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Connie Chunk

Hearing about the increasing concern about bullying has personal impact on me…. because I was bullied.  We didn’t call it that back in the 80’s.  You either got picked on, or you didn’t.  It was a normal part of junior high.  I was on the “picked on” side.


When I was in grade 5, I started gaining weight.  Probably from all the Oh Henry bars, chocolate ice cream and McDonalds my grandparents would give me when I was at their house each day after school.  I guess my metabolism just couldn’t keep up.   So there I was, short and chunky.   But it gets better.  I had buck teeth….. and big glasses.  I was quirky and awkward, yet always bubbly and friendly.  My destiny was surely marked when I showed up to my new school in grade 7 being allowed to wear makeup for the first time: bright blue eyeshadow, bright pink blush and redder than red lipstick. I  was a buck tooth, chubby, clown-looking girl who showed up with a big, naive smile on my face, excited to face a new adventure….


Instead, I cried myself to sleep most nights and begged my mom to homeschool me so I would be safe from the cruelty I faced each day.   The identity crisis I faced as a fun, loving, friendly girl was being challenged with the feelings of inadequacy and doubt of my worth.  I would think: “Why am I not accepted when I’m a nice person??”


Typical day: a daily serenade of the boys favorite song dedicated to me: “Everybody Connie Chunk tonight” (sung to “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight”).   Being tripped down the hall so my books would splatter everywhere.  Dwight visiting my desk in homeroom once again to tell me what a “frigid virgin” I was.  Sam whispering from across the row how no one would ever want to go out with me.   And let’s not forget my first discovery that there was a popular group?….. and I was not in it.


I’ll never forget the day I was out in the woods with my long time friend, Maria.  These two guys came and kicked me down a hill with thorns that cut my skin.  Maria yelled at them and asked why they did that to me and not her?   Their answer: “Because she’s FAT and you’re not”.


Let’s fast forward to high school.  Same situation but now I’ve had braces fix my buck teeth and I’m gaining a slightly cooler sense of style.  There’s drama and performing arts and my extra curricular activity with the Youth Singers of Calgary.  These helped me find escapes into things I was good at.   And I can never forget how my youth pastor and his wife, who saw something in me, reached out to me and mentored me.   Even though I was experiencing so much rejection at school, their acceptance and belief in me made it so I was able to get through.  SOMEONE believed in me.   I could face the day.


I think that’s something valid for us all to stop and reflect on.  Someone believing in me made the difference between me possibly sinking into depression or repressing the giftings in my life, to actually being able to overcome, make it through and excel.


YOU could be that difference for someone.  One person doesn’t seem like a “big number of greatness”, but I’m glad my  youth pastor didn’t have that mindset!   To me, it has made all the difference.


Maybe you and I could be the difference someone needs to make it through one more day.  Can you see the people who need encouragement?  Don’t be afraid of teens.  It’s easy to think they won’t appreciate our acts of reaching out, but deep inside, they are screaming for it.   Today, teens are killing themselves due to the needless bullying they face!  Can you hear their cries for someone to love them?


Will YOU?


So many people that still need to know His love. We cant afford to grow weary in doing good. Thank God someone wasn’t too weary to reach me! – Chari Gambill

Categories: The Bully Project
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