Students of a seventh-grade writing class at Arizona's Queen Creek Middle School were assigned to write a slam poem for their final assignment: It had to be about something they were passionate about, and they would have to perform it in front of the class, according to News 12.
Thirteen-year-old Olivia Vella's poem was so honest, soul-baring, and relatable that it ended up going viral, having been watched over 24 million times (!) on the News 12 Facebook page.
In her poem, Vella talks about the daily trials and tribulations of trying to fit in ("pick an outfit that will fit in with the latest trends and won't make you the laughingstock of the school, more than you already are"), look pretty ("don't forget to style your hair in elegant curls. You can't let everyone at your school see how your hair frizzes up like an electrocuted monkey naturally"), and find friends ("You know you shouldn't hang out with them, but hey, they are the popular kids, and you just want people to like you").
She asks, "Why am I not good enough?" several times, a question that troubles people at every age, but more so in our formative years. She knows popularity is not all it's cracked up to be, though, saying, "Popular is not always a good thing. . . You look at other girls wishing you were them, but other girls are looking at you wishing they were you." She ends by saying, "Society is wrong. You are loved, you are precious, you are beautiful, you are talented, you are capable, you are deserving of respect, you can eat that meal, you are one in seven billion, and most of all, you are good enough."
Her teacher, Brett Cornelius, left comments on the News 12 page, saying that Vella had worked on the poem for over a month, and that almost the whole class was moved to tears.
The poem got a ton of lovely comments on the News 12 Facebook page. Here are just a few:
Middle School can be the hardest time for some teenagers. They've left the comforts of their grammar school, but they haven't yet moved on to high school, where they have a better chance of finding themselves and their friends. Middle School is just a free-for-all education limbo for kids who don't just naturally have that "popularity" gene.
It's amazing to see someone display this level of clarity and self-reflection at such a young age. Hopefully her words will inspire not only teenagers but also adults of all ages to be comfortable just being who they are.