Sometimes we find ourselves with a tank full of gas, prepared for the journey, except for the sense that something is not quite right. In this case, the dashboard of my car glared back at me with the “MAINT REQ’D” message. I immediately ran through my list of automobile maintenance: gas, oil change, brakes, tires, tire alignment, mileage. Then, it hit me, a single thought, mileage. I looked at the dashboard and inspected the mileage on the car. It was a lot of miles. I could not remember when I’d last changed the oil in the car. I looked for the sticky reminder inside the upper corner of the windshield, but it was not there. After all of the miles I’d driven, I could not remember the last time I had taken time for myself.
I sat for a moment in my car, staring at the maintenance required message. As women, we are often so externally focused that we do not typically take the time to care for ourselves until we are completely blindsided. I’m no different. The longer I sat in my car in my garage, the more I thought about what those two simple words meant. To be high maintenance is a derogatory characteristic. My car needed maintenance. I need maintenance, too. As a woman, it should be okay for me to be high maintenance. It should be okay for me to need care and attention. It should be okay for me to take time for myself. It is not so easy. Why is it so hard to admit to needing care? I decided to take back that label and own it. I am high maintenance. If someone tries to make you feel less of a person for needing extra care or time for yourself and outright calls you high maintenance, the answer to them should be “Yes, I am.” The question to them should be “Why aren’t you?”