Being in middle school isn't easy for anyone, but girls especially have a unique set of challenges to deal with. In a viral spoken word poem about being a girl, 13-year-old Olivia Vella poignantly describes many of these tough aspects of girlhood, from cliques to sexist beauty standards.
"Pick out an outfit that will fit in with the latest trends and won't make you the laughing stock of the school. More than you already are," the poem opens. "Put on some makeup so you can actually show your face in public so you can be a little bit pretty."
Vella then describes all the other expectations unfairly placed on teen girls and the self-esteem issues that can come with them. She also talks about being outside the popular crowd — and being bullied for excelling at the one thing she feels good enough at: schoolwork.
"You are in the stocks as people throw judging tomatoes and hating heads of lettuce at your insecure little head," she says. "You can not stand up for yourself, because you are alone, trapped and defenseless. And you can not stand up for yourself because these popular kids are like the royalty of the school and apparently, what they say and do, goes."
She also called out the people who trivialize teens' problems by telling them to be grateful for what they have or stop comparing themselves to others. And at the end, she wrapped it up perfectly by tying the problems she faces to societal sexism. Then, she reassured the audience, "you are one in seven billion. And most of all, you are good enough."
Though some of us have forgotten how hard it was to be a middle schooler, this poem will make you instantly remember every excruciating bit. And if you're in the midst of it, it all, it'll reassure you that you're in good company.
"People I don't even know would say 'Hey Olivia, I really liked your monologue and I feel the exact same way,'" Vella CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO. "And it was really eye opening because I for most of the time thought I was the only one that felt this way and I was crazy for feeling it."