Sticks and Stones
Why words hurt the way they do, and what to do about it
We all know that old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. But we all know that’s a lie. In fact, the show Scrubs rephrased it the best. Not saying that actions don’t hurt or anything, but I personally would rather take a slap to the face than have somebody I trust insult me. And for a lot of people, it’s not the ones closest to us that are saying mean things, it’s the strangers who hide behind the anonymous button. I’ve received my fair share of “anon” hate. I’m openly queer, overweight, and have very strong opinions that I voice on my personal blog and other social media sites. I know how much it stings to hear your flaws being called out by people who don’t even know you. Because the problem with reading insults rather than hearing them, is you don’t hear the other person’s voice. You hear your own. We all have our insecurities: height, weight, blotchy skin, greasy hair, whatever it may be. And nobody wants those things to be called out on. Sometimes it’s not the physical problems that hurt the most, either. If somebody really wants to hurt you, they may pull up painful memories such as past relationships or negative things you’ve done in the past such as self-harm or drug abuse. Teenage girls are particularly vulnerable to these taunts, and many young girls have been pressured to delete their accounts, and some even driven to suicide as a result. For instance, these messages were allsent to a Tumblr user. When you read them, it may not seem serious right now. But to that person, who may be going through very hard things, they dig and dig under your skin to the point where it all becomes too much. So what do we do about it? This article here offers some tips on what to do when you are experiencing this sort of hate and makes excellent points. It states that the four key things to do are: 1. Don’t Panic 2. Figure out how/if you wish to respond 3. Respond publicly but keep any follow-up private 4. Damage control I completely agree with all of these points. It’s important in these situations to remember that all the other person is trying to do is get a rise out of you. They crave your attention and feedback to fuel their own sick game. They thrive off the pleasure they gain from your pain. These people are not your friends, they are not your fans, they are immature people who are taking out their own frustrations on you. Do not panic. These things will hurt to read, that’s completely understandable. But don’t let it get to you. They’re just the ramblings of somebody too immature and cowardly to even show their real name. A lot of times, they’ll just be generic slander that stem from physical appearance or something you’ve said recently. There is nothing wrong with how you look or your opinions (so long as they aren’t like… pro-genocide or anti-ERA
or you hate strawberry milkshakes) If/when you decide to respond publically, remember to paint yourself in the best light. Do not feed their egos. State why they are wrong, why their words cannot get to you (hint: it’s because you’re incredible), and remind them that what they are doing is illegal. It is a form of harassment, and encouraging suicide or putting a minor in harm are both serious criminal offenses in the US. Remind your actual friends, followers, and fans that they need to be the bigger person as well and not attack your abuser in retaliation if they have made their name known. It only fans the flames. And don’t forget the damage control. Remember who you are, and how far you’ve come. You are a brilliant person inside and out who deserves the very best.