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Single Pringle’s Valentine’s Day

Omg, Valentine’s Day is here again!

By God’s Princess

Valentine’s Day has a way of announcing its presence. In the month leading up to it, the world seems to explode in all things red, pink, flowery and chocolatey.

As a university student, V-Day’s impending approach is even more blatant. Countless student groups would plead or cajole me to buy their roses or chocolates. Friends would pick my brain for ideas on upp-ing their V-Day game plans or worse, “complain” to me about their partners’ V-Day plans.

Social media is another source of angst. I see people around me get stressed comparing and competing with the “perfect” show-reel of everyone else’s Instagram. With each passing year, the “standards” of V-Day seem to get closer and closer to the stuff that fairy tales are made of.

As for me, the #singlepringle who is trying to wait patiently for true love, I am grateful that my friends don’t pressure me to get dates.

But honestly, the temptation to swipe left, swipe right Tinder-style is real. That familiar twinge of envy whenever someone gets a date or is concocting extra-special plans for his/her partner sometimes makes me question if my resolve to wait is right.

Remembering the Past

Growing up, I’ve had my fair share of messy relationships and hook-ups. Many of which were attempts to grasp love and use it to fill my loneliness and insecurities.

In primary school, I was in TAF Club (read: FAT Club) and often bullied in school. So by the time I reached secondary school, my self-esteem and self-image were pretty battered. I was often consumed by my insecurities and felt deeply alone and unloved.

When I got into my first relationship, I felt released from the prison of loneliness. Finally, someone sees something in me and accepts me as I am!

But as time went by, he became increasingly physical with me and I felt really uncomfortable with it. Guilt and shame ate me up and I couldn’t shake away the thought that I had tainted God’s precious creation – myself.

I would push him away in tears and he would be kind and console me. But the same cycle would repeat eventually.

One day, during one such teary episode again, he blurted out in his confusion, “I thought you liked it?”

His question really shook me because it was partly true. While physical intimacy brought me temporary pleasure, I felt immense shame at our behaviour and the feeling of emptiness continues to consume me.

Falling down in guilt and shame

Looking back, I realize now that I consented to the physical demands because I did not want our relationship to end. I thought that by acceding to his requests, he would be happy and love me. My desire to be loved was so great.

When that relationship eventually ended, I felt so broken and disgusted with myself. I couldn’t bring myself to go for confession because I felt my sins were too great.

It was at a church retreat where I first realized God’s love for me and my brokenness. During the praying-over session, I was told that I did not have to walk alone in my cold, dark forest anymore.

Falling Down (Again)

As much as I wish to say that it has been all happily ever after since that retreat, the truth is, I fell into another downward spiral of flings during my JC days.

JC was highly stressful and my relationships were the only thing I felt I had control of. Being liked by boys made me feel good and satisfied my need for love.

There was one particular boy that I really liked and desperately wished I could share with him about my struggles. On the very first date, he tried to make advances and by the second, he was trying to get me into bed.

But I was too hooked on the idea of being in a relationship with him that I ignored the red flags and conceded to everything except actual sex. That was when the familiar cycle of self-loathing and justification started again.

Every time I wanted to end the relationship, he would woo me in different ways – nice dinners, movies in cosy settings, leading to more intimate time together.

When he broke up with me eventually, over text with some vague explanation, I felt like a mere container, something to be thrown away after use.

I felt angrier with myself than with him, for being foolish enough to fall into the same trap.

Walking with Jesus through my darkest forest

Forgiving Myself

The turning point came when I was asked to lead a session on love and forgiveness for my community’s retreat. The scripture passage given to me to reflect on was Luke 7:47:

 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

When I saw that passage, I knew God was asking me to forgive myself because He had already forgiven me. Why do I not love myself when He loves me so preciously?

Through that retreat, I explored my old wounds and received the healing I needed. After so many years of believing that I was trash, it was really difficult to embrace the truth that I am a beloved child of God, His precious princess.

However, with the help of my community I was able to remind myself of this truth, day by day, month by month. I am created to love and receive love, not an object to be used.

I’ll be waiting patiently for the fulfilment of God’s promise to me. I believe true love is worth waiting for and I deserve to be loved.

Tips from Single Pringle

So what did I do this Valentine’s Day? Pray and attend Mass!

Cliched as it sounds, I am learning to be wooed by God and to see myself through His eyes – precious, priceless and greatly loved. Being around other Catholics on campus, going for cell group meetings and masses together have also been a lifeline and kept me from the temptations of the world (and V-Day).

As St Augustine says, “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”

I’ll be waiting patiently for the fulfilment of God’s promise to me. I believe true love is worth waiting for and I deserve to be loved.

If I should fall again, I will remember to turn back and not tire of asking God for forgiveness. There is no sin too great that God cannot forgive.

To All Parents

Be there for your children. Young people become vulnerable to temptations when there is a lack of emotional support at home.

Be visible signs of God’s love to them. Help them to embrace their identity as beloved children of God.

Singing joyously in God’s love for me

Your’s truly,

God’s Princess

Archdiocesan Commission for the Family

Archdiocesan Commission for the Family