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The Long Road of Being a Girl

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Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was not like the others. The girls my age had beautiful hair that shined, whether curly or straight. They played with their dolls that had yarn hair and were stuffed with cotton; hand made from the finest doll maker in town, and brushed each other’s hair. They were proper, courteous, and well-kept; talked when they were talked to, and smiled when they were smiled at. Me on the other hand, I didn’t care for my hair and left it ratty if possible; my mother may find me and brush it, and unlike all the other girls, I wore pants, overalls, anything but their perfect dresses. I played in the sand and I ran around with boys; playing things like tag or baseball. I always came home with grass stained knees.
My mother always told me to ‘girl-up’. She said to start acting like a girl or no one would like me. And my father agreed with her. He was ashamed of me. Everyone was. I was shunned and looked at with pity eyes and offended glares. All girls were expected to be girls, and all boys were expected to be boys. No boyish girls or girlish boys. Though, there were no girlish boys, and only one boyish girl.
They tried ever so hard to make me like the others but they could not succeed. Not only did people glare at me, but at my parents as well.
Every time I walked through town on the way home from school I would get those stares and tactless whispers, as well as cruel remarks under one’s breath. I hid my face behind my hair and I tilted my head so it stared at the ground. All the way home I’d only see the dirt of the road.
What my mother would call ‘an excuse for a school bag’ sat on my back. Though, it was true I now see. It was more of a potato sack or a brownbag. But that bag was more of taste to me than any purse, handbag, or any of those fancy holders. Even the boys made fun of it. Sometimes I wondered if there was even a bit of girl in me.
I didn’t understand why girls and boys must be a certain way. Just because I didn’t like the dresses or their prints, and I liked playing with different things didn’t make me all that different, did it? Well, it did. The world was very strict and was one of the reasons my parents tried so hard to make me a ‘proper girl’. But no matter how hard they tried I was useless. I was a true failure.
‘A true failure’ my father yelled. I sat reluctantly in the chair of our dining room; the place where we ate. My head was facing the floor and I watched my shoes—which were, of course, brown and plain and worn out with scuffs—as they swung back and forth. ‘Look at me!’ I shot my head up and stared into his livid face. ‘You’re a true failure!’ he continued. ‘An excuse for a daughter…you know that?’ He raged on and on but this wasn’t the first. There had been many other times so I had grown used to it, though it still made me tense and afraid.
And, for the first time ever, he reached his hand over to the hook on the wall. The hook held a leather belt.





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Dominica said...
Dec. 21, 2009 at 8:55 am
I really like this! It gives us a great image of how, if we try to be ourselves -different from the set standards, people don't react well to change.
 
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