For some people, the first place they had their first encounter with a bully was at school. There is a wide range of 'reasons' for someone to be bullied, but it is mostly because they are considered to be more different than the rest of the class/ students. None of the reasons are valid, but there are a few of them that are so far off. These adults who have been bullied in school recall the most ridiculous reason why they were made fun of. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
"When I was about eight years old, I was at home bored one day. I decided to take a look at this pocket knife my parents had bought as a thank you gift for one of the people at the afterschool program I was attending. I opened up the tools, one by one to check them out. When I got to the knife, I wasn't paying attention and ended up closing it on my thumb.
At first, I thought it was nothing, but then blood started pouring out. Then I realized it was a bad cut and started to panic. I ran to the bathroom and started screaming for my dad who was outside working on the car. I ran water over my thumb, but the blood just kept coming and coming.
Eventually, my dad came, calmed me down, and had me put pressure on it. It was a pretty deep cut, but he didn't think I needed to go to the hospital. By the time my mom got back, everything was okay and I was just a little shaken. She bandaged me up really well and then went to Walgreens for something. When she came back she had a box of finger cots, which I had never seen before. She put one on my thumb and told me it would help me heal faster by keeping the bandage in place.
She had me wear it to school the next day and I was all ready to tell my classmates about how crazy the cut was and how badly I was bleeding. I was young and had no idea what rubber was or even what it was used for so I was very naive.
However, the kids that liked to bully me weren't, and soon as they saw my thumb they screamed out, 'EDGAR'S GOT A RUBBER ON HIS FINGER!'
Either everyone but me knew what rubber was or people were just going along with it because the entire class started laughing at me. I was so embarrassed that I ran to the bathroom crying and ripped off the finger cot. When I got home that night I asked my mom why she would do that to me and her excuse was that she didn't think anyone would even know what rubber was and it was going to help me heal faster. She didn't make me wear it to school again, but the damage was already done and I was made fun of that for a while."
"I was the poor kid at an expensive private school populated predominantly by privileged white kids. My parents worked really hard to afford the tuition and we didn't have money for much else. My clothes came from Walmart, and my shoes came from Payless.
The school also did a thing where twice a year, they would haul out everything in the Lost and Found and display it for a week in the gym during lunch so you could claim anything that was yours. This week was followed by the 'Lost and Found Garage Sale' week where any unclaimed items from the week before could be purchased by anyone for 25 cents.
In fifth grade, the fashion craze for guys was a brand called 'Z. Cavaricci.' If you wore any pants other than 'Cavs', you were heckled mercilessly for being poor.
I begged and begged my mom to buy me a pair, just one pair that I promised to wash every night and wear again the next day. I didn't know how she pulled it off, but she got me a brand new pair. I almost hated removing the tags because it was the only new, name-brand item of clothing I had ever owned in my life up to that point.
I was so excited to wear them the next day. I imagined 'finally' being accepted by the rich guys, or at least no longer being heckled for being poor.
I didn't have to wait long, because as soon as I entered the classroom, I heard one of the kids whisper to his friends.
He whispered, 'Dude, check it out! He is wearing Cavs.'
I must have had the most smugly satisfied expression a fifth-grader could have. But it was short-lived because his friend quickly offered an explanation.
He said, 'I think those are mine. He probably bought them from the Lost and Found for a quarter.'
I had never gone from feeling so elated to so devastated in my life. And I never asked my mom for anything expensive again."
"We had some stupid school play in middle school where everyone in our grade would play the part of a royal court and drew lots to determine our roles in it. I was as awkward and nerdy as it got in middle school. I was a child of a struggling single mother so not exactly wealthy. Also, puberty hit me hard so I had a big chest but also horrible acne, it was awful. And because the Universe likes to pull cosmic jokes, I ended up drawing the role of 'queen' for this stupid play, I didn't even want to participate in. The entire grade was putting it on, so every parent would come to see. So I had to awkwardly dress like a queen, sit at a table with a king for the entire play and say like five lines. Again, had no choice in this matter, we drew the lots randomly.
I remember one day I was walking across the lunchroom with my lunch and this kid stood up on his chair and was like, 'There she goes, the fake queen of our grade.'
Everyone started laughing. I think I ended up just sitting down at my table in shame and crying. Again, did nothing to cause this except being poor, ugly, and unlucky. And I was severely depressed at the time, so knowing my entire grade hated me really made me want to go home. Thanks to video games and books for keeping me alive and sane during that time period.
As for the play, it was just as great as you could imagine a play put on by middle schoolers could be. It was terrible. The teachers wouldn't let me drop out of it and I seriously considered claiming I was sick the night of the play itself but I went and faced my demons. My mom didn't even show up for it and I had to get a ride with a friend's family."
"When I was 10 to13, I was bullied because I liked Pokemon.
In fifth grade, a kid I knew drew a very cringe (like, on purpose) Pikachu fanart piece, and he signed it with my name, submitted it to the school paper, and it got printed. I don't know why he did it. I confronted him about it and didn't get anything out of him.
Then he bullied me relentlessly for all of middle school. It started with the Pokemon thing, he tried to tell me that I was childish or mentally disabled because I liked it still. He would pick on any of my interests like that. Then he liked to try to prove I was worthless by pointing out how few friends I had, or prove I was weak by physically overpowering me. He started rumors to make other kids ostracize me, so I lost friends until I had none. He would get others in on teasing or beating me, and a few other bullies started doing their own thing with me starting from that. And somehow he got away with even the beatings, but I got suspended for the one time I tried to stand up for myself and swung first.
He constantly emasculated me, more or less told me I would either die alone or without having been with a girl.
His dad died in a messed up way when we were in third grade and I think maybe he was taking it out on me or something. But that doesn't make it okay. Sometimes I still have flashbacks and cry. Sometimes I still think that maybe he was right when he said awful things to me. No amount of therapy will really ever undo it."
"I was in northwestern Connecticut when my sister and I were on our way back from a swim team practice. We were both exhausted, so when we drove past a zebra on the side of the road, we didn’t think much of it.
But then my sister was like 'Wait, what?'
So we turned around and went back. My sister took photos of it. When we eventually got home, my sister dropped me off at my Boy Scouts thing.
I told them, 'Yo! We saw a zebra in Goshen, no joke!'
They all started laughing at me. No joke, for the next hour, they were just standing around me in a circle, saying they saw all of these crazy things. They believed that I had made the whole incident up was mocked me.
They said to me, 'I saw a princess in my house and she was carrying a cake.' Or 'I was on my way home and I saw a unicorn kissing a donkey.'
They just kept going. Then, the cherry on the cake was when the counselors joined in. They started making the same jokes as the other kid.
I wasn’t even sad at that point, so I was like, 'This is ridiculous! What is happening?'
Even when my sister came to pick me up, I tried to show them the photos of it but they wouldn’t even look."
"When I was a kid I got bullied a lot by this one kid named Miguel growing up. His family was a lot better off and spoiled him, buying him the latest shoes, Starter jackets, video games, you name it. He was always showing it off and especially liked to rub it into my face.
My parents both worked two jobs to try and provide a decent life for me growing up, but money was tight. Most of the clothes I either got from the thrift store or were hand-me-downs from my older cousins. I remember one day my parents decided to treat me and take me to the Nike outlet and get a pair of brand new sneakers. This was the first pair of shoes I had in a long time that was all mine and never worn by anyone else.
I remember being so excited to wear them to school and walked into the classroom with a big smile that day.
Miguel takes one look at my shoes and says, 'Nice new, old shoes. I had a pair of those last year when they were cool.'
With a few words, he completely crushed the happiness high I was riding and brought me down instantly."
"Some of the guys and I made fun of this kid for the deodorant he had when we were in fifth grade. The year was probably 2002 or 2003, and it was this stuff with a green stripe on it. It was so stupid. He couldn't even get deodorant without being made fun of. And how helpless his parents must have felt if they even cared at all.
We called it baby deodorant because apparently, the green stripe made it 'childish' or something? You literally don't get younger than any of us and use deodorant. We were cruel to that kid sometimes. The teachers were even mean to him because he was annoying. Probably neglected at home. His handwriting was atrocious, his shoes were always untied and had holes in them. He had a hard time reading and got bad grades. He would hand in worksheets or tests that he drooled on and the teachers would loudly scold him for it so we could all hear. He almost certainly had some undiagnosed disability or something. His father wore nothing but camo and was a veteran, his mother didn't seem all there. Their house looked like a hoarder's place."
"We were sitting in class when a group of jocks was picking on my buddy and me. Normal stuff. Then, when my buddy stood up to one of them, the bully apparently lost his mind.
Now, keep in mind, my friend had a yellow spot on his tooth because the blood vessels ran shallow there. My mom has the same thing, it's totally normal.
So, the bully, we'll call him, 'Z' said to my friend, 'Don't touch me, frickin' butter tooth!'
Immediately, everyone in his clique turned on him. It was like sharks all killing the weak one. They all started laughing their butts off and started making fun of Z.
One of his friends said, 'Butter tooth? What kind of an insult is that? It's not even an insult. He can't control if he has a yellow spot on his tooth. Speaking of being a loser, why don't you ever bench at the gym? All you do is sit-ups. Sure you have a six-pack but your arms are toothpicks.'
They spent the next 10 minutes berating him about his physical fitness, appearance, behavior, and intelligence.
It was hilarious. He shut up after that."
"Around the time I was in sixth grade, Yu-Gi-Oh got really popular in my country, so much so that it wasn't weird for kids in my school to have cards and duel at lunchtime. Let me remind you, this was a time before nerdy stuff was cool.
One day, one of the popular kids tried to taunt me when I was already very angry. He repeating stuff like 'Your deck sucks' and laughing at it. Well, I did get even angrier. Sometime after that, he told the girls from my class that they could get me ticked off by saying to me that 'Your deck sucks.'
So for about two more years at that school, girls that had no idea what Yu-Gi-Oh or a deck was came to me randomly saying, 'Your deck sucks!' and burst laughing like it was the funniest thing ever.
Kids are weird, man."
"My mom was a cleaning lady in some apartment complexes where some of my classmates lived. She lost her previous job, so she took this gig since she had no real qualifications. This was back in the 90s so it was well paid.
One girl came to me, all ugly smiling, and proclaimed, 'So, your mom is a cleaner right now?'
I just looked at her and didn't say anything. Pretty much ignored her.
She then turned around, 'Fitting for a loser like you. I have seen her in my apartment complex, cleaning the floors.'
This was when I decided to stop her right there and then.
I said, 'Yeah, she's cleaning apartment complexes. So what? She's doing something you could do all by yourself, but instead, you and the people living there decided to be filthy and lazy and let others do the work. Besides, she has a job. Right after she lost her last one. Do your parents have one? Because last time I heard, they are both at home, preferring to be leeches of the state instead of doing the same job as my mom does. Just because they think it's below them. Am I wrong? No? Then shut up at once and stop talking trash over it, because your parents are leeching off my mom.'"
"I was made fun of for being in band in school, which still confuses me to this day. Being a musician is a literal skill and not easy, but yet all the band kids that were actually good at band were made fun of? I still do music and I'm in a band. I'm proud of what we've done, so I've really never understood this one.
I was very very unpopular in school, but it was quite literally for no reason. I grew up with the same people from kindergarten through 12th grade, so if you did anything weird in kindergarten, you were socially exiled your entire time at school. I think in kindergarten I was very shy so maybe that was why?"
"When I started seventh grade, I joined some 'popular boys' playing takedown (first to put the other on the floor wins). I played against a few but there was this one boy who was saying 'Oh I won't play you because you're too easy.'
His friends began pressing him to go against me and, plot twist, I had him down in 30 seconds. This prompted years of him bullying me. He was a bit more popular than me so I couldn't just do something about it without losing friends so I ignored him. I got my chance for revenge when he joined the school rugby where I had been playing for three years.
I took every opportunity to give him a rough time."
"I got bullied for crying in elementary school when I fell during recess and sprained my ankle.
They said, 'What are you, a little girl?'
I was, in fact, a little girl.
Also, I got bullied forever for having man hands, which was an insecurity I wasn't even aware of before. I mean I also had ridiculously ugly prescription glasses that made me look like a bug with a horn rainbow around its face, but no, the slightly wider hands were an issue. It started when a girl had one of these plastic glitter bracelets and it almost got stuck when I tried it on. We really didn't have too much to do in the 90's it seemed."
"If you look at Soviet greeting cards, they tend to have a very distinct cutesy style, especially when they include animals. When I came to America, I was told that I need to get a binder for school. I went to the local pharmacy with my grandpa and picked a pink binder with two beautifully drawn rabbits on it because it reminded me of a greeting card my grandma gave me.
Apparently, this made me girly. Binders were serious business and most of the guys in my class had binders with images of zombies doing extreme sports for some reason. I tried to get a different binder but my parents didn’t understand the problem and weren’t about to spend money when the bunny binder worked fine.
I kinda regret caving and getting a binder with a muscle car at the next opportunity. Nowadays I’m super girly because my daughter likes to play dress-up with hairpins and stickers that end up on me. Fortunately, I’m much more secure with myself and people are more accepting. The last time I showed up at Jiu-Jitsu with a unicorn hairpin, the guys complimented me on it.
Someone said, 'You could be the toughest guy in the world, but when your daughter gives you a hairpin, you wear it.'
It made me smile."
"My dad had just gotten back from Permanent Change of Station overseas. I was in sixth grade at the time, which hadn't seen him in two years because the Army kept him there.
When he finally came back, he surprised me by coming to my school for lunch. I saw him while in line going to the cafe and about broke the world record for the 40-yard dash to jump up and hug him. Normally this was normal in schools on base, however, we lived off base where I went to school off base.
I was relentlessly mocked for this and 'earned' the title of 'Daddy's Boy.' It got so bad that my parents had me move schools."
"I lived in a house with well water that would stain everything orange from the iron. I am blonde. It made my hair darker. One time I had my hair washed and cut at the salon which made my hair much lighter. I assumed because the stain was washed away, using good water.
I went to school the next day and a bunch of girls bullied me because I 'bleached' my hair and I was 'fake.' I was also then accused of stuffing my bra because I had a C cup at 13 years old.
Looking back at my middle school pictures, I realize that I was being bullied because I was just very pretty."
"I was looking for fossils in a patch of gravel on the schoolyard when I was about 10 or so. I was minding my own darn business, just examining rocks and then putting back ones that didn’t have fossils. Some older kids came over and started picking up rocks and mimicking me examining them, then throwing them at me. And not just tossing them, whipping them at me hard. I still have a scar from one of the cuts. The school did nothing because it was the 80’s and they gave even less care about bullying than they do now."
"I used to eat those scooby snack graham crackers in school. They were literally out of the little packs that make it clear they were graham crackers. A girl saw me eating them and then took it upon herself to tell the entire class I was eating dog food at lunch. I got made fun of for like three months. I stopped eating them entirely because I was so embarrassed. They were my favorite snack as well. I eat them now perfectly fine but it was really upsetting at the time."