Male Teacher Tells Middle Schooler She Wouldn't Look Good In A Cheerleading Outfit—At 28 She's Still Undoing The Damage

It's been well over a decade and she is still undoing the damage. Your words hurt. Be kind.

Elyse Myers @elisemyers / TikTok / Instagram 

We’ve all heard the expression that words hurt, and it is not an exaggeration.

Research has found that words have a profound impact on people and can affect their own perception of themselves — especially if those words are hurled by another person. Choices of words can cause specific areas of the brain to activate and can affect a person’s subjective experience of pain. In simpler terms, words do in fact hurt and they can follow people around for a lifetime. 


Social media influencer Elyse Myers is proving this to be accurate. In a TikTok video that has received nearly 1 million likes and resonated with many young women, Myers shared the hurtful remark that a teacher made to her when she was in middle school that stuck with her well into adulthood. 

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Myers claimed that the teacher told her that she wouldn’t look good in a cheerleading uniform. 

As a child, she says that it was no secret that she could be described as “round” due to her physical appearance. Although, the influencer reports that more appropriate ways to describe her included funny, cute, curly-haired, determined, sarcastic, witty, smart, talented, and musical.


While her physical appearance never bothered her, Myers says that her peers and even teachers would make note of her weight compared to other girls her age, falsely perceiving that she needed to lose weight. 

The wrong message people were giving her about her physical appearance followed her throughout her childhood. “I was made aware of the size of my body long before I was ever taught how to love it,” she says. As an adult, she now knows that it says more about the people who were talking about her weight than it did about her. However, as a child, she was especially vulnerable to people’s words. 

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One of the individuals who believed that it was necessary to pick on Myers’ weight was a male substitute teacher who was present while she and her classmates were talking about their futures.


She was telling her peers that she wanted to be a cheerleader when she got to high school. After overhearing this, the teacher approached Myers. “He cut me off and said, ‘I need to save you from yourself,” she said. “You would be better suited in color guard or marching band, or wrestling —  but not in a cheerleading outfit.” 

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Now, Myers is begging people to understand the power that their words hold.

“I met that man for one hour, and I'm 28 still undoing the damage that that one sentence had on my life,” she admits.

Words also don’t always have to impact someone negatively. Positive words and compliments can also go just as far. “As easily as they can tear someone down, they can build someone right back up, but it’s gonna take a h–l of a lot more work to build them back up after you’ve torn them down,” she advises. 


Myers encourages people not to let the false perceptions of others overshadow their own self-love, as difficult as it may be. It is unfair that the male substitute teacher got to move on with his life after delivering his cruel remark to Myers while she was left battling emotional damage for years. 

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“You have to be more careful with your words. We have to teach people to speak kindly about themselves, to love themselves, and to see them as beautiful and worthy, and more than just what they look like.” Myers believes that if she had put more focus on her personality and her interests over what others were saying about her, she would have been a completely different kid. 

TikTok users praised Myers for her bravery to share her story and resonated with their own stories about words affecting them.


“Sobbing from this. You are wonderful and thank you for saying all of this,” one user commented. “Had a boss tell me that my family should know better than to send me chocolates for Christmas. After a life of ‘but you’ve got such a pretty face’” another user revealed. “I’m 42 and I still remember every single comment people made about my body,” another user revealed. 

In a world where 46% of young girls report suffering from body image issues per the Mental Health Foundation, it is especially important that we recognize the power our words hold and how deeply they can cut. 

And thankfully, Myers was able to prove the male teacher’s opinion about her not looking good in a cheerleading uniform wrong. She starred as a cheerleader in her high school performance of “Grease” and she looked stunning! 


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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.