Sticks & Stones

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." 

Remember that? How many grew up hearing that and still to this day, words hurt? There was a time when I was young that the advice about bullies was to ignore them because their words could not hurt you. And if they hit you, then you could tattle on them. But for me and many others, I know who were bullied in their lives, the bruises healed, the cuts and scabs healed, even broken bones healed. And I can tell you for certain, that the words of many of those in my youth, still sting.

I might be a different kind of person. I am highly empathetic. I feel the word of others pointed at me as well as pointed at others. I feel things very strongly. When I was young this was called being an emotional basketcase or an emotional cripple. I hear things and they trigger memories for me. They say that the nose is the greatest memory trigger, but for me, it is my ears.

I have difficulty watching movies and television shows that use mild bullying and uncomfortable, embarrassment humor. I could never watch Napolean Dynamite because even though he is the hero in that story, they make fun of and bully him. I knew that kids, I went to school with that kid, I was one of those kids.

"Oh, you are being too sensitive. You need to toughen up and grow a thicker skin".

I remember every beating I took as a kid in school. I remember every insult leveled at me. I can hear the voices of those kids, and adults, who said them.

For a while I did toughen up, I did grow a thicker skin. And I even participated in the jive talk and ribbing people do to their close friends. Over the years though, I have seen more and more of those kinds of people fade from my life. People I considered friends are now all gone. Acquaintances maybe, but not a single one of them reached out in my times of need. Now as I am entering a new section of my life I am trying to be more cautious of who I depend on. Who I trust. Who I say anything to. And as someone who always revealed in friendship, it causes me great sadness.

I have one true friend. He and I have been like brothers for a long time. We have had major ups and downs. But we always come back. He still calls me every week or so to check on me. He knows what I am going through. To be clear, I have family, that care for me. I care for them as well. Friends do it by choice, not by blood.

Words are what make up the laws and constitutions of the world. Words are what signed the death orders of millions of people. Words are what have caused some of the greatest atrocities in human rights. 

You have the right in the USA to Free Speech. Use it wisely. Not to take down your fellow humans, but to help them up.

Words can kill. Words can wound. Words can maim. Words can cripple.

Words can hurt you.

But That's Just Me...Walking My Mind


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