You. My favorite teacher for four years. I looked up to you. I thought the world of you. I wanted you to be proud of me. I tried so hard for you. And once, out of the many years that I knew you, I hurt your feelings. I made you feel disrespected for a second. I didn’t mean to be rude, but I was. I didn’t realize how terrible you could become.

Words echoing in the hallway as you pull me aside. As you spit and scream words, sharp as a knife. You’re hateful. I don’t want you in my class anymore. I can’t even look at you without getting sick… I was a little girl when you told me that. I was just a kid, and you sliced me to pieces. Cut me with your words.

But I forgave you, and I still respect you. But I no longer watch what you do, I no longer take your teachings into consideration. I can’t, not after I’ve seen how immature and disrespectful you can be over a misunderstanding. If you couldn’t even let me explain myself, I will not listen to your excuses.

And you. I’ve lived with you my whole life. You raised me. I loved you. I was proud of you. And I wanted you to be proud of me, too. So when I went from activity to activity, trying to find my place, I thought you would see how motivated I was to find where I belonged. I didn’t realize how much that disappointed you.

In reality, you saw me as weak. You thought I couldn’t take the hard times. You thought I stopped whenever I faced a challenge. Quiter. You’re so selfish. You only want to be the best but not work for it. You can’t handle it. I was a little girl when you told me that for the first time. I was still just a kid the last time you told me that, and those words molded how I saw myself. It made me hate myself.

But I forgave you. Every time. And I love you. I always will. But I will let you know that I can’t open up to you without choking. I can’t trust you like I used to. Not because I don’t want to trust you, but because you made me not trust myself. You changed the way my mind worked, and that still haunts me to this day. Years of self hatred can do a lot to a child, and it has made me doubt my own conscience. My thoughts are no longer my own. 

Words matter. Words matter more than intention. Words matter the most. Because words can destroy dreams. Words can burn cities down. Words can kill.