About Being the Careful Black Sheep

This post began as a personal entry – one that I write for myself to clear the thoughts from my head so I stop looping. I never mean to share those type of posts. I usually just delete them once I’ve cleared my head. I debated sharing this because I think it might border on self-indulgent whining, and I’m guilty of being annoyingly vague. However, I want it down for future reference when this crap happens again, which I’m sure it will. No matter how hard we try to avoid drama, it always manages to find it’s way back to us. I tried to edit most of the whining out. Hopefully I succeeded in just making this a list of promises to my future self. Maybe someone else can relate. Maybe it will remind them to be careful who they pretend to be.


I couldn’t resist buying this shirt from the Thinking Atheist. Those who know me well in real life all got a giggle from it when they first saw me wear it. All except one family member. He didn’t understand why I thought I was the black sheep (and he obviously missed the underlying message of the shirt). I think he thinks he’s the black sheep. Unfortunately, he’s just a sheep. A white, privileged sheep. At least that is how it looks from where I sit.

I’m definitely one of the black sheep in the family. Not because I get into a lot trouble. I hardly ever get into any. But I do tend to challenge most of them on certain issues. They all lean one direction, and I’m leaning the other. Actually, I’m no longer leaning. I’ve confidently stepped over the fence. I am after all 41. I think at this age I’m allowed. I actually don’t see the fence that divides us, but they all seem to. And I get frustrated that at my age, I still am affected by what I call soap-opera syndrome; the syndrome where everyone is a victim and it’s always everyone else’s fault (that everyone else is usually me and my “strong personality”).

Another blogger that I read occasionally reminded me of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut quote the other day – “We are who we pretend to be. So we must be careful who we pretend to be.” It’s the “moral” of his novel, Mother Night, which is my favorite Vonnegut novel that I’ve read so far. There is truth to the above quote on a couple of different levels. It also speaks to me particularly because I’ve been careful about who I pretend to be throughout my life. For a long time I pretended to be what I thought others wanted me to be. Fortunately, I caught on early enough that the quote also refers to the fact that the people and situations we surround ourselves with shape who we are as individuals, so we need to be careful with whom we surround ourselves and which experiences we choose to participate in. However, lately I seem to have forgotten this bit of wisdom and stopped being careful with whom I was surrounding myself.

How does all this relate to running, reading, and knitting? I read partly as an escape, but also because I have the curiosity of a kitten. I want to learn as much as I can about our blue planet and it’s inhabitants. The old, tired saying, “knowledge is power” is something I firmly believe in. Not everyone seems to believe in that old adage. I’m often told I read too much. I tend to disagree. If I didn’t read, I wouldn’t learn new things and grow as a person.

I took up knitting as a way to express myself creatively, but it also became a form of meditation that helped me quiet my mind and realize that I needed to remember the moral of Mother Night and start paying attention again to who I am pretending to be. My knitting indirectly led me out the door and into a pair of running shoes. That’s when the fog began to lift.

Now that I am seeing things clearly again, I’ve decided to make myself the promise that I will always, from this point on, be aware of who I surround myself with and which experiences I choose to participate in. I will not get sucked into family or “friend” drama. I will not be forced to choose sides when I am uncomfortable choosing. I will not let others’ anger and insecurities dictate my behavior. I will not pretend to be something I am not in the name of “keeping harmony”.

I will no longer continue to explain myself in an endless and useless attempt to get certain individuals to just understand where I am coming from. I can’t make them listen and that is their problem not mine.

I am not wrong because I am different. Nor am I evil or “of darkness”. I am just different.

I will no longer feel guilty for being the black sheep. I am who I am, strong-personality and all. Ironically, I’m not the one who proselytizes or gives unsolicited opinions. I am simply honest when confronted. That’s not to say I can’t make improvements (especially on my delivery method when the emotions start to rise), but I normally put a lot of thought into my actions and the decisions I make. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

And finally, and most importantly, I will not dwell on the past and play the “what if” game. Neither will I get so focused on the future that I take my eye off the prize. Briefly looking back or ahead to glean lessons from our mistakes, relish in fond memories, set goals, or reevaluate our present coarse is one thing. Getting so caught up on the “what if game” and trying to find the “next best thing” that will make our life so much better takes our focus away from the present. This is where I am now. That is my new mantra. And despite what some may believe, I am happy and comfortable with where I am right now. And I wouldn’t have gotten here if I hadn’t stepped over that fence. I feel like I am finally starting to take my power back.


I’m still training for my first half-marathon, although it’s been hard these last couple of weeks. The mental challenge is what has been getting to me. I just started a new job, my husband unexpectedly landed in the hospital for a week, and I’ve been dealing with stupid family/”friend” issues as you may have guessed from the post. It’s difficult to stick with a training plan when there is so much stress around you. I crave the running, but my nutrition and sleep have suffered as a result of the stress I’ve been under. That has made running less than easy, fun, and enjoyable.

This week I learned the importance of staying hydrated throughout the day (I was forgetting to drink fluids while at work and almost passed out one day). I also learned that I perform better with 2 rest days during the week. As a result, I’ve been doing my strength, and sometimes yoga, after my easy runs instead of on a separate day. And Friday night I learned that I can run through a side-stitch, feelings of nausea, bitter 25 mph winds, sore muscles, and negative thoughts. Yeah, my long run Friday night sucked! But there is truth to the statement that running is largely a mental game. I think I came out ahead this week even if it doesn’t look like I did on paper. And I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was.

Half Marathon Training Week 6

  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Yoga
  • Tuesday: 3 easy miles
  • Wednesday: 4 easy miles
  • Thursday: rest
  • Friday: 2 easy miles
  • Saturday: 5.5 easy miles

Half Marathon Training Week 7

  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: 2 miles + four striders and core
  • Tuesday: rest
  • Wednesday: 1 mile with core
  • Thursday: I missed this run. It should have been 4 easy miles, but I just couldn’t muster the energy so I played video games and read Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
  • Friday: 5.5 miles
  • Saturday: Another rest day, but a very active one. I had a 2 mile run on the calendar but I couldn’t face the wind again. I’ll make it up tomorrow.

Next week….train hard, no more whining and no excuses!


2 thoughts on “About Being the Careful Black Sheep

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