"Yer no gaun out dressed like that" the words of my mother still ring in my ears over 30 years later. Her insistence that "people would laugh", and my stepfather casting aspersions on my sexuality, made the rebel inside of me more determined to embrace this new found love of a developing subculture.
I grew up in a small west coast village in Scotland - barely 200 families. A picturesque place, a rather imposing church was the focal point from where you could look down on the houses below and feel like a "God" - master of all he surveys.
An awkward child, I was never a mixer: one close friend and that was it. We shared similar passions - we would walk for miles and innocently enjoy the world around us oblivious to the horrors happening elsewhere or at least unaware of the impact these things would have on us in later years.
Late in 1981 I was introduced to Bauhaus, a sound I had never heard before but one that resonated within my soul one that captured and captivated me. It became a drug. Add to this a sprinkling of Joy Division and already the dark seeds were beginning to bloom. Further sounds followed but I digress
Back to the story.
So there's 13 year old me, dressed head to toe in black, overly theatrical make up, standing in front of my disapproving parents trying to explain as best I could with a limited vocabulary that this was "who I am" - I had "found myself."
They were far from happy but decided as this was the 1980s perhaps it was time to modernize and accept youth culture (or least something like that).
So out I marched looking like a Poundland vampire, a long woolen trench coat flapping behind me, and proceeded to meet up with my friend who was dressed in almost identical garb.
Of course I would like to pretend it was easy, that we didn't get jumped, we didn't suffer violence from adults and our peers. Because the fact is we did.
Scars and broken teeth - a "burst mooth" was par for the course but still we stuck with it. For us, we had found freedom.
We would escape to the safety of the graveyard and watch the village below and sit and talk about everything and anything. Sometimes we would read, other times listen to music on a battered old radio I had been given by a neighbour.
When I look back now as I said over 30 years later and still very much interested in the gothic subculture, despite everything, I would change nothing.
Sure the hair has grown grey, my waistline has expanded, but inside still lives that young boy who found his place amongst misfits, a passion for music that remains and a fascination with things few stop to consider.
So why write this? To wander down Memory Lane? To lay some ghosts to rest? Perhaps a little of both but mainly to give hope.
To those struggling in crisis whether that be identity gender sexuality or whatever. there are allies. The world has moved forward and, whilst we have a long way to go, we are making progress. Never feel alone never feel your worth is less than that of another
You have a voice and you have a right.
Be your best you and do it for you "illegitimus non tatum carborundum."
➽ Gary Robertson is a patron of TPQ