I am the black sheep of my family. Part of me is proud of this identity. Another part wishes things were different, particularly with my siblings.
I’ve never really felt like I fit in with any of my relatives. Other than my mom, I often feel like I don’t have anything in common with anyone and that the person they know is only a superficial version of myself.
The characteristics that set me apart from my family are some of the things I am the most proud of. I was the first/only one in the family to go away to school. The first one to get a Bachelor’s degree. The only one to have a Master’s. The only one not married, engaged, or a playboy. The only one who was never baptized. The one who gets along with everyone. The only one who tells people the truth even if it might hurt them. The one with the most friends on Facebook (not that it means anything, I just like having that title). I support the ACLU and equal rights for everyone.
Sure, I know my family loves me, but the thing is, they don’t get me. I’m sure to them, I am a dirty liberal who went to Berkeley and dates outside her race—oh, the horror—and I would not be surprised if they all questioned whether or not I was a lesbian because I haven’t been in a relationship in over five years and most of them have never met the men that I have dated. Trust me, that’s more for their protection than my family’s.
I do go to the annual Christmas parties or celebrations and I feel like I have to be on my best behavior. Sure, everyone has different personas based on their audience; few people act the same way around their parents as they do their friends or lovers. It’s just how it is. But with my family, even my siblings who I feel I should be close with, I feel like a complete outcast.
My eldest brother, Darrin, and I get along great. We play off each other well when it comes to joking about anything and everything. Though we are quite the pair when we are physically in the same place, we have never been what I would call close. Being almost a decade older than myself, our lives have never exactly been in the same place at the same time. I have fond memories from my childhood of him teaching me to say my ABCs backwards (a trick I still have), making me watch The A-Team, and skating around the local roller rink where he worked. Unfortunately, as adults we have been reduced to just closer than strangers. And the thing is, we have become closer since he married Samantha, but they are much more bonded to her side of the family than his. Not that I blame her. Ours is quite the nutty bunch.
I have alway looked up to my older sister, Bree. When I was a kid, I would spend hours going through her yearbooks, watching her favorite shows, and doing anything I could to be more like her. A part of me still does want to be like her, if only for her and I to be as close as I’ve always wanted. I’m sure, I was quite the annoying younger sister, but I worshipped her. Even when she would trick me into doing her chores, she could do no wrong in my eyes. As an adult, we are now separated by more than just 3,000 or so miles. We have become completely different people (she would make the perfect political candidate’s wife who excels at maintaining the perfect public image while I would be a liability for my outspoken ways and willingness to dismiss the opinions of others) and even though we do not share much common ideology, I still long for the day when I can feel like we are sisters rather than women who share DNA.
When it comes to Zack, I will wait for him to come back down from the cloud of fantasy that he lives on. He has always believed that in order to be cool, you have to worry about how people perceive you. To one extent, I believe he’s right. However, I don’t believe that the type of people who will worship you in that regard are really the type of people you want to worship you.
Then there’s my youngest brother. Sadly, I have not had a regular relationship with him since before he was two years old due to the previously mentioned falling out with the sperm donor. I hope that one day this will change because when I do see him, I fear that he and I share the same feelings of being out-of-place among the rest of the clan. I do hope that when we are both adults, we will have the opportunity to discover who we are and I can explain to him that the reasons I didn’t have a relationship with him had absolutely nothing to do with him.
Maybe it is normal to feel out of sync with one’s own family. Or maybe I’m not quite the black sheep I believe myself to be.
Perhaps I am a wolf in sheep’s clothing.