Sticks and stones

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By Takiya Smith

Remember the popular childhood jingle, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”? I’m not quite sure who came up with the quote, nor am I knowledgeable of why or how it made its way into the mouths of young children, however, I do understand that even at a young age, the statement was quite powerful.

Whether we were equipped with the matter-of-fact truth of the message behind the words or not, we all knew that it was a retort, or comeback so to speak, in reference to another child picking on us, being mean-mouthed or gossiping about us. Just as quickly as words were spoken, it seemed that the sting of those nasty, hateful words could immediately be erased by the announcement of the phrase “sticks and stones.” Not only did we announce it, but we mocked our cruel attacker in a sing-song manner, with words turned lyrics as if to show that our joy had not been stripped from us.

So, why is it, as adults, do we seem to struggle with the powerless mediocrity of others’ words towards or about us? Better yet, why are we, as adults, still struggling with gossip, back-stabbing and negativity? To be totally honest and quite blunt, it’s all very lame and immature. Jealousy, envy, malicious intent, low-self esteem and insecurities are all solid foundations for nasty words. Regardless of how you slice, dice, sauté and fry it up, it’s the truth of the matter. Now, to no end am I putting anyone down, but what I am saying is that love starts with self first, and looking into self can reveal some heavy secrets that need to be told. Once you can deal with that, then happiness can begin and once happiness is in place, nothing and no one can take that away from you — unless you give it back to them.

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