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Published on 21st November 2018

Self-love of a black sheep

To be a black sheep is to be born different from the flock. You pay a huge price if right from the time that you are a young child, you refuse to accept other people's definition of the world or of you. You pay a huge price for curiosity. You pay a huge price for wanting answers that seem authentic. You pay a huge price when you call out what does not seem true. You pay a huge price when you don't  agree with adults, because they don't seem convincing enough. You pay a huge price for daring to have your own view. You pay a huge price because you would rather risk and fail, then fake and blend. You pay twice as much if you are a girl. You pay a huge price because you will have to walk alone, and they will abandon you because to support you they will have to find their own courage. By standing by you, they have to find their own extent of love. Only when their love for you transcends their need for safety of the flock, will they stand up for your strange compulsions and ambitions even if they do not fully understand it. That needs tremendous love, something a black sheep will never be given. To love a black sheep, would demand the courage to speak against the flock. And, most often they will fail to love. To stand by you. To stand up for you. To look out for you. You are of the flock, and not quite. Always. For, you are the black sheep.

A black sheep will have to walk alone, being slightly similar to the herd and yet quite different that it can never belong. The black sheep must puzzle out why it is black, why it operates differently from the flock, why it cannot completely relate to the flock nor its rules apply for itself, and it must traverse the perilous mountain path, often falling, almost dying, broken and weeping alone, stopping by to admire the many stops, finding its compassion for the flock which it walked away from and finding the love that the flock will never give it in own deep depths. What the black sheep values, the flock will not, and what the flock values, the black sheep will not. Sometimes, other sheep will come by and enamored by the courage and the audacity of the black sheep to stand alone from the flock, would join in, promising to walk along till the top. Some of them will be fake sheep from the flock, some will be grey sheep wanting to be black, and they will soon disappear as the path gets steeper, and the climb gets harder.

It is in the destiny of the black sheep that it must travel alone, a calling and deep compulsion to climb and wander far, far away from the flock that it cannot ignore. It is the destiny of the black sheep not so much its revulsion to the closed ranks of the flock, as much its inherent joy and desire to climb and strike its own path up the mountains to enjoy a view unlike any other.

What is the point? Why do you want to climb? You are mad. Why can you not be like the rest of us, the flock. What is the goal? When is the stop? When will you act your age? the faint cries of the flock, fade away as the black sheep stubbornly walks away, heart full of love, and eyes full of tears, and a mind full of stubborn courage. But, walk away it must, And, climb it must.

Higher and Higher, as the winds will almost tear it apart, through dark mountain roads with only the stars for company, cloaked by fear, and an insane joy that it cannot share, trudging alone and along... the black sheep must go on... with no one for company... and none to share its thrill, fears or joys.

The flock will never understand what it takes to persist, what you lose and gain in the lonely climb, the heights of beauty and joy that ache to be shared, but never can be, for they have never climbed so high, nor persisted so long, nor even wanted to climb and that too alone...

At the very top, as it enjoys the view, from insane heights, far away from the flock, far away from where there would be an audience to share or flaunt, the black sheep breathes in the pure air of authenticity and sheds its skin, to emerge as the mountain goat it had been all along...

Its story may be  told, and retold as sheeplore reaching mythical heights ... or it might be forgotten because the flock laughed at the strange tale of a sheep that wanted to climb mountains, or the goat might slowly make its climb down, walking slower and slower, creeping its way back to the flock, pretending that it never went away after all, trying to wear its sheep skin over its now shrunken mountain goat body...until one day, it fits perfectly.

- Srividya Srinivasan 24/08/2018
[ The Journey of a Rebellious Self to Self-love]

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