High Maintenance Woman

There seems to be a consensus about me among my gentlemen friends.

"You are so spoiled."
"Things have to go your way."
"You require a lot of attention."

I'd like to dismiss the comments because they all come from younger, 20-something men who tend to have a different sensibility than a late 30-something woman like myself. But in all honesty, it's not just the men who've noticed my penchant for being a princess. My office and home are cluttered with gifts from friends, both male and female, that proclaim me a royal wannabe. Just the other day, my best gal gave me a magnet that reminded her of me. "What part of princess don't you understand," it read. I have key chains, cards, and a decorative license plate, all gifts to me, which carry the princess label. Recently playing one of those word association games, the ‘P word' came up and more than one of my guests pointed directly at me. In response to my regal ways, my buddy Carlos even went as far to by himself a t-shirt with the lines "Hey, Princess. Bring me a beer." He proudly wears it anytime I'm visiting, and finds it as funny now as he did a year ago when he bought the shirt.

Maybe I should be troubled by the notion inherent in all of this— that I have become one of those high maintenance women, the sort that makes men wince. But to be honest, I'm not really bothered by the depiction. I like to spend my money and time spoiling myself with spa treatments, a personal trainer, and whatever fashion accessory I want. Most importantly, I'm happy to be at a place in my life where I feel comfortable asking for and even expecting a certain level of respect and attention. Just like the saying on my favorite thong reads, "It's all about me, me, me." And, I do not feel compelled to apologize for my indulgences, not one iota.

I'm in a very different place in my life. For years I spent my energies in the service of others, putting everyone above my self, caring deeply about what everyone else thought. I have nothing left to give. These days, it really is all about me. It has to be. After failed marriages and soured relationships, I have learned the hard way that I cannot depend on anyone for my well-being. I am responsible for my own happiness. I take that responsibility seriously.

These fundamental changes my personality and lifestyle have caused my family and some friends to quiver. They do not like the changes they see in me; it worries them. My longtime friend and roommate, who knew me back in the days when I invested so much in church activities, my mentally-ill husband, and any friend in need, recently asked me (with this 'I know better than you do' tone) if my new "self indulgent lifestyle" was really making me happier. I had to honestly tell her what she did not want to hear¦ Yes, it is.

Don't misinterpret me. I know I won't find permanent happiness as a self indulgent, high maintenance woman. I know that I have been particularly hard on the men in my life. But I see my life to this point like a pendulum. I have swung so far to the right for so long; maybe my major shift to the left is the only way to bring me balance. Someday, in the not so distant future, I hope to be more centered. But until then, can you spell G-U- C- C- I?

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