March 10, 2016

To My Fellow Black Sheep.

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I have known since I could form coherent thoughts and opinions that I am somewhat different from the rest of my beautiful, well-put-together family.

I was the little girl who drew on the walls with lipstick. The one that caused my parents to question just how weird kids are actually supposed to be. I am the one with tattoos. The one who can be found with a margarita in hand. The one who has nothing but good intentions, but continually falls short. The one with the cross around her neck and the occasional curse word on her lips.

Eventually, I came to discover that there is a term used to describe exactly who I am—the black sheep.

The way I choose to go about my life can stick out like a three-foot-tall sunflower among a field of delicate red roses, especially when compared to my family. I’ve often felt misunderstood, sometimes even lonely. I find myself questioning where I came from and wondering why I don’t fit the mold better.

At times, I feel like a disappointment. I carry the burden of being labeled “the irresponsible one.” It’s not that my family does anything to make me feel this way—it’s just the price one pays for being born different than the rest. I know they love me, but I also know that I am commonly the reason behind their raised eyebrows.

My fellow black sheep, you’re right—we are different. We are a breed of our own. Sometimes we will feel isolated, like no one understands our little world. But we can only pretend to fit in for so long.

My dear, eccentric black sheep, we are needed and loved. We aren’t always wrong, just as we aren’t always right; but one thing we will always consistently be is ourselves. We aren’t the ones to be stuck in a box or blindly follow directions. We aren’t the ones who follow the crowd. We aren’t the “people pleasers” of society. We are, very simply, us.

We are the free thinkers—the weirdos, eccentrics, rule breakers and eclectics. We are the inquisitives, the dreamers, the open-minded and the outcasts. The writers, the musicians and the artists. We are the ones our family and friends question; the ones who become accustomed to the disappointed nods and confused head tilts. We are the ones who get reprimanded for speaking our minds. We are the ones born without filters, who occasionally forget the boundaries of our companions, the normal sheep.

Sometimes it feels like we are walking on eggshells. We long to scream, just to be understood.

But know that we are needed. We are important. We may not always be understood, but we must understand that the others—the normal ones—love us, need us. They are intrigued and mystified by our strange ways. Sometimes our darkness rubs off on them, giving them perspective in the form of stripes and spots.

Because we bring something new to the table. Something for the others to observe and grow from; a new and eccentric perspective. We push them to their limits. We bring them out of their comfort zones, test their boundaries.

We are the ones who teach them what they are capable of.

So my dear black sheep, do not resent your story. In comparison to the others, you may feel like a mess. A dark cloud. One of the under-dressed.

But you must be your beautiful and mysterious self. Be mystical and bring enlightenment. And never allow yourself to forget what sets you apart.


Author: Emily Cutshaw

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: Angelina Litvin/Unsplash


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