No, it’s not about the movie (even though I enjoyed it). I could have named this entry “Go Rogue: Rebel or Conformity? Staying the way I am”. It’s something about which I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately.
What does the word ‘rogue’ mean? Amongst its definitions, there’s one coming from botany (yes, I studied biology at uni for a couple semesters…). In that context, rogue defines an organism that shows an (undesirable) variation from a standard. Kinda suits me, I think.
I have often felt, and still feel, like I don’t fit in. Something has changed though. In the past, this has often been a stressor for me. I wanted to fit into a box, and desperately so. I often put myself into boxes so to conform and fit into certain norms – who wants to always stick out like a sore thumb, or at least, feel like that? But, those various box, after a more or less short time always became uncomfortable and I felt the need to break free from them.
I am German, but don’t look German.
I have black ancestry (50%, but can you really quantify blood? We’re not breeding animals here…), but have been told a couple of times that I’m not “black enough”, or don’t look it.
I’m Jewish, but a member of a Christian church. Wonderful people, but theologically, and sometimes practically, there is always the one or other moment of discomfort.
My head is shaved and I’m tattooed – not the image of a good girl, mother and Bible-teacher overall.
Yet, this is me.
My tattoos tell the story of my life; this is why I got them – not because I felt the need to rebel or to shock. It is my way of inscribing my life on me.
My head is shaved; my hair feel out due to chronic illness and the treatments thereof. I could use wigs or headscarfs so people would ask less questions, or feel more comfortable, or so that I’d look the way a woman « should look » -but it wouldn’t be me.
I am different, and I assume it. I am not different because I am out to provoke someone. I am, because that is simply the way I am. Life, and the experiences I have made have made me the way I am today. My thinking and my theology is shaped by those experiences, by people I admire, by books that I read and that get me thinking.
I don’t want to put myself into boxes anymore, and I don’t want to change who and what I am simply to please people, or to make them more comfortable. I don’t want to make them uncomfortable, and I am usually willing to question myself, my attitude(s), and my opinions.
However, reading this quote by Desmond Tutu (at least it is attributed to him, and I can well imagine him having said it) “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another”, I can only agree with it. Being different from one another should be seen as something that potentially enrichens us. How sad it would be if we all were the same, if we all thought exactly the same… How could we advance in our understandings? All the different colors make the world a more beautiful, brighter place.
Even though discovering, and finding oneself is a lifelong journey, I want to stay true to myself. Just like everybody else should as well, and lovingly see the other as a mirror in which the image of God is reflected – a sister, a brother.
Each of us is unique, and precious – just the way they are. I’ll never cease preaching that. We are all different, and that’s what makes this world a beautiful place.