Hello, my name is AztecQueen2000 and I have a contrarian nature.
Years ago, when I became bat mitzvah, my rabbi started his bracha to me with the following: "The minute I first laid eyes on you, I knew you were trouble." He then blessed me that I would stay a troublemaker. I guess the blessing worked. Here I am, 12 years later, still causing trouble. Of course, this particular quirk of mine did not go unnoticed. My eighth grade science teacher had to admire me for marching to my own drummer and not following the herd. (Don't even try to do the arithmetic--I had a late bat mitzvah.)
But I think it goes beyond that.
Not only do I march to my own drummer, but the surest way to make me go against the herd is to tell me that Something Just Isn't Done. Or for me to even sense that there is a "can't," sitting on the sidelines waiting to pounce. When I first came to Brooklyn, I felt so stifled by all the "can't" that I think it pushed me away. I "can't" have non-Jewish friends. I "can't" listen to secular music. I "can't" go bare-legged in the summer. I "can't" pick a secular (if somewhat Israeli name) for Thing 1. I "can't" keep Thing 1 out of playgroup. I "can't" play my favorite game, Stump the Rabbi. (OK, if I can't ask my rabbi my questions about midrash, I'll just rant about it here).
However, I'm beginning to wonder if that's a problem. Fighting the good fight is one thing, but fighting just for the sake of the fight? How many of my concerns are legitimate and how many are just a way for me to release tension by getting all riled up? And is it just my contrarian nature that's causing me to question, or is it a legitimate search for the truth?