Be Gentle, Don't Cry

by Dakotah Aiyanna

I told her not to cry,

Be gentle she tells herself.


I listen to her anger shift through to laughter, and at once

I realized that Bipolar could be a potential issue but she prayed.

The woman who raised me now needs to be raised herself.


The woman who raised me has to be raised herself.


No longer the woman I looked up too,

no longer the woman I saw as so strong,

Imaginary pedestals were created as she stood over me, in all her glory.


I became her,

I soaked up her greatness, I basked in her strength to the point where I think she has nothing left.

I painted pictures and scenarios where I would get her back, the superwoman I knew to be daring and caring, loving and angry because she was human.


The woman who raised me stepped off of her pedestal, and I’m stuck thinking to myself but I made it just for you.


These women that raise us don’t realize the emotional stress and trauma they pass down to us. unable to handle their own emotions, saying the first thing that comes to mind leaves young hearts broken and I can't even get a sorry.


These women that raise us don’t realize it takes the village amongst us, but these men can’t forget to help us...they say the children are our future


The women that raise us prove that embedded in our DNA lies strength and resilience.


So because you raised me with dignity, I’ll pass on the legacy and the good nature that was instilled me.


Continue being gentle.

In conversation with Dakotah Aiyanna pertaining to The Women That Raise Us:



"...We must move against not only those forces which dehumanize us from the outside, but also against those oppressive values which we have been forced to take into ourselves.” - Audre Lorde. Through experience, this concept has seemed to flow into our relationships with ourselves and our relationships with others, potentially, creating barriers and preventing us from building, supporting, and lifting one another. how can we transcend this construct?


"I agree completely with this idea or concept that barriers are being made by our own experiences. That also goes without saying because everything we do in life we do for some premeditated reason you could say. The reason we feel the way we feel or experience feelings in the way that we do stems from how we were raised and the environment we were raised in. Being that women are natural born nurturers when that nurturing bond turns into resentment, neglect, etc. It shows in the way we treat ourselves after childhood. It is important for women of color to understand the value that the motherly bond has because if the one woman we look up to won’t even have the common courtesy to look back at us, for the next few years these same behaviors will be mirrored towards other. That is how we can transcend, knowing our own flaws and where these traumas come from, then starting the heart work. Allow your children moving forward to teach you how to be a mother or father to them."


"That is how we can transcend, knowing our own flaws and where these traumas come from, then starting the heart work."

The Women that Raise Us aims to exemplify the variations of women that raise and influence us, directly and indirectly, acknowledging every connection, whether ancestral or distant.  Who are the women that have shaped you or raised you? Who are the women that continue to do so?


My grandmother, my mother, my female friends and their mothers. Every woman in my life I have learned from and continue to learn from. I take every word as a lesson and keep it in my pocket especially if it directly impacts me.

In what ways can we release the stereotypical negative perspectives and ideas of women of color and their roles? How can we transcend these constructs and deepen the interpersonal/intrapersonal relationships with women of color?


Ohhh this is a good one. The way we release stereotypes starts solely with self. We have to acknowledge where we are and try to act against it. Everything we do literally starts with self because when self is good, everything around self is good. When you are working on yourself to fight against the stereotypes it also reflects in your children and the other women around you.



"The way we release stereotypes starts solely with self."



How can we lift each other while we still climb? How can this become an ongoing practice?

I believe it all starts with a simple act of kindness. By saying hello, smiling and giving compliments.

Dakotah Aiyanna is a Charlotte based writer, artist, author, and self-love advocate. Inspired by the world and people around her, her main focus is to spread a black narrative in a way that everyone can understand. She has been writing for 12 years and decided that she is going to take the title as author and pursue it as her career. Her most recent project entitled: Black Tea + Honey is a collective of poetry using black tea as a concept to recognize the bitterness of being Black in America and then honey as the soothing side of things, the beauty of being Black. 


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