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How Unicorns Help This 8-Year-Old Deal With Bullies


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Anna and Brianna Freeman spoke about their experiences with bullying during their StoryCorps interview in Chicago.
Image credit: Crystal Vance Guerra

It seems like a simple question: If you could ask me anything in the world, what would it be? Anna Freeman poses this to her 8-year-old daughter, Brianna.

“Do you like unicorns?” Brianna asks.

“I do,” says Anna, chuckling.

Brianna is obsessed with unicorns. She knows “they’re not technically real,” but they’re real in her mind.

When her mom asks just why Brianna likes them so much, though, the answer isn’t what she expected.

“They’re cute. And they have horns, so they could attack their bullies,” she says during their StoryCorps interview in Chicago.

Brianna has been experiencing bullying at school. Her voice trembling, Brianna tells her mom that the girl who bullies her makes her feel mad and sad. The bullying makes her feel like she is not the person she was before — like she is a ghost.

“After she bullied me, I didn’t have a smile on my face,” Brianna says.

Anna asks Brianna why she thinks the girl who bullies her says mean things.

“Because maybe she wants attention, but maybe she doesn’t get it at home,” Brianna says.

Anna, who is 30, tells her daughter that she, too, was bullied. She was in high school at the time, and even though she acted like it didn’t affect her, it still hurt.

“I was trying to be brave and tell everybody in the world, that, no, it didn’t bother me, but deep down inside, it did,” Anna says. “It made me feel like I was nothing.”

Brianna is quick to respond.

“Well, you’re something to me,” she says.

And you’re something to me, her mother replies.

“I love you more than a unicorn, and I really love unicorns,” Brianna says. “I feel like you’re the best mom in the world, and that makes me happy.”

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Mitra Bonshahi.

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to leave a legacy for future generations. Learn more, including how to interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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