Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess!
It’s the Saturday after Valentine’s Day, and we’re right on schedule. This February, I’ve decided to stick to writing about that four-letter word—LOVE. A different love for each week this month.
Taking cue from C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves, I wrote about the first two, Storge (familial love) and Philia (platonic love) for the first two weeks of February, and now, I’ll be writing a little something about Eros, which is defined as romantic or passionate love. It’s the lovers’ love. And how apt that I am writing about it on the weekend following St. Valentine’s.
When I turned 11, for some strange reason, I thought that my life wouldn’t be complete without a significant other. I’m not sure if it comes with being an only child (or really, it may have been just the hormones), but I found myself with a longing for companionship with someone in a romantic sense. During my early teenage years, I found myself unsure of my sexuality. My first serious crush was on a girl two years my senior (let’s call her “K”), but I ended up with my first “boyfriend” when I turned 12. However, I still felt my heart leap whenever I’d pass K in school. I think I loved her.
I know we throw around the term “girl crush” around real loosely nowadays. But back when I was 12 (that was 2002), it was taboo especially at my high school, which exercised real tight Christian values. Eventually, my first boyfriend and I broke up, and I went to college where I felt more relieved to be surrounded by a more open-minded culture. There were girls holding hands and making out on campus, and that made me feel oddly more relaxed—a far cry from the tight-strung hallways of my high school.
I struggled a lot with my orientation. Perhaps, there was a part of myself that was bi-sexual, having been attracted to a number of girls and eventually having a secret fling with one. I just didn’t know how to go about it; I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong, growing up in a culture that stuck to only one formula for a lasting relationship—that between a man and a woman. Was it wrong that I was attracted not only to men, but also to women?
I’ve had two serious relationships with men before I met my husband, but I won’t lie and say I never considered what my life would’ve looked like if I ended up with a woman. There was that possibility and that chance I could’ve taken, but the love that matched mine belonged to a man—and that man, I decided to commit myself to and spend the rest of my life with.
I can never say that I’ve fully experienced romance or “eros” from both sides of the coin, but what I know to be true is that this type of love is fluid and all-encompassing across all humanity. Romance for me is always a feeling to be celebrated, whether it’s between a man and a woman, two men, or two women.
Back when I used to live in Manila, I was part of a community called Church Simplified. I grew up in a school that practiced Evangelical Christianity, but it was all too much for me. After high school, I went through a phase of having no religion, exploring different religions, going to different churches (my family is Catholic, but we have buddhas at home), and almost giving up until my friends and I started attending Church Simplified.
I don’t talk much about my faith because it is such a personal and sacred thing to me. I do yoga, I do tarot, yet I still pray to God and my angels, but there was something the pastor of Church Simplified, Bebo, said that really helped define the type of faith I subscribe to. He said something about most churches shunning gay couples, banning them from even entering the church’s doors. And then, he added, “Jesus’ commandment was simple: ‘Love one another,’ He said. If you shun people from church, then how is that even showing love? And isn’t love, really, the core of humanity?”
The thing about romance is that sometimes it can be so sensationalized and painted in such a flawless, heart-skipping image that the dirty, gritty, and messy bits are left behind. I believe that what’s important is to find someone who can handle your mess, your dirt, your grit. Someone who loves you and accepts you and takes you for who you are in this moment. I’m not here to talk about gender issues, but I am here to take a stand. If you find a man or woman, someone of the same gender or a different one; someone who makes you feel loved and seen; someone who you want to share your life with…then go for it. It doesn’t matter what others think; what matters is you. Life is short; and caring about what others think should be the least of your worries.
If it doesn’t work out, then you learn. But if it does, then what a beautiful thing it is. There is a quote by Erin Hanson that I love so much. I doubt myself often, and I used to be so scared of love and letting people into my life, but this quote guided me. I believe it’s a quote so apt when taking risks, especially when it comes to love. It goes something like this,
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
Sometimes, all you need to do is spread your wings, let the wind guide you, and who knows? You’ll end up pleasantly surprised.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Marian Hukom
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