“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”

I think all of us are familiar with the above phrase and have heard it from our parents at least once in our lives.  Let me break this down for a moment.  Sticks and stones may break my bones: clearly this is a true statement.  Not once have I been struck by a stick and not been in some sort of pain.  Words can never hurt me: this statement troubles me.  A stick can, in fact, break my bone, but to say that a word can never hurt me?… That is a little much, is it not?  Now, I am aware that a word can never physically harm any human being (I am not that dumb), but I think everyone knows that by saying “words can never hurt me”, one is stating that he/she is completely resistant to mental abuse.  I can tell you from personal experience that this is not true.  I am sure anyone of any age can say the same thing.

Words hurt.  Whether it is simply calling someone a “football-head” (HeyArnold reference) or using an extremely derogatory term, it still stings even though it may not look or feel that way initially.  I do not know if you remember the story of Asher Brown, but Asher was 13 years-old when Brown’s parents reported the bullying to his school in Texas several times.  Nothing was done to stop or prevent the bullying.  Asher shot himself in the head with a 9mm pistol on September 23, 2010 because of years of bullying and harassment.  Let me reiterate one detail about Asher: he was 13 years-old.  Click—>> WATCH THIS VIDEO <<—Click

Earlier that year on January 14, 2010 a girl named Phoebe Prince hanged herself from the stairwell of her family’s apartment building in South Hadley, MA.  She was 15 years-old.  Phoebe had just moved to South Hadley from Ireland where she had also been bullied in school, but clearly the move did not help the issue.  After years of verbal and possibly physical torture in Ireland and the US, Phoebe decided she had had enough.  Once again, it was reported that the schools did nothing when she and her parents asked for help.  These are just two incidents of teens taking their own lives because of those words that apparently NEVER hurt.  Many more suicides go without being written about because the publishing industry feels the “advertising” of suicides will cause more to occur (I will let you form your own opinions about that).

Breaking a bone, getting a concussion, having minor surgery, stubbing a toe and closing a door on a finger are all painful events.  I can tell you from personal experience that none of those things compare to internal (mental/emotional) pain.  Yes, breaking a bone is excruciating but the pain eventually passes as if it almost never happened.  Having something pierce your skin does not compare in the slightest to something that pierces your mind.  To have something eat away at your thoughts and feelings for weeks or months or years is far more unbearable.  When have you ever heard of someone breaking a bone followed by their suicide two weeks later?

There are, of course, special cases of suicide when a star high school football player loses his scholarship after a career ending injury.  The teen is crushed by the news that he will never play again and can no longer afford to attend college.  Although the injury caused him physical pain, he also must live with the pain of never playing again for as long as it takes him to accept his fate.  Ultimately, he cannot control his mind and falls to his knees begging his mind to give him a fucking break.  Unfortunately it is not that simple and the mind does not loosten its grasp.  His mind and emotions drive the boy to kill himself.

Many of you out there live fairly free of emotional pain.  You may be saying, “what? Of course I live with emotional pain!”.  Yeah, I know we all get stressed about school and work sometimes, but at the end of the day, it still eases your mind to do things you usually enjoy.  In your mind, it gives you comfort when you think about the future.  What happens when you do not find joy in the things you used to love?  What happens when you think about the future and all you see is darkness?  What will you do then?  I will tell you.  You try to identify the problem quickly and seek help before it worsens and your emotions take control.

I usually like to try to have a positive attitude and mindset through every day of my life.  But more often than not I find myself looking down as I walk to class.  I find myself staring into space while dwelling on past events and regrets.  Sometimes I feel as though every day is one day closer to a worse day.  Some days I think it would be best to just end it.  Though these thoughts run through my head, there is still a place in the back of my mind that knows I will eventually be happy…. “even if it takes the rest of my fucking life”.  What I have just shared with you is something I like to think I am very good at hiding, so do not worry about me because I am already getting a lot of help.  Do not think just because someone is happy on the outside that they are truly happy.  Sometimes, especially when it matters most, it is not the case.

I guess what I am trying to say is this: Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will always hurt us; even if we do not feel it at first, and even if we do not show it.

Be happy because good things are ahead…. even if it looks cloudy on the horizon….