Born This Way, But Commanded To Change

born this way

This morning, when I walked into the kitchen, my husband gave me the derisive look you give someone when you’ve asked them to do the same thing 5,247 times, yet they’re still ignoring you.

“Can you PLEASE stop leaving your cereal bowl by the couch at night?!”

I like to eat before-bed cereal. It’s a family tradition that spans at least three generations. I like to make a before-bed mess as well. That’s a personal tradition that has spanned my lifetime.

Over-tired and over-saturated on social media, I thought of my husband’s request last night as I stumbled to bed. So I stuck my bowl on a bookcase. “Better than the floor,” I thought. Apparently, it was still too close to the couch for my husband’s taste.

But it was effort in my book, because what I REALLY wanted to do was leave the bowl on the floor AND leave the milk out all night. Didn’t the guy see that I was trying?

I’m lazy, I thought to myself. I was born this way. But you know what? “I’m on the right track,” laziness and all—at least according to Lady GaGa, one of the most influential voices of this generation.

How does she justify my (and pretty much ever other innate) behavior? Because she explains, “God makes no mistakes.” Now, while I disagree with Lady GaGa about many things, including which types of animal flesh make appropriate textiles, she and I are completely on the same page with this one: God makes no mistakes.

But does that mean that “He made [me] perfect” or that “we are all born superstars?” Not in the least bit! If God made us perfect or if we were born superstars, there kind of wouldn’t be anything to work on in life.

God makes no mistakes. But we sure do. He created us imperfect and commanded us to change. How do we know which parts of ourselves need to change and which parts of ourselves are “beautiful in [their] own way?” The Torah tells us.

Some parts of ourselves are easier to change. Other parts take a lifetime of failed attempts as we grasp at moments of success. In Lady GaGa’s book, simply being born is enough to make you a superstar. In the Jewish book, complacency and self-satisfaction are dangerous things. Greatness comes from toiling, effort, and fighting against some of your natural inclinations, no matter how lazy you may be.



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  • Gail says on October 26, 2011

    Thank you for this post because growing up my father would always tell me that G-d made me wrong. I think that was an awful thing to tell a child.

  • Melanie says on October 26, 2011

    Nice post… but maybe try to clean up after yourself, you slob!

    (I’m allowed to write this. She’s my sister! The real question is whether she will post this…)

  • Rebecca says on October 27, 2011

    Take that Lady Gaga!

    (I hope more people listen to Allison and fewer to Lady Gaga. If we were all born superstars, where would we go in the future? I sure hope I’ll be a better person in 10 years than I am today.)

  • Lark says on March 30, 2012

    while i share your opinion vis a vis ‘existing=instant stardom’, i honestly feel you’re doing your husband, and thus, yourself, a disservice in regards to your cereal mess.

    the weight of a grain of rice is negligible. but 5,247 grains of rice has significant heft.

    it’s unfair that your husband must begin his days by experiencing irritation. it costs you nothing to clean up your mess, but he, on the other hand, must tamp down the accumulated weight of thousands(?) of instances of this particular irritation. unfair.

    it goes without saying that both parties must guard against so-called ‘insignificant’ offenses toward one another.

  • Lark says on March 31, 2012

    my comment sounded so very harsh. it wasn’t meant to be! i’m sorry.

    • Allison says on March 31, 2012

      Thanks for your comment, Lark, but please understand two things – number one – I always exaggerate my stories when making fun of myself for the sake of comic relief. I have not left my bowl out more than 5,241 times (see, there I go again!). But seriously – most writing out there that’s funny pokes fun at someone else. I try to limit my mocking to me (and occasionally my family, with their permission). The second thing to keep in mind is that I’m on board with changing. We all have our foibles. I just put mine out there for the benefit of teaching others and hopefully inspiring us all to improve ourselves.

  • Lark says on April 3, 2012

    your story certainly struck a nerve with me! LOL

    i do appreciate that exaggeration helps get a point across. The big joke in my family has always been “I told you a MILLION times not to exaggerate!”

    seriously, i’m not so literal-minded that i thought the cereal bowl got left out exactly 5,421 times.

    but i was making a point of my own – that so often from our own perspective, we roll our eyes and think ‘why should he/she get just that irritated over a minor thing?’ if we understood the weight of repeated ‘tiny’ offenses, we would all likely be more considerate of each other.

    my best to you, and thank you for all the thought provoking articles.

  • Jasi says on July 8, 2012

    Haha, the GaGa was not intended for literal interpretation. I call my child a “superstar” for being potty trained. Largely, because he is in my eyes.

    There are no mistakes in that we are wonderful in our flaws, but you are right, we should work harder to do better than just exist.


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