Weekly Ketchup 39 - Three Things

First thing: Late last week, there was a typhoon. Been there, done that.
Along with the rising flood waters came the sudden swelling of my lower lip. I suspect it was either the pin prick of a sore I noticed a couple of nights before (either I bit on it or an insect did) or the unsanitary way I shaved that part of my face just the day before (yeah, it's a thing). Either way, it was itchy, heavy, and painful and, once again, another medical emergency that I couldn't afford to have at the moment.
Both unfortunate circumstances threw a wrench at last weekend plans, which should've included Play Like A Pirate Day, the Manila International Book Fair, and game night with a bunch of geek friends. I did see a doctor when the sky cleared up and was prescribed an antibiotic. Thankfully, no surgery or needles were required.
While I spent the entire weekend feeling feverish (maybe my body's reaction to the rather strong medication), the rest of the work week was just me going through my normal daily routine, except with a comically large lower lip (and a bit of puss). Thankfully, the damn thing has healed now and life is back to normal.

I was glad that I didn't have to see people; then I snapped this selfie.
Second thing: I received an unexpected but very welcome call last Monday from someone I haven't heard from in a couple of years. The nature of our conversation has immediate ramifications for my plans to leave. It may derail them, in fact. On one hand, I don't want months of planning to unravel. On the other, the opportunity offered to me happens only once in a lifetime. Sorry if I'm being vague but I've been sworn to secrecy but I'm sharing a bit of it here because I kinda wanna track the progression of this story as well, Hopefully, I get to dedicate an entry to this situation in the coming weeks.
Right now, I'm trying to focus on the solution aka to have my cake and eat it too. It's a dilemma, to be sure, but I find that focusing on the problem is just gonna weigh me down (like that time). But this new development is gonna involve plenty of sacrifices on my part but, hopefully, it forces me to grow and evolve. So challenge accepted (I guess?)

Lastly, this past week is memorable for the number of pitchforks slung. I agree that rape is not funny and leashing a performer is distasteful (notice I did not say "female"). However, the number of opinions and discussions surrounding both incidents are already staggering plus I already spent last week on an overarching ramble about another societal issue so I'm not gonna get into them here. I will just point out three things:
a) The irony of timing as both issues went viral at the same time that Emma Watson's speech at the United Nations did.
b) Watson, of course, emphasized the responsibility of males to take up the feminist cause as well. The thing is: As someone whose earliest memories happened during the time of a female president; whose parental figures were my grandmother, my mom, and my aunt; whose earliest comic heroes were the X-men and their powerful female characters; and who has worked with more female bosses, the idea that women are inferior in any way have always been alien to me. While that may not mean much coming from a guy with a queer identity, I look at my closest male friends who've had a traditional hetero-normative upbringing and I think we see women the same way. Must be a geek thing.
c) I do wonder: If rape did not exist or if it wasn't a prevalent crime, would joking about it be simply cathartic? After all, Greek dramas were all sprung from exploring aspects of the human experience that were not realized at the time. Similarly, if male patriarchy or slavery were figments of our imagination, would the image of a man holding a woman on a leash just mean to satisfy our curiosity? And to tie this matter off with last week's conundrums: If it had been a black woman holding a Filipino man (two cultures with no common histories) on a leash, can it just be art?

Obviously, I didn't really see a female being ensnared by the patriarchy. I just saw another human being and it is disturbing (but was it also cathartic?), especially since the concept did not call for it. Writing this just now made me realize I wasn't as offended by the imagery as my friends were.

Just like racial and cultural issues, matters about sex, gender, and representation are important to me not just as a person but also as a would-be creator. Unfortunately, our lot in life is that we're born either one or the other, so the "write what you know" principle is harder to follow when you're talking about the opposite sex or people of other cultures so it helps to collaborate as well as to keep the dialog open.
In the age of social media, however, there is the added challenge of sifting through wanton activism and knee-jerk reactions to get to little nuggets of enlightened opinions. Thankfully, there is an abundance of smart people in my life to mine them from.

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