Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Escape

It's been two weeks since I arrived in the place where most Davaoenos think is the busiest, filthiest, and most controversial place in the Philippines – Metro Manila. I'm not here to challenge their descriptions though.

Why am I here by the way? My best friend said "to escape". Well, that had preoccupied me for awhile.

I left a few things in my hometown but I don't intend to get away from those. However, from a different point of view, my abrupt acceptance of the proposal to work here had something to do about escaping.

My previous job paid higher and I got to travel more than twice in a week. I could meet a lot of people, especially those we call 'basic masses' and listen to the stories of their lives. But, I might have wanted to escape from the 'uncomfortable' relationships with my co-workers. Personal relationships with them are not really a big deal for me as long as we're able to complete our tasks as a team. But, I guess, because of a certain matter that might stir my consciousness, the pressure to get out convinced me to take a risk of living by myself here.

I might be escaping from the comfort of my home and family that made me lax in my daily endeavors. Getting up so late in the morning and not doing the household chores are the things I can do best. And, because of such privileges, I had cradled procrastination.

I might be escaping from the old me – the happy-go-lucky bitch who spent a lot of money on beer, drank all night and even until five a.m, and got anxious about the future but didn't have definite goals.

I might be escaping from boredom – traveling around the same routes, and doing the same things on the same days.

I might be escaping from the feeling of "living in a small world" – afraid of meeting my ex-boyfriends somewhere for whatever reason.

And the worst of all, I might be escaping from my boyfriend. (This is actually what my best friend thought.) We just had our first monthsary before I left. He felt, at first, that I really didn't think about our relationship when I made up my mind. I didn't consult him actually. I blurted out the news right after I said yes. He might have been expecting this, I guess. But, I just realized lately that what I did might be cruel for him.

But, why would I escape from him anyway? I tried to answer these questions if in case I unconsciously really want to escape from him, from our relationship. Maybe, I thought that our relationship would not work because of our differences. Our different political beliefs, ideologies, and interests may be serious factors that will naturally tear us apart. Maybe, procrastination in both of us will eventually burn out our enthusiasm, and we'll end up achieving nothing at all. Maybe, his passiveness in some issues or that his "not caring at all" will just turn my eyes to someone who does care. Maybe, I just want to escape to see if he finds me; if he changes his mind and be with me; if he remains faithful.

Yes, it is an escape, but not from anyone or anything. It's an escape from procrastination. I wanted to try different things to see the different side of me – bring out the better of me...

My best friend said she knows me. She sees me as an escapist person. I'd like to agree with her but only in this particular moment of my life. I wanted to overcome my fear of the unknown and learn more about life.

Challenging destiny? No. It's called “living in its truest sense”.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A fragment

Anxiety seems to me is due to some uncertainties in one's life.

It's a fear of the unknown.

But, whatever you did not do shall remain a mystery.

No one knows what happens next until that next happens.

Just picking up a fragment of my tormented brain.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Anatomy of Freedom

"Once there was a man thought to be holy. He sat near the top of the mountain, night and day, and it seemed that he never moved. Some said that he was always praying or that he meditated or that he saw visions. Some said that this must make him holy, or at least wise.

No one could quite remember when he had first come to sit on his ledge in the mountain, but almost everyone could recall that at one time, years ago, pilgrims had made their way up to him--not without difficulty--to put before him their disputes, their spiritual questions, their despair, their own attempts at holiness. His judgments were so severe, however, and were delivered in tones so seemingly contemptuous of the pilgrims that the same visitors rarely returned, and in time, as word spread, fewer and fewer pilgrims wound their way up the mountain path. At last, only one or two a year would approach the holy man--and then largely as if he were an oddity, a curious sight to be viewed, and not a living saint to be questioned or followed or even quite trusted. Finally, almost no one came at all.

He still sat, nevertheless, on his ledge, appearing to gaze out over the near and distant peaks of other mountains, blinking now and then against the wind, his body wasting away toward dessication--a bony triangle of spine balanced on a base of crossed legs, his gaunt skull at the apex. No one could possibly estimate his age. He appeared never to speak, although his lips could be seen moving.

All this time, you understand, the woman known as the handmaiden of the holy man remained faithful..."

This is how Robin Morgan illustrates the struggle of women towards freedom in her book Anatomy of Freedom, Feminism in Four Dimensions Second Edition (1994). It's still the first chapter of such liberation movement. You'll conceive what happens to the handmaiden as her story goes along. I just knew this feminist writer because of this book. Just like anybody who loves to scavenge pretty old books in book sales, I find good readings from second-hand ones like this. I actually had it since 2007 and, mind you, because of this book, I soon realized that I have to end up my unproductive and macho relationship.

I could no longer remember when I started calling myself a feminist, but as far as my memories can keep, I always thought girls are better than boys since I was six years old. I used to eat, play and go to the same preschool with my two boy cousins (one is a year younger than me, while the other is a year older). Every single day, I did things the way boys do. I guess, I owe my masculine element from growing up with them. And, everything that we had done, I did best. Even during elementary and high school, I marked higher than any male classmates. Well, I was second best when I finished high school and our valedictorian was still a girl. See, girls are better, smarter and more intelligent.

It was only during college that I figured boys were growing whiskers and started smoking, drinking and flirting. They went on rambling, rioting and in fairness to some, they earmarked martial arts, swimming, basketball, and fraternities. They also joined debating teams, honors society, campus paper and student council. Unfortunately, soon as most women finished college, they lost the limelight. A few of them got pregnant, while others married early. Then, i heard more male politicians bickering while women talk about fashion and child-rearing.

I did not believe the world had gone crazy though. I just felt this isn't right.

To quote Robin Morgan in her book:

"
Women have been offered religion in place of philosophy, morality in place of ethics, 'womanly fears' in place of existential dread, community affairs in place of politics, selflessness in place of self, volunteerism in place of paid (for which read: valid) work, appearance in place of substance, romanticism in place of sexuality, childbearing in place of art, and the home in place of the universe... We are told that we have been happy and safe with this bargain and, although we have felt neither happy and safe, we have managed to breathe on the coals of our own humanity and coax them, at moments, into a flicker of happiness, a warm mirage of safety... First, we had no choice; we were told this--and we forgot that it was a lie. Then, too, we wanted to survive, and being ourselves creatures of lack and of longing, we thought to prove our very humanness by perfecting those skills that permitted us to mourn and to yearn--but most of all to deny the reality of our not having something we never have had."

And, this something is freedom, which according to Morgan it was Kant who said that it is "that faculty which enlarges the usefulness of all other faculties." She agreed with this and elaborated that "feminism is that vision which enlarges the incipience of all other visions."

I only believe in one thing that can liberate the Filipino women from the bondage of this patriarchal society. It is when the people shall be liberated from the three basic problems of the society, which I would like to use the terms my primary and secondary school taught me, landlessness, political elitism and foreign intervention.

It is, indeed, true that if one wants to liberate the women, he or she must give solutions to the country's economic problems. The women and children are majority of the victims of starvation, illiteracy, diseases and war aggression. I never forget the four B's in Cebuano that women are associated with: balay, bata, bana, baboy (house, children, husband, pig). This is bullshit!

Anyway, what I'm trying to say here that had taken almost half of the day to end this is that every woman deserves freedom and happiness. And, I'm going to post office this afternoon to mail this book to my best friend who's right now feeding her little girl in Japan while the "bastard" (as she calls him for snoring in the middle of the night while she changes baby Lei's diaper) works for a living. Being a mother is not just the essence of a woman, but it's the capacity of her womb and her heart that keeps man insecure to subjugate her. It's actually women's impregnable power. Sulong mga kabaro!

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Blessing

Nothing beats this peculiar first "blessing" that I got for this year.

I thought everyone, even your worst enemy, seeks to change some of his or her attitudes for the betterment of whatever interests he or she may have for the new year. Well, I guess, some people change to get more of what they always wanted which means getting viler than they were to others.

I tried hard not to mind the wickedness of this daunting lady who manipulates our emotions through her discretion on financial matters. She is the passage of all the inflows and disbursement of the "money of the organization" (or in order to sound dramatic, let's call it the "taxes of the people"). She might have felt some power and authority over us by deciding whether or not we would get our salary or reimbursement now.

I tried harder not to think about her during the Christmas break and even on new year's eve. I didn't want to admit that she has been preying me since I came to the office. She seemed so nice to me, like offering some snack or even her sweet tone in small talks especially when the boss was around. No, I never thought she intended to give me a little misery. Maybe, I am just so subjective about her deliberate act not to give my salary today. You know, some of us got it before Christmas given that the rest of the days were considered working holidays. But, I thought, my contract created such different condition.

To tell you frankly, I did not mind. I was able to enjoy Christmas and new year's eve without the luxury of even a meager budget to buy my mother a gift or some fruitcakes for everyone. I was even excited to go to work and never be late on the first working day of the year because I will be able to pay my load credits and buy my sister a brand new phone (better late than never have a birthday cum Christmas gift for her).

And so, this morning, without breakfast nor coffee, I arrived in the office just two minutes past eight, which is already a great leap for my second new year's resolution compared to the least of 13-minute late I marked for 2008. I immediately printed out my accomplishment report and passed it to the friendly-looking woman in her soul-deluding room. This was the moment I thought she has some resolutions for this year.

Yes, she does! Better than before. More cunning. More convincing. More subtle. She did not make much of an effort but just these simple words with her sympathetic face, "The only signatory for your time card is the boss. So, you won't have your salary until next week because he's not yet here."

As if catching a wisp, I was stunned for a moment. Neglecting the crumbling of my stomach, I stirred a spoonful of coffee for myself. Every sip composed the fragments of relief, spelling out the word "blessing" in my head.