I first heard of goth when I was around 12 (in 2004), I believe, when my younger brother mentioned it in regards to middle school cliques. I had no idea what it meant, so I tried to look around using Google, but there seemed to be a lot of misinformation at the time.
For every website that accurately depicted goth as a music based subculture, there were two or three that promoted the idea that goth was just a mindset or even something you were born. There were forums that always had that "What is Goth?" thread but they never seemed to reach a consensus.
Even though I was almost obsessive in finding whatever I could for a year or two, there wasn't a lot of straightforward info, and the music wasn't accessible to me, so I remained confused until I just kind of fell out of it and found new interests. I didn't renew my interest until around 17, when I could finally hear some of the bands I'd heard about on youtube. I basically fell in love.
Up until this I'd listened to stuff like Slipknot, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Three Days Grace, and Good Charlotte. The first goth bands I listened to (Sex Gang Children, Siousxie, Fear Cult) also explored dark themes and sounds but were so much more...elegant, I guess? It just sounded like the companion to the visual aesthetic I'd been seeing all that time. I wasn't as obsessive in my searching as I was when I was younger, but I've slowly discovered more and continue to search. Unfortunately, my social anxiety disorder keeps me from going out to the goth night an hour away from me, so I was excited to see a place here to talk to goths and share music and ideas.