The Deadliest Weapon

nicole - rochelle, Illinois
Entered on December 3, 2008

“Sticks and stone may brake my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a motto that I have depended on since middle school. I held this philosophy close to my heart for many years, hoping to discover some truth to its meaning. But for some reason, this childhood rhyme that I thought could offer me comfort, did not heal the pain that words could inflict. I was very awkward during my teen years. I was a towering five foot ten by the sixth grade, about one hundred pounds, had crooked teeth, and was very shy. On top of that, I was a complete tomboy. I never wore make-up and I loved sports. I was every bully’s perfect target. I was frequently laughed at, called names, and humiliated because of my looks and personality. The boys in my class would laugh and joke at my height and my awkwardness, while the “popular” girls would gossip about my unstylish clothes and my boy-like appearance. There were many nights I would go home crying to my parents, demanding that I transfer schools because I had no friends. I would have chosen sticks and stones over being ridiculed any day.

During these never-ending years, I had come to the conclusion that the words we use possess power. I tried not to care what people said or thought. I didn’t want to care but couldn’t escape the way I felt. I believe that words can either make or break a human being. Words influence who we are and what we believe. Words create impressions and expectations, as well as influence our determined actions. What we say reflects what we feel and what we think. The words that we say have the ability to effect others in the best or worst ways. Rumors and lies have destroyed relationships, jobs, and people. I have seen firsthand the devastating effects from words being used inappropriately. No matter how many times I try to convince myself that words are nothing but an opinion, I cannot help but to feel the slightest sentiment of pain. The tongue can be a deadly weapon, able to cause pain with the slightest effort.

Words have the power to destroy, but I believe kind words have to power to heal.

The support I received from my family and the few friends I had helped me hold my head above water. Without their encouragement and love, I would not have been able to wake up and get out of bed every morning. Just one kind word has the power to put a smile on someone’s face. Even the tiniest compliment made my day a little bit brighter and more hopeful. The kind words that I have received have pushed me to become who I am to reach for my goals and my dreams. During my high school years, I took the initiative to become who I wanted to be regardless of my past experiences. Take control of the weapon we all possess and use it to bring a smile, not tears. I believe in the power of words.