Paul and I are officially in training for Wave Gothik Treffen! We have just 19 weeks until we go to the largest goth festival in the world, in Leipzig Germany. We’re celebrating our 15 year anniversary, and what better way to do it than to spend a long weekend immersed in the subculture that brought us together?
However, we’ve been assured that WGT is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Four days with 200 bands, meetups, picnics and marketplaces spread out across an entire town is going to be exhausting. It’s going to require actual physical training for us to not only get through the days, but also be able to stay up late to go to shows. And everyone knows that when you’re in training, you need a montage, right?
Now that we no longer live in NYC, my step count is down significantly from where it was, even post-COVID. Pre-COVID, I’d do 10,000 steps a day without thinking twice. To/from work via subway plus an errand or meetup after the workday always meant four or five miles of walking over one day. Here in Suburbia, I barely eke out three thousand steps, even with a walk outside and a huge (okay huge to me) house that I am always wandering around. My endurance is way down. Combine my physical fitness deterioration with generally Being Old And Unable To Stay Up Past Midnight, and it is a bad combination to be taking on four days with fellow Children Of The Night.
I have therefore embarked on a multi-part training regiment to get ready for WGT. This consists of:
- 10K steps per day, either outside or on my new awesome “treadmill desk”
- Going out to clubs and staying until 1am. Break out the caffeinated drinks!
- Enrolling with Weight Watchers so I am no longer carrying the equivalent of a fully loaded backpack all the time
Therefore, in the interest of Training for Treffen, we will be going out tomorrow night to a club in East Passayunk. Of course I am actually in an office tomorrow and will not be coming home between work and socializing, so this means I will have to wear an outfit suitable for the office that also works for the club. Which means that I’m going to have to look a little more authentic tomorrow at work. And while I have not exactly hidden my goth side from this set of co-workers (my corporate headshot is fairly Wednesday Addams down to the bat shaped circle pin on my collar) it still surprises people a bit when I show up in person in anything that goes beyond CorpGoth. But I keep getting messages to be more authentic when I read my Tarot cards, so authentic I shall plan to be authentic and just maybe keep the bat shaped necklace in my purse to put on during the train ride home.
It’s that need for authenticity that is really motivating me to become more comfortable bringing a more honest version of myself to multiple situations. It takes a little bit more vulnerability on my part to remain myself, instead of changing who I am to the environment. But one of the lessons I learned in NYC was that everyone is actually a little bit weird in their own way, and the city especially attracted people who had that extra-weird and often creative dimension. So even out here in the suburbs, I have to start acknowledging the potential for weirdness in others by being a bit more vulnerable and exposing my more quirky goth side.
Finally, I know this is the right track for me, not just because it keeps my sense of self intact, but because my subconscious keeps telling me so in the form of Tarot cards. When I did the full moon reading suggested by my Daily Tarot Planner, the final question was “What new approach can I take to support my emotional well-being”. The card I got for this? The Devil. Some people may choose to interpret this card with its usual meaning: hedonism, lack of restraint, short term pleasure at the expense of long term pain. I choose to interpret it as be more goth. It has a whole slew of the symbols that show up in goth culture: bat wings, pentagrams, performative fetish displays. The Devil card looks like it’s the inspiration for how filmmakers depict the “bad club” in every movie or TV show, including Quagmire’s in “San Junipero“. And the “evil club” always manages to look like Bar Sinister.
Ergo, the Devil card? Be more goth. Wear more bats and pentagrams. Lean into all that electro-industrial and post-punk and goth rock. And make that part of how I train for Treffen.