I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
May 13, 2021
A couple of years ago, my family and I went on a guided UTV tour of an exotic animal park in Tupelo. We jounced along in an off-road golf cart through a field full of zebras and buffalo while our guide told us about the animals’ personalities and habits. As we approached a group of zebras, he pointed out how they all huddled together.
“That’s how they protect themselves from predators,” he told us. “It’s like they’re trying to make themselves into one big animal.”
One zebra, though, stood apart from the others.
“Why is that zebra standing alone over there?” I asked our guide.
“The other zebras don’t like her,” he said. “I don’t know why. They never let her get close. So she has to just stand at a distance and watch what the rest of them are doing together.”
Many of my vacation memories dull over time, but this particular image has stayed burned into my brain like it happened yesterday — because at various times throughout my life, I’ve known exactly how that zebra must have felt. I bet many of you have, too. I think of them now as zebra moments. “I’m the zebra,” I’ve actually whispered to myself a few times when other women have excluded me for no apparent reason.
It makes me laugh a little at a situation that’s not at all funny, and it makes me wonder if we still have some sort of evolutionary herd instinct and I’ve been genetically marked as an outlier, because I’ve spent a lot of time soul searching and trying to figure out what I could possibly be doing wrong and I can tell you now that all the fresh baked cookies and encouraging texts and listening more than talking and reaching out and reaching out and reaching out won’t work if the herd doesn’t want to let you in.
I don’t mean to sound all gloom and doom here. I’ve definitely been in the zebra pack myself at times, and I’m sure someone else was the outsider and I was too self-absorbed or busy to notice or care. And I regret that now. So today, I just want to let all you lone zebras out there know that you’re not alone. I see you. I know how you feel. And if you’ve never been that solitary zebra yourself, maybe now is a good time to look around and see who is.
Maybe now, after a year that was difficult and isolating for all of us, you’ll consider inviting that zebra in.