Julia Magdei was born in Hollister, CA in 2005. From a young age, she displayed a remarkable aptitude for academic excellence and extracurricular activities. Throughout her life, she maintained a perfect record of straight A's while also participating in various activities such as ASB, class office, sports, tennis, track, gymnastics, dance, and drama club. Additionally, she has studied piano since the age of six and has developed a passion for writing, including poetry, jokes, stories, and plays.
Julia's talents have been recognized often, as she has participated in poetry contests yearly, winning first place for eight consecutive years. Along with her love for writing, Julia has also developed a talent for singing and is a member of a community choir.
In 2021, Julia suffered a devastating hemorrhagic stroke resulting from an aneurysm rupture in a grade 4 thalamic AVM. Despite the gravity of her condition, Julia fought for her life for over seven weeks in the hospital, enduring two craniotomies, three embolizations, one femoral bypass surgery, and later gamma-knife radiation. As a result of the stroke, Julia experienced right-side hemiplegia, peripheral vision loss, and aphasia.
Determined to overcome the obstacles she faced, Julia returned to school on a part-time basis and even enrolled in an AP English class, despite struggling with aphasia. Her tenacity and dedication are further evidenced by her creation of an online newspaper for her high school, The Baler Gazette, which she single-handedly spearheaded as the presiding Editor-in-Chief. Despite the challenges she has faced, Julia remains an exceptional student and an inspiration to all those around her.
The poem Insecurities is a heartfelt and introspective piece of work Julia wrote a few months before her stroke. It speaks to the deeply ingrained insecurities that plague many individuals, particularly in today's social media-driven society. Julia explores the self-doubt and negative thoughts that often arise when we look in the mirror or compare ourselves to others. Julia encourages us to let go of these insecurities and to embrace our unique selves. The poem serves as a powerful reminder that we are all worthy of love and acceptance, regardless of our perceived flaws.
by Julia Magdei
“As I look up in the mirror
I face myself and stare
For I wonder of so many thoughts
That seem to fill my mind with despair
What are these bumps all over my cheeks?
Is there a blemish on my chin?
Oh dear, this can’t be a wrinkle!
And I continue to hate on my skin
Next my eyes move to my body
Which I cannot seem to face
For every time I look at it
My mind continues to race
Why isn’t my body like the others
That I see on the media every day?
And why hadn’t the results appeared
Of the workout I did yesterday?
These ever-occurring thoughts
Could flood my head everyday
Like an ongoing wave of emotions
That cannot seem to wash away
As I walk away from the mirror
I try to clear my head
And instead of staring at myself
I bring myself to my bed
Sitting there all by myself
I decide to pick up my phone
It would only be for a little while
Until my thoughts had blown
Scrolling past TikTok and Instagram
New insecurities enter my head
And instead of knocking at the door
They let themselves in instead
I decide to put down my phone
And instead pull out a chair
I grab the latest magazine
And read of the latest affairs
As I glance at all the models
My mind’s still not at ease
For when I see their airbrushed faces
My doubts are not appeased
An hour passed, and I get up
To try and do something new
But as I walk around my room
There isn’t much to do
I find my thoughts returning back
And filling my mind to the top
Until my head starts to ache
And I can’t seem to make them stop
I slouch down on the floor
And contemplate the life before me
Is this how I want my life?
Could I open my eyes and see?
As I walk back to the bathroom
I return back to step one
And looking back at the mirror
I notice all the damage I had done
My eyes are full of water
And my face is flushed and red
And only now I recognize the thoughts
That were filling up my head
I question the ways of our society
I question the ways of life now
Would this be the way we would want our children
To grow up and allow?
If only I could let myself
To just take a look and see
That not every little insecurity
Was as important to you as to me
Then why do I care so much about something
That obviously doesn’t define me?
Why do I cry to myself everyday
About something as insignificant as a flea?
We have to get to the root of our problem
In order to overcome and grow
Our age of individuals will end up helpless
Unless we realize to let go
Let go of self-doubt
Let go of popularity
Let go of the little insecurities
That continue to face you and me
Let go of worrying if a face is symmetrical
Or if our eyebrows are the same shape
We were made to all be different
And these thoughts are what we need to escape
Social media is an instigator of lies
When there’s lack of confidence, it thrives
If we continue to condone its negativities
How will it impact our lives?
For I am only a teenager
But already I can see
That the life in which I am living
Is not the life in which it should be
We need to change the way we pertain society
And stand together as a whole
Until these endless insecurities
No longer define our souls”
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