For most of my life, I’ve felt like the “black sheep” in my family.

I never quite fit in comfortably.

I was too intense.
Too serious.
Too introverted.
Too difficult.
Too outspoken.
Too “otherwise” as mother would often tell me.
Or “too masculine” as my father liked to point out when he wanted me to embody more feminine (read: submissive) qualities.

In graduate school, I was too “challenging” and during my post-doctoral internship I was seen as too “critical.”
Basically, I’m just too much.

So this week, when a dear friend of mine introduced me to the ”Black Sheep Gospel,” written by Toko-pa Turner, author of Belonging, I loved it.

I loved it.

If you’ve ever felt a little like the odd one out, the one who doesn’t quite fit, the one who keep questioning things, and not quite fitting into the status quo, you may love it too.

I needed to hear this, and I hope you find inspiration in it too.

The Black Sheep Gospel
Excerpt from Belonging by Toko-pa Turner

1. Give up your vows of silence which only serve to protect the old and the stale.

2. Unwind your vigilance, soften your belly, open your jaw and speak the truth you long to hear.

3. Be the champion of your right to be here.

4. Know that it is you who must first accept your rejected qualities, adopting them with the totality of your love and commitment. Aspire to let them never feel outside of love again.

5. Venerate your too-muchness with an ever-renewing vow to become increasingly weird and eccentric.

6. Send out your signals of originality with frequency and constancy, honouring whatever small trickle of response you may get until it becomes a momentum.

7. Notice your helpers and not your unbelievers.

8. Remember that your offering needs no explanation. It is its own explanation.

9. Go it alone until you are alone with others. Support each other without hesitation.

10. Become a crack in the network that undermines the great towers of Establishment.

11. Make your life a wayfinding, proof that we can live outside the usual grooves.

12. Brag about your escape.

13. Send your missives into the network to be reproduced. Let your symbols be adopted and adapted and transmitted broadly into the new culture we’re building together.

I’d love to hear from you. Which sentence resonated with you most fully? What might you add to this list?

Leave a comment below. 🙂


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