Being loyal is a cultural maxim for Latinos. Loyalty was engrained into our child minds along with superstitions and the ABCs. We are taught to blindly respect elders and esteem the family unit over the individual.
Latinas are supplied a special strain of loyalty. One laced with codependency and with side effects of dissatisfaction and neglect.
Latinas are taught to take up little space. We are taught self-sacrifice before self-care and self-preservation before self-awareness. Callada te ves más bonita.
It has taken me years to unpack loyalty and understand what a healthy expression of it looks like. Like beauty and music, its definition rests in the beholder. This is what loyalty means to me and why I not only need it, but require it from those I give parts of myself to.
Loyalty is my drug of choice.