Weird, fat, strange, dumb, and so many more. You'd be hardpressed to find a school in America where these words weren't thrown around in the hallways, in the locker rooms, in the back of the bus.
Personally, I have been victimized by name calling much like most of the youth today. What may feel like a silly joke between friends can spiral into so much more. Many may feel as if calling someone a name is just a funny joke between friends, but the truth is it can detrimentally impact someone’s outlook on life.
My name is Haley, and I want to share a personal story of mine with name-calling and how it has affected my life. As I started my freshman year I was greeted with many unfamiliar faces. Entering a new environment is already a tricky scenario, and many people do not have the tools it takes to navigate how crazy high school really is as a freshman. I remember sitting down in my second period class and having only one friend in there with me. I looked around at an unfamiliar environment and overheard a girl I didn't even know calling the boots I wore ugly.
Reflecting back on that moment I realize for her it was such an insignificant comment, something she probably didn't think twice about lobbin at me, but here I am writing a blog about how I still remember it, and how it still hurts, four years later. A little comment about my clothes deterred me from wearing those shoes again for a whole year. Words hurt. If such a small comment stuck with me for four whole years, imagine what else can stick with people. Imagine what students experiencing systemic bullying are facing. Imagine not having someone that has your back. That's willing to stand up for you or intervene.
As teens, we are so quick to take in every single negative comment and criticism and internalize it. Whether it is a friend, peer, or stranger, think about what you are saying and its effect on them. It is just as easy to leave a nice compliment or say nothing at all. Name-calling is often looked at as a childish, unimportant thing that is not taken seriously. I am here to tell you it is serious. Remember how your words can change someone's day, week,or even life before you allow anything to leave your mouth, and choose kindness instead, or at least silence.
No Name Calling Week is observed January 15-19, 2024.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a bullying situation, speak up. Bullying is not okay in any form. For resources on bullying prevention visit https://www.stopbullying.gov/.