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This I Believe… Alisha Holmes


This I believe, that words can hurt. Everyone knows the old saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Well I can truly say that words can hurt way more than actual physical abuse does. Depending on the person and the situation words can play a role in how someone feels about them and eventually who they will become in society.

When I was in 7th grade I was very timid and anti-social. I was picked on a lot for my dark skin complexion and it really hurt my self-esteem. Being that my mother is dark skinned I always found comfort in confiding in her. After she explained to me that kids will be kids and that I shouldn’t hold it to heart things became better and I learned not to let people words hurt me.

When I began 8th grade I had a new confidence and started to learn to accept who I was and began to come out my shell more. My P.E. teacher was very outgoing, and popular amongst the student body. The day that I will always remember is one of the worst days of my life. After I changed out for P.E. I walked into the gym and began my exercises as I waited for class to begin. Out of nowhere I hear my P.E. teacher on the loud speaker in the gym. In front of my friends, other students, and other educators he said, “ Alisha you so black and ashy you look like a chalkboard over there, come here chalkboard”.

I was mortified, the embarrassment and hurt I felt slammed my heart like a freight train going 1000 miles per hour. All the progress and acceptance I gained in the past was forgotten. I could not understand why my teacher, someone who I was taught to trust and confide in, would do something like that. Those few words changed my whole out look on life.

From then on I was not the same happy pleasant child whom I once was. The whole world seemed to look totally different. I developed trust issues and had a lot of trouble connecting with my friends and family. Also feelings of resentment progressed between my teachers and I, which enabled me to have that bond with someone away from home.

Although this situation hurt me emotionally I have made it a point to no let it define me but make me a stronger person. I am still working on my trust issues, and everyday is a struggle to not let my past consume me but I know am making progress.

“ Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can sometimes hurt me”.

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  • J

    Jill FairchildNov 5, 2010 at 7:05 am

    This must have been hard to talk about, but I think it’s great that the subject is being discussed. People are bullied or made fun of everywhere, everyday. As you have explained, it DOES have a long-term effect. Words are a very powerful weapon, and should be used as such. Think before you speak!

  • J

    Jessica TaylorNov 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Like Jessica Marshall, I tend to try to forget about embarrassing or hurtful situations. I try to pretend like it does not bother me. When deep down I will never forget what that person said and I will forever be self conscious about it. I think that since you were able to share this story, it shows that you really have made progress and you are getting stronger. So do not give up.

  • D

    Diana O.Nov 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I totally agree with Alisha, people are a work in progress. I am quite shocked that an educator would make an outrageous comment to you just to be funny. Words can hurt anyone especially when you hit their weaknesses. It is important to always have a firm grasp of which you are and have a strong self-esteem. The kids with the lowest self-esteem are the most vulnerable.

  • M

    Malikah WilliamsOct 29, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Words can and do hurt. This is simply inspirational how you are so open with something that is so very hurtful. This truly makes me reflect upon how my words affect people.

  • U

    Unique LarryOct 29, 2010 at 7:48 am

    This honestly made me stop and think. It’s true some may take the things we say as jokes but in all actuallity the things we say are hurtful.Although we might smile while the things are being said but who honestly knows how that person feels. We should all learn to stop saying things that could be offensive because saying it only allows it to become socially acceptable.

  • D

    Devan AndrewsOct 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I cannot believe that an educator would say something so demeaning and offensive! You must have a lot of restraint if you refrained from confronting him about it. You definitely must have strength by the mere mention of this incident. Besides, such a joke about race really does show the ignorance society has for some people’s feelings. I’m glad you shared this, because such an injustice should not go unnoticed.

  • J

    Joi HammOct 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I believe words can hurt only certain types of people. Children, people with low self-esteem, and those that are sensitive tend to be targets for getting hurt by words. Those that have high self-esteem and are strong minded may be offended by cruel words, but at the end of the day they know who they are.

  • R

    Raya GirardOct 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    This should make people stop and think about what they say. I suppose your gym teacher thought he or she was being funny and didn’t intentionally mean to embarrass you. I don’t like it when people start out a conversation by,” Not to be mean but…..” I always wonder why they want to warn me ahead of time. I think, why don’t they just not say it. It was inspiring to read about what you went through and how you handled it. You sound like a very strong person.

  • J

    Jessica MarshallJun 8, 2010 at 7:19 am

    This is simply amazing. I never would have had the guts to come out and talk about such a personal experience. When things go wrong for me, I tend to try and forget they never happened. You, on the other hand, didn’t ignore what happened. You took it and grew with it and, like you said, you didn’t let it define you. Out of the ones I have listened to so far, this is definitely my favorite one. Great job!