Just a Word

April 21, 2012
By Anonymous

Every time someone hears about bullying, it comes as a shock. Why? When was the last time you criticized someone, laughed at them, talked behind someone’s back? Things we think are one hundred percent okay are actually the opposite of okay. Every day, we hear news of a suicide, and it’s not until it hits close to home that people are made aware of the consequences of bullying. Does someone have to die before action is taken? Stop your words before you hurt someone. You can never guess the impact words can have on someone until you experience it. The hateful words, the questioning of truth, the sadness that lingers is not something I would ever wish on anyone.

Sometimes, however, you cannot escape the cruel words. I myself have been bullied for something I didn’t think was wrong. In my early years, I always believed being a redhead was something special, something different, something good. When I got to middle school, things changed. I was called a ginger – a term that was not used until the “Gingers Have Souls” video hit You Tube and sparked the concept that gingers, perhaps, do not have souls. People quoted the video back to me – I still have not watched it – and it bothered me. Was being a redhead something so bad that I should be considered soulless? Things got progressively worse. I was put down for being a redhead, and it hurt me. One specific time stands out in my mind. When I was eighth grade, I was sitting with a bunch of people, and I accidentally said something that didn’t make sense. A kid I knew said, quite loudly, “Shut up, you’re a ginger. No one likes you.” A few people who were my friends chuckled at that, and it was that comment that pushed me over the edge. I went home that night and did something I never thought I would do: I cut myself. I never thought I would have to resolve to self-harm, but I was so hurt by the constant insults of being who I was that it pushed me to that. Though I no longer self-harm, the experience of hating who I am stays with me. I am still insecure about my red hair to this day, and there are times when I want to make everything go away by dying my hair. I never have, but I still think about it sometimes.

It is plain to see that sometimes even jokes can hurt someone. Things you think are funny can be downright mean and can hurt a person deeper than you know. Never underestimate the pain hidden beneath a smile. No one should ever be bullied because of who they are. People are not bulletproof; they break sometimes. And someone’s heart should not be shattered because of thoughtless comments. Stop your words before you hurt somebody. They can be the bullets that hurt the soul.

The author's comments:
For the Nicholas Kristof Bullying contest

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