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!
We’re down to the last Saturday of February, and if you’ve been following my articles, I made it a theme this month of February to focus on one of C.S. Lewis’s Four Loves for each week of the month.
Here’s a recap: On the first week, I talked about Storge, which is familial love, in an article about one of my family members whom I didn’t have the smoothest relationship with. Next, I wrote about Philia, also known as the platonic kind of love, with the focus on my best friends. Last week was the third week, and I opened up about my first love by way of talking about Eros, which is the romantic type of love. And now that we are on the final week of February, it’s time that I wrote about Agape, also known as “God-love,” the kind of love that I can neither wrap my head around with nor comprehend until this day; in other words, it’s unconditional love.
To tell you the truth, love is one of the topics I have the most difficult time writing about. I mean, I can easily talk about my love for travel, or my love for food, or my love for life…and skincare and makeup. However, the relational type of love has always been something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. Talking about it, most of the time, makes me cringe and get hot in the face. But I have learned slowly, and at a snail’s pace, how to open my heart and let people in. It’s an exercise I have to do over and over again on vulnerability and allowing myself to be seen for who I am.
I’m going to sound like a jerk for saying this but, I cannot name anyone in my life whom I love 100 percent unconditionally. There’s always a certain expectation that I hold for the people I let into my life. For example, I love my friends, and if they throw a party, I expect to be invited. I love my mom, and I expect her to take care of me. And I know I’m not alone in this.
Perhaps, the closest understanding I have of unconditional love apart from that of my mom’s, is the love my dog Rocket has for us. Dogs are wonderful, wonderful creatures. If you leave the house for five minutes and come back, they’ll act as if you’ve been gone for five years. And speaking of being a dog mama, here’s something I’d like to put out there that’s in line with unconditional love—motherhood.
Obviously, I’ve never had a child (unless you consider Rocket); however, I’ve been told that for most cases, the love of a mother for her child is unconditional. It’s an “I love you,” no matter what. It’s an “I accept you for who you are,” despite whatever crappy circumstance you place yourself in. I may selfishly lack unconditional love for anyone, but I won’t say that I’ve never experienced it before.
There are just people in your life who will love you no matter what and will not expect anything from you in return. This is bizarre for me because I’ve been exposed to a world where almost everything is a transaction; an exchange of this and that; of power, money, feelings, intellect. It’s been a system of give and take, and it sometimes makes me wonder how something as pure as love can still manage to resurface in a sea of corruption and political indolence.
But that’s what makes unconditional love such a rarity. In Christianity, you have Jesus Christ as the prime example. It makes me wonder if I could reach such a level of love—to be able to extend this kind of charity despite changing and unfavorable circumstances?
As I’ve mentioned, perhaps the closest thing I’ve felt to an experience of unconditional love is in parenthood—motherhood, to be exact, seeing how my mother, despite my being a difficult daughter continued to love me. It felt as if she had an overflowing vat of love that I couldn’t see myself owning. And maybe, this is why I am not ready for parenthood. Of course, now that I am married, the next question people normally ask is when I am having a kid, in which my ever-transparent response is that of queasiness and one that evokes a “please get me out of here” reaction.
I always give the honest answer: an awkward laugh that manifests into an even more awkward chuckle. “When I am ready,” is what I always say.
I know a lot of people who have given birth out of “pressure”, and I feel that if you can control a life-changing event such as giving birth, you need to take your time and prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for it. People grow at different paces and love blooms at its fullest on its own time. Right now, I am not yet ready, and I am learning that it is not a bad thing.
Friends of my age group are having kids here and there, and yet, I feel like I still have a long way to go before I can say that I am ready to nurture someone and to love someone unconditionally. Sometimes, I feel selfish having to admit that to myself, but like most good things, it will take time. And I will take my time if that means being ready to be a good mom who will love her child unconditionally and without holding back.
One day, that time will come, and I will be glad to say I was ready and that I took my time. I will have no regrets, no doubts—just pure joy and love. It won’t be perfect, but my heart will be there.
Art by Marian Hukom
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For the month of love, we zoom in on Moira Dela Torre and Jason Hernandez