Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Fat Stutterer (Writer's Workshop)

I was labeled fat and I also was a stutterer.  It made me feel sad and mad!  It should come as no surprise that I was the most picked on and bullied kid in my class all through grade school and high school.  Even the teachers were cruel to me.

For example, when I was in third grade and had to read, every time I read and stuttered. The kid next to me kicked me--teacher's order and that teacher was a Nun! When I was a freshman in high school, the day we took homeroom pictures for the yearbook, the teacher made sure that he did not stand by me. Not surprisingly, I had few friends.

When I finally graduated high school, that night when my name was called, I got a huge standing ovation from my so-called classmates. i guess after years of humiliation, this was their way of making up. What I thought was "forget it."

Today I like being the "lone wolf." I worked at the same job for 39 plus years and my first task every day is dumping the garbage. Some things never change!

The "Lone wolf" and loving it!

I have lost the weight, still stutter sometimes, and can empathize with kids who are bullied.  Today, I am still super sensitive so please, don't pick on me.  

A book I could really relate to that talks about some of the same type of things that I went through is Please Stop Laughing At Me by Jodee Blanco.  I highly recommend it to get a real look at what bullying is all about.  

Related Post:  Memoirs Of A Bullied Kid over at Single Dad laughing.

What were you labeled as a child?  Were you ever bullied or were you a bully?

This post was written in response to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt:  In what way were you labeled as a child and how did it affect you?
This is a picture of me now.

Tweet This Tweet Me from Karen & Gerard Zemek


Lin said...

Gerard--That is HORRIBLE! I'm so sorry that you endured such torments!! I'm glad that people are more "aware" of bullying now, but I can tell you first hand, that schools and teachers STILL do nothing about it! We went through a lot of this with my son and I demanded that the school do something--back at middle school AND high school. I finally had to start reporting things to the police and pressing charges. The same kids continued in high school--it was a nightmare for our entire family.

So, yea--wear purple today and all that crud, but until people actually DO something about the bullying, it will continue.

Lesley said...

I LOVE this post. It is real, bold, and you share something that most everyone can identify with in one way or another. My daughter was bullied in 1st grade and it was HORRIBLE. I will definitely check out the book that you referenced because anti-bullying is something that we really talk to our children about.

I am also a new follower of your blog. I chose prompt #3 for MKWW.

paulakiger said...

Thank you for sharing this very personal post. I have read the Jodee Blanco book. It is chilling and informative simultaneously. Besides the obvious ability of social media to exponentially magnify bullying actions by kids, the other thing that seems to be worse than before is that kids get picked on whether they have something like you mentioned (overweight, stuttering) or not. It's a huge power play - with relational aggression, it's often the kids who have so much good going for them already who act in threatening/bullying ways to exert power over others. I wrote a guest post about my daughter's experience here:

Take care and thanks again for sharing. Can't wait to read your book!

The Silver Age Sara said...


I saw this post come across my FB page and I had to head over here. I'm doing a post on bullying next week on my blog and I'd love to feature your story if you give me permission. I'm going to share my story as well.

I so understand and empathize with you. I still have scars (or at least I carried them into adulthood) from being tormented.

Give yourself a hug from me and I love both you and Karen. You two are the finest couple I have the honor to know.

Tanya said...

I am sorry that you had to endure the cruelty of those kids and teachers. I have never understood the need some people have to make themselves feel better at the expense of others. Being a compassionate person, it angers me when I see people treated in that manner. But I am a big believer in "what goes around, comes around". Thank you so much for sharing your story- have a great day!

Rebecca Jo said...

Kids are so cruel, arent they? I'm so sorry that's how you were treated... I can relate a bit - I was the "fat kid" who was good at making everyone laugh.. but didnt stop people from teasing... good for you for becoming a strong person in the end!!!

Leah said...

Found you from Mama Kat's Workshop. What a touching post today. I was only teased ONCE about my weight growing up and it still haunts me to this day. So I can imagine somewhat how you feel. Bullying is just awful and I dread the day that one of my future children comes home and tells me that they were bullied.
Please check out my blog at

MommyLisa said...

People are so awful...good for you for moving on and doing the best for yourself!

CrazyLittleB_tch said...

Bullying takes it's toll on a lot of kids. I was the dorky weirdo. (stutterer too)
It looks like you grew up to have a happy home life with a wife that loves you and ADORABLE furry kids!
Congats on losing the weight.

legalmel said...

Kids, well not just kids, but people in general can be terrible. I am sorry that you had to go through that as a young person. So often our experiences as young people affect us for many many years to come. I am glad taht you have been able to become healthy and have found someone to love you for you.

Amber said...

Kids in school and people in general can and will be so cruel.

I was picked on in school too, not as bad as many but enough it made life tough for awhile. I was/am a red-head with freckles and had/has a temper. Which equals, easy target.

There was one boy I remember in a H.S class of mine, my heart broke for him each day. All of the kids in class and the teacher were so mean to him. I wasn't his friend but I always picked him as my partner for labs. One he was smart and two, even though we weren't friends he knew I wouldn't be mean to him.

Unfortulantly, bullying is everywhere, and not just with kids.

I'm so sorry you had to deal with that growing up! It's never right!!

Good thing is, what those kids thought doesn't matter!

So glad your doing well now and have a great family (pets included of course) :)

BeadedTail said...

It's awful you had to endure being bullied all through school but I think you got the last laugh by having such a wonderful life with Karen and your furbabies!

dawn @ Dawning said...

My youngest son, we'll call him SIX, is 12. He has a speech impediment from being born basically dead.
He stutters and he has difficulty pronouncing certain sounds. He has been in speech therapy since he was 2. This is his first year without speech therapy. He loves that he is no longer singled out, but he does admit he stutters more easily and has to remind himself to slow down and speak clearly when he is excited or upset.
We are lucky. The kids he knows he has known since kindergarten. They give him time to speak, and encourage him when he had trouble. The teachers and the students help give him confidence in himself. He's not stupid, he just has a different accent is what he tells people.

Rebecca Mecomber said...

I wore glasses and was horribly shy in school, so I understand about bullying. Children can be SO cruel, I think. It is unconscionable how cruel the adults can be, too. It seems fat people and folks who aren't "perfect" are open season by bullies. Ugh. It's one of the reasons why I refused to send my kids through any public school system. How anyone can justify dumping a bunch of nasty little kids together in a room and calling it "education" is beyond me!

Great post. Took lots of courage to write it. Every human being is precious in God's sight, it ought to be in our's too.

Karen and Gerard said...

Lin: It's good you were aware of the problem. Some kids don't even tell their parents what's going on.

Lesley: That's terrible to be bullied already in first grade! How sad for your daughter. I hope her teacher is aware and takes action quickly to keep it from continuing and getting even worse.

Paula Kiger: Did you read her second book too? Being teased is very common. You are right though, bullies have their own issues why they feel they have to hurt other people. I mailed the book first-class on Monday so you should have it by now I would think (Fri).

Mountain Woman: Bullying goes on all the time, everywhere. Bullying will never stop. Go ahead and use my story if you wish. I'm honored that you want to! Sorry to hear you were bullied too.

Tanya: I don't understand it either. Thanks for your support!

Rebecca Jo: Sorry you were teased too. I was always first pick for one game though--bull rush because it took four or five kids to tackle me. Thanks for your comment.

Leah: I'll never forget what I went through and how it made me feel. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment. Maybe your children won't be bullied--think positive.

Mommy Lisa: Thanks!

Just Mom & LegalMel: Yes, my life is MUCH better now!

Amber: Thanks for your comment! Sorry you were teased too. Really, until kids stand up for each other, bullying will keep going. A great book (albeit, fiction) is Touching Spirit Bear and Ghost of Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen.

Beaded Tail: I think you are right!

Dawn: That's good that your son has friends who support him.

Rebecca: Bullying even happens in private schools--that's where I went. It'll never stop.

We really appreciate all your comments and the stories you shared.

Mary said...

Visiting from Saturday Sampling. Your post caught my eye because I'm a speech pathologist. How awful that you were bullied because of how you looked and your difficulty.
You're right...this is really sad.

Emily said...

Back in the day, nuns weren't such nice people. My dad, who has since passed on, told me horror stories that he could remember as far back as being a young boy. Kudos to you for coming out the "other side"

Mrs4444 said...

I hate that you went through that and that anyone has to, as we both know bullying is like a "tradition," unfortunately. I especially hate that that nun contributed to your pain. I'm glad you have a success story :)

Tina said...

It never ceases to amaze me just how horribly kids can treat each other, even adults for that matter. I've been pondering a lot lately the state of the world and the amount of pain and suffering inflicted from one human being to another, and I honestly will never understand. Isn't it easier to just be nice?

Anonymous said...

Kids can really suck and adults are not always better. I can totally understand how you felt. When my sons were in first grade their teacher didn't like them having "northern" accents (we lived in the south then) and had all the other kids make fun of them and tell them they didn't know how to talk. My sons are 18 now and to this day they still talk about how that made them feel.

I have zero tolerance for bullies and labels.

Be who you are and be proud of it!

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