The Black Sheep

There’s no questioning it, I am the black sheep of my family.

Even back when I was involved with my family, I was always the odd one out. Whether it was christmas spent together or some vacation, or hell even just day to day life, I was always the one who didn’t belong. So it only makes sense that I’d come to be the black sheep. About three years ago, after leaving my abusive family behind in the dust physically, I cut off all contact with them on social media, leaving them forever in the dark about my doings and whereabouts, not that they were ever remotely interested to begin with, as the only reason any of them had friended me on Facebook in the first place as simply to relay information to my mother so she could use it against me. When my girlfriend and I visited California, where I’m originally from, a few times in the last two years, I never saw any of them and the few texts I did receive possibly seeing any of them were mostly, “Why don’t you talk to your mother? Why do you talk about her that way!?”

So I’m the black sheep. But, because I have no siblings and nobody really cares about me, I’m not one of those cool gay aunts that people routinely ask about, who’s shrouded in mysteriousness but who is really way cooler than my nephew/nieces parents. No. I’m just the one who is completely forgotten. Nobody asks about me. Nobody wonders what happened. Nobody tries to contact me. On one hand, it’s wonderful, because I have nobody left to let down and disappoint except myself, but on the other hand a part of me wonders what was so wrong with me that even the people I was born into don’t care about me. It’d be one thing if I was just the sort of black sheep I mentioned before, the one who’s shunned her relatives herself, who is surrounded by questions, but I’m not. I’m the opposite. I’m the one who got shunned. I’m not the one people ask questions about. I’m the one nobody asks questions about. After a lifetime of abuse, you’d think that this would be a dream come true, not having to deal with those people anymore, but…

I just never felt welcome anywhere with any of them. Even though my extended family, aunts and uncles and whatnot, weren’t directly abusive to me, most of them also never really made me feel all that welcome or genuinely loved. I always felt out of place and only there because I just happened to have been born into this group of people. Rarely did anyone ever bother to actually get to know my interests, so christmas or birthday gifts were always relatively generic. Clothes. Not even clothes I liked. Media. A lot of time, media I didn’t like, more of a “oh, she likes movies! This just came out on DVD, get it for her!”. Even to this day, I wonder who really knows me. It’s not like it’s that hard to know who I am or what I like. I post things I like to social media, I talk about my interests & hobbies openly. It just seems like nobody bothers to listen. And I’m not saying this in a “Why doesn’t anyone pay attention to me!” sort of way, this is more of a “Well, I guess….I’m just not all that worthy of being known or cared about” sort of way. See, the thing about abuse, especially abuse from people like your family, who’re supposed to love and care about you, is that that then carries over into every other relationship you ever form from then on.

I have people I know who care about me. Certain close friends. My girlfriend. And yet…a part of me is absolutely convinced they don’t. That they’re doing it out of pity, or shame, or because they feel they have to because nobody else has. I know this isn’t true, but when you become so used to abuse, so used to it that you need it to survive, then you believe it no matter what. Call it stockholm syndrome if you must, I don’t care what label you assign it, but what I do know is that I suffer from it and I suffer greatly. What’s even more sick is still missing it. Is missing these people despite knowing damn well what they did to me and how they made me feel. I’m the black sheep. I’m the deserter. Not because I deserted, but because I was driven out. They had an entire flock, and saw me and went, “She’s not like the others, get her out of here.” Even growing up, the few friends I did have, I always had to contact them, they never made an effort to contact me. I’m not just a black sheep to my family. I’m a black sheep to every single relationship.

Then, you might meet some people who make you trust others again. Who make you believe that you are worthy of being loved, are capable of finding people who care about you. You’re so starved for attention and affection and kindness, that you latch onto them and trust them deeply. Then they hurt you too, in ways similar to or worse than the others before them have, and make you really retreat back into your hole. They shatter that trust they’ve built, because they were using you or just didn’t really care all that much. That’s what happened this summer. Someone I trusted for 4 years, someone who considered me a part of their family, they in turn wound up being just as bad as my parents, and destroyed any hope I could have for trusting others again for a very long time, and they took no responsibility for it. No, like all other abusers they wanted the abused to take the blame. Once again, I’m the black sheep, cut off from contact of someone I trusted for years.

So fine. I’m the black sheep. I’ve accepted that, and you know what? You all need a herd to be with, but I don’t, and I’m finding that maybe it’s better this way, because it’s taught me to survive on my own. To be strong. That nobody except me can tell me how worthy I am and how capable of success I can be.

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any shame?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags the same;
One for the parents,
And one for the “friends”,
And none for myself
Because that’s where it ends.

I’m Maggie Taylor. Did you like this thing? If so, well, I make other things you might like too. You check out my webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, or my writing on Medium. You can also submit a piece to my new site, “Sad Party”, where I encourage others to share their struggles with mental illness so others don’t feel as alone. Also working on some other big projects for the end of the year, so be on the lookout for those! Thanks for reading!

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