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  • Everyone has done it. Everyone has called someone a name, everyone has talked behind someone else's back, everyone has participated in some form of bullying or hatred at some point in their life.

    But, what we don't think about is how damaging our words can be and how much this can affect someone.

    I can remember words that have been said to me that the people who did it probably would never even remember it.

    Here are a few that stick with me...

    In elementary school I moved to Arizona with my family. I was the new girl and living in the rural country. I had a southern accent and really did not fit in too well. Long story short... the bullying started on the school bus. We lived so far out that my bus only had a few people on it. And even fewer that were my age. I can remember this little country cowgirl telling me I was a city girl and needed to go back to where I came from because no one likes an ugly city girl. I also remember her twin brother telling me my stomach was so big I probably eat off of it. The older kids in the back would yell at me if I sat too close to them. These things were so small to them...but for me, it changed me. For every tear that silently rolled down my cheek while I hugged my knees on that school bus over the years...it created who I am today. They broke my heart and damaged my self-esteem.

    While dating a boy in high school...man, I really thought I loved him. First loves always cut the deepest...right? From the cheating to the people telling him not to date such a psychotic and ugly girl, telling him he could do better...the tears I cried that year.

    From people starting rumors that I was "a slut" or "stuck up". I was a "slut" because being friends with girls scared me... so being friends with guys always seemed safer. So I was a "slut"...but I was a virgin. I was "stuck up" because I was quiet. Literally petrified to talk to people in my classes. Afraid that they would walk out and find something mean to say about me.

    And then I met the person that I thought was the one... I was so crazy about him I would have given up my world and everything in it to be with him. But his friends... people I never even spoke to, filled his head with how disgusting I was. I remember pulling up outside of Starbucks on a date with him. He was driving and got out of the car first. I was still in the car with the door open because I had to tie my shoe. They must not have noticed I was with him... but to this day those words leave a stinging scar. A girls voice...I knew exactly who it was but have never even spoke to her before. "Are you seriously dating Nichole? That's disgusting. Are you serious? You can do so much better than that!" It was a much nastier version of this but I think I even have learned to block it out. My world fell apart. My self-image has never been the same. I wanted him to think it didn't bother me. I held in the tears until he dropped me off. We texted for a little while and I talked to him like nothing was wrong. While I cried so hard I could barely see the words on my screen. This was 4 years ago and thinking about it still opens up a stinging wound.

    I can't count the times I have stared at my reflection crying, literally hating who I was. I can't count the number of days in school that I locked myself in my closet begging my parents not to send me to school. I can't count the number of tears I've cried in my high school bathroom.

    I've grown stronger. I've learned to love the people that have always kept me strong. I've learned to start loving myself. But there is a little girl still crying in that bathroom. There is still someone hating their reflection. There is still someone out there that needs a hand to hold and a friend to lean on.

    We are all guilty...

    But please think before you do it again. Words can damage a person and it can last with them for the rest of their lives...
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