This I Believe

Jenna - Columbus, Nebraska
Entered on March 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: fear, respect

When I was a sophomore, I was in an abusive relationship. That experience was what taught me how important words are and how badly they can hurt. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. I don’t know who made that up, but I completely disagree. I believe in the power of words.

For me, what he said hurt more than what he did. Bruises heal, and along with the healing comes a weird sense of closure. It’s like, I would carry around a reminder of what happened, but it eventually went away, and once any signs of physical damage were done, I could kind of let the situation go. When he said all of the mean things, they kept echoing, constantly replaying in my mind like a skipping C.D.. I still haven’t been able to shake some of the things he said, but I guess it is kind of hard to rid your mind of things like, “Nobody wants you. You’re worthless, go slit your wrists with a fillet knife, it would make things better for everyone.” Words like that stayed with me even when I have been able to look past the physical stuff.

I haven’t really admitted that relationship to anyone. Not even to my parents, although I’m sure they knew. I’ve kept it a secret because I feel stupid talking about it, and partly because he took away my voice. If you want to get down to it, I’m still really scared of saying how I feel or what I think, because for a year and a half everything that I ever tried to say was put down by someone I cared about. This is me speaking up for the first time in years, and I am saying to watch what you say. After not saying anything for a year, I didn’t only learn how much words can hurt, but how much they matter. You can talk about anything, it’s what you say that counts. Make it count.

I believe that people need to watch what they say to others. If it isn’t nice, keep it to yourself; you’re probably doing more damage than you realize. Don’t take your words for granted, but choose them wisely.