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”

Click the photo below to learn more about Julia Magdei.