Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Ever been called the "black sheep" of the family? Or maybe you’ve never been given the title officially, but you feel like you are? WELCOME! For as long as I can remember I have felt like the black sheep of my family. Whether that was for doing what was perceived as “good” or doing what was perceived as “bad,” the title has hovered above my head. When I didn’t fit the mold of what some thought a black girl from the hood should be like, I was condemned. I had one side of my family who looked down on me because I wanted more than what the hood could offer, and the another side of my family who seemed to look down on me for being from the hood. I felt as if I was never going to gain the approval of my family regardless of what I did.
When I became a single parent at the age of 19, I was condemned. I was the first of my siblings to become a parent; not once but twice! Twice I got it wrong and twice I heard the whispers of judgement louder than the words of encouragement. Twice I felt like I failed. I don’t know which was worse; the judgement from strangers, or the judgement from those I loved. I recall being pregnant with my 10-year-old and being ashamed. When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to hide it and worked hard to do so. I was almost six months pregnant before hiding my belly became impossible. It was one of the rare instances I was thankful for having big breasts (lol). I had family saying some of the most hurtful things about me. To this day, very few knows that I know. I was called a whore (I wasn’t promiscuous, I was simply pregnant). It was said that I was a bad influence on other family members. It was said I would amount to nothing and live on government assistance. I’m sure many other hurtful things were sent that I have yet to find out.
However, what wasn’t mentioned was the fact I immediately began working a full time job. I maintained not one but two jobs throughout my entire first pregnancy. I managed to save, save, save, and move into my first apartment (not on government assistance and not in the projects) by the time my firstborn was four months. I managed to leave a physically, verbally, and mentally abusive relationship; knowing that would leave me a single parent. I managed to remain in college. I managed to put on my big girl panties and get shit done! Was it hard? Hell yes! But it wasn’t impossible!
I look at how far I’ve come; all the things I’ve managed to accomplish despite being a single mother of two and I smile. I’ve defied the odds of most of the hand I was deal. Whether I am actually looked at as the “black sheep” or not, it no longer matters to me. Being talked about, judged, and at times ridiculed gave me the fuel I needed. Sometimes, what others do to hurt us, whether intentional or not, can be the added push we need.
Control what you can control. Wear the label that you place on yourself. Everyone will have an opinion about you; listen to the one that matters most- yours!