A video I re-shared on Facebook three years ago popped up in my memories today.
And it is just as poignant and powerful today as it was when I watched it three years ago.
It has been viewed over 100 million times since originally posted on the various platforms where it was shared.
The video features a then 13-year-old Olivia Vella (who was a 7th grade student at Queen Creek Middle School), talking about the pressures that teen girls face to “fit in.”
She lists the 12 steps she takes to complete a day in her life.
The step that saddened me the most was Step #7…
Find a group of people you can walk to class with because heaven knows you can’t just walk alone…
But you don’t even like these people.
They cuss and they make dirty jokes a lot. And they laugh and make fun of you.
You know you shouldn’t hang out with them.
But, hey, they are the popular kids and you just want people to like you like they like them.
You are in the stocks as people throw judging tomatoes and hating heads of lettuce at your insecure little head.
You cannot stand up for yourself because you are alone, trapped and defenseless.
And you cannot stand up for yourself because these popular kids are like the royalty of the school.
And apparently what they say and do goes.
You take each comment, each judgement, each assumption, each opinion, each strange look, each remark, each criticism, each review, each report, each assessment
And with it, your self-esteem plummets like a sinking ship…
Down, down, down
Into the dark and dreary depths below.
You look at all the other girls, your mind racing a mile a minute
“I wish I had her eyes.
I wish I had her hair.
I wish I was as skinny as her.
I wish I had her perfectly straight, white teeth.
I wish that I had her social confidence.
I wish as many boys liked me as they like her.
Why am I not good enough?
Life isn’t fair.”
To watch the entire video, click on the picture below.
Olivia’s Not the Only One
I think #7 hit me so hard because I know it’s not just 7th grade girls who feel that way.
It’s what I hear from 8th grade and high school girls in my class.
“You helped me believe a relationship and my actions will not define me. I have a lot of negativity going on in my life, but ever since you came to speak with us, I have been feeling better about myself. Every day of this month I have been crying because I felt as if I wasn’t enough. Now these past few days, I have felt the best about myself. I have been more positive about how I look, feel, etc. I would like to thank you very much for coming to my school to talk to all of us.” ~8th-grade girl
“I’ve learned a lot of things from you yesterday, things that I never really thought too much about. I have wonderful parents, but I still wanted to ‘fit in’ at school. I just wanted to say thank you, not just for the talk but for helping me become more confident. I now know that most teenagers aren’t as perfect as they seem, and I’m glad I’m not alone. Thanks to you, I don’t have to pressure myself to ‘fit in’ because I now realized, it’s ok to be different.”
~High School Junior
And based on the tens of thousands of comments the video received from moms, her experience is not unique:
Is Your Daughter Olivia too?
I highly recommend that you watch this video with your daughter and have a discussion.
Find out if she’s had any of these experiences or feelings.
Ask her what a typical day in her life at school is like.
If your daughter is returning to school in person, now is the perfect time to have this conversation.
Even if your daughter will be engaged in virtual learning, this is still a great time to prepare her for the environment she may face whenever she returns in person.
While she may escape some of the things mentioned in the video because she’s learning virtually, many of the pressures are just as prevalent on social media.
Your daughter needs to know this…
She. Is. Good. Enough!
And remind her as many times as it takes for her to receive it, believe it and live it.
P.S. I learned early on while teaching teens about love, sex, and relationships, that nothing I said would matter if the girls I was teaching didn’t believe they were “Good Enough.” So, I dedicate a significant portion of my message speaking life into young ladies and letting them know they are “Good Enough” just as they are, without having to change a single thing about themselves. And I encourage you to do the same with your daughter. Go here to watch the video and have that conversation with her.
P.P.S. There’s a reason why Olivia’s video went viral when it was originally shared three years ago. Her poem is still relevant for girls everywhere today. Please share this post on social media with every mom of a tween or teen girl you know and let’s keep sharing the message that our girls ARE “Good Enough” PERIOD!