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Words can hurt more than sticks and stones

Posted: October 20, 2016 11:53 a.m.
Updated: October 21, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Max Robinson

We have all heard the famous rhyme of sticks and stones, insinuating that the pain of a broken bone hurts more than being led to believe that no one will ever fall in love with you. Bullying comes in several forms and is most prominent but by no means limited to the bullying that takes place at school. For if a student breaks in a school and no one chooses to hear it, do they make a sound? 

It was the first day at her new school when she got called ugly. The teacher ignored her cries for help and only moved her to a table alone so she would quit hearing jokes about her learning disability. She had to rehearse avoiding everyone at school or eating lunch in the bathroom for the administration would not help her. She was eventually forced to move schools again, and again she was forced to deal with more verbal abuse. The kids at this school had spread rumor like a plague and like a plague it was killing her, despite it being completely false the truth just wasn’t as much fun to believe. She was called ugly, stupid, freak, spaz, each word a bullet ripping through her self esteem like tissue. And now despite having friends who fiercely defend her and a boyfriend who’s DEFINITION of beauty begins and ends with her name she will always avoid the mirror. Don’t tell me that hurts less than a broken bone.

He was a broken branch of a different family tree. Made up of one part self-loathing and two parts tragedy. He started therapy in grade three; he was led to believe that his alcoholic mother was his only support as she intercepted any evidence that his father even remotely cared about him. His head was a canvas that she painted with lies and doubt. His only solace was looking towards the future and even his grades started to crumble. He would come home daily to the wrath of his intoxicated mother, berated with words that shattered his heart. And when he broke down in class another student who had the privilege of going home to two sober parents had the audacity to tell him “get over it” as if depression is something that can be remedied in a first aid kit. He tried to kill himself in grade ten and again in grade 11. He was admitted into a psychiatric ward that same year, his personality made up of tests and pills that only accomplished the feat of labeling him with the stigma that added “popper” to their arsenal of insults. To this day he is a stick of dynamite lit from both ends, he helps others because he knows what it is to be hopeless. And despite a noble enclave that label him as an inspiration he will always and only see himself as a failure. Don’t tell me that hurts less than a broken bone. 

It has always been this way, kids trying to wrap their hearts in bandages and pushing their dark thoughts to the back of their mind. Being too afraid to go to the administration for fear of being locked up in a mental institution or having perfunctory measures taken that only ensure the possibility of adding “snitch” to the arsenal of insults. So they try to empty themselves so they will feel nothing. Don’t tell me that hurts less than a broken bone.

 If you see yourself as ugly because of what others have said then get a better mirror. Stare a little longer. Search a little harder, because there is something inside you that compelled you to continue despite everyone telling you to quit. 

Max Robinson is a senior at Camden High and hopes to major in international business after he graduates in May.


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