Being High Maintenance Means
For the brown girls who have been called high maintenance, like you’re a car that needs care, like you’re a coffeemaker that is stuck on pour, like you’re a lavadora that won’t wash clothes. For the brown girls who have a very clear idea of how we want to be treated, and are called: demanding, like a cat when it is starving, or a baby when it needs a change of diapers. For the brown girls who have knowledge of their worth, and expect to be treated with the same respect we dish out, but get told to reign it in: FUCK THOSE PEOPLE.
I have a mami who stopped her entire life and made me her purpose. She loved me with every inch of her body and her soul, and would tear anyone up limb by limb if they got too close, treated me rudely, and/or attempted to tell me what to do, como si fueran mis papi. I have a mami who would stop at nothing to see me happy, to make me smile, to make sure I am treated properly. I have a mami who inserted herself into relationships she thought were toxic for me, and she has always been right. I have a mami who is a matriarch in my household, and puts me on a pedestal knowing that I get the most stones thrown my way because I am too radical, too loud, too opinionated for a girl. I have a mami who loves me more than she loves herself, and I feel it and I’ve known it for some time now.
I have tias who poured so much of themselves into their role of being tias. They taught me about music and how to be carefree. They taught me about love and kindness. They taught me how to sing, scream, and laugh without limits. They taught me that people should be treated properly. I had abuelas who gave out advice with little tokens. My abuelita Rosa gave me dollar bills, drowned me with kisses, and told me I was beautiful and smart. My abuelita Candida hugged me and always let me play in her most fanciest room at her casita. Once, she saved every penny she had and bought me a gold necklace to match my papi’s necklace. I had abuelas who showered me with love and affection and whatever presents they could afford. I got their 100%, ALL THE TIME.
The women in my life have devoted time, years, effort, and above all their communal energy and prayers into my brown body. So when I am demanding of partners, I am remembering all those times that the women in my family told me that I deserved nothing less. I was not treated like a queen in my house, taught to believe that I worth something, only to be met with a man who was taught to treat women like me as inferior. I am not inferior and I will not stand for being treated any way that is beneath what I have been trained to expect from people in my life. The efforts of the wonderful mujeres who raised me will not be wasted!
Former partners have called me high maintenance, like I am a car that needs too much care, like a coffeemaker that wont make coffee, like a washing machine that won’t wash clothes. And I am. Because if being high maintenance means that I bow down to no man, then watch me tattoo that shit on my chest. If being high maintenance means that I know what I want and demand to be treated like I should be treated: then high maintenance I will remain. Because I will not to be treated any way but the way I decide you will treat me.
Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez, Contributing Writer