Friday, July 10, 2015

Who's the Black Sheep? You are!

Have you ever thought about who in your family is the black sheep?  The person that isn’t quite like the rest of the family and seems to march to a different beat.  The person that was repeatedly told throughout their childhood that they were adopted.  Maybe the person who claims the title of Black Sheep in your family is extremely obvious or maybe there isn't one.  Oh no, wait.  Sorry, that means the black sheep is you.

Normally when you think of the family’s black sheep you think of the movie starring the late Chris Farely.  The trouble-maker, the screw ball, the fuck up, but some black sheep don't fit the mold (go figure!).  I am hands down, absolutely my family’s black sheep but in a much different way than you’d think.  I’m the boring one. 

My mother paints, molds, sculpts, whittles, photographs and does crazy pieces of art like this.

My dad was a photographer, graphic artist, a well-known mural painter who created stuff like this.

My sister has endless talents, one of which includes musical improv, which is where you make up ENTIRE songs on the spot to create short and hilarious musicals.  Enough said.  And me?  What are my talents?  I’m really good at creating excel spreadsheets, remembering numbers, making lists and organizing.  What a freak!

There was always an ongoing joke in my family surrounding my lack of a sense of humor.  I desperately wanted to be funny like my dad and my sister but my joke delivery went something like this. "Orange (ha ha ha) you glad (haaaaa ha ha) I didn't (he he he) say banana! (Long pause) Get it? Orange sounds like Aren't?  Get it?  I said banana a lot and then I said orange."  And then everyone would look at me and say, "Nice try Kelsey."  I spent most of my childhood trying to keep up and pretend that I was as creative as everyone else but it just didn't come naturally to me the way it did for the rest of my family.

Even at a young age it was obvious that I wasn't following the family norm. When my sister was 14 she would babysit to earn money.  When I was 14 I forced my dad to help me make business cards and found a job at a family friend's outdoor clothing factory.  I wanted to sit at a small table for eight hours a day (listening to Rush Limbaugh over the overhead radio!!) and seal ice packs into plastic packaging sleeves.  During my summer!  For fun!  I'm sure at the time I knew it wasn't a typical way for a kid to spend their summer but it wasn't until a couple years ago, at a small family gathering, that I realized my true family colors.

I was standing around with my sister, mom and cousins.  It was a little after Christmas and everyone was drinking and dancing around, having a good time.  I don't remember exactly what I said that was so nerdy but my older cousin stopped, looked at me with a perplexed look on his face and said something like, "You're different, aren't you?"  I'll blame those loose lips on the festive drinking but it got me thinking.  How did I end up so different?  Why did the wacky family gene seem to skip right over me?  Would life be better or easier if I had the same sense of whimsy and creative abandon?  Maybe.  Probably not.

Being even little different from everyone around you can make you start to second guess those adoption comments but I've learned that I am a very important part of the family dynamic.  My family will always bring the jokes, the entertainment and the fun and I'll make sure no one gets arrested.  They will create amazing pieces of art and I'll make sure they are organized properly.

All (potentially lame) jokes aside, it took a long time for me to realize where I fit into my crazy clan, but as I'm sure some of you can relate, I know I have a place.  Someone to balance out all the off-the-wall creativity.  And, I'm by no means saying that I'm not creative.  I'm just creative in my own, organizing, left-brained, black-sheep kind of way.  I like to create through structure and design.  Give me a room cluttered with paperwork and books and toys.  Give me a closet that is stuffed to the brim with clothes and shoes.  Give me a bathroom that looks like it was hit by a make-up tornado.  That is when this black sheep will create her masterpiece.

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