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One of These Things is Not Like the Others

Hello Honest Readers,

Black sheep. A phrase everyone is familiar with and most of us can identify with. I call myself a black sheep. I don’t mean this ironically because I am a brown woman. I mean a black sheep as in a member of a family or group that is noticeably different. That’s me! I’m different, but maybe not for the reasons you think.

For those of you who do not know, I was adopted by Caucasian family. The older I get, the more I understand the struggle that adoption was for my parents. I was their foster child for four years and they were almost denied the opportunity to adopt me because my race was different than their own. They persisted and fought to make legal the truth that they already knew, I was their child.

I look different from those around me, but I also am just different. I am louder than most people. I am also known to ALWAYS share my opinion, even when not prompted. I was born with an innate desire to have deep conversations with anyone and everyone willing to put up with me. I seem to say things out loud that most people won’t even let appear in their thoughts. It did not take me long to understand the reality that I do not fit the status quo.

My family is full of Type A personalities. They are organized and have every moment of life calculated. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I am telling you they have their crap together. I, you guessed it, don’t. I live my life more on impulse than a set schedule. For example, my sister only goes to the grocery store once a month. ONCE. A. MONTH. This just blows my mind! Now, she does live out in the middle of nowhere and hates to go to the store. Understandable and impressive. She has always been beyond organized and intelligent. She is always texting me to make sure I don’t forget about important family dates or gatherings. She is so organized that she has the time to remind me to be organized. She really is something.

My point is that my family is hardwired to plan, organize, and plan some more. I am hardwired to seek opportunities to have long conversations about personal experiences and decide everything else as the moment arises. See the difference? However, it’s not just my family that I am different from. I was a black sheep in every sense of the word, as it applied to my environment as a whole. My school, my church, my town. Everywhere I looked solidified the truth that I was different. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I grew up and the people who helped me become who I am today. However, I can’t ignore the fact that these differences existed.

When I went to college, I had my first experience of being around people with whom I could identify. There were so many different types of people walking around campus. Now, I did go to a private, Christian university, but it was still so much more diverse than I was used to. There were people everywhere with loud personalities and even people who wanted to have those deep conversations I mentioned earlier with me. They wanted to! It wasn’t like it was a chore to put up with me and my rambling. This was incredibly freeing for me. I started to feel like the way that I was made was not a mistake or a nuisance.

College also helped me to understand the importance of standing firm in who you are and what you believe. Up until this point, I had tried to dampen the quirks that had been deemed annoying or weird by those around me. It also did not help that I continued to tell myself that being an individual was a negative thing. I have to take responsibility for that. A lot of times, I put myself in invisible prisons that I create, claiming that I am trapped in by things out of my control. When in reality, I have the keys in my pocket. Can you identify with that? Am I the only one who self-sabotages at every opportunity that arises?

Now that I have migrated back to my tiny town in rural Missouri things could not be more different. My beautiful town of two thousand people still has the same incredible people and businesses that I grew up to know and love, it has not changed. I am the one who now sees things through a different lens. I no longer focus on how my differences distance me from others. I use my differences to invite others to be themselves. It doesn’t matter that I am not Type A like my family members. Every person has their strengths and it is ok that mine does not include organization. The more secure I am in myself, the easier it is for others to accept me. I now fly the banner of black sheep with pride. It is my differences that make me who I am.

Whatever makes you a black sheep, whatever causes you to view things differently should be acknowledged. I encourage you to think about what makes your perspective unique. Are you a black sheep? What makes you different? Let me know in the comments! I can’t wait to unite with you through our differences.

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