411 Focus

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me": "That's a lie!"

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

Hurting is human

How do you define weak… or strong, for that matter? In which camp do you park yourself?

When I was a child, my reaction to hurt was to climb up in a little pear tree perched on the slope down from a dual-duty “red block” out building – hen house on one end, and smokehouse on the other – and cry… and mumble … and cry. There in privacy I’d repeat a litany of wrongs that none others could see, but blatant to me.

Then, after a while, with no one having noticed, I’d come down and wrap Dasher in my arms, and there we’d stay. Somehow, she knew – a dumb dog, who never did a minute of useful anything, turned not a clod of red clay to snuff a weed, or hold a bean until it burst – but she knew me. She knew my soul, my hurt, my pain.

I’m still that person, though older. I’m the person who, after my brother, two years older, had graduated to the big kids’ school in town, shut my eyes and let the tears fall instead of the punches, fists flailing through the air, missing the target, nor shielding theirs. I am, and will always be, the one who says of the idiom, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”: “That’s a lie!

Does that make me weak? Perhaps. Does that make me a sissy? Maybe. Does that make me stupid? Unreasonable? Stubborn? I don’t think so. In my mind, it makes me different, even as we all are, from any other body, even those we love to the depths of our souls.

There is logic. Just as importantly, there are other complements that make up a person, which together are symbolized as heart, body, and soul. Logic alone cannot equal a whole person. It’s merely a part. Some cannot accept the whole person that another is, placing the physical self as somehow unimportant, dependent and subservient.

As we age, we undergo changes. We cannot wish our bodies or minds into a perfect, or better, state. We are who we grow to be, and the “date stamp” is clearly “inked” onto our foreheads, our knees, our hands, and, yes, our minds.

I am not a “don’t claim it” person, trusting that denial means that refusing to say something puts the brakes on it. If I cannot master something, do not label it my perception, rather than my reality. That simply adds to the frustration. It is not a decision, it is not a choice… It is reality!

There are countless others like me, who find it frustrating to be unable to recall things that came so easily a few years back, to place that name on a younger person’s forehead, to keep up with a grandchild’s birthdate… That in itself is a pain, and an accusatory stare with a rolling of the head because the name doesn’t float up through layers upon layers of names and experiences helps not one iota! In fact, spitting out, “You don’t remember me?” is more than an insult. It’s an assault!

Words hurt! They cut deeply… and healing is ever so slow, if ever. Unlike a cut, or a lump from a miscreant’s rock, they cannot be treated and covered with the “kid-magic” Band Aid that, slapped on a tiny tyke’s knee, brings instant healing.

Words last forever… good ones or bad ones. If you’ve been handy with the hurting kind, seek out the people who have been your target… and start the healing.

Story Posted:04/15/2018

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