Bullying is so often inaccurately portrayed as the large athletic guy throwing the small kid in a trash can or stealing his clothes in the locker room. While physical bullying does occur, I believe bullying through words is commonly overlooked, but often times, far more damaging. My name is AnnaLisa Chavez, I am now a freshman in college, and I was once a victim to bullying through words.
Being a competitive athlete and not super girly as a middle schooler, I was made fun of by my classmates on a regular basis. Boys would say I was manly, and most of the girls avoided being around me. As I approached high school, people started false rumors about my sexuality, call me mean and degrading names, and my friend group was rather small. I was already insecure and battling with depression, so the hurtful words increased the pain and emotional torment.
In eighth grade, I began to seriously dislike my image and athletic composure, so I exerted my anger and hatred on myself through self harm. I hid the scars for two years without anyone noticing the damage their words had caused.
After finally receiving the help I needed, I found myself and established my identity in Christ rather than in the words of my peers. Words have incredible power to either build up or destroy an individual. Because of my personal experience, I firmly advocate using caution with words. Whether written on paper, typed on social media, or said out loud, words are powerful.
Click here for educational resources for parents regarding bullying.
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