It’s said that all families have one… a black sheep. Not in the literal sense but in the form of a family member who is usually in trouble or who goes against the values and beliefs of family and community. My family considers me a black sheep, but I don’t see myself as such.

If you google black sheep, you’ll find that one definition of a black sheep is a person who is more creative, willing to take risks and has a lifestyle that sets them apart from the norm. I choose to walk my own path not as a black sheep but as a quiet rebel.

Let me count the ways I’ve been a quiet rebel.

Homeschooling

Three decades ago, in my part of the state, homeschooling was practically unheard of. I had read of people in the larger cites homeschooling their children and after much researching, I decided I’d become a homeschooling mom. Eyes rolled, and gossip flowed. Who did I think I was? Did I think my children were ‘too good’ to go to school with other children?

No, I didn’t think that at all. I wanted more for my three children. I wanted a more well-rounded education for them, not a cookie cutter education. I wanted to develop their unique talents and interests. I wanted to offer them a wide range of experiences that didn’t refine them to sitting inside a small room with four walls at a desk for 30 hours a week. Our school became not only the kitchen table but the great outdoors.

House Guests

While homeschooling my children, we incorporated self-sufficient skills into our curriculum, which led to a magazine subscription that was geared towards being self-sufficient. As an assignment, my children and I wrote an article for the community page that talked of our goals of raising and preserving our own food and how we were homeschooling. We listed our mailing address and asked for pen pals from others with the same interest. We got six letters.

The letters came from Montana, Missouri, New York, Kentucky, Kansas and Canada. We became f close friends with all but one of the six. The lady who wrote from Montana was married and had five children, three near to the same ages as my children. She too was homeschooling.

Our children corresponded first as a school project then as friends. The mother and I and I wrote monthly letters, small books I should say, detailing our daily lives. We shared laughter and tears, goals, ambitions, recipes, homeschooling ideas and sent gifts on occasion. She began to feel like family.

A tearful letter telling me that she and her husband were divorcing tugged at my heart. I wrote back and asked her to come for a visit while she decided what she was going to do. My husband, knowing me as he does, had only slight reservations to my invitation. My family, on the other hand, was a different story.

What was I doing? How could I truly know this person just from writing letters? She might be serial killer, a thief or a drug addict. Why was I putting my family in danger? Didn’t I have more sense than to invite a stranger into my home?

She came with her five children. No, she wasn’t any of the above. She was now a struggling single mom with no support and no home.

A month later, she found a house to rent and a job. She became friends with other members of the community including my family. It was as if she’d been born and raised there. We still laugh today about her being a ‘serial killer.’

Later, we were to have the four others come spend mini vacations with us including the one from Canada. Other strangers have entered our home over the years. Each taught us something.

Career

Had I lost my mind? Why would I want to be a massage therapist? Why would I want to rub on naked bodies, especially men’s naked bodies? Didn’t I know what type of reputations massage therapists have?

Yes, I knew what type of reputation massage therapist had in the past. I wasn’t living in the past. I wanted to be a massage therapist to provide health benefits in an alternative way. I wanted to provide pain relief without medication.

Over the years, I’d steered myself and my family away from the traditional health system as much as possible. Our small backwoods town needed to be educated about massage and its benefits. Again, I would be the rebel, go to massage school, get licensed, become an entrepreneur and open my own massage therapy business.

Spiritually

When I slowly began to come out of the closet regarding my spiritual beliefs, I truly thought I was going to be put in a stockade and pinned with a scarlet letter. According to my family, I had really done it this time. As before, I would walk my path and eventually they would look over my nonsense and still own me as family, not crossing the street or bringing out the holy cross when I was near.

Black Sheep or Quiet Rebel?

I’m a person who isn’t afraid to be different. I’m creative. I’m a risk taker. I think outside of the box. My life style, beliefs and values set me apart and for that, I don’t ask forgiveness nor am I ashamed. I walk my own path. I am who I am…a quiet rebel.

About our guest rebel

Jackie Frazier is a wife, mother, grandmother, aspiring writer and a massage therapist along with a host of other titles.

She lives in Southeastern Kentucky in the gorgeous, breath taking Pine Mountains, a ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. Here, she walks and seeks a more spiritual life while being a quiet rebel.

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