Aija waxes poetic in the Champion sneaker with rainbow foxing

POWER IS MY unwavering truth

A poem by Aija Mayrock

Aija is a writer and poet. She started writing her first book "The Survival Guide to Bullying" when she was 16 years old after having been bullied for many years. She wrote us an original poem about her experience, and how her journey has allowed her to step into her power.

Photographed in NYC by Anna Zhang

Growing up with a lisp and a stutter

Each time I uttered

I mean each time I choked

On a word

I got bullied by peers and teachers

I lost my voice in theirs


After years of staying silent

Being compliant

I saw what was happening around the world

Young folks

Taking their lives

When the bullying got too bad

And no one showed up

No one showed up

“Step into it. It’s never too late”
Aija steps into her power in the daisy eyelet Champion sneaker

So I put pen to paper

Rearranged the thoughts that poured from my brain

And told my story

Stepped into my power

With nothing to gain

But facing the fact

That I had stayed silent

For so many years

I had stayed silent 

For fear of what my words could do

And now I was no longer silent

My power is my unwavering truth

There is no such thing as weak people

Only people

Who have not yet stepped into their power

Step into it

It’s never too late


Anna Zhang, New York

POWER IS action over silence

There’s something special about capturing human faces, in illuminating facets of an identity through static images. In translating what happens behind the scenes—the shared accounts of vulnerability, humor, and dejection—into a final portrait, I cherish the opportunity for storytelling through each photograph, depictions of identities not quite polished, but stunningly real.

Anna Zhang

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