).
But these things are more burden than boon for an indoor kid, the first of them being the easiest to shed. In truth, I’ve been looking for an excuse to kill my social life for ages. Canceled plans are a rare delicacy to me, while snow days and stormy nights are a gift from the universe meant for making big drinks, re-listening to my favorite records, and watching What We Do In The Shadows for the seventeenth time. It’s not that I hate hanging out with my friends, and I love social situations once I’m in them, but the preamble is an agonizing process of putting on pants, and usually I’ll have to interact with some rude dumbass along the way. In quarantine, I can see my friends via Google Hangouts while never leaving the comfort of my den.
Honestly, why would anyone ever want to leave the house? The home is an expression of one’s self, and I, like many fans of metal, gore movies, and reading for hours at a time, have filled mine with the stuff I love. Often, goths and metalheads get accused of not living in the real world, where everything’s pastel and complicated — but that just means we’ve been forced to actually create our ideal lairs around us. Every book about werewolves or World War II on my shelves is one that I bought. The death metal playlist I’m blasting right now was created by me, for me. The only difference between this and the heaven I can only hope to go to someday is that I have to make my own cheeseburgers here.
Then there’s the fear: the vague sense that we’re trapped in some kind of end-of-days scenario. For your average person listening to music about popping bottles and summer nights, that might be jarring. But if a lifetime of listening to death rock and black metal has taught me anything, it’s that the world is perpetually ending. Gas masks and boarded doors are concepts that have been hammered into me with every zombie movie and thrash album sleeve. Yes, they are incredibly scary if you see the world as a fair, graceful, and ordered. But for the merry few whose outlooks steel them for injustice, ugliness, and chaos, all of this feels like par for the course.
The true challenge posed by quarantine comes down to whether or not you’re comfortable being alone with yourself. A lot of the time it seems like most people define their lives according to who they are publicly, in the eyes of the world. But for those of us who long ago realized that most people weren’t interested in the things that make us feel whole, being stuck inside with ourselves (or the people we’ve chosen for ourselves) doesn’t seem like a chore. Not only that, but this sense of detachment from a society that tells us to smile more usually manifests as roll-with-the-punches determination. Sure, this virus is upsetting — so are most things. At least at home, you can watch Evil Dead on repeat.
The problem, I’m finding, is that enjoying quarantine feels like a guilty pleasure. I don’t want anyone to get sick, or die, or lose their jobs. I’m just not having my entire worldview shattered by this turn of events, because I’m relatively prepared for the worst most of the time. My home is my panic room, a place I can retreat to that’s full of all the weird entertainment, activities, and quiet that I’d normally enjoy all day if I had more free time. None of us are rooting for the coronavirus, but many of us don’t mind a life where never leaving the house is acceptable, and we can bask in our collections of skulls, cats, and Mary Shelley-themed tea blends.
Obviously, a month or two indoors will wear on any relatively adjusted human being, and eventually even the most antisocial basement dwellers like myself will be aching for even the awkwardest of weddings. But until then, I’m going to continue soaking up the solitude, filling the world with all the cool, morbid shit that I love and never having to deal with agitated commuters and rude waiters. And to all of the other weirdos, introverts, and Cancers out there loving every minute holed up in a crypt of their own, just remember that you are not alone — except in all the ways that matter.
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