I have a confession to make: every now and then, the green monster forces its way into my heart and devours the sunshine on my perfect day. It typically happens when I get flooded by images and stories on social media of lives unlike mine, or like when I remember my friend, Bambi.
Bambi is very classy and feminine unlike me, who’s more like a leader of a tribe in a Southeast Asian jungle. Bambi is soft spoken and lovely in frame, fair-skinned and has a patented charming smile. All those using filters (we know who you are, by the way; no offense meant, we love you anyway) will be put to shame by every snapshot she posts. With her long black hair, she could easily get a shampoo commercial deal.
While she was in the Philippines, Bambi’s then-boyfriend was living in Paris. He is gorgeous, young, rich, and intelligent like her. He invited Bambi to Paris and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him, with the stars, moon, the Eiffel Tower, and a very heavy diamond ring as their witnesses.
Don’t get me wrong, I was genuinely happy for her and she even asked if I could fly to France to be a bridesmaid. I was thrilled and did my best to go, but the timing wasn’t right and it didn’t work out. But I got every photo of her wedding day.
So every time I think about a “fairy tale love story,” I always think about Bambi and how easy and sweet her life is. But sometimes, it backfires and envy steals, kills, and destroys my joy and peace. I begin to question how unfair life and God is. Regrets condemn me when I look in the mirror—all because of another person’s happy life.
I stumbled upon an article about a woman who cropped and stole a photo of someone else’s fiancé and made a twitter account for him (for a more convincing social proof) and went through lengths to convince her friends and family that she is, in fact, engaged to be married to the innocent stranger. She got caught and turned into a laughing stock and another image of pathetic pity.
Related to that article is another recent discovery to me. There’s an app that allows you to create your own virtual boyfriend/girlfriend. Unlike Siri, the other person is working for the app company and responds like a real lover. I thought it could be an interesting job! But kidding aside, it broke my heart as it exposed yet more deep-rooted diseases of the society—loneliness, fear, envy, and discontent.
Love Your Story
Even before I met my future husband, I already knew my life was already like a far, far away galaxy where Bambi’s fairy tale is taking place. I had learned to accept that I have made mistakes in the past and I am simply not like her. I only hoped to have at least half of what she had in life.
When I began to love my “here and now,” and live in the present, I began to be contented in whatever circumstance I am currently in—broke, struggling, working two jobs, single mom, etc. I met people who are like me. I found comfort that I am not alone; some women are also raising their kids by themselves; some have never had a relationship in the past couple of decades; some were even just starting over with life at 50.
It was a slow process for me, but I realized that God wrote our story differently. And we are free to make choices. We are allowed to make mistakes and God reaches out to us, picks us up in His mercy, and gives us sufficient grace to start where we are. But I’m not gonna lie, it isn’t easy. It takes humility to accept one’s lot in life—it goes against human nature.
The truth is, the real us is more than loveable; the Maker of the Universe thinks we are to die for. Although it is a painful journey to get there and to some of us, it could be a long journey, nothing compares to being loved for who you really are. Let me end with a quote from Tim Keller:
To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us. –The Meaning of Marriage