Words Hurt

Katie - Austin, Texas
Entered on June 30, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: setbacks
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Words Do Hurt

Sticks and stones hurt, yes, that is true, but bruises of the flesh can heal. There are no bandages for the sting of vicious words that are thrown from the mouths of humanity to criticize others. Hurtful words can haunt people for a lifetime. My childhood is a prime example of this truth. When I was a small child, my classmates called me ‘fat’. Most likely it wasn’t because I was actually a little overweight, because in every class that I was in there was always a kid bigger than me. No, the goal of these children was not to help support my efforts to be a healthy human, their goal was to emotionally scar a quiet child who’s ideas never seemed to match what was considered normal in the classroom. They chose to attack me verbally because physical assault would guaranteed a trip straight to the principal’s office. In those days, verbal bullying was not of concern to the teacher, and the idea of “words will never hurt me” was the mantra of most of the adults that I came into contact with. All of the kids knew that so when it came time to cast out the wretch that was too different, they resorted to more stealth methods of injury. At the time I didn’t have the luxury of that insight, and so I let them convince me that there was actually something physically wrong with me. Through my school age days, I was forced to eat at home. Home cooking kept weight on, and with no other option, I was forced to remain healthy. The tormenting went on through my teenage years, and my self image fell through the floor. When I first went to college, I saw this as an opportunity to change my physical appearance to what I thought everyone else wanted. Eventually, my obsession with weight caused me to slip down the muddy slope of anorexia. I changed from at 135-pound athlete to an 89-pound stick who hated life and everything in it. Luckily, I had the support of my family to help dig me out of my troubles, but had they not been there, I would probably not be sitting here typing this today. So, yes, words do hurt. Worse than stones and more than sticks, words have the potential to bruise the heart, spirit, and self-image, three things that cannot be repaired.