There is an idiom that is still popular today.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”
I cannot number the times I have heard this. But it is not true. Names, words, can and do hurt. In fact they can destroy a person emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and in some cases physically. Names, words, can at times, kill. Even the Bible talks of this when it states “the power of life and death are in the tongue.”
Most of my growing up was filled with words. Words that sucked the life from me.
“You’re a loser.”
“You will never amount to anything.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
“How can you be so stupid?”
“You’re such a fag, homo. queer.”
These words, and many others pierced my heart, soul for years. They were arrows dipped in the poison of rejection and hate. And the words took on a life of their own infecting me and I began to shrivel up, withdraw into myself. I assumed that the words were true. I began to fail at life, and ended up truly hating myself.
Self loathing became my way of life, and what grew out of this was fear of everything and everyone, doubt in myself, and the consuming need to be accepted.
I gave up who I was just to be accepted, loved, and affirmed. I ran after these things as if they were oxygen. My life was what everyone else thought it should be.
And I had lived like this for the majority of my life.
Words hurt. Words steal your life if you let them.
I let them.