we just are

4:08 PM Thursday, February 17, 2005

It's been said that, tragedies and misfortunes for example, seem so inexplicably random and warrantless because all of us have choices... and all these choices converge into forces sometimes all too powerful... with some consequences all too gruesome... or sad.

I've always philosophically believed that destiny is itself a product of such a force... of all the choices we make. Ergo, we really do make our own destinies.

I've also always believed that half of what we have, what we are, what we become... is a direct product of our own choices... while the other half of our life is dictated or reactionary to the choices of other people... sort of a ripple effect that cannot help but touch us because we're all droplets of the same sea.

And so, we're allowed choices. In everything. Unless maybe if we're a citizen of a Communist country... or a child in a Moslem family... or were born in a very poor family... or in a country that's at war.

Or comatose somewhere.

Or dead.

And so, we can choose what to wear, where to go, who to date.

We can choose to be conservative, liberal, adventurous with our bodies.

We can choose to court death in every way imaginable: through adventurous sports, riding planes, riding bikes on freeways, riding ships, smoking, doing drugs, overeating, binge drinking, drunk driving, going out of the house, eating spoiled food... even walking under ladders if you're really superstitious.

We can choose whom to marry, and also end that marriage.

We can even choose to end our lives, and how our lives are going to end.

There are only a few things actually where we're entirely choice-less.

Like being born... or rather, being allowed to live.

And who will really love us.

And of course, the inevitability of our mortality.

One other thing, I think, that we really don't have a choice with is... our sex.

We're either born male or female... we grow up either man or woman.

But a man cannot just say, "Oh, now I choose to be a woman"

I cannot say that I don't have a problem with homosexuals, meaning, I think i'd still be brokenhearted if any of my siblings turned out to be one, or if I someday raise one.

I also cannot say that I reject them, because I have really great homosexual friends and I don't see them as homosexuals per se. I see them as my friend, who just happen to be homosexual. I enjoy their company, and applaud their creativity. I even really adore Paul, not really because of his sexual orientation, but because he's witty, confident and happy. A little OC too, yes, but he is living a full life.

But yes, I think I would always have a problem with cosmetic surgery... unless it's actually corrective (like, if you had a cleft palate that needed fixing, or you were a burn victim, or if you got so beaten up, your face was rearranged horribly). I'm sorry but i'd always find it offensive and violating.

And yes, am no beauty, and I have a very large nose and a large tummy and wide hips. I'm average-looking and imperfect as can be. But my body is a wonderland and I haven't had problems having people actually think of me as beautiful. I chalk that up to the fact that I love myself and am comfortable in my own skin.

But I digress.

Yes, I also have a problem with sex change. And no, it's not because of the Vatican's say on the matter. Sex change is just something I consider unnatural. It's just way too much tampering with your body.

Last night, while watching the interview of this man who had an operation in Thailand, who was griping because he hasn't been granted the authority to refer to herself as a she, I was bothered to hear him say..."I just really want to put the past behind me. I've chosen to be a woman now."

I'm sorry, but you can't choose to be a woman. Just because you feel like a woman doesn't automatically make you one. Just because you're sensitive, verbally-expressive, emotional, into flowers and make-up, or is sexually attracted to men... doesn't automatically make you a woman. Even if you counter that you were raised as one, doesn't make you one.

Women are limited and empowered not by their choices alone, but also by their inherent biological characteristics. Taking pills and suffering from breast tenderness doesn't automatically equate to pre-menstrual syndrome. Taking hormones to make you develop hips, lose body hair, etc. will never make you a woman. Even if, heaven forbid, man finds a way to give men uterus will never mean that a man was made into a woman.

A woman is a woman without even trying. A woman is a woman from the minute of conception, to her babyhood years, to her prepubescent years, to her adulthood and menopause and death. Her concerns will always be a little different and specifc... her needs and wants moreso. She will always be regarded a certain way, command respect a certain way, do things a certain way, love and be passionate a certain way. She will always communicate and fight and cope and protect a certain way. Her issues only become men's issues because it affects them... but her issues are hers alone to deal with. Just because a man is able to assist the birthing process of a woman should never give him the arrogance to say that he knows how it is to actually give birth.

I repeat, if you're a man, you cannot just say that you choose to be a woman and that's it. Neither should a woman ever hope otherwise.

And if you're a transsexual... getting 'checked' and 'frisked' at airports is just one of the consequences you have to put up with for having undergone sex change operation. Otherwise, security people may be inadvertently letting terrorists or other criminals in and out of their institutions/countries. (Of course, frisking should always have the element of respect to somebody's person.)

Maybe, you guys should hand in documents explaining everything. And maybe you can lobby for an international SOP on how to handle your case. But not because you're 'already women'... but because you've made choices that complicated your lives.

Because, I repeat, being a woman is not a choice. You just are or not.


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