Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Of Labels and Change

I don't need labels.

I don't know why it occurred to me to have myself photographed with these marks on my face.  I guess it has something to do with labels and loss of meaning.  Wait, no.  I'm not entirely sure of the reason.  Maybe it's something else.  Read.

I'm going to start with telling you that these are mirror images.  Yes, after taking the shots, I mirrored them all since I painted my face facing a mirror.  Otherwise, the marks would be facing an unusual direction.  Go figure.

On the right side of my face is an X.  It represents many things.  It may mean being incorrect; it may mean I'm presenting such side as a target for someone's fist; and it may mean "slice here, Doktora Belo."  [LOL]

On the left side of my face is a tick.  Like the X, it could also mean many things.  It could mean correctness; it could also mean inclusion; it could mean "yes;" and it could even mean "no," in some countries.

On my forehead is a question mark.  Unlike the two marks on either cheek, this one basically means only one thing.  It's pretty obvious in its name that it means there is a question.  Whether you use the term uncertainty, inquiry, or whatever--it's the same thing.  It's a question.

These marks, being marks, are labels.  Some of you may have noticed that the upper left most photo among the four is currently (as of February 1, 2011) being used as the profile photo on my Facebook account.  As a caption, I said, "Stop giving me unnecessary labels. I can live without them."  Those of you who may know only a minuscule amount of information about me would quickly infer that I mean sexual orientation labels or political stance labels.  You may be right to some degree, but you're not entirely right.

The labels that I speak of extend far beyond the two kinds.  And, no, I do not mean Gucci or Fendi or Manolo Blahnik.  And don't get me wrong either.  What I mean by labels is different from personal identification.  I have no problem being identified as bisexual or gay or a democrat or a Theosophist or a non-Christian or someone's boyfriend or someone's best friend or whatever.  In fact, in my Who I Am page, you'll find that I purposely keyed in various self-identifications.

I accept that I am many things to many people and I don't have a problem with views about me.  What I have a problem with is the pejorative use of these identifications/descriptions.  It is exactly that which qualifies them as labels.

Let me give you a number of scenarios:

"You mean, Ludwig?  He's also bisexual.  He might be interested in joining this cause." - IDENTIFICATION

"You mean, Ludwig?  He's bisexual.  That might offend him." - IDENTIFICATION

"You mean, Ludwig?  He's gay.  He might be interested in that cute guy you have there." - LABEL

"You mean, Ludwig?  He's gay.  He's going to hell!" - LABEL

"You mean, Ludwig?  He's not Catholic.  He'll never attain salvation like we will." - LABEL

"You mean, Ludwig?  He's not a Christian, but ask him if he wants to join our trip to the Holy Land." - IDENTIFICATION

You get my point now?  I know you're probably turning your heads left-to-right-to-left-to-right-to-left now, but this is just how I see it.  I don't even really see the significance of Vivien Westwood and why Oscar de la Renta's wedding gowns are better than the ones my grandmother's seamstress makes using the same materials.  The fact is, they're not necessarily so.

Moving on...

Let's digress...

These tiles of face marks and facing left and right may also mean change of mind.  One moment, I may affirm and agree to something, the next moment I may have a different view.  Like in the song Second Chances, performed by Lea Salonga, which Jay Kuo composed for his new musical called Allegiance.  It bears lyrics saying, "Nothing in life is so permanent that LOVE can't rearrange."