In Spanish, there is a word, pija (or pijo should you be a man) – essentially, it translates to preppy girl, typically from a rich family. It is the antithesis of a chav but quite the same in that unless you are familiar with the culture, it is a hard word to describe adequately. And here in Spain, in a country I feel half from, it is a label I am so often wrapped in. I have the walk in wardrobe, the fluffy dog and a vague freelance job that traditionally wouldn’t be considered a career at all. I come from a good family who live in big houses in the South of Spain. My Dad will roll into town in his Porsche or new Audi and we will eat at all the nice places. Or my Mom clad in sunglasses steps off a plane with suitcases full of all USA delights straight to my apartment where we will sip cold pressed juices and talk about her 6 month stint of travelling and doing whatever she pleases. Yes, in a country economically crippled, I guess a lot of people would consider me an authentic, real deal pija. I’ve never lied about the advantages I had growing up, I have spoken quite candidly about my father’s money and how it endlessly aided me when I was younger. Money has such a stigma attached to it and yet we all spend most of our lives chasing it. I have no shame in saying I don’t come from a struggling family and while that might make you hate me, at least I’m honest. Saying that, I know people who are far richer as well as far poorer, but not once have I labelled any of them. Soren Kierkgaard said, “Once you label me you negate me” and I wholeheartedly agree. Because to throw a definition at someone is to isolate their entire personality to one quality, or at worst, a stereotype. I don’t think money defines anyone and I hate that so often we base a person’s worth on what they have materially. People are impressed by a Chanel bag or a slick car, but a shelf of books or a passport full of stamps? Those things don’t have quite the same cache, sadly. And that aside, so many of the girls I know here in Barcelona, they truly fill the shoes of a real pija, spending their days shopping and hoping for a husband. As for me? I know I’m not a pija, I work too hard. I have all these things that might label me but it is in the way I acquired them that resists this Spanish noun altogether. Does a rich girl really lose out on so much sleep that she cries at 3 pm on a Thursday because she’s so deliriously tired from working all the time? Does a rich girl cancel online shopping orders minutes after she makes them in fear she might need that money for say, a phone bill? Does a truly rich girl only have designer pieces she got given for free? Does a rich girl move back home for a year so she can afford a real place of her own? Believe me, I know lots of real rich girls and they don’t do these simple things that mark everything they later have as a struggle of their own. And while my struggle might not be a remarkable one, in that I did have advantages growing up, all I’m saying is that I no longer utilize what my family has to benefit my life. No everything I now have, I did on my own. As for the word, ‘pija’, believe me, I’d actually quite like to stand behind that title with a bank balance bursting full. It would be nice to relax and not worry so much about money, but here I am, worrying, concerned that I am titled as something I don’t have the wealth to be titled as. But also worried because I hate labels, no one should be stamped as anything. There aren’t teams or groups in this world, just individual humans united only in that we all have a beating heart, and here we all are, just trying to get by. I don’t think any of us should define anyone else’s struggle, because that is what we all are doing, struggling and trying our best. So Spain, please stop calling me a pija. It is something I am simply not, gracias, thank you, porfavor and please.