Glee- Born This Way

Glee- Born This Way

This was an amazing episode. ¬†It focused on accepting yourself with all the things that you think need fixing, the things you don’t like about yourself. ¬†It was based around Lady Gaga’s new song “Born This Way.” ¬†I highly recommend this one, even if you’re not a big Glee fan (and side note, Kurt’s number from Sunset Boulevard was possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard on the show, I had tears streaming down my face by the end of it).

For the big number at the end, all the kids wore white t-shirts with black lettering spelling out the one thing they are most self-conscious about.  It was powerful and moving.

Artie’s t-shirt said “four-eyes.” ¬†He was not a focus on this episode, but even so, I think because he’s rarely the focus, his character is not well defined. ¬†There’s no telling what he truly feels self-conscious and uncomfortable about. ¬†I don’t think it’s his glasses. ¬†I don’t think it’s his paralysis either. ¬†But I don’t know what it is. ¬†Even with other characters who were not the focus of this episode, their shirts made me think “Oh yes, exactly.”

Except for a few of them. ¬†I also am not buying that Tina’s biggest source of insecurity is her eyes being brown. ¬†And I didn’t understand Mercedes’s “No Weave.” ¬†Does that mean she’s self-conscious about not having a weave in her hair? ¬†I’m not sure. ¬†So the episode dropped the ball a little bit on Artie, but at least he wasn’t the only character who was not given a strong, believable insecurity.

The really moving thing in this episode was another disability. ¬†I don’t know as much about disabilities that are not physical, but the guidance counselor, Emma, has severe OCD. ¬†She likes to think she’s functioning fine, but it has been seriously holding her back all her life. ¬†She is definitely trapped by her anxieties and her rituals to the point where she was unable to¬†consummate¬†her marriage and it was annulled. ¬†This was the episode where she finally faced that label she was afraid of. ¬†At the end she put the word “OCD” on her shirt. ¬†Tears came to my eyes (again) at that point.

Emma spoke with a therapist and it raised an issue that I think about a lot.  Which of our quirks and disabilities and issues are things that we should be actively trying to fix and which are just parts of our identity and our life?

Emma isn’t sure she wants to work towards fixing her OCD, even though it would mean functioning better. ¬†She is afraid she will lose herself, that she won’t be familiar to herself anymore. ¬†Are the OCD rituals part of her unique charm that make her who she is or are they problems to be fixed so that who she really is can actually come through?

I’m not sure of the answer to that question.

I think it’s relevant to several different identities that we take on in our lives. ¬†I feel that way about my devoteeism. ¬†It is a source of a lot of pain and fear and frustration. ¬†There are days when I long to just be normal. ¬†But when it comes to whether I would actually try to make it go away, I’m not sure that I’d want to. ¬†I don’t know who I would be without it, it is a huge part of my life and my history. ¬†(This is not to say that I haven’t made attempts to get rid of it before, everything I have tried has failed).

Is devoteeism more similar to homosexuality, which cannot be cured and should not be attempted to be fixed or is it more like OCD, which can be managed and mitigated?  Should we look for/hope for a cure or should we accept ourselves as we are and are those two things mutually exclusive?

I really related to this post about Aspergers¬†¬†that brings up the same issue: ¬† “Whenever I hear the words ‘defeat autism now’ I feel like one of those bugs in the Raid commercials, scurrying to hide. I for one, do not want to lose my autistic traits” ¬†That’s exactly what I feel too. ¬†That by defeating the thing that makes me unique, that I will disappear. ¬†This woman finds value in the¬†qualities¬†that some would consider negative and she knows how to work with them and not against them.

“Pretenders” also struggle with this issue. ¬†

So the message of Born This Way is:

Can we accept ourselves as flawed as we are? ¬†Can we realize that none of these things are choices. ¬†No one makes the decision to have OCD or autism or devoteeism or be a “wannabe.” ¬†Can we move beyond even accepting that we are flawed and actually embrace the thing inside us that scares us the most?

There are several different things I could put on my t-shirt.







But there is really only one thing that I find hard to admit, that makes my heart pound in my ears when I let other people know about it, that I still associate with shame…


What would your t-shirt say?


[This is an old pic that I added the word to, I couldn’t find one of me with a white t-shirt!]


  1. Becs
    May 2, 2011

    Wannabe Indian? Move to Edison, NJ. You’ll become Indian within a year. Guaranteed. And the Indians will love you for it.

    • RuthMadison
      May 3, 2011

      Actually, I am already culturally Indian and ethnically not. It’s a strange life! (As a matter of fact, the picture behind me in that devotee pic is one of Shiva!)

  2. Foxt
    May 11, 2011

    Social Misfit

    Panic Disorder



    • RuthMadison
      May 11, 2011

      Good for you! Thumbs up ūüôā

  3. Bobby
    Jul 7, 2011


    • RuthMadison
      Jul 7, 2011

      Good for you! ūüôā I appreciate your courage.

  4. Bob Cloud
    May 20, 2014

    I, too, am a devotee. I am also a wannabe waiting for my opportunity. I am, however, 63 and not getting any younger. Oh, well. Guess I’ll just have to wait. Patience, Glasshoppa!

    • RuthMadison
      Aug 25, 2014

      Let me know if you ever want to write a guest article. I’d love to hear more about the experiences of a “wannabe”!

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