Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Sticks and Stones" and Other Phrases That Make No Sense


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

I have a few beefs with this phrase. (Also, who came up with THAT phrase? Beef is delicious. Not sure what the problem is here. Seems like it would be a good thing to have a beef with someone, so long as that person is not a vegetarian. Oh, English language, you have done it again!)

So yeah. Who made the "sticks and stones" quote up? Was that person having sticks and stones thrown at him (or her...)? Things that seem like a bad idea to say when someone is throwing things at you: "Sticks and stones may break my bones..." Don't taunt them!! They are already throwing things at you!!
If they weren't throwing sticks/stones at him, I guess they were verbally attacking him and he wanted to prove that their words didn't affect him. 

That's great. That's really great and I wish I was like that, where people's words never hurt me. 
But honestly, I think that's about the most dishonest quote in the world, besides "A penny for your thoughts," because has anyone EVER come through on that statement? Plus, that is literally the smallest amount of change you could give me. Your bribing strategy is terrible.

Words are so powerful. They have the power to do so much good; the power to lift and inspire. Yet they also have the power to cause so much pain.

For example, I'll never forget the boy in 6th grade that said I was fat, or the boy who said to his friend, "You're friends with pretty girls; why are you talking to her?" 

That was 11 years ago, and I can still remember it as vividly as though it were yesterday. That's not to say that you should hold on to things forever and never forgive -- you absolutely SHOULD forgive. And I have. But truthfully, I haven't forgotten and I don't think I ever will. And honestly, it's shaped the way I see myself, even though I really, really wish I could say their words never affected me.

It's not that I don't want to forget. I would love to forget that those things were said about me. I would also love to forget the time that I walked into a stop sign (clearly I was neither graceful NOR obedient...) in front of a bunch of my college peers, but some things just stick with you. But seriously - try as you might to forget, words scar you. 

On the other hand, they can mold and shape your life for so much good. 

When I was a little girl, I remember my grandma said to me, "You have the sweetest disposition. You are so kind and good." She would tell me that nearly every day, and I began to really believe it. My whole life, I have believed that I am, and have tried my very hardest to be, a kind person. 
Would I be that way if no one had ever told me that I was? I don't know. But I'm grateful that someone did -- and I will never forget it. 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that we have more power than we know. We affect people's lives in ways that most of the time, we probably don't even realize. I can practically guarantee that those boys don't remember telling me I was ugly, and they'd probably feel bad now if they knew they had. But I remember. I remember having to pretend "There's something in my eye; can I please go to the bathroom?" so I could go cry. I remember when my 6th grade teacher said to me, in front of my entire class, "Are you stupid?!"
But I also remember when Sylvia from 5th grade told me I should join choir because I had such a pretty voice. I remember when that boy in high school told me I was funny. I remember when a woman from my mission said that I was sent there just to help her. 

I suppose all I really wanted to say was that you never know what people will remember about what you've said or done... So make it good.

'til next time,