Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Mariah H. N. Hawkins

What they don’t tell you about being a girl is the unwritten expectation that you are somehow more pleasant to be around, or that you act better at least in public. When I tell people I’m the oldest of three girls, they tell me how much my mother must’ve loved that or how much my father must’ve wished he had a boy. I always laugh when people tell me that girls act better than boys.

            Perhaps it is because we were three girls in a neighborhood full of boys, or because we didn’t have brothers so my father passed anything and everything he could to us, but the boys I’ve met act the same or better than we ever did.

            It’s true if I hadn’t been a girl, I wouldn’t have had the make-up I put all over my sleeping sister’s face once when I was mad at her, but I’m sure markers would’ve worked just as well. It’s also true that had I been a boy I probably wouldn’t have been the one waiting for a date when my sister decided to sit on my head, but I think a younger brother would have been just as maniacal. I’ve been throat punched by one sister and have wrestled the other. One is known for her farts and if she lets one rip you better clear the space.

            I’ve been told that girls act so much better than boys, but my sister once spit into my mouth, something my friend’s brother did. Perhaps if I were a boy, they wouldn’t have stolen my clothes, but the fights afterwards were tremendous.

            As far as my father’s wishes go, I’d like everyone to know he didn’t suffer. When motivated by snowboarding, he’s the last one ready. He once said “I wish I had a son to go mountain biking, to hunt, and to pee outside with.” My reply? “I go mountain biking with you, Sierra will pee anywhere, and you don’t hunt.” He has since learned his lesson. He goes mountain biking or snowboarding with his friends’ sons and has decided he likes his tough girls over their whining.

            We are tough. We are also idiots. I’ve been told something about boys is that they do stupid stuff, but I can’t think of a single guy I know that has done anything that equals our stupidity. We tubed down the weber river in seventy-degree rainy weather. We full out swam in the ocean when it was way too cold. We’ve cliff jumped, and buried each other in sand. We’ve followed our dad down technically restricted areas on snowboards. We’ve raced four-wheelers and crashed them. We’ll eat just about anything if someone dares us, including a ghost pepper consumed by yours truly. We are three parts of a whole idiot.

             Perhaps the main reason I don’t understand the concept of girls and boys being fundamentally different is because I was never treated as such. I was the girl whose mother dressed me pink skirts and pigtails, but by the end of a hot summer day, my skit would be covered in mud and my hands grubby from whatever bug I’d caught that day. My games with the neighborhood boys never included princesses, rather we were all spies or pirates. I swung my tree branch sword just as hard as they did and would climb higher than they dared in the trees.

            All three of us played sports, the main one being soccer. Here lies the other reason I don’t like the response of girls being nicer and better behaved than boys. Boys play by rules, they want everything called and sometimes even go so far as to fake injuries. Girls playing soccer though, are brutal. If you want to see something crazy go to a girls’ comp soccer game. I once got punched in the face in the middle of a game and the ref did not call it. I’ve had teammates get into full on fist fights, and if we got injured, we were sure to injure the other person back. I’ve had a game end with me getting fourteen stitches. Girls are brutal.

            There isn’t a single thing we didn’t put our parents through. We had a pet lizard. We got into major trouble at school. My mother is the sole reason one of my sisters graduated high school. My other sister is constantly breaking bones. A scorpion lived at our house for a week. We played the guitar. Half the time we looked like hobos because when you have to wear a uniform, you don’t prioritize any other clothing. We owned a long-bow and would scare the crap out of my mother when we shot it. We flooded the sandbox on purpose at least once a week in the summer, so we could play in the wet sand. My sister forgot her pants once when she went to a soccer game. We played taste test and tried to make each other throw up by making the others eat gross things. Our rooms were messy. My sister once sat down to puke in the living room. We fought in public. We’ve picked up snakes and kept praying mantises in the house for the winter. We biked to our uncle’s house and chased goats around.

            Each time someone tells me my mother is lucky because she has girls, I laugh and try to figure out how to tell them girls aren’t the angels they think.


Mariah H. N. Hawkins is a graduate student of English with an emphasis in Creative Writing at Weber State University. She loves snowboarding and mountain biking. Her work has been published in the undergraduate journal Touchstones and in an anthology by Wingless Dreamer Press.


  1. This could not be more spot on!! Loved reading this, I laughed and could defiantly relate to each word!

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