Do you ever listen to a song and think, “this is legit my life!” Well, me too.
I recently heard the song “One Black Sheep” by Mat Kearney for the first time. As I listened, I was like, this was written for me! Then I listened to it about a dozen more times just to be sure. Yup, definitely written for me.
The song is about a guy who has everything life can offer—a good family, a home, money, shoes, food, an education, a passion—and yet, he’s missing something. He feels out of place in his own home and family. In the song he asks, “Won’t somebody tell me, what’s wrong with me?”
I definitely know the feeling, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this. I have two parents who love me, I have a roof over my head, I have food, clothes, a job, money, an education, hobbies, and so much more. I’ve been blessed beyond what I could ever deserve, and yet I feel like an outsider. Growing up, I felt stupid and dumb. Both my brothers are highly intelligent, and I was the one that actually had to work to get good grades.
I felt fat and ugly. My family is lean, tall, and beautiful, and I somehow didn’t fit that mold. I am naturally big-boned and was chubby as a child. My brothers constantly made fun of me. My grandma always seemed to be hinting that I needed to lose weight. My mom mentioned to me that I was more prone to becoming overweight because of my body type.
One time, when I was around 10 years old, I went to the doctor for a normal check-up. When the doctor came in and looked at me, he made some comment to my mom about my bone structure. Mom quickly agreed, saying that, unlike the rest of our family, I was big boned. I was the one black sheep. From that day forward, I became even more insecure about my body and I developed a severe hatred and fear of going to the doctor because I knew I would be weighed. When I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, I started going to the doctor alone. I refused to be humiliated by anyone being present at my weigh-in. Even to this day, I cannot step on a scale in front of anyone without feeling completely mortified and ashamed.
Because I was so embarrassed about my weight and “build,” I would cover myself up in baggy clothes. I had ZERO style as an early teenager. My mom even told me that my clothing choices were embarrassing to her. She would take me shopping, but trying on clothes was stressful for me. Although I have never been larger than a size 4-5, I would wear a few sizes up to hide my figure. Baggy pants and sweat pants were the norm and I absolutely hated shorts because I hated my legs.
When I became anorexic and lost 30lbs, I felt like I could finally fit in with my family. At least now I looked the part. I began to dress more fashionably and wear clothes that fit and flattered my figure. I felt like I finally deserved to look good. I even wore shorts and bikinis.
Now, I feel more out of place in my family than ever before. Not only have I gained the weight back (although thankfully, I have maintained my good style 🙂 ), I am recovering from an eating disorder. I feel like I don’t deserve to have this type of struggle. I was raised well and I am supposed to have the perfect life. This type of struggle does not belong in my family dynamic. I am the one black sheep, the kid that doesn’t fit in, the one that doesn’t belong. Won’t somebody tell me, what’s wrong with me?
But as I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve realized something.
Most people feel like the one black sheep. Most people feel out of place.
It’s human nature to want to fit in, but even the popular kids are insecure. Even the models have body-image issues. Even the brilliant kids worry about tests. Even the wealthy stress about money. Everyone has their issues, and everyone has, at one point of another, struggled with fitting in. You are not alone.
Here are a few rules I’ve found to be helpful in overcoming insecurities:
1. Embrace your individuality.
Everyone is different, so don’t spend your time copying someone else’s style or behavior. Be yourself. Work on refining your own positive qualities.
2. People are too busy thinking about themselves to think about you.
Sometimes, it can feel like the entire world is casting judgement on you, but the truth is, most people don’t care. One of my favorite quotes says: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do” (Eleanor Roosevelt). People are too busy worrying about their own issues and insecurities to care about yours.
3. There are people who break rule #3. Keep these people close.
There are some people who do genuinely care about you as a person. They will love you no matter what—no matter what you look like, no matter what your struggles are, no matter how much money you make, no matter where you live, no matter how smart you are. Find these people, keep them close, and always return the favor by being kind, accepting, non-judgmental, and loving to everyone.
4. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind — Dr. Seuss
No explanation needed.
5. Be true to yourself.
Do what you love. Be who you want to be. The world does not have the right to care.
6. Take care of yourself.
Become the best version of YOU! Exercise, eat nutritiously, overcome bad habits, enjoy the simple things in life, build positive relationships, meditate, take up new hobbies, and never stop learning. Treat yourself right and make yourself proud 🙂
7. Confidence is beauty. Hold your head up high.
If you’re ever feeling like the one black sheep, you’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with you—it just means you’re human. Always remember, no one can replace you. Also, if you want to hear the song, check it out below. It’s pretty good.