When Words Stop Being Just Words

Most of us were taught a little riddle when we were young, one that got stuck in our heads, one we used as a shield of armor.  When you’re 5 or 6, it worked, before we knew the weight of words and the power they actually had.  When we were small, there were 14 words said to a beat that made every mean thing said to us, somehow matter less.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.

Then we grew up, we went to middle school and on to high school, we got online and social media grew and we realized that our parents, while they were just trying to protect us, didn’t set us up for just how badly words can feel.

If you have an opinion, you’re immediately setting yourself up to get both love and hate; it comes with the territory.  You can tweet one thing, say one thing, text one thing; and your entire day can fall apart.   It’s the downfall of the digital world.  Luckily most of us have good friends and good people in our lives to try to build us up when words hurt, when our opinion is taken to the firing range and shot at, but when sometimes, even that doesn’t really help.

Writing for CelebMix, for me, has been therapeutic.  I’ve taken writing classes and this is part of what I want to do with my career, my life.  I love being able to touch people with my words, and I love the response I get back.  I think friendships and bonds are truly formed where words are met with open minds and hearts.  Even when an opinion differs, if you can respect someone for what they say, or acknowledge the way they feel, even if it’s not the same; well you’re doing well for yourself.  I used to think I was invincible where words were concerned, but I am no one special, and the pain of words doesn’t bypass me.

But this is about all of us, this is about collectively knowing that what you say has the power to hurt people,and what you say has the power to take someone from a good day to a terrible one, or worse, from a bad day, to an indescribable one.

Teens and young adults in this day and age are more medicated/in therapy than the generations before us.  Some blame this on us being “generation me”, a selfish group of young people who want what they want when the want it, and if things don’t go their way, they can’t handle it.  I don’t believe this to be true.  I think this generation is more hurt, and more upset (rightfully so) because it’s the generation of keyboard warriors. 

It’s the generation where you can type up a tweet or a text and send it and then, walk away.  You don’t see the hurt, the confusion, or the pain you’ve left someone with, because you feel fine and well, now you’re done.

It’s not fair, and it’s not admirable to hide behind words and screens.  It’s not brave to send anonymous hate or to try to use the weakness of people to tear them down.  It’s counterproductive to fight your own hurt by causing more, and it’s unjust to place blame where you do not know for fact that it deserves to be placed.

The teen/young adult suicide rate is also up, and we’ve all seen the news stories/video evidence to prove it.  We’ve seen messages on twitter and tumblr where people sent last clips of themselves crying, begging for change, while saying goodbye.  We’ve seen people’s last moments on earth and it still hasn’t hit us strong enough to make us want to be better.

It’s alarming how many people have witnessed stories about young people harming or killing themselves due to cyber bullying and it still stands to be as large of an issue as it is.

We are the generation of keyboard warriors, but we can be the generation that spreads love and light instead.

Many people who follow CelebMix are here because we write fact and opinion pieces and we try to make sure everyone is respected.  We take the time to truly think about what we post before we submit it, and we want this to be a place where you can be safe, feel heard, and know that you’re respected.

Some of the pieces we write have stronger opinions than others, and if you find yourself upon one of those pieces and it triggers you or makes you feel uncomfortable, our DM’s are always open and you can contact the writer personally by scrolling down the page, seeing who posted the piece and clicking on their twitter handle.

We have open minds, we want to hear from you if you are ever offended or hurt by what we say.  In that same breath, I’ll speak for myself and I know others on this site, if you ever feel alone or attacked and it’s not at fault of anyone here, we still have an open DM policy, and you can find solace in us.

Personally, I have a strong desire to spread love and light instead of hate.  In saying that I must also say that I’ve fallen victim to my own agitation and been guilty of posting tweets that didn’t reflect me but instead, showcased my anger.  As my favorite human Louis Tomlinson says, “Sometimes I’m a bit bad at biting me tongue”.  I always try to think about what he’d do, what Harry would do, and I usually within moments apologize and wish I had been better from the start.

We’re all human, we’re all going to make mistakes and we’re all going to do things we wish we wouldn’t, or sometimes fail to do things we know we should have.  It’s part of the process, it’s life, we fall and we get back up.

At some point, we have to be the people we know we should be, and say enough is enough.

So let it start with me, and hopefully some of you will follow suit and tweet @CelebMix to show us how you plan on helping out.

Today; spread love, spread understanding, and spread kindness.  Say something nice about someone, say something nice about your idol, or better yet, say why it’s important to you to stop the hate.  The digital world can be draining, and with more and more young people being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, all it takes is one message, one tweet, or one text to send someone over an edge they can’t climb back up.

For me: I love all of you, and I’ve enjoyed my time getting to write with you, hear your opinions, and spread light about the boys.  I know I’ve focused heavily on Louis and Harry, but it’s because I see myself in who they are, and because I’ve been in situations similar to theirs and I understand.  I appreciate anyone who’s ever said a nice thing to me and I also appreciate anyone who hasn’t, not everyone is gonna love you, but we should work more on respecting people, even if they’re not the company we want to keep.

I hope you all find joy in something today and I hope it motivates you to spread love to those around you.

Remember Harry Styles today too and

[Tweet “https://twitter.com/harry_styles/status/499417945656029184”]

Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words are just as harmful.  Please use yours wisely.

All the love. A

Written by Ashley

Writer, coffee drinker, mother.