I have always been the eccentric one in my family. I never knew how to follow the rules or where the lines were. My behavior gave me a label I can’t get rid of no matter how hard I try: “The Black Sheep.”
Since I had to live with this label for as long as I can remember, I have learned a couple of things along the way about living as a black sheep:
1. Everything wrong that happens is most likely your fault.
When you are the black sheep of your family, almost everything that goes wrong will be blamed on you somehow. And everything nice you do will automatically backfire in some way. I think it is because you are probably giving your parents a hard time; they don’t want to celebrate you or give you credit for anything because they fear you may abuse that and create more trouble. You become the scapegoat for almost anything and everything you were involved in. You question yourself and wonder how you can make things right. The answer is, you can’t. Black sheep will always be blamed for the things they didn’t do because it’s easier to accuse them than anyone else.
2. They will compare you to your other white sheep siblings.
You will always fall short compared to the brother or sister who seems to do everything right: get good grades, is loved by all teachers and relatives, and knows what to say and when to say it. Although sometimes your parents will try to support your originality, deep down inside they will keep wishing you were normal like your other siblings. The highlight of your childhood will always be the day you surpassed your siblings at something. They are the benchmark on how you should behave and act. Other than that, you will always be the one they prefer not to talk about in family gatherings and probably the one that keeps them up at night.
3. You are probably the most popular one in the family.
As a black sheep, you effortlessly build fast, new, and long-lasting friendships and relationships. You make friends from all walks of life. This can cause a lot of confusion in your family, because you have a different group of friends every month, but you find comfort outside of your comfort zone, you are always looking for answers outside, trying to spot all the other fascinating black sheep out there. Your family probably lost count of how many friends you have, but that’s what makes you special, the moment you fall down, there will be hundreds of hands trying to help you get back up—a privilege white sheep don’t necessarily have.
4. Eventually you will embrace it and love it.
As time goes by, you will realize that you are the black sheep for a reason, and that you are meant to be different to add spice to your life and to those around you. Everyone knows that there is never a dull moment with a black sheep. You start becoming stronger and more confident in who you are and you will learn early on how to speak up, stand up for yourself, and defend your absurd ideas without blinking. You will learn that you cannot change how your family thinks of you, but you will learn how to change the way you think of yourself.
Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” If you are someone who doesn’t fit certain criteria or conform to certain standards, there is nothing wrong with you. You are not stupid, and you are good enough. In a world full of white sheep, with endless rules we can’t really avoid, don’t be afraid to do things a little bit—or a lot—differently. If you are going to be a sheep anyway, learn how to stand out. Every now and then, the black sheep are the ones who change the world, inspire others, and add a splash of color to a rather dull portrait.