To be a “black sheep”, you must stand out of the crowd, family, friends, whoever. That means you don’t belong somewhere. Maybe, anywhere. For me, right now, it’s pretty much everywhere. So, if you’re reading this, baby, you are not alone. There’s been times in my life that I’ve been either a white sheep in disguise or a black sheep surrounded by other black sheep. Learning to be both is a helpful skill, if you can manage it. Those times, I felt like I truly did fit in. When I was in high school, I had a “home group”, but I also circulated around the groups like I was at a party. I was “friends” with everyone and had no bullies, until I did some soul-searching years later in hindsight. It turned out my “home group”, the people I had been my most true self around, were the people who had actually been tearing me down. But, I will say this, my skin got pretty friggin’ thick over the years.
For myself, I had to get my Bachelor’s in Social Work, and then go on to get my Master’s in Social Work so I could become a therapist. Those were my goals and were so under-celebrated, I cried the day of my MSW graduation. My family was supposed to arrive early (from 3 hours away) and we would all go out for a nice, celebratory lunch. Instead, I cried while I ate a Whopper Jr., waiting for them to be late. My brother used his two children (my favorite kids in the world, I AM actually a great baby person with tons of patience for babies and toddlers, I just treat everyone else like shit) as a reason to be late. So they were both starving and grumpy the whole time and it was a mess. The pictures would never show it, but I sobbed alone for about an hour before they arrived. FYI: Frozen spoons help with swollen eyes and nose quickly and I’m such an ugly crier that I need help covering my tracks, so to speak. A couple I know (whose Aunt I had taken care of via hospice before she passed) with whom we had become great friends, even adopted “Momma and Pops”, took me out to eat after graduation.
For my BSW, another “adopted Momma”, from work, (when Hillary Clinton wrote “It Takes a Village”, she meant me and all of the other Mother’s who have adopted me over the years) who’s very important to me, threw me a party with all of my work people and cards from those who couldn’t attend. She even had my grad pic put on the cake. It was on the day of her birthday, and, it might have been tacky in front of my immediate family, especially my mother, who did nothing to help plan the party, I presented my “Adopted Momma” with a Sterling Silver engraved jewelry box in front of everyone. My “adopted Mom” mentioned later to me that she was thankful, but embarrassed and it was a little inappropriate because she felt it might make my mom feel out of place, but she appreciated it. Frankly, I wanted to shame my immediate family for doing nothing to help plan the party or even show interest. I wanted to cry again, but I couldn’t. Of all of the invitations that went out to my 100 family members (rough guess) and 4 showed up. First one to graduate from college on both sides of the family…and nothing. I don’t know what I should’ve honestly expected anyhow, all I heard from the day I entered college was, “so, what, you think you’re better than us now, huh?”. It was always like that. Now that I’ve taken a deep tumble, I’m pretty sure they’re all just loving it.
Just because you are a black sheep and you don’t feel like you fit in anywhere, doesn’t mean that you can’t be a kick ass black sheep and still find a flock. Don’t forget, that some white sheep, are only in disguise. Eventually, like butterflies, they will emerge and realize that they, too, are black sheep. The best way to be a kick-ass black sheep? Take that doubt, that teasing they might give you about following your goals, your dreams, and twist it. Twist it into something that will be more motivating to you than anything else, spite. I became successful IN SPITE OF my family, who made it clear to me (aside from my father) that college was a useless endeavor and hardly made them enough money. (I got kicked out at 19). But I took something ugly and turned it into fire under my ass. So, black sheep, forge ahead together!
All pics come from FreePik and title pic was created using FreePik and Canva