I was in high school. Kids were picking on me. I’d been the picked on kid since third grade. I grew up in filthy poverty, and as such didn’t have the newest clothes, the latest hair style or any of that stuff that gets one in with the popular cliques.
I think it was math class one day… One of the metalhead kids started picking on me before class started. He kept throwing tiny wadded up pieces of paper at me and hissing “Satan! Satan!” and cackling at me. Then he started calling me ‘Carrie’. I rolled my eyes. Just because I had long straight red hair parted down the middle, now suddenly I’m Carrie. How original.
I finally turned round and stared at him with raised eyebrows and said very matter of factly, “Well if I’m Carrie, then you KNOW what happens at the end.” And then I narrowed my eyes into a glare, pursed my lips and turned back around. As I turned, I caught movement in the back of the class: one of the Roosters looked up and then sat bolt upright to take in the scene. The metalhead’s friends were going, “ooooooo” and trying to taunt me further, asking me if I’d get all Satanic for them, and the Roosters at the back of the class were conferring with each other. My face turned a deep hue of red for the attention I’d brought on myself, and I just sat staring at my desk, trying to breathe, waiting for the teacher to walk in and begin class.
It wasn’t long after that when one of the Roosters approached me and asked if I’d like to come hang out at their house after school sometime.
The Roosters got their name from the metalhead bullies and other bullies in the school by way of how they looked. Some of them had mohawks, death hawks or just very big ratted hair.
They didn’t seem to mind being called Roosters – in fact, they seemed to own it, and would even taunt the bullies in return by loudly cock-crowing as they came at the bullies. One day, two of the Roosters came to school with their long hair in large ringlets, and spent the day taunting their bullies in high pitched voices, saying, “OHHH LOOK! WE DID OUR HAAAAAIIIIIIRRRR!!!!”
Today, we refer to Roosters as Goths, Death Rockers, Punk Rockers, Trad Goths, and the like.
It was the Roosters who took me in as their own, even though I looked nothing like them at the time. In fact, I didn’t have the courage to come out of the Goth Closet™ until I was in college, but it wasn’t about my looks. It was about my attitude, and how I handled the bullies which caught the Roosters’ attention that I was like them. Through my Rooster friends, I began to learn about all kinds of music and fashion that I’d never known about before.
A year or two afterwards, skateboarding became all the rage again in the midwest, and my brother got really into skateboarding. So much in fact that for his birthday, our dad got hold of a bunch of plywood and two-by-fours, blueprints and said, “here’s a halfpipe for ya, go build it.”
My brother enlisted the help of friends and neighbors, and a glorious 7 1/2 foot halfpipe manifested in our backyard. Word spread, and soon we had three counties’ worth of kids skating in our yard. From these skaters, I discovered more clothing and hairstyles, as well as more music genres. Ironically it’s from one of the skater kids that I’d discovered New Wave.
But as I said, I didn’t have the courage to look and dress like Roosters and Punks and Skaters until I was in college and mostly free of my bullies in high school.
Outside of the friends in school and the skaters who frequented our yard, I was still what we’d call a ‘normie’.
Now, I did discover teen nightclubs with my normie friends, but as to be expected, the clubs were full of mainstream people, playing mainstream music. I was too afraid to go to clubs and events with my Rooster friends, because my Ma was a christian fundamentalist who gave me enough grief and emotional abuse as it was. My friends offered to loan me clothes, help me do my hair and makeup and all that, but I was too embarrassed to accept their offers. So I didn’t discover their nightclubs until I had enough time had passed between graduating high school and being away from all of the bullies, and then I somehow developed the courage to start dressing the part of the music and lifestyle.