Feeling Lonely? You’re Not Alone
We’ve moved around a lot. In our first 10 years of marriage we counted 13 places we’d called home. In college towns and big cities, rural areas, and the stereotypical suburbs I have found one similarity: there are always women who feel lonely.
I’m an introvert which means I recharge with alone time (versus extroverts who tend to recharge with social time). But even with my introversion, I desire a connection to others. It’s been easier in some places over others, but even when I find a friend or two I hear about or encounter women who still feel alone. From time to time, that lonely woman has been me.
The term “black sheep” refers to an individual who doesn’t quite fit into a particular community. The black sheep’s age, economic status, race, ability, political affiliation, religious beliefs, and family history can all be used to disqualify it from the community’s inner circle. More often than not, a “black sheep” is considered a bad sheep. They stand out from the flock for all the wrong reasons and if they just changed x, y, and z maybe they could grow some new wool and fit in better.
For years I’ve felt like the black sheep in a certain social circle. I’ve felt like the bad sheep. The one who needs to change because she’s not “enough” – funny enough, extroverted enough, sarcastic enough, good enough. I have tried to dye my wool to fit in. I’ve even tried to shave it all off. It still comes back in black as midnight. But you know what? After all these years, I’m ok with that.
Once I started being truly ok with who I am, I didn’t care so much about fitting in.
We’re Not Bad Sheep!
It’s taken me years to realize that I am funny enough, extroverted enough, and all-around good enough. I’m enough for my husband and my children. I have some friends and I’m close to some of my family. I render service in my community, I mentor young women and girls in my neighborhood, I plan girls nights’ out and have been a shoulder to cry on. My wool doesn’t match that of certain social circles, but that doesn’t make me a bad sheep.
This Is for All the Lonely People
When you’re feeling like a bad sheep, consider all the goodness that is in you. Write it down if you need to! Find the joy in being you. If you’re not happy feeling alone, think about how you can uniquely address that. Seek out your tribe and cherish the ones who have stood by you through thick and thin. Remember who you’ve helped, the joy you’ve sparked in another, the thoughts you’ve shared that have inspired.
I can almost guarantee you that there’s at least one person out there that shares one of your interests, hobbies, pet peeves, or personality. Maybe you have a set of friends you play games with, a set that you go shopping with, and a set that you hold lengthy text conversations with. Maybe there’s a person you go food crawling with, a person you go running with, and a person you go to the movie theaters with.
Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up over being different. Remember, “the wool of a black sheep is just as warm.”