Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Definitions of identity are more often fluid than not. The reason behind this is that people constantly change. If, on a physical level, we are renewed completely on a cellular level every few days, then certainly the metaphysical aspects also change.

We are simply not the people we were last week, last year, when we were ten years old. And yet identity demands continuity – we need to hold to the same sense of self, despite the changes in outlook brought about by experience (vicarious or otherwise) – because who we are determines what we think (and vice versa).

When someone decides to be something completely different from the status quo of slow, almost invisible change, the effect on that person’s circles of family and friends can be profound. The human being is adverse to drastic change. We seem to be configured for less drama, more akin to seedtime than anything one can invigilate.

Normally, the reaction of others witnessing drastic change is to condemn, to question, to rouse anger, to seek to restore the status quo.

But life is made up of choices, and I have less respect for those who choose not to choose. To choose to confront and then to make a choice, is, for me, the essence of the human condition.

I, for one, believe in the necessity of drastic change, because inertia is absurdly powerful and human nature prone to just sitting there. Which is why I admire and encourage people who decide to act and bring about change on themselves, because it shows a great strength of will and fortitude.

Especially when it is a change in position, something the more sententious among us would so easily condemn.

Sometimes, we need to acknowledge the “id” in identity. Even if fear and misunderstanding stand in the way.


Yesterday, in-between meetings in Makati, I decided to have a shave at a swanky barbershop. This decision caused me great angst because I actually felt I was being disloyal to my regular barber.

The new barber’s touch was light, as if he was afraid to cut me (unlike my regular barber who knows every contour of my chin and jawline and can wield the razor blind). It felt like butterflies alighting on my face only to fly off when I noticed them.

Afterwards, over a Greek lunch, I could not shake off the feeling that I had strayed from the path. An odd feeling that I could not shake away like the blackened portions of my kebabs.


What did I do last night?

I tried to help Nikki make charm pendants with really small beads and the thinnest wire filaments until my stupid big fingers finally convinced me that the task was not for me.

Instead, I fell asleep while playing with the vials full of colorful little things, and dreamt about writing something about weeping clocks and a pictorial with Mother Theresa (yes, more of my conditioning).


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