Words Hurt

By: Rebecca Hughes

The summer in between high school and college is a weird time. At least for me. After tirelessly working through summer reading for the past four years, having no schoolwork is a new feeling. With all of this newfound time on my hands, I found myself searching for a new project. That project turned out to be cleaning out my closet and getting my room organized. Some of it was easy by just taking out anything I didn’t wear anymore and anything that didn’t fit and putting it in a pile to give to charity. My closet was something I have avoided for a while because I knew that it would be an intense process. I asked my mom to come up to my room to help me and we went through my closet together. Some pieces she couldn’t understand why I wanted to donate, and when she asked why I wanted to donate them, I had various responses. I found myself repeatedly saying “oh well someone said something mean when I wore it.” They were just off the cuff comments like “oh you look like a grandma in that shirt” or “oh you look like a crazy pink polar bear in that.” In hindsight who doesn’t want to be a cozy polar bear?? However, these comments had a subconscious affect on me because I would never reached for those items again, and now here I am wanting to get rid of perfectly good clothing. After finishing my closet I started thinking about how people’s words have a huge effect whether we notice it or not. Even though “words can never hurt me” is a saying I strongly believe, words can and did hurt me. I think it’s okay to admit that words do hurt and to remind myself and anyone reading this to be aware of the vocabulary they chose, especially when speaking to other people. You never know what someone is going through or what affect a negative comment could have on another person. At the end of the day, my confidence and self esteem took a major hit. I was no longer confident in myself or my style choices so I chose to let other people’s voices change the way I thought of myself. Encouraging others is a conscious decision that requires a daily effort, and after cleaning out my closet I chose to focus more on encouraging those around me.