on being the black sheep
I think, for the most part, we all have black sheep moments; moments where we are the lone wolf in the crowd, the only one of our kind, different and maybe unique but maybe out of place at the same time: every eyeball pointed directly at us.
Recently, I was the only woman in a room full of contractors. All men. I'm ashamed to say that I started off the meeting with this thought: "oh my god, I'm the only girl in here." And thus began my quick downward spiral in self-confidence that could have easily consumed my meeting.
With all that's been happening with Hollywood and #metoo and all the life-altering movements that are inundating our society nowadays, I'm realizing more and more that we: you and I, aren't alone, we simply choose to be; because we're scared or stressed or isolated in our own minds. And in that lies the true poison of our society: isolation. The feeling that me, myself, and I are the only ones who know, who have experienced this, and no one will understand.
What a disgusting, fat, blatant lie.
Just after Christmas, a dear friend of mine lost his mother to cancer. When I heard, I felt like my heart was ripped from my chest. I could barely breathe, and for a moment, I sat at my desk and just cried, writing a poem for her that she would never get to read. My heart hurt because in that moment, I knew what he was feeling; I know that loss, but I also understand how that loss can feel so isolating, even if people you love, siblings and parents, are going through the exact same pain.
I don't know if it's pride... I can't put my thumb on why we do this to ourselves. The play Dear Evan Hansen deals with that idea a lot, asking questions like "when you're falling in the forest and there's nobody else around/do you ever really crash/or even make a sound" and "have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere." The play has become wildly successful, and I think it's because it speaks to a part of us we all understand.
I HAVE FELT THAT, we think. And we all have, in one way or another. You don't have to deal with suicidal thoughts, or be sexually assaulted, or struggle with drug abuse to feel isolated, though those things do isolate us. You can feel like the one person in class who just doesn't mesh, or the business person, waving like a lone reed in the winds of commerce, trying to get their idea off the ground, or the college grad not working in your field, and feel like no. one. freaking. understands.
If only there were support groups for this kind of thing. Hey, you feel alone? Me too. C.S. Lewis wrote that "friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one!'"
Since I was a child, I've loved bringing people together. It seems to naturally mesh with my bossy nature (lol). I find it particularly rewarding bringing people who despise one another to the table, making people laugh, reminding humanity they are not alone. Something that frustrates me is not knowing how to do that on a larger scale. How do we make people feel less alone? Genuinely. How do we do that?
I guess I'm reaching into the cosmos, the expanse of the internet, asking that question. I'm asking you. How could we bring each other together? How could we listen better? How could we converse better? How could we speak up better? How could we approach tough situations without judgement?
How could we have a generation saying, "oh! I thought I was the only one!"
I promise you, you're not.