An Ode to Women During Mental Health Awareness Month

By: Paichence Carter

To the girls with big dreams and hair too big for a hat –
To the girls who grew up quickly, without a manual or a map.

To the girls who bear mother hood, at risk 3.5 % more than most –
To the girls who receive backlash, when it’s their time to boast.

To the girls within spaces, where decisions are being made –
To the girls who are fierce, yet still patient for change.

To the girls who hold sadness, for themselves and for others.
Holding sadness for their mema’s, granny’s, abuela’s, and brothers.

To the girls who lost their innocence, bearing symptoms you can’t see –
To the girls who’ve been told, “you’re not sick enough to believe.”

The world may paint you as angry, somedays your reflection may too –
But there is no miseducation, that has to define you.

Scream, cry, laugh, yell – the most authentic version of you, shall you choose, you shall be –
I’d tell you what I would I do but, to have choice, is to be free.

May we forever be soldiers, fighting for rights to what is ours – every last choice and all of our parts
Fighting endlessly to protect, the little girl within our hearts.