Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Sticks and Stones │ An Open Letter

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”
That’s what we’re told as kids right? It’s drilled into us from an early age, right about the time our fellow school mates start being mean to us for no reason. Yet if I’m totally honest, it’s probably fair to say I’ve had my share of broken bones, but none have hurt as deep or as long as the words inflicted by others.
Within a matter of weeks a broken bone will start to heal and given a little more time and care will become strong again, but hurtful words stick with us, they linger. They wear away at our confidence, our self-image and can leave scars that will never truly fade. When those words come from someone who should love us, they cut even deeper.
I thought I’d started to repair my relationship with a certain family member, right up until this week, when I started to clear out an old email account. There, in amongst the spam and the junk is an email with clear intention; to hurt.   People always seem to find it strange when I admit that there is a certain amount of strain on my relationship with my family, but when messages are sent with lines like “You and your partner can crawl into whatever hole you like as far as I’m concerned” it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve built my walls up high to protect myself. It’s no surprise that I’ve become so guarded.
What is perhaps worse is that this came at a time I had taken a massive step away. I’d got to the point that I couldn’t cope and needed to cut off contact to get my head straight and to find myself again. After messages of an unpleasant theme I’d blocked this persons number as well as their social media to stave off anything that would have a negative impact or cause further hurt. Yet they had so little respect for my wishes to be left alone that they found another avenue of contract purely to send a spiteful message.
The thing is, once you put your words out into the world you can’t take them back, you can’t unsay them. If you scrunch up a piece of paper, you can smooth it over as much as you want, but it will never be pristine like it was before. This email was old, and sent months before we started to repair. I understand that the writer was in a different place at that time, had I read this before we started to reconnect, I don’t think that contact would have happened.
Will I cut contact again off the back of this finding? No. I’ll move on from this one, given the timing I think its best left ignored, but this is the last one. This is the last time words full of venom and spite will be ignored and overlooked. I can move past words from a different time, a different headspace. The writer knew what they were doing was wrong, in their admittance that no one else knew of the existence of the message they were forming.
Taste your words before you spit them out into the world, because once they are out there’s no going back. Forget about sticks and stones, words stick, so be careful how you use them.


1 comment

  1. I'm so sorry you've had to go through what you have, people really have no idea how much words hurt, they definitely hurt deeper than any broken bone and you're left with everything mean anyone has ever said, stored in a drawer of your brain. All the fights I've ever been in or accidents I've had, the cuts, bruises, wounds etc... they all healed, but all the arguments or bullying I verbally experienced have followed me through life, creating this anxious person who is always worrying what others think. Its awful that this person felt the need to write that email, regardless of when it was sent, it still stings. You are definitely being the bigger person in this situation but it's awful that you've only just read it.

    Jordanne || thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk


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