The Ramblings Inside my Creative Mind: Once You've Seen One Black Sheep ...

          Are you there, blog? It's me, Asia. It's been more than a little while and I have no excuses for you. There is no excuse for not keeping up here or with my creativity in general. I do come to you today with another post pulling back the layers of myself. 

        It gets tiresome to be the forgotten. As you can see that even I, myself, can forget me just as so many others do. That's been my life for as long as I can remember. "Oh, sorry we forgot" could very well be my middle name with as many times as I've heard it. That has had a profound effect on my realtionships, especially when it comes to family. Friends come and go and it's a little easier to go your separate ways than it would be with family. It gets tricky to part ways when you feel like you don't belong, are frequently forgotten about, or abandonded. 

        Summer has come to an end and fall has been pretty warm so far, but that's not saying much when you're still in the middle of a pandemic. Things have been a little more lax this year and some have gone back to normal and most of us are still a little more cautious. With that been said, on my father's side my family had a family reunion for the 4th of July. I was fortuante enough to find out once the pics were posted to social media after the fact. Whether or not I would have gone is unknown and will never be known since I wasn't even given a chance to accept or decline and invite. I've tried to go ever since my father passed. He died two weeks before the reunion in the year he passed and I really wanted ro go since he had his heart set on that one after missing many the years prior due to his health. I did it that year for him and every year since. This year would've been the first reunion without my uncle who passed last year. He was the one who, in my opinion, kept the family together. Now it could be that I was overlooked. My uncle was usually the main one to organize the reunions so it was new to the family members that set this one up. Or it could be that someone thought "She hasn't come out to anything else this year so she won't show up." Either excuse that it may be hurts either way. It's either that I was completely not thought of at all or someone thought that it wasn't worth the effort. It makes me reflect on why I'm always the forgotten one and how can I change that, whether it be to change a few things within myself or cut loose people who don't want me around anyways.

        When it comes to family that answer is easy. Growing up I was always taken to be around my mother's family so I really I didn't really have the opportunity to develop a bond from childhood with my dad's family. I'm the oddball out anytime I'm around that side of my family, but still feel all the love from my aunts and uncles no matter what. When it comes to my mom's side it all boiled down to vanity, in my opinion. I was the nerdy one who kept to herself and liked creative things. I think around a family of mostly women who cared more about beauty over brains nobody knew what to do with me. I'd be left out of things, poked fun at, and ultimately became the strong black sheep that I am today. 

        I was often jealous, growing up, of my my cousins who had my grandmother's sister as their grandmother because I saw how she interacted with them. She encouraged them and joked with them not AT them. Overall, she seemed easier to love and open up to. That's not to say they weren't riddled with their own issues like everyone else, but I never got the feeling like my cousins felt left out, judged, abandonded, or ridiculed. They had the relationship with her that was what you would see on a family sitcom where at the end of the 30 minutes the grandmother would hug her grandchild, tell them how much she loved them and that she'll always be there when needed. I wanted that, but I wasn't fortunate to feel that loved.

        When it comes to being forgotten by friends it boils down to family. My mom's family had a habit of promising activies with my cousins and I and I wait and wait only to later find out that my cousins were taken out and I was left behind waiting. Now this did not happen all of the time, but enough to leave a permanent sting that, to this day, still impacts my current relationships with friends. I have two extremes. If I make plans with a friend I'll either badger them on if they're sure they want to go to whatever we have planned. Just needing that constant reassurance that they won't flake out. The other extreme is I'll cancel because I assume that the other person will. Might as well beat them to the punch. 

        The methods I have been trying to take in not being forgotten that involve my own changed behavior is I've been attempting to be more engaging, as much as I can since I am still very shy. Meeting new people (as comfortably as I can with Covid and all) and overall be present. The changes I can make outside of myself is to cut out those who add nothing to my life. For example, I had a friend who would have me as, what I like to call, the "trauma friend". I'd only be reached out to, for the most part, if she had something traumatic going on. Parents made her feel shitty, husband wasn't engaging with their son, problems with the in-laws, etc? I was on speed dial/text. Something fun happens like a girls night or a lunch date with friends I'd only see the pics posted on social media. I'd hardly get invited to things like this unless the friends or coworkers of her's we were around were dressed down, but to the outings where everyone was dressed to the nines with their hair and makeup done, I was never included. Then when it cames down to issues I would endure I'd get cut short. That friendship got left in 2020. Other's like it got left behind as well. I'm not someone's part time friend or that's only your friend when it's convenient, especially if we consider each other best friends. Same goes for family. I am not a blood is thicker than water type of person. I cannot let bad behavior slide just because we are related and I damn sure can't stick around if I voice that a certain behavior is toxic and you still continue to do it. 

        I embrace being the black sheep because in some ways it has made me who I am today. I have the ability to be self aware because of it. I have been able to take that which has hurt me an turn it into tools to learn from so that I do not act with the same behavior. The last thing I would want to do is make someone feel forgotten or unloved. I am human and I know there are times where I screw up as well. The point is to learn from that and to correct it and not make it an ongoing acceptable behavior. 

Until next time my fellow black sheep

-Asia Aneka Anderson, 2021 (c)

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