Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Me looking through a window.
This is one of those personal posts that is less about a topic and more about my life. I grew up in a town that was largely sceneless, meaning that those of us with subcultural leanings came together to form a sort of stew of social abnormality. This had a lot of effects, but one of the biggest ones is that I do not and probably cannot align with a single subculture.

That isn’t to say I don’t dabble. Back at the beginning of this exercise, I told you all that I dabble in a wide variety of different subcultural fashions and that I do try to understand the subcultures involved as best I can, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever fit neatly into one of them.

There are, of course, scenes that are flat out. I will never be gyaru or hime gyaru; ladies, you're fabulous, but that's not something I'm interesting in doing myself. As cute as it is, sweet Lolita will never be a major force in my life. I never mastered punk, either in attitude or in style, and probably never will.

But for every subculture that I don’t really fit into is another that has touched me but hasn’t colored me completely. I’ve talked before about how this is good, how it blessed me with the ability to assimilate a wide variety of different styles and create something of my own without fear of having to fit it into a box.

However, it also means that I don’t really feel like I belong in any of the boxes I’ve borrowed from. I can wear all black, add high contrast makeup and do up my hair, but I still won’t feel like I’m a goth though such clothing does feel perfectly suited to me. I can pile on the frills and flowers, but I won’t feel like I can claim Lolita fashion as my own. I can pile on all the steampunk-inspired sepia tones that I please with bustles and bloomers and goggles on hats, but that doesn’t make me feel like I am a steampunk myself. I flit between groups and fit in just fine both in terms of style and in terms of personality or interest, but none of them are my group. None of them fit exactly.

I’m sure there are a lot of people out there like me. I’m sure that there are plenty of folks who find themselves caught between subcultures, unable to properly choose between them. But in a place with limited access to subculture, it does get rather lonely.


  1. I hear you! I've always seen people perfectly fitting into a label and only being interested in one kind of things, and I've always felt kind of alone because I liked lots of different things, but I wasn't really *that* into any one of them. I just took some of the surface part of the subculture, and then took another part of another subculture, and then some other subculture started to grow on me... but I couldn't belong to a closed group.
    In the end I realized that this is sign of open mindedness, or even polyhedricity. People who love lots of different things are more interesting, in my opinion. Too bad they often don't get the chance to be known because they're never completely part of a group. But, on the other end, "we" are more than one would imagine :)! And that's a good thing.

  2. I feel the same and it's sort of exhausting. When I get dressed up I just want to wear everything and then sometimes I feel out of place because I didn't made the "right" decision. While I do think it's a good thing to like different fashions I feel rather lonely with that "phenomen", too. But apparently I'm not. :)