She smiled as she gave her lunch away,
to a boy who didn’t have enough to pay.
She let her friend cry on her shoulder,
with soothing words, she tried to calm her.
She’d stay after school to clean up the place.
And she did all of that with a smile on her face.
From 7 to 8, she’d tutor her classmates,
with her intellect, her scores were great.
She never missed an assignment, she always did her job.
She’s smiling all the time, what could possibly be wrong?
Her parents are divorced, and her mom lost her job.
She’s living at her father’s; all her freedom was gone.
She gave away her lunch, because she’s been told she’s “too fat”.
She always put others before her, because her father called her a brat.
She always helped clean up, because she’s been told she was “too lazy”.
She tutors all her classmates, just to earn a little money.
She was afraid of being pitied, afraid of being looked down on,
afraid of failing badly, afraid of being picked on.
So she smiles,
to let everyone know she’s doing just fine.
But under that picture perfect smile,
is a young girl, who has been waiting a while,
for a hand to help her up.
// This poem has been penned by 13-year-old Nivedha C and was recited by her at the Children’s Poetry Open Mic on Mental Health organized by WICCI National Mental Health Council in association with Beyond the Box on 18th September 2021 //