I’m the black sheep of my family, always have been, always will be. From the very beginning I didn’t quite “fit”. I was always a little too outspoken, a little too hyper, too rambunctious, had too much attitude and personality, and from the time I was old enough to form my own opinions, I was opposed to every religious and moral belief that my family held.

A lot of my rebellion stemmed from having religion pushed down my throat from, basically, birth. My parents were devout Christians and we (my sister and I) were raised going to church twice as well as Sunday school every Sunday, and any special services that may pop up during the week. Until the age of 11 or 12 I didn’t really mind. I had a lot of friends there and by this point I was starting to notice a couple of cute boys there as well. But by the time I had reached the age of 13 I knew without a doubt that this type of life just wasn’t for me. Sure, I still believed in God and do to this very day, but what I didn’t believe and still don’t is that in order to avoid going to hell, you must belong to a specific, exclusive church with a set of stern, black and white rules. What I came to believe at this time, although it would be many years later before I could put a label on it, was that I am opposed to organized religion in general. I do not believe that you have to belong exclusively to a church, any church, in order to be spiritual, and that not belonging to a church didn’t mean I was on a one way path to the firey pits of hell! My family begged to differ. One of many reasons I am the black sheep, one big reason that stemmed out into several more. 

I have a voice and I am not opposed to using it. Growing up in a home where words were used as weapons by a father who had a God complex, my mother and litte sister (by just a few months) just took it. Little sister would cry silent tears as he, while sitting her to the table and forbidding her to get up until all of her homework was completed, would yell at her, calling her stupid and dumb as she struggled with math. Not once did she speak up, defend herself, of attempt to stand up to him. She just sat there, her sad green eyes pooling over with tears. I didn’t have it much better. I would be called horrible names on a daily basis, told I was stupid and trash and that I would never amount to anything. Mom would try to stop the vicious attacks on us, but never herself and little sister was completely and totally at his mercy, terrified to stand up to the monster that ruled our home. I was different. I would speak up as I grew into my teenage years. I would defend myself, and them. I would stand up to him. Yeah, he still scared me, but bowing down to him the way my sister and mother did scared the hell out of me more than any criticism he could toss at me. I wouldn’t just sit there and take it. I wouldn’t let him break me, as hard as he tried. Sure, his words left scars, but they wouldn’t define me. 

This made me different. A woman was supposed to respect her husband, her father, any male figure, because God made man in his image, and woman out of man, right? Hell no! There was no man that would control me, belittle me, break me, or make me into someone I wasn’t. I lost sight of that very briefly in my failing marriage as I clung to hope and tried my hardest to make things work, but it was just that- briefly- before I once again found my footing. 

My bipolar diagnosis last year came as another shock (disgrace?) to our already strained family atmosphere. Don’t believe everything the doctors tell you. Get out of bed, no wonder you’re depressed. You got to just not dwell on it. Really? That’s all it takes? Why thanks Mom and Dad, I’m just so glad you found the secret to beating mental illness! 

Having to temporarily live with my parents again after the end of my marriage a few months ago, our beliefs clash even more than before. Parenting- I’m doing it all wrong! Little K is hyper and loud, generally happy and rambunctious, always full of energy. Apparently, kids shouldn’t behave this way and what’s even more apparent is it’s my fault for not disciplining him enough. Discipline for what exactly? Being happy and energetic, having a strong voice, singing too loud, having too many friends who like to hang out with him? Big K is saucy. I’m sorry that he’s a typical teenager. He dresses like a punk. Apparently expressing oneself is a sin. And all of this combined makes me a bad parent simply because I am not raising my kids the way I was raised.

Why can’t I be more like my sister? She’s a Christian, much to my parents delight. Her kids are made to go to church at least once a week. They aren’t allowed to go to dances, just the way sis and I weren’t. This was always a sore spot for me growing up. While my friends were excitedly getting dressed up to go to school dances I was sitting at home, moping and angry and plotting my great escape from my parent’s religious shackles. By the age of 15 I was lying and sneaking out to go to them, sometimes getting found out and punished, but I didn’t care. It had been worth it. My first real taste of freedom, of the ability to think for myself.

But, I digress. 

Why am I not more like my sister, who has stayed in a mainly unhappy marriage because she took a vow before God, for better or for worse, till death do them part. I, on the other hand, had not stuck out the worse, waiting for it to get better, simply because I knew it never would. When I, or my sister, or any other person who marries, said those vows, how literal were they exactly? I mean, how bad must the “worse” be before it’s time to do what’s best for number one and leave? Yes, I did vow until death do us part but, when the marriage was killing me, was I wrong in walking away? I think not. My religious parents don’t entirely disagree, they know the relationship was toxic, however (and this is the kicker) they believe that now that my marriage is over, I should obey the Word of God, which clearly states that if a woman should divorce her husband she must remain unmarried and celibate for the rest of her life unless she reconciles with her husband. 

Shut the front door! 

So, let me get this straight. At the age of 36 I am now supposed to spend the rest of my life alone, without ever loving, and most definitely never sleeping with, another man because my husband was a lying, cheating, alcoholic. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture? 

Again, I am the black sheep. 

I have ideas. Lots and lots of ideas. I want out of this narrow minded, small town and I want to live in the city where everything and everyone is different, where you can just be who you want to be and not feel the pressure to conform to the norm of small town expectations. But why? 

I want tattoos, a pair of cowboy boots, maybe a new piercing, some funky highlights in my hair. Oh my, what will people say? 

I want to fall in love, madly, recklessly. I want to be spontaneous and carefree and just a little selfish. I want to make love again with reckless abandon. I want to feel what it’s like to be a woman again. It must be the bipolar! 

Does it bother me, that in this still somewhat close knit family I stand out like a sore thumb, that my craziness is so often the elephant in the room, that my family thinks I’m just a little off the wall. Not in the least! I’m proud of the person I am, that I am strong, passionate, and yes, a little crazy. I am coming to learn more about myself each and everyday and I am happy with the person I am learning about. I am an individual, my own person, and I refuse to change simply to blend in with the crowd.

Why would I? I was so obviously born to stand out! 

  1. brightonbipolar says:

    I admire your strength and insight… Go ahead and be yourself, you’re amazing!
    (You can never have too much ink or too many piercings or funky hair colours in my opinion….lol)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good writing, and a wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hbhatnagar says:

    Religion or no, people (both men and women) stay in marriages for any of a number of reasons. It’s great that you’ve grown up to be independent and outspoken despite your childhood environment. Your sister didn’t have the courage. Many people don’t. I wish her and you, courage.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dani says:

    Loved this and reminds me so much of me. God gets such a bad name due to organised religion. I too believe in God, but not religion. I also stood up to my mother, something I often got penalised for. I’ve never been one to sit quietly haha. Great read 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ravenstag says:

    Actually, I think that black sheeps are interesting creatures. And they certainly have a right to be.
    I’ve read a quote today: black sheep whitens after the nightfall, when suddenly it becomes visible, that all the sheeps around are getting black.
    What I mean is that as a “black sheep” you’re differently prepared to life. It can be a flaw. But it can also be an advantage. It depends from the circumstances… and your knowledge about what are you capable of.
    Know yourself, be yourself – I’d say. I wish you everything good.

    Liked by 1 person

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