Home 9 Issue 9 Femininity by Mayson Canley

Mayson Canley, age 15


I wrote this thinking about how unique and special girlhood truly is. We’re complicated, passionate, loving, emotional, and hundreds of other traits and qualities that make us so powerful.


Long eyelashes
Laughing till you can’t breathe
Baring souls in the early hours of the morning
Big shirts and little pants
Giving a hair tie right off your wrist
The secret language of eyes
Feeling emotions so big you don’t know what to do with them
Seeing yourself in your mother
Gentle fingers doing your hair
Bathroom conversations
Maternal instincts
Dancing in the kitchen
Hugs that convey words
Doing skin care late at night
Gently wiping mascara from swollen eyes
Tying your hair up to focus
Matching shoes to an outfit
Separate texts during a group chat conversation
Creativity bursting from every seam
Universal experiences
Calling as soon as you get home
Getting ready in the same mirror
The look when your song comes on
Feeling protective of younger girls
Sharing headphones
Tiny dresses
Waving at babies in front of you in line
Crying about growing up
Comparing what we want for the future
Sharing clothes
Color-coding notes
Holding hands for no particular reason
Bonding with girls you don’t even know
Walking in pairs to stay safe
Planning things down to every detail
Feeling pretty in ratty pjs and messy hair
Random compliments
Feeling understood by a teacher
Being called sweetheart and love and babes
Hugging at every greeting and departure
Screaming a song to each other
Talking with your hands
Helping your mom with dinner
The afterglow of crying
Having grudging respect for the girl you hate
Long hair whipping around in the wind
Trading tips about hair and makeup
Living for drama
Existing quietly in each other’s company
“OK I’m not supposed to tell you this but”
The ache of a past friendship
Feeling every girl’s pain as your own
Being unfairly dress-coded
Feeling like your whole life depends on finding love
Sharing the unhinged rants you wrote when you were thirteen
Hyping each other up no matter what
Jewelry being passed down from generation to generation
Smiling like you’re made of light