QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. - Articulate and powerful, a seventh grader at Queen Creek Middle School in Queen Creek, Arizona left her class stunned with a speech that touched her classmates and now, a video that's touching strangers.
13-year-old Olivia presented a "slam poem" in Brett Cornelius' class writing class last week, which was recorded by her teacher and posted on the school's Facebook page.
In her poem, Olivia delivers a stirring monologue about teen self esteem, appearances, from head to toe, from hair and makeup to toe-pinching, blood blistering shoes. "As you gaze into the bathroom mirror, you see a stranger that somehow stole your reflection and replaced it with a completely different girl," she said. "Every part of your outfit is uncomfortable," she says, but "you will never be as good as those other girls at school."
"Why am I not good enough?" she asks as she lists out the typical teen to-do list of what she does every day, like getting ready, walking to the bus stop, walking through the school halls, wishing to be someone else because none of it ever seems good enough. The one thing that brings you joy, when you pour yourself into your work, instead brings you ridicule. "A's are getting you nothing but torment," she says.
"You tell yourself, 'I just want people to like me. I just want to be accepted.' But skipping meals and marking up your wrists isn't going to fix that," she says. "You look at other girls wishing you were them but other girls are looking at you wishing they were you," she says.
Her heartwrenching message of teen identity and uncertainty touched a nerve across the internet, being shared thousands of times. Her poignant message with a note to all young people who share in the same daily, overwhelming struggles: "You are loved," she says. "You are precious, you are deserving of respect, you can EAT THAT MEAL," she says. "Most of all, you are good enough."
Olivia presented her six minute poem in front of all seventh graders without skipping a beat. "She's brilliant beyond words," her teacher, "Mr. C," said, "and this poem is just the icing on top of her perfectly cooked cake. She worked on this for over a month," said Mr. C.