Here’s how I turned an intended insult into a huge compliment.
For those that know me well, then you would already know the fact presented to you in the headline. And for those of you who don’t, let me catch you up to speed in the quickest way possible… I am precious: I physically cannot stay at hostels (3.5 stars are my absolute minimum for accommodation); if you don’t reply to my message within five minutes, I’ll be the first to complain about it, and will effortlessly flood your phone or inbox with messages until you do; unless it is cosplay or pop culture accessories (love my Harley Quinn Puddin’ choker), I refuse to wear jewellery that isn’t from Tiffany & Co.; and sometimes I call my father at work just to see what he’s doing.
I am high-maintenance af, and others have picked up on it. Some may intend it in a nice “but we love you anyway” kind of thing, but some people mean it as a form of insult, as in I need to change the way I am to suit them. I admit, being high-maintenance or needy isn’t necessarily a great quality to have, but I am proud of every intricacy of my personality, whether that is being bashful, loud, blunt, or high-maintenance.
As I sat down and thought to myself why others view me that way, I realised that when people call me high-maintenance, it is actually a huge compliment to my parents and their efforts in raising me to the best of their ability.
Contrary to what some may believe, when I was first born, my family didn’t have a lot. We usually wore hand-me-downs (FACT: I still have a jumper that my sister wore when she was in high-school so-and-so years ago), and we lived in a small three-bedroom house with seven humans and one canine, but I never saw the financial struggle that my parents must’ve faced, because to me, I had it all. I had
somewhat loving brothers and sisters who each year grow closer and closer together; I had food on the table every morning, arvo, and evening, with plenty to spare for tomorrow’s leftovers; and we had a load of board games and a couple of gaming consoles that kept us kids entertained for days.
My father is Samoan, so we practice a tradition called “fa’a Samoa” (which you can learn more about at this link), which is loosely translated to “The Samoan Way”. I might not be completely familiar with the practice, but what I do know is that in this Samoan tradition, you give everything you have to family and friends, even the shirt off your back if you have to – especially in important times like funerals and weddings. While we weren’t rolling around in our riches, my parents often gave everything they had and much more to different family and friends, whom we often had over for dinner several days a week, to the point where I was accustomed to having up to 20 people at my dinner table on a weekly basis.
My father and mother raised me well, and gave me everything that I needed and most often, what I wanted. That is why, several years later as a 24-year-old, I can safely say that I deserve to be high-maintenance, because my needs were always met as a child, and my desires were given to me should I be deserving of them. My parents afforded me the luxuries of staying in nice hotels and enjoying the finer things in life.
So the next time someone tries to take a shot at me by calling me “needy” or “high-maintenance”, I am going to turn around and thank them for acknowledging the stellar job my parents did with me in raising me to be the man that I am today. And I am not ashamed of it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go straighten my seven-coloured-hair, because I can’t go out in public unless my hair is straightened and styled to the left.
– by Noah La’ulu