I’ve been called plenty of things in my life, some positive and some negative. But the word that gets under my skin the most isn’t ‘bitchy’ or ‘bossy’. Rather, it’s being told I’m high maintenance. ‘High maintenance’ is a term usually used by men to describe women who involve more effort than they’re worth (let that lovely definition sink in).

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 8.37.47 PMUnfortunately, it’s not even men who’ve called me ‘high maintenance.’ It’s been some of my closest friends at times, after they see my massive closet or my stock-piled vanity. Maybe it’s the fact that I work in public relations, which aligns with my Type-A personality, which sometimes makes me appear aggressive. Or the fact that I’m a bottle blonde, and require trips to the salon every six weeks (or more).

You’re damn right I’m high maintenance. 

But you know what? I’m high self-maintenance. I have never once demanded someone else do all these things for me. I don’t ask my roommate to wake up earlier to do my hair and makeup. I’ve never asked a date to paint my nails or throw a red carpet down on the sidewalk.

I feel better when I straighten my hair or wear stilettos to class. happen to love my hair an unnatural shade of peroxide blonde. And won’t spend another second worrying if that scares people – or men – off. The repeated use of the first pronoun here serves my point, I’m a high self-maintenance kind of gal.

Of course I require a lot of work to maintain – what successful woman doesn’t? Potentially the most moronic thing about the term is that strong women are usually high maintenance. If you want to have a Rolls Royce, you’re going to have to put up the cash.

So to all of my fellow women who have ever been called high maintenance…

Own it. Because of course you’re high maintenance, and you’re worth it. Your value is not determined by the amount of effort you do or do not put into your appearance. It’s not determined by someone else’s idea of how much “work” it would take to keep you happy. We keep ourselves happy, thank you very much.

Your worth is determined by only one person – you. We have dynamic personalities and strong professional and social lives. Maybe you live in your favorite flannel, or won’t attend Statistics 101 without the right silk scarf (guilty!). Maybe you’ve never had your hair colored, but you demand to be treated with respect. Hats off to you.

Because we’re high self-maintenance women, and we aren’t afraid to know what we want.