The Black Sheep

Last year I freed myself from a lot of things that have held me down all of my adult life. I had a lot of daunting ghosts in the corners of my mind telling me that I needed to do this, or be that in order to be acceptable for others.. and never quite feeling like I was enough. Anxiety has always had it’s stranglehold grip on me, along with fear of failure, and most of all- fear of rejection. Something snapped in me last year, and life will never be the same. Allow me to get metaphorical for a minute to explain.

In February I stood with my toes on the edge of a canyon, where they had been frozen for a decade- as if cinderblocks held me there through all the elements and changing seasons. I was clinging to a tear stained, tattered, and wrinkled society based contract that says you’re a bad person if you dishonor your parent by committing full estrangement. I took a deep breath and calmly tore it into little pieces slowly, watching the rip travel through each letter. I took the shredded remains, and even though my hands had been frozen solid in a gargoyle-like state for the last 10 years, I opened my clenched, white knuckled fists, and let the wind gently roll years of grief off of my finger tips. I watched them drift and disappear into the valley, and then I simply turned and headed down the mountain without an ounce of negative energy for the first time in my life.

It’s funny- on the way up all you see is struggle.. you feel your legs buckling and never seem to know where you’re going, or when you’ll get there. The way down is different. The way down is beautiful. You know exactly where you are. What took ten years to climb takes 10 minutes to breeze down. The view is liberating, and breath taking.. it’s a view I never took the time to look at before. The burning ache leaves your body and relief hits you in waves when you realize that letting yourself trot down is so much easier than the constant uphill climb. There’s an accomplished sense of worth, a genuine spring in the step, only comparable to what little children have on Christmas morning. The frustration melts away and becomes appreciation for a road less traveled. The best part is- when you get to the bottom, the ones who truly love you stand there with unwavering open arms and actual unconditional love. It’s like getting tackled by a loyal dog when you come home after being gone all day. That’s the only kind of love I tolerate now.

I’m healthier than I’ve ever been mentally. There’s a true confidence down in my bones for the first time, minus the facade of false outer brave face. The same face that used to wonder why it was unlovable, even by it’s own creator. Unworthy. Unreachable. Undone. Not good enough. Flawed. Damaged. Broken. Abused. Abandoned. The face that’s been dragged through the mud and then washed up and forced to pretend like absolutely nothing is wrong. The face that was told it was wrong so many times, it actually believed that it WAS those things. Well, until as of late.

These days I’ve laid down my guns and my straightening iron. I’m really digging my naturally messy hair that used to be called a “rat nest”, and I’m content with it. I’m done trying to fill someone else’s shoes without taking the time to check my own size. Unapologetically me, the hero of my own story.

I’m reveling in a lot of freedoms that I’ve never known before. Sure, everyone who knows me at all knows that I’ve always had physical freedom- WAY too much of it. A lot of rambling, a lot of gypsy living out of a suitcase, for so many years I knew no boundaries and no physical rest. I could go on, but if you’ve known me for more than 5 years, you’ve already seen it all. Thankfully, my husband and son calmed my restless legs, but it took me years to understand that my restless mind was a dragon that only I could slay. There’s no disputing that I’m an open book- that’s the one thing that hasn’t changed. I’m just on a new chapter now. I’m finally in the good, edge of your seat chapter. The hook. The part of the story where I absolutely can not stop turning pages. The part that keeps you up all night, in a good way. The happy part.

It’s called coping, or so they say. I wouldn’t put such a minuscule title on it. I’m 18 months deep now, and it feels more like an awakening to me.

Studies show that 7% of people in the US are estranged from their mother, and 27% are estranged from their father. Those are big numbers.. too big to feel alone in the taboo. You’re not.

I always thought I was the black sheep. As it turns out, I was a lone wolf in sheep’s clothing.🖤

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