It’s a Family Affair(But I’m Not Here For It)

Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in with other members of your family? Has your family ever treated you like you didn’t fit in with them? If you’ve answer yes to either of these question, guess what, you’re considered the black sheep of the family. Meaning you’re considered the family weirdo. LaToya Jackson, Trina Braxton, and Aunt Mame. The eccentric relative.

As a kid, I didn’t fit in with my family or anyone for that matter. I just knew I was different from the others because I was called various things growing up. One of the words that I was called and is still my Achilles’s Heel, the word Sissy. I would hear it from kids at school but hearing it from my family, particularly my cousins, broke my heart. My own family thinks I’m different.

Mind you, I didn’t know what a sissy was but I knew I was labeled as one by my relatives. At that time, I didn’t know I was attracted to guys after all I was four years old when I first heard the word. I knew I wasn’t like my male cousins that played basketball or football. However, I knew I wasn’t like my female cousins that like to wear makeup, play house, and make mud pies either. I was Monie in the middle(Side note: Do ya’ll remember that song? Monie in the middle. Where ya at? In the Middle). I was bridging the masculine and feminine roles that fit for me. Not androgynous though.  All I knew, I was different from the rest of my family: immediate and extended. I was the family sissy.

I know my family loves me but I feel like they don’t like me. Never have and never will. That’s why I’m not close to anyone in family(or anyone at all to be honest) because of the heart break I felt as a kid. The only person I felt like they loved, liked, and cared for me was my older sister.

Back then, I looked at my older sister as my best friend or at the times, my only friend. She protected me from the bullying I received from my cousins and I able to talk to her about everything from grades to girls(I had to laugh at this for a moment). In my mind, we had a relationship like Brandy and Ray-J. Michael and Janet Jackson.  However, our relationship changed once my sister left for the military. Once she got married, my niece was born, and moved to the east coast, I realized that our friendship will never been the same.

Unfortunately, our dynamic did change and we grew apart. I don’t blame my sister, after all she had other responsibilities as a wife and mother. I didn’t reach out to her because in my mind, she was too busy to worry about her little brother and was too busy to care. She never told that, I just assumed that she was. I am the king of assumptions and assumptions get to my ass all the time. All I wanted(and still want) is to have a close  relationship with my sister and not become distant like my mom has with her brother.

My sister isn’t the only person in my family that I don’t have a friendship with. In all honesty, I don’t have a friendship or an “acquaintanceship” with anyone in my family. I’m not close with my mother like most people I know nor do I have a favorite cousin that I would consider even having as a homey. My reason: I still harbor resentment and hurt from family members stemming from childhood.  Its one thing to get bullied by complete strangers in school but to get bullied by relatives is horrible. I felt like an outcast at school and around my relatives.

Even as an adult, I still felt like an outcast. We would have family functions (BTW..I’m RARELY invited to those)and some of my cousins, uncles, and aunts would not speak or acknowledge my presence even when I spoke first. However, I would get the side eye of death and immediately feel like I wasn’t welcome here. Or I would overhear disparaging things about my sister, my mom, or me. Like I said, it’s hurtful when you hear it from strangers but it’s disappointing and disheartening when it’s your family tearing you down.

Feeling like the family reject is one of the main reasons why seldomly visit my hometown. Don’t get wrong, I know my family loves me but I just feel at times they don’t like me nor do they want to get to know me.

However, they do want to be my friend on Facebook(or at least be nosey). Based on my friends’ experience with estranged family members and social media, I don’t want my Facebook page to become family grievances hour about me, “acting brand new” or “Why do I come visit my family but I will go….”, or  “I love you but I don’t agree with your lifestyle.”  So all those family requests, have been ignored and deleted.

I will admit, at times, that I long for a closeness with my family. After all, family is all you have in the end. Sometimes I wish I had a favorite cousin to converse and hangout with from time to time. Or even a relative, besides my mother and sister, to check on me just see if I’m doing fine and to say I love you.

That fantasy may never come true and I have come to accept the reality. The friends I’ve made over the years are like my family now. They’re the favorite cousins that I’ve always wanted. They have accepted me with arms wide open and without judgment. I am no longer the family outcast. RuPaul said it best, “You may get to choose your relatives, but you get to choose your family.”  I’m proud to say my family chose me.

Have you felt like the black sheep of the family? Share your story below.