What does it mean to be the black sheep?

March 23, 2022

Screen shot from designer Chasity Sereal’s vision board as shown on Project Runway on 2/4/22.

Black sheep syndrome. It’s that feeling that you don’t belong. That you are different. That one of these people in your group is not like the others and it’s YOU.

If you were a sheep you’d be black, but if you’re a person, you are usually the one whose thoughts, values and actions differ from those around you. They’re different than the norm in your family or your peer group. You don’t “fit in.”

When we’re younger and still finding our way, not fitting in is a big deal. But as we grow and learn more about ourselves, and, especially, learn to accept ourselves, it’s not as hard.

black-sheepStill, it takes courage to step out of your community’s norm.

The number of people I know who identify as the black sheep of their family is larger than I thought. But, it makes sense. Like attracts like.

Fashion designer Chasity’s collection on Project Runway last winter was about the black sheep that trusted her internal compass and as a result, blossomed. That blossoming that comes from being different? It’s something young women aren’t always convinced of. Because it’s hard to be on the outside. I get it.

But being an older woman now, I can say without a doubt that being a black sheep will give your life a rich texture–one it might otherwise lack. Very rich. You’ll build resilience that others might not have a chance to develop.

And I can also say with confidence that the courage to live life by your own rules will always come in handy.

So here’s to my fellow black sheep…rock on!
A reminder about my beautifully supportive healing and grief tools found in my shop here.  

10 comments on “What does it mean to be the black sheep?
  1. Excellent and very timely. Many heartfelt thanks for writing about this. xoxo

  2. Diane says:

    Wonderful post, Carol! And I absolutely agree!
    When I was growing up, ‘the black sheep’ in any family was the one who stepped out of line–for whatever reason. Invariably a negative term.
    But then I heard my kind, sweet, gentle, intelligent Husby referred to as his family’s ‘black sheep’ and I realized that anyone who’s different than the rest of his family can be so classified. So in his case, it meant that he was the ONLY one in his family who was kind, sweet, gentle and intelligent.
    And that’s when I realized that being the black sheep is not–as I’d been trained to think–inherently bad. Nopoe. It’s just as you said. The black sheep is the one who chooses a different path.
    (And between you and me, I’m forever grateful Husby is his family’s black sheep!)

    • Well, yes! And of course it begs the question about why we see the black sheep as bad. Michael always talks about people who seem to feel that those not like them don’t deserve attention. Oh, another post!

  3. Laurie Stone says:

    Many times black sheep are creative people, the artists. I loved this and it rings so true.

  4. I realized today that the novel I’m working on is about belonging! Reading your post just now gave me an extra boost into clarity.

  5. Meryl says:

    I like to think that in my advanced age I am a black sheep in a good way. It takes courage to step outside the box.

  6. Black sheep think outside the box which is a good thing.

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