How Unicorns Help This 8-Year-Old Deal With Bullies Anna Freeman's 8-year-old daughter, Brianna, is obsessed with unicorns. She explains to her mother how the imaginary creatures relate to real experiences in her life.
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How Unicorns Help This 8-Year-Old Deal With Bullies

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

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

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

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/574071739/574479394" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Anna and Brianna Freeman spoke about their experiences with bullying during their StoryCorps interview in Chicago. Crystal Vance Guerra /StoryCorps hide caption

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Crystal Vance Guerra /StoryCorps

Anna and Brianna Freeman spoke about their experiences with bullying during their StoryCorps interview in Chicago.

Crystal Vance Guerra /StoryCorps

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.

Brianna Freeman, 8, poses as her favorite mythical creature, the unicorn. Anna Freeman hide caption

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Anna Freeman

Brianna Freeman, 8, poses as her favorite mythical creature, the unicorn.

Anna Freeman

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.