Black Sheep

My new friend Julian, mentioned me in his blog post last Thursday.  It was a post about honesty and after being bestowed the honor of the mention, I am supposed to write ten honest things about myself.  Well, I told Julian that I could not write ten in one post because I didn’t want to use up so much material in one day, but it did spark something in my mind.  I had an Aha moment if you will.  I finally admitted something to myself and have decided to admit it to all of you.

In Martha Beck’s book “Finding Your Own North Star” she talks about how we all have our “everybody.”  These are the people whose standards we measure all of our decisions and behaviors by.  At first I wasn’t sure if I had an “everybody” and who they were.  But as I’ve been blogging I find myself quite often thinking things such as: Everybody will just hate this.  Everybody’s going to think I’m crazy.  Everybody’s going to be so offended.  Everybody’s going to be shocked.  Everybody is going to think I’m selfish.  Everybody will most definitely be praying for me.  Everybody will just stop reading now.

It was only today, after reading Julian’s honesty post that I faced the truth of who my “everybody” is.  They are Mom, Dad, and my sisters. I’m 34 years old and have been states away from them for 11 years, but still at the end of the day, they are the only people whose opinions of me matter.  Which leads me to the title of the post.

I am the black sheep of the family.  Mom denies it (she thinks of it as having negative connotations), but it’s true.  I was reminded of it on my last visit when I was gently nudged to put on make up.  It was made clear at the bar-b-que, when the only thing my vegetarian diet allowed me to eat was the chips, cheese dip, and coleslaw.  I see it when I discuss politics or voice my social and religious beliefs.  I am aware of it when I admit I do believe in reincarnation and don’t believe in “the devil.”  I knew it in 9th grade when the first boy I ever truly fell for happened to be black.  I recognized it in college when I’d arrive home after a night of drinking.  I was reminded when I got my first tattoo, and by the time this posts will probably be reminded after my second.  When I kindly decline an invitation to go to the Baptist church, I feel it.  I am certain it is true when I am asked if I am “saved” and told that none of the good I do matters unless I am.

I’d say to a degree I grew up feeling like an outcast, even though I wasn’t one in school.  I always had a group of friends that I belonged with, I just didn’t always seem to fit in with the group that was most important to me.  These days, I’m sure they pray for me everyday.  I’m also pretty sure that they pray that one day I’ll come around and be someone different, someone more like them.  What I pray for is that they will take the time to get to know ME and find themselves loving me instead of wishing I’d change.

As a final thought, I am sure that everybody’s going to get their feelings hurt, but I’m also pretty sure they’ll be learning something they didn’t know before.  What I’ve put here is my perception of things.  It may not be an accurate depiction, but it is mine and I needed to put it out there.

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21 thoughts on “Black Sheep

  1. Renee October 12, 2009 / 7:52 am

    If my mother ever manages to come visit me, you will have to meet her. I think she feels the same way in her family. From what I’ve been told, her only real ally was her father, and he died almost 40 years ago.

  2. gratefulkim October 12, 2009 / 8:55 am

    You and I, Leslee, have very, very similar minds and lives (‘cept for the vegetarian part) 😉

    I don’t believe in the devil, I walked away from church at 40 (altho still pop in occasionally for the comfort of people, forever and a day am I analyzying what the heck Jesus really wants us to know, I married a black man, turned my back on the family business, and oh so much more. It’s okay though. Because isn’t it such a gift to have the universal forces of nature connect you with people who get it? Who can share your path with you and have a true understanding of it (or at least more so than the average bear) and not judge you for it? Ahhhhh…that part is so refreshing, especially since we both know we’re working on getting along without the acknowledgement of “everyone”.

    Your posts – they are so special. I want to be in a place where I can post my real thoughts and feelings and not care who sees it. But I fear hurting people, disrupting the image, and all the things you’ve probably experienced as well. You inspire me to be true to myself….one baby step at a time. Thank you.

    Oh and one final acknowledgement for you……baaaaaaaaa (get it? Sheep sounds). LOL

    • lesleehorner October 12, 2009 / 9:56 am

      Thank you Kim! Your “disrupting the image” comment was so true. I told Mark the other day, that since I’ve been blogging, people who don’t know me are interested in learning more and the people who thought they knew me are totally freaked out (and every so slowly backing away). But it’s all good b/c in the end, when you start telling the truth, you find out who really loves YOU!

  3. Lisa October 12, 2009 / 9:41 am

    I guess being an only child leaves out the possibility of being the black sheep. But good for you; you can’t deny who you are and how you feel.

  4. julian October 12, 2009 / 12:34 pm

    wow, girl… I think if honesty were a baseball game and you were at bat… you would have cracked the bat, knocked the guts of the ball out of the seams, and we’d be watchin’ what’s left of it fly out of the ballpark and into next week.

    As I’ve read your posts (and this one is a prime example) I’m amazed at how our lives or viewpoints perhaps, are so similar.
    I wish I could find more of “us” out there. Living in Texas (as I’m sure it is in N.C. or Fla) makes it difficult to find more of “us” though. Thank God for bloggin and the internet right!

    But I too, don’t believe in the devil. I do believe in reincarnation. I believe in elevated/evolved souls who act as Teachers or Guardian Angels if you will. I have never really felt connected to any of my four other siblings
    or the dozen or so cousins I have and respective aunts and uncles. My mom jokingly refers to me as a heathen and she has sent me cards for Easter and at least a couple of times wrote in them that she prays I will come to know God.

    I personally feel I am in touch with God, it’s just not the homophobic, misogynistic, hate-filled, jealous, infantile God that most in our country tend to worship.

    Thanks for the blogroll love… i did the same a few days ago. : )

  5. lesleehorner October 12, 2009 / 3:46 pm

    Thanks Christi! I love you! I’m definitely different from you guys though. You got the one extreme version of Dad and I got the other (except for a couple of incidents in high school), but hey, at least you share his politics…I wouldn’t even want to open that can of worms. 🙂 I will say that I have more of a relationship with Jesus now than I ever had before. For me it’s not how I connect with Jesus and God, but that I make sure to connect.

  6. lesleehorner October 12, 2009 / 3:55 pm

    I was just discussing this with a friend over lunch today. She was giving me a lesson in her religion and we talked about the devil. I guess I don’t necessarily believe there is an entity outside of me trying to pull me down (although I would submit to the idea of evil energy/vibes), but rather my inner humanness/ego trying to lead me away from my spiritual path and put the focus on it. The ego wants control and once you put your focus on God it doesn’t have a lot of room to exist. It does what it can to pull you back in, with all sorts of distractions.

  7. Biswajit Dash October 12, 2009 / 4:28 pm

    There is no devil but in our thoughts. There is no GOD but in our deeds and belief. There is no air but in breath. There is no heart that doesn’t beat at least once. There is so much of light, love and life all around. Lets live it!

  8. Glenn October 12, 2009 / 4:37 pm

    Congratulations! What you’ve uncovered here is by and large one of the greatest discoveries of the self. When you uncover what you feel, then try and unearth the obscurities behind *why* you feel that way, it begins opening a lot of doors. It lets the consciousness feel more freedom, then the true life lessons are able to be learned.

    The other irony is even simpler, there are more of us that are black sheep than not. It’s the alienations and discrepancies that make us who we are. The end result is a far more colorful place though, with a great opportunity to find your own path.

    I’m truly sorry that the simple point of feelings of alienation seem to have been lost – but it’s another truth in life that religious differences are one of the main sources of conflict… Despite differing opinions though, never hold back with the truth of how you feel…

  9. Ivy October 12, 2009 / 6:10 pm

    Hey Leslee,
    I haven’t read all the comments you have received on this post, so I’m sure I’m repeating what everyone else has said. I can totally relate to being an outcast in school even though surrounded by others. I recently had my 15 year reunion. I was my class president and at the time, I remember feeling so popular and wanted, but now I really think the girl I beat could have done a much better job and REALLY wish I would not have taken on the responsibility. One of my members of the class, asked me if I was ok and I said, yeah, why do you ask? And he said, because you’re Ivy and you stress over everything all the time 😉 oh well.

    I am the middle child in my family and am DEFINITELY the black sheep of my family. I have many, many examples of why I am considered the black sheep, but won’t share them all here. One thing we have in common as being the black sheep of our family is the fact that we moved out of NC. I am known as the one who moved away. Everyone in Sparta, NC know who my sister and brother are, but when I come into town, they are so amazed to learn that I am Melissa and Grayson’s sister. They all say, well, we had heard alot about you… haha. I think you and I are SO much alike, Leslee. I think if given the chance we would have been alot closer, but I guess that’s what facebook is for, right?

    • lesleehorner October 12, 2009 / 6:13 pm

      Thank you Ivy! I imagine I live closer to you now than the gang in Charlotte. We should probably take a beach trip together some time!

  10. Megan October 12, 2009 / 7:18 pm

    What a topic you got going today Leslee!

    I concur with Biswajit Dash. I believe that the only ‘Devil’ that actually exists is that, that occurs in our minds.

    The only form of prayer that I wish to be given for me is that I connect with God at the highest of levels in the most loving of ways. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill my heart with love, joy and faith.

    Prayer that suggests that I should be enlightened to think along the same lines as you- no thanks. In return I pray that your heart and mind be opened to that which you did not see.

  11. moderndaystoryteller October 12, 2009 / 7:26 pm

    My editor once advised me that when I sat down to write something – anything, that I have one person in my mind who is going to read/watch it. That person should be my toughest critic, the person I find myself constantly trying to prove myself to. In other words, my “everybody”.

    I think your “everybody” is what propels you on this journey of truthfulness and is what prompts you to write so well. It’s not necessarily a negative thing. And I salute you for your courage.

    • lesleehorner October 12, 2009 / 8:15 pm

      I’ve taken some blows today for sure…but the alternative is to what…stop writing honestly? Everything inside of me tells me that coming here and telling my truth will be worth it in the long run, no matter who runs screaming from my life in the process. And I guess now I’m moving on to the emotional pain part of my lesson. 🙂

  12. jane aka faerian October 12, 2009 / 8:53 pm

    just a word of support from a fellow black sheep… i admire your courage…it is not selfish to speak your truth… it is just speaking your truth…ganesha is really doing his work clearing those obstacles !!!

  13. Tara October 12, 2009 / 9:43 pm

    Wow.

    I know I was fortunate enough to preview this blog entry over the weekend, but it really needs to be read along with the myriad of comments you received to be truly appreciated. Why? Because it takes a STRONG and wonderful person to write such deeply profound thoughts and statements knowing there could be such a backlash.

    I admire you for standing up and saying what is in your mind and your heart and, yes, your soul. Damn good for you, girl.

    I, too, am definitely the black sheep of my family. I’m the youngest and I was spoiled. I readily admit it. But I’m also the liberal. I’m the open-minded one. I’m the one that will play the devil’s advocate in an argument, too. I try to look at things from all angles, which is what I seem to know about you, too. I think it is a good thing to do, so don’t stop that, no matter what anyone says.

    I know you’ll likely be preached at (and you already have been) over people thinking you need to accept God, but I never read from this blog entry anything that told you you haven’t accepted God. You may not accept today’s image of who or what God should be, but I think everyone has a different vision of the One God. I think that our hearts and our souls seek out the right answers for who or what that God is to us. Which would likely explain the need for so many freaking religions and churches in our country alone! I’m happy to know another person that isn’t so narrow minded as to believe that there’s only ONE right way.

    Bah. I’m rambling and I would wager I’m not being very coherent. It’s late. But I just want you to know that you have my support. I commend you for this post and for every honest and heartfelt post you’ve made thus far. Well done, Leslee. Well done.

    • Ray B. October 13, 2009 / 9:43 pm

      Leslee, I feel a need to reply, but I fear it likely won’t come out to much more than a long winded “Yeah, what Tara said!” 🙂

      I’ve watched for many years in growing astonishment and frustration as people who would otherwise seem to be good and kind folks degenerate into hate-mongering, judgmental fools in blind denial about the world and the people around them. Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I firmly believe that not all opinions are of equal value though. A well-thought, constructive, worked-through attempt at understanding of one’s spiritual identity and place in the universe (i.e. your journey) is an opinion that has more value than a blinded, “I’m not listening, la, la, la” attitude. And of course opinion is not the same thing as fact in any way, but that’s another rant entirely.

      Kudos to you for your strength and tolerance. I used to think of myself as a patient person, but I find that all too often these days my patience abandons me in the face of such blatant hypocrisy and hate-mongering. Simply saying, “I’m not judging you,” then going ahead and doing it, while STILL denying it makes as much sense as pointing a loaded gun at someone and saying, “I’m not shooting you,” then pulling the trigger. It is a blatant denial of fact and, possibly more importantly, a denial of the responsibility you have for your actions, a behavior which, on its own, seems to be epidemic these days.

      I feel inspired and renewed when I read posts like this one and I wanted to show you some support in the face of these comments. And of course I also wanted to thank you. I feel very blessed that I’ve found your blog Leslee.

  14. OpinionatedGift October 13, 2009 / 2:27 am

    Leslee,

    You are beautiful and brave and true to your heart. You’re figuring things out and you’re doing it the hard way. By asking hard questions which by virtue sometimes give you hard answers.

    I consider myself blessed to know you, if only virtually, and to know our blog.

    God is not judgment, jealousy or self righteousness. God is Love, pure and simple. Your path is hardly lonely.

  15. WhatYearIsThis October 13, 2009 / 3:57 pm

    Some of these comments are just ignorant! You know who you are.

    Please remember that one of God’s greatest gifts to us is power of choice!

    All of this ‘God speak’ Bible thumping demonstrates the hypocrisy of the antiquated Southern Baptist views on reality. You generally have good intentions with a very powerful message (one that I personally subscribe to as well – the Bible) but there is this church-wide mentality to try and force feed your opinions to others and consider it a form of witnessing.

    Southern Baptist is a ‘fear based’ religion that tends to focus on faults of others and preach their hell, fire and brimstone messages yet they are the first to cast judgement and openly commit a very serious sin – trying to do GOD’s job in judging others for how they have chosen to live their lives.

    There are still many Baptist churches today in the south that do not accept people who are different from them. Many of these churches are all white and many of them are not accepting of homosexuals. My God is loving and he accepts all of those who want to worship Him no matter what color they are or their sexuality.

    Just saying ‘I’m not judging you’ doesn’t mean that you haven’t judged. I think that most folks with a shred of common sense can see that you are indeed judging Leslee. You too will be judged by God and you will have to answer as to why you could not reserve your judgement and be accepting of those who are different.

    Leave others to live their own lives and let GOD be the judge of whether or not they are worthy of entry into heavan. You should live your own lives and all of us ‘doomed souls’ outside of the Southern Baptist cult won’t interject our judgements – even if you think that being a good Christian means to cast stones at those who don’t subscribe to your specific beliefs.

    Wake up people!

  16. heather October 13, 2009 / 8:47 pm

    This is first amendment at its best – terrific exchange of ideas. I learned a lot, and thank ALL of you for bearing your thoughts.

  17. Kasey October 18, 2009 / 8:06 pm

    Leslee –

    I love you, and am so greatful for our friendship and that will never change.

    I am a follower of Christ and believe God’s Word, the Bible to be Holy and that every word of it is true.

    There are many paths that can lead people to Jesus. Many folks are on those paths not even realizing it…searching for something else…not even realizing that God is drawing them to Him through these paths.

    Many people, such as C. S. Lewis, set out to rip Christianity apart; and then, in His Divine way, with his Divine Love, God brings them to him and they come out born again Christians. As is what happened with Saul in the Bible. He crucified Christians, sent them to untimely deaths, and then one day, on his journey to Damascus, God came to him, blinded him for 3 days, and changed his name to Paul. He ended up being one of God’s greatest messengers…he wrote many of the books in the New Testament.

    I enjoy reading about other religions and learning about different ways of thinking and I discussing these things as well. It hasn’t damaged me or my walk in the Lord in any way.

    Jesus’s message is simple. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light”. (Matt 11:28-30)

    His yoke is easy, and I take comfort in that every day. No one can bring anyone to God, but God Himself.

    I love you unconditionally girl, and always will. Thank you for your honesty…you are an inspiration.

    Love Always,
    k

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