How Life Is As A Black Sheep

How Life Is As A Black Sheep

Standing out and alone ever since we can recall, the black sheep.
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Growing up I was never a popular kid, never had the well-rounded personality and was never known by my actual name. To our families and to the people around us, we are seen differently than the typical stranger. When certain social situations occur black sheep’s are treated differently than other people. Most people don’t know what black sheep’s are though, when you Google “black sheep” is defined as “a member of a family or group who is regarded as a disgrace to them”, Urban Dictionary on the other hand describe black sheep in a more reasonable and common way, which is “a term used to describe someone who feels left out in a family, the outcast of the family because they choose to do other things,”. Life is a lot different for the typical black sheep, and here’s how:

1. “Is this chair taken?”

So many times we think that when people ask this question it means they want to sit down with you, drink coffee together, eat a meal with a stranger. No, that’s not what it mean’s, as a black sheep that question always ends up with the following question of “Can I have this chair?”. Well as the black sheep you aren’t going to say no because you don’t want to seem rude so you say sure, which assures you eating alone for that meal.

2. The seat next to you

Every black sheep has been in this situation, you show up early to a class, meeting, or event of any type. There are seats next to you but no one wants to sit next to you. The chairs start filling up and now one is left, a person who comes in late enters and sees that the chair next to you is the only chair open and huffs and puffs over the last chair being next to the black sheep.

3. No one listening

Sometimes a black sheep will find itself in a group of friends having typical conversations of life. Everyone shares something and finally it’s the black sheep’s turn to put some input into the conversation. As soon as the black sheep starts their story you can see as people stop paying attention and find other things to do. You even notice that you could stop mid sentence and no one would even bother to ask why; they would just talk about something else.

3. Input equals nonsense

Lets say a group of friends and yourself are trying to figure out a place to eat or what movie to watch. Everyone throws out ideas and it seems as though ever idea you throw out isn’t really important or is utterly ridiculous to the group. As many of your ideas get constantly rejected you just end up not speaking, which then makes you come off as being irritable or moody, but in the end is just you giving up on saying something.

4. The staring

Being the black sheep will make you second-guess everything you do. If you go to grab chocolate chip mint cookies and a girl grabbing regular chocolate chip cookies gives you “that look” the black sheep will almost always stop the action immediately and do something of the “norm”.

5. Being called moody

Since the black sheep rarely talks or puts input into conversations we have learned to just sit there and look pretty. The pretty part we haven't really gotten down pat though, since we sit there quietly we also seem to sit there with RBF, and if you don't know what that means just google it. With this face it supposedly makes us look very pissed and moody but really we just want to be heard and treated like everyone else.

Life will never be easy for the black sheep but we manage to live day in and day out going through the same motions with the same situations what seems like everyday.

Cover Image Credit: http://wallpaper.zone/black-sheep-wallpaper

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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This One’s For Africa

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Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.

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It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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