The Papal Decree of the Week
Goth Chicks of the World Unite!
Conforming to Non-conformity
by andrea chrisman
I have come to realize that I am no more an individual than any other silly human. There is no way one can be in a society where everything is a token feature of some group or another.

In high school, I found myself walking in the steps of my fore-mothers. I wore my iced pink lipstick and my penny loafers. I wore parachute pants a day late and found myself a rejected "geek:" cast away from any chance of walking the halls as a "cool kid." After internalizing the fact that I wasn't cool, I found that I really didn't want to be anymore. What the fuck is cool? Well, at my, and any high school, most will remember it was the rich middle class pretty/handsome white crowd. Those socially competent, fashion gods and goddesses, that dictated what was hip and what was the clear sign of a social malfient.

I became part of different elite--the "freaks." There was little I could do to fight it, nor did I really try when I found myself with a group of people who didn't really pay attention to how I looked or the clothes I wore or how I expressed myself. They just cared what I did express. As this group became a firm influence in my life, I began trying hard to show that I was a part of it, and sure enough, I was wearing mismatched tie-dyed skirts Doc Martens of different colours and odd sweaters, dyed and shaved my hair and flirted with my fate...There was no going back you see. But I realized after 15 years of being tortured that my chances were very slim at ever being a part of that upper layer of caterpillars squirming to prove they were the royalty of the school. I would never be prom queen. But one thing I noticed, was that each individual of the group I was part to brought a unique contribution to the group. Something I did not see in the "cool kids" from my vantage point (perhaps a bit jaded by the jeers of the crowds). The lunch table was in a corner of the room and as our cocoon grew bigger, the taunting by the kings and queens of the may no longer penetrated us. We, essentially, became what we were pushed from.

Take a step now...4 years later, as flannel shirts, Doc martens and dyed hair make their way across the "mainstream." I see my old crowd washed away in a sea of rainbow colours and eyebrow piercings- the very things we were mocked for--and that web of support I had in high school, where I could distinguish the people that cared for me from the people who didn't has vanished. Alternative? Hardly. I suppose what aggravates me most is that now the disgruntled youth is disgruntled about the fact that life is not handed to them on silver platters--not as it was with me, the anger and resentment spurned by cruel fellow high schoolers as they pushed me into a despair I still resent them for.

Though I realize that the clothes and the colours were not the same web of support I received from my well ordered group, it is still hard to look into that sea of people and see the souls of those with no ill will towards my quirky behaviour, my love for trout fishing in america and big band music. The work of all this is that these trendoid victims of the modern DRE culture now look upon my worn out Doc martens with reverie and wonder. They are an idol of the true alternative chic reserved to se few. All the daily fears that high school might set the tone for reality confirmed. We are icons for our externals--what a sad lot.

And as I travel from class to class at university, I see the faces of the many trying to fulfill a need to belong to some group from which they are ostracized. It doesn't exist. People ostracize each other from each other to define themselves, thereby perpetuate a cycle of events that leads to stupidity. We push push push away, I have too many friends to hang out with you, don't need you: fear. Essentially we are ostracizing ourselves not from each other per se, but from the fear that shrouds our daily lives. But if that technique were working, dysfunction wouldn't be the buzz word of the 90's. We would all be healthy people.

But if the circle keeps fueling itself from our separation, and as our need to shine and set ourselves apart or our group apart increases, so does our psychological isolation and disjointedness increase.

There is no easy solution I can offer to make that pain go away. I just know that I don't worry so much anymore. How nice my car looks, screaming red with its battle-scarred hood. The dust on my floor mark it as mine, and the arrayed t-shirts of common every day things are how I show my group my interests. My group--the world.

Life is more than looking like a gap add
The papal decree of the week
Thou shalt not leave thy annoying cellular phones on during class. Thou shalt realize that no telephone call is that important nor art thou that important that thou must be reached during a lecture by such gifted professors as there are at Rutgers--Camden. Unless you are on the kidney transplant list waiting for a vital organ, thou hath no need for such trivialities. This decree guilds equal for pagers. That is what the "silent" is for. Thou shalt use it.

Crazy crazy weirdoes, knocking at my door.

At dawn they come a knocking, at my chamber door.
Fat ones, skinny ones and ones made out of clay,
"Jehovah's Witness Saved me," that's all they have to say.

The Iconoclast brought to you by Andrea Chrisman, Anthony Simeone, Bruce Kramer, Nicole Nader, Rebecca Leach, and much inspiration from Shawn Sullivan. Please send all submissions, contributions, food, beer, chocolate, Ben and Jerry's and smiley faces to (the two O's are zeroes), or The Original Iconoclast, c/o P.O. Box 2133, Cinnaminson, NJ 08077.
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