December 5, 2010


When I was a kid, my mom called me "Bunny" because my two front teeth were really big. She said it with great affection and I felt loved. I hopped around her feet like a little bunny rabbit.

Then in high school, this one boy noticed my teeth.

He singled me out and decided to call me "Rat".

He got all the boys to call me Rat. "Rat! Rat! Rat! Rat! Rat! Rat! Rat!!!"

I tried to pretend they weren't there, that it wasn't happening. That I was safe.

Their laughter echoing all around me as I walked down the hall. Someone ran up behind me and shoved me to the floor. My books scattered...

It's really important not to cry at I waited until I got home.

It went on for years...

Fast forward.

And I'm at my 25 year high school reunion. I see the boy has grown up into a family man and by chance I end up talking with him and his wife. He shyly asks if I remember him. "Of course I remember you. You used to call me "Rat" because of my two front teeth, " I say. ""Rat! Rat! Rat! Rat! Rat! Rat! Rat!!!" the laughter echoed all around me as I walked down the hall." I'm smiling confidently as I say this to him.

His jaw drops. "We called you "Rat"? But... in a good way, right?" He looks hopeful. His wife looks from me to him and back again.

I shake my head, smiling. "No. In a mean way." I smile again, my big front teeth shining, and I walk away.

I heard later on from a mutual friend that the wife really let him have it.

It's hard to believe this nice family man had been a horrible bully when he was a kid.

My mom still calls me "Bunny".

What would you say to the bullies if you met them now?



  1. A-MAZING...I hope I get to do that to my bullies. I shall take great joy in it. It is really cute your mom still calls you that too hehe.

  2. I head a pet rat when i was at school - it was the coolest thing ever - i liked it so much i even made a flag with a giant rat face on it

  3. @ Mama Bennie - I gotta admit, it was satisfying. And yeah, I guess now my secret nickname is out. *I love my mom*

    @Anonymous - Do you still have that flag? I wanna see it! Rats are cool. Bullies are not cool. 'Nuff said.

  4. I was severely bullied by a gang of girls for years from the time I was seven until 14. My nickname was McMud (they said cause I was slimey). I never went back to high school reunions but one day I was with my daughter at a drugstore in Ottawa and there was a fat middle-aged woman serving us with no teeth. She recognized me and started chatting with me. I didn't recognize her until she told her name. One of my main tormentors! She was separated, her ex was in jail, she was living in a trailer with two kids and working at this minimum wage job. I didn't need revenge, the universe had taken care of that for me. My daughter was shocked when I told her the clerk used to be one of the coolest (and meanest) girls at school. Being popular in grade school or in high school doesn't guarantee a successful life -- just like being bullied means you won't come out ahead when you're older. Here's a great song about regret for being a bully:

  5. You know I thought about this for a few minutes before writing...

    I have had the chance to meet up with bullies from the past. Now I was always one of the guys but I hit puberty in 4th grade - meaning I went from no boobs and a happy tomboy to a A cup self hating girl almost over-night. Trust me - I had the stretch marks to prove it.

    I hated my body and it made changing for P.E. really difficult - I not only wore a bra but I tried to hide myself because of the purple streaks on my chest. The boys also began to call me skank, slut, and all of those other awesome words and terms that go along with it.

    It was a really hard time, I hated it - I hated myself.

    Fast forward to what feels like a thousand years - and I quite enjoy it now when these bullies from the past try to strike up conversations with me and compliment me etc...

    "hi, I'm sorry, WHO are you?"

    ** this might be another one of those comments I leave that morphs into its own post on my blog**

  6. Aw, I love this post. You are such a classy lady JC. You didn't fall into the super easy role of making that guy feel better but you didn't bully him either. Proud of you!

    I think I would say nothing to my bullies of the past now. Bullies are best left with 10 feet of rope and their own idiocy to hang themselves with. Not caring about the bullies is the best revenge.

  7. PS - You are beautiful and extremely non-ratlike.

  8. God I love your blog. I love this. It made my heart hurt.

    What would I say to them now? I don't think I'd have anything to say. Maybe an eye roll at most. It took until my 30s to even start to accept myself, but I am wise enough to know not everyone will like me, not everyone is nice, not everyone is decent - and I don't care! The ones that matter, are my focus. ;)

  9. Beautiful post, JC! My five year old daughters read it along with me (they were attracted by the pictures of course). I didn't say the word "bully" while reading it. Instead I asked what the boys were doing to the girl and they told me. Then they were horrified when I told them it was a true story.

    I'm homeschooling my kids right now, partly because one of my daughters has Aspergers and partly because I'm home now, disabled by RA, and I'd feel totally useless if I sent them off to school every day. All of the recent awareness of bullying makes me so happy that we've made that decision. We probably won't homeschool forever and I know I can't keep them sheltered from everything hurtful. But I'm thankful for this period of time where they can learn about the wrongs of bullying in a safe environment because I'm continually amazed at how young it starts for some kids.

    Oh, and that was the perfect way to handle that guy! You rock!

  10. Same thing happened to me in junior high school. I had HORRIBLE buck teeth. Mine were not just BIG, they stuck out; I literally could NOT close my lips around them. Hence the nicknames... Bucky and Buckaroo. They only hassled me on the school bus, but they made the ride home a living hell.

    Fast forward to the 20 year High School Reunion, where Tony M. walks his lovely wife over to my table to introduce me (suddenly his friend?). Once the introductions were done, I reminded him of his cruelty. He honestly did NOT remember. And his wife? She really gave it to him as I walked away with my head held high (and my straight teeth smiling).

    You see, teeth straighten... but bullies? they have a blackness in their heart... Can you fix that?

  11. Wow! I never expected these stories, they're....amazing. I'm really touched.

    @ Shelagh - what a story! And I love the video; it made me cry - the drawings and animation are so evocative.

    @ Jamie-Ann - You go girl and let me know when it's ready to read!

    @ Mom O Matic - Heeeey! Thanks lovely, I'm going to have to screen cap that comment and frame it.
    PS.- I do look like a bunny though haha.

    @ FeistyKel - You're so right, the ones that matter are the focus.

    @ Aubrey - I can't tell you how happy it makes me feel to know that your kids got that story. Thanks for sharing it with them.

  12. @ Deb - holy crap, that's the exact same way it happened to me at the reunion. Same story....but I don't know if it's truly a blackness in the heart. I mean, the guy grew up into a good guy, a nice man, a father, a husband, an environmentalist. So maybe we all have a the potential to be really mean at some point.

  13. I love your illustrations--I was lucky to never get bullied in school, but my brother was the biggest bully to me- I love your reaction to your old bully, you are one classy lady.

  14. Youre a better person than I will ever be. When he asked me if I remembered him I would have shot off something like "Yeah aren't you the one they found with (insert random guys name here) behind the gym with your pants down and his mouth around your dick.. did you ever get rid of that infection?"
    Your way much better.

  15. @ Lydia - What did you do about your brother?

    @ Holly - It was strange, but I felt no vindictiveness.

    The whole experience shaped me. It made me stronger but it also made me more sensitive to others. Maybe even too sensitive.....

  16. JC - Your drawings and story are beautiful!! Creative AND helpful (I read all the comments). GO (GORGEOUS) MAMA!

  17. I have, on occasion, run into some people who were mean to me in high school, mostly on FB. Funny thing is, they remember us as being the best of friends. They don't seem to remember any of the mean things they did. How easily they forget the pain they caused, or they just never cared.

  18. @ Holland - thanks for taking the time to tell me so!

    @ airbornevet - I find that strange too. Possibly they felt it was a positive experience for them, since they were making lots of their friends laugh. The fact that it was at my expense didn't factor in I guess.

  19. WONDERFUL POST!! PS: They called me gap tooth because my two front teeth did not go together. I called them unimportant! ;)

  20. Like Shelagh, I too have run into several of my old bullies and karma has taken a toll on them.

    Although one of them I did say something to. We were both at a Halloween party and she had gained a LOT of weight. She was literally almost perfectly round with legs. She was drunk and teeteringly dancing behind the couch I was lounging on, so all I could see of her was from her belt up. I laughed heartily and told her she looked like a Weeble and started singing "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!"

    It wasn't until the next day that I realized what I had said (I wasn't drinking or anything - I was pregnant and had that ditzy preggo thing going at the time). I saw a Weebles commercial and it all came crashing back at me. You'd think I'd feel bad about it, because I'm not the type of person to demean someone, much less so publicly, but I still think it's hilarious. The girl is still cold-hearted and awful - so much that her entire, incredibly accepting, wonderful Christian family (the kind that actually set a good example for the religion) has disowned her.

    Anyway - overall, karma has taken over where my bullies have been concerned. The ones that it didn't have sincerely apologized to me since and some I am friends with now.

  21. I was blessed enough to have started learning Tae Kwon Do around High School, right after I had my nose broken by a neighborhood thug. My personally bully, one of the football players named Rodney, kept shoving me around.

    Junior year he tried me once again in the stairway, and in disgust I threw a neatly aimed side kick at his midsection, missing on purpose, but letting him know I wasn't going to take it anymore. He followed me outside and screamed at me, but I stood my ground, knowing that the next kick I threw was going to break something that belonged to him. He turned and walked away...

    Later on I enlisted in the Marines ;)

  22. I just found this post and I just had to share my story.

    When I was in grade 4 I immigrated to Canada, I couldn't speak English and my life had changed completely overnight. By grade 5 I was no longer in the ESL (English as a Second Language)class and was proud to be going to be going to "regular" classes only 7 months after arriving.

    In "regular" grade 5, I quickly became the target of mean jokes and pranks, which the teacher knew about, but really did nothing to help. On the contrary I clearly recall the teacher saying "oh leave her alone girls, she's JUST the ESL girl and probably doesn't understand." I understood everything. A few months later, I was ecstatic when my parents announced we were moving! (It's worth mentioning that everyone in my new school was absolutely amazing).

    Fast forward a decade or so, and I was working in a clothing store while I was in University. One day a customer catches my eye. She looks familiar. I ask her if she went to xxx elementary school and if she was in Mrs. N's grade 5 class. Stunned she says yes. I knew it, one of my tormentors (albeit not the worst). I say hi politely and explain to her that I remember her because I sat at her table. She doesn't believe me. She says "no, that was an ESL girl!" I extended my hand to shake hers and said "Hi, I'm that ESL girl, most people call me Silvia." Looking absolutely shocked she stutters... "you speak English" I couldn't help but giggle and say, "yes, now without an accent" her face turned red, and I'm not sure if she remembered all the things they did or just because this exchange was witnessed by her friend, but I am certain she felt quite embarrassed at that moment. That was enough for me.

    I am now an English teacher ;)

  23. @ Anonymous - Yep, that's irony, right there. What a great story!

    Thanks everyone for sharing your Bully stories here =D

  24. guess this is as good a place as any...

    this is a great story JC. Mikaila (boo) likes the pictures... I hope one day she understands the meaning behind them. Mikeal (monkey) got it and thought it was good.

    I was picked on ALL my life. by the time I was in 6th grade I was significantly overweight. I was also the smart kid and very very naive. I don't think I could ever forget some of those fat jokes. especially by the time I broke the 300lb mark in 10th grade and the desk I was sitting in broke. that almost killed me inside.

    now this lead to a vicious cycle as I didn't ever want to leave my room when I got home, and needless to say comfort food and nintendo don't go well and by the end of my junior year of High school, I was at the 415lb mark. I was at a loss..

    "fatty fatty 2x4 broke the desk and on the floor, ate too much and has 3 chins, no way in hell you'll ever be thin" That was the one chant that made me try to kill myself. I could not take it, I didn't know how to fix it, I didn't know what to do about it.

    I went into therapy to keep the bad thoughts at bay and learned how to deal with the feelings in my head. They weren't really my own, but those of everyone who ever decided to pick on me just kind of stuck in there. I found an outlet for that in playing guitar and it really helps.

    but I still couldn't lose the weight.

    Enter my wife and kids the year I turned 28. I had to take care of them. I had to be someone for once. It felt really good to finally feel like I had something to live for that i could tangibly see and feel. in the last 5 years I have lost 160lbs. I'm now 6'1" and a buff looking 248lbs.

    I never got revenge on the ones who tormented me. That used to be all I would think about, but as I look around at my loving wife Stephi, who's support and cooking helped me lose all the weight, and my wonderful pain in the butt kids..I know I have beaten them. I also know i will probably come across them again and when I do, I hope they have grown as well.

  25. I was just reading your Easter post and clicked on the link to this one. I'm so glad that I did. You are one classy lady for dealing with him the way you did. All of these incredible comments really prove just how powerful blogging can be in connecting with others. One well drawn story from your past has brought so many others. I found myself nodding as I read. I have never been skinny (far from it) and had boobs by the time I was ten so, unfortunately, I have more bully stories than I can count. I saw one of my tormenters a few years back working the counter at a video rental place (min. wage), still single, no kids, not much of a life and I'm ashamed to say that I walked away feeling better. I know that it's karma at work but did I still feel guilty for feeling good about someone else's failure. Does that guilt mean I'm basically a good person?

  26. Thank you. :-) I never show my pictures online because I needed braces and when I was 12 I threw-up every time I was measured. Gag! I was called "Rodger Rabbit" for a few weeks in 7th grade, a jerk started it and the rest followed but I just shrugged it off and showed the other kids how when I bit into an apple it made a cool looking vampire face. They all stopped and asked me to make the face whenever apples were around, but it still stuck for me even now, as an adult and it hurts. And now I hate my smile because I'm almost 35 and bullies words are painful even when I turned around and showed off how cool my oddness was. Anyway that was at the start of 7th grade by the end of that year the same bully started making jokes about my last name which was Meier before I married. Everyone followed, I was now "Oscar Meyer" but his last name was Basslar (I think I spelled it right) which sounds a lot like a very ugly bad word so one day I just turned to him, when he wouldn't stop singing the song, in a PE class of about 45 kids, the teacher out of earshot, and said "At least my last name isn't B*st*rd. You're just jealous because I've got a cool last name." He was very popular but a lot of his followers stopped thinking he was so cool that day. It just took a very short, funny toothed girl, with a weiner of a last name to stand up and tell him that he was not perfect either. And if you're wondering I can still do vamp faces when I bite down… for now, but I'm going to try to get braces in the next year or two. My oldest two (14 and 11) say the stuff they use now isn't bad.
    Sarah Winters

  27. Ok, I had quite a few Bullys in my life, nothing that bad, but I still hold a grudge to this day.

    There was on guy who was a bully in general, didn't single me out, but was mean to me an many occasions. I did get the ultimate revenge though, he married my sister... haha.

  28. Fabulous post! When I was in junior and senior high school, an evil girl orchestrated my torture almost daily. A few year ago, I had the opportunity to attend my 20th high school reunion. I quickly learned that she was there and she was one of those people for whom high school was the highlight of their life and it was downhill from there. She looked so sad. I just walked up, introduced myself (she looked like a deer in the headlights) and gave her a big hug. Her jaw hit the floor. Nothing I said or did could change the past so better to let her know that I forgave her. I hope she was able to forgive herself.

    While I think bullying is a horrendous act, for me, it just made me stronger.

  29. I wrote a lot about how much I was bullied from my second grade teacher to the gang of kids who would follow me around in High School tormenting me.

    You know the term "seeing red"? It actually happened to me once. The bullies were blocking my entrance into class and making fun of me for being unable to push through them and get into my class. I got angrier and angrier until everything turned a shade of red and I began to focus on one of the bullies' throats... and then the teacher showed up and broke the whole thing up. I dealt with paranoia and lack of social skills for years after high school thanks to them. (Still do to some degree.)

    For years, I dreamed of going to my high school reunion, showing my ex-bullies how successful I was and seeing how horrid their lives have turned out. When my reunion rolled around and I saw that I'd have to pay to attend it (and it wasn't going to be cheap), I suddenly realized that I just didn't care. I was successful. I had a beautiful, loving wife and great kids. I didn't care whether they were suffering or not because they just didn't matter to me.

  30. LOL! It's amazing how people change as they grow. I'm now privileged to call a number of my high school bullies "friends". When you leave the small, insular world of high school you realize you're not such a big fish after all.

  31. *sigh* JC, your blog's doing that "thing" again :) Previous anonymous comment posted by Renee Malove. #proudtobeanonymous-ish

  32. School is an odd duck ... the one time in your life you will be in a room full of people all the same age, same hormones and never, ever again will that scenario happen again. Look at your group of friends - my girlfriends now have about a 25 year age span from youngest to oldest!
    Sadly, my bullying experience came a few years ago, serving on the PTA of a Christian school .... let me put it this way - my husband, the atheist, told me that 'this is why they fed the Christians to the lions' ;)

  33. One of my friends just brought me to your blog for the first time so I apologize for posting on an earlier post. Anywho, my biggest bully from high school did not like me because she said I stared at her (when I was actually looking at the clock to get the time) in 8th grade. So all through out high school she called me fat, ugly, the b word etc... She even shoved me in the library and tried to fight me! Fast forward 10 years later! She became a Christian and asked me for my forgivness via Facebook! We are now good friends as I have forgiven her! :)

  34. By Word - how true, the micro-climate of highschool is like a petrie dish for nourishing the bullying scenario, at a time when youth are so particularly vulnerable. And unfortunately bullying continues in many forms, and I think some people still don't even realize they're doing it.

    I'm still amazed at the sharing on this page. The rising above it thing seems to be a prevalent theme.

  35. You really do look like a rat or as they say in Nihongo "Mesu inu"

    1. You look like a head and shoulders silhouette. But you smell like a troll. Haha.

  36. Thanks JC... Great article and so pleased that you hve kept it up for us to enjoy 2 years later!

    Yes, it struck a chord with me as I was overweight, cross-eyed, dyslexic and very lacking in support or self esteem. I suffered through ALL of my grade school and into high school years and the only comfort I had was drawing... my mother was a water colorist, but my dad wanted her to stop that and pay attention to him... I continued to draw and finally graduated from H.School being the designer of the Year Book and won a state contest for art... I went on to Art Center and graduated with honors... all this time I was damaged by the torment of the bullies and while on the outside things were looking up, I NEVER had confidence or felt TRUST in others. Long story short, The Bullies had damaged me life long... and when my daughter was at the same thing, they damaged her. I DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT... This is a horrible and evil thing and I am glad that finally people are talking about it. Thank you JC. THINGS ARE FINALLY BETTER -- SOME 30 YEARS LATER... and thogh my relationship is very rocky between my daughter and me, I have grown and tried to hold no resentment.. what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. I was an Art Director in a major national newspaper, have my own accounts, designer. I also lost my weight with the Shangri La Diet... check it out on Amazon... 50 lbs! look great. Married 54 years and can tell them ALL to go to hell... (if I want to)...Hahahahaa! Have faith. It can happen to you. Living well is the best REVENGE. LOVYA, LJ

    1. Hey LJ, wow I think we're all lucky that you shared this story here. It's truly inspiring. And living well is the best everything!

  37. Would be a great subject for your 3rd book, maybe? I know I'd love it.


Cuz You Rocketh.