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Black Sheep and Skeletons

You find one or two in every family. That distant relative that no one ever talks to anymore because of something he or she did that was totally unacceptable. No one remembers the real story anymore, but the smell of disgust is still fresh, like the taste of raw carrion after a kill. They don't attend family functions, and aren't invited to weddings. Or maybe your family has a grey sheep or two. Those whom everyone speaks of in a negative light. They are described by the more vocal family members as obnoxious, vain, troublesome, heartless and such. If you have neither black nor grey sheep in your family, look carefully in the mirror – you may be it.
As a child I never could understand how family relations could degrade to the extent of lifelong begrudging. How can people who used to share family life hate each other to the point of wanting absolutely nothing to do with each other for the rest of their lives? Some of these grudges even carry on through multiple generations.
Now, years later and arguably none the wiser, I see that it is not hard to change the colour of one's fleece. As one grows older, familial obligations and responsibilities get heavier. This is especially true in an Asian household, where children are expected to care for their parents upon coming of age. One wrong judgement call…one exchange of bitter words…one bad case of pre/post/perpetual menstrual stress and you find yourself on the wrong end of the popularity polls.
A crude mathematical formula is as follows:
<center>Magnitude of selfish act x size of witness' mouth = P(black)</center>
where P(black) is the probability of you becoming a black sheep forever.
Forgiveness people. We need forgiveness. I can't even begin to fathom how many families would be healed, and how many lives would be enriched if we were able to give each other the benefit of the doubt, or believe in the almost almighty power of perpetual menstrual stress.

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