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Why Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer Was My Childhood Hero – My Bullying Story

If you read my Christmas movie post, then you’ll know why I love Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer so much. I decided to expand on that in this post.

Why Do I Love Rudolf So Much?

I’m well aware of the fact that the 1998 Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer movie isn’t the original Rudolf. It’s the version I grew up with, so it’s the one close to my heart.

We all know Rudolf’s story; he’s a reindeer born with a shiny red nose who was picked on. Then one Christmas Eve Santa asked him to lead his sleigh because it was too foggy to fly. He saved Christmas and went down in history.

[Side note: I learned while writing this that there’s a sequel book about Rudolf, and I kinda want it]

a sweater with rudolph the red nosed reindeer on it

I too have a big red nose.

I say birthmark but technically that’s incorrect. I was born with a normal nose, and then a few weeks later a red mark appeared. I generally just say birthmark because its hard to explain that to people. It turns out, it’s called a strawberry birthmark. I suppose the name is accurate, the kids in school did tell me my nose looked like a strawberry.

It faded a lot over the years, so it wasn’t bright red when I started school, but it was a little pinkish. Which meant that drew attention to the fact that my nose is already big to begin with (the fact that my mouth/lips are tiny makes it look even bigger!)

As you can imagine, the other kids made damn sure I knew about it. I’ve been called every name under the sun and had every aspect of who I am criticized. The name I was called the most was big nose.


rudolph the red nosed reindeer napkins

It’s also not that I’m some perfect little angel and have never done anything wrong in my whole life. There are plenty of instances from my childhood and teenage years where I can say I was in the wrong.

Sometimes I didn’t know how to respond to or handle something. Sometimes I was hurt and lashed out or played fire with fire and reacted negatively to how people treated me. Sometimes I had unrealistic expectations of people or didn’t communicate with them.

I wouldn’t start things, but it wasn’t always the bigger person. I guess I thought showing people how it felt would make it stop. It doesn’t, it makes it worse.

One thing I will say, is my conscience is too strong to have went full school-bully. There was times in primary school someone would call me a mean name, and I’d call them one back only to immediately apologize because I felt so bad. They didn’t apologize to me though, even thought they seemed hurt by what I had said.

Most of all, I don’t want to stagnate. I want to learn and become the best version of myself.

young ash-ling

The Effects Of Bullying

I’m a strong defiant person, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t effect me.

I was really when I got held back a year in school that the name-calling really began because I was an easy target.

I used to be the happiest most out-going child in the world. I wanted to be an actress, a performer, and everything creative. I was centre stage. I was confident.

I was a completely different person by the time I was 8. Looking back at childhood photos is the saddest thing ever because before aged 7 I was always smiling and posing in pictures, and ever since then – even now – I don’t smile at all.

I stopped talking, I started talking about wanting a nose job. I stopped looking at myself in the mirror – this isn’t normal behaviour for a child that young.

young ash-ling with santa claus

Unsurprisingly I had an even worse time in secondary school and my mental health was awful.

I’m so proud of myself for being confident now, and for the fact that I stand up for myself. However, I will never ever love my nose – or most of my face for that matter. I still consider getting a nose-job except those are expensive and I’m too much of a hypochondriac to willingly get surgery.

Although I was very clearly a troubled child. I watched Rudolf every year and told myself I’d be great too, and that people would be sorry.

The Pursuit Of Greatness

The dream that really stuck with me from a young age was being a rockstar.

I wanted to be successful, and I wanted to be successful as young as possible. By successful, it was doing something big and getting famous so that people would see me, admire me, and wish they’d be kinder. As a child, I never understood why Rudolf forgave his bullies. I’d have told them to fuck off.

I’m a 23-year old graduate working in retail, so my inner child would be disappointed.

I’ve come a little close to the dream but I respect my younger self for having the integrity to walk away when it was too much of a compromise. When success came at the cost of ruining my passion for music, I stepped down.

Plus, the music scene is a hot mess. It’s not as simple as just showing up and singing somewhere. I don’t mind the work, I know you’re not rich unless you’re the biggest band in the world. The problem is there are bad people in all levels of the industry. It feels impossible to navigate it safely and ethically. I’m sure some people can and do, but it’s very daunting for me.

I still love music – I still want to make music and publish books, but it’s no longer to rub it in anyone’s face. It’s because I have stories, songs, and art I want to create and share with the world. My dream isn’t to buy a big Ferrari and drive past people who used to be mean to me and flip them off anymore.

I hoped my life would be different by aged-23 but I’m constantly working to steer my life in the direction I want it to go.

Redefining Success

I’ve since learned that the vast majority of people who weren’t kind to me were suffering themselves. People who are hurt can either be kind and make sure no one feels like they do, or take it out on others. They choose the latter.

The rest were immature children, teenagers or just straight-up shitty people. I used to be so full of anger. Since coming to the realization that they were just taking their pain out on me, I don’t feel anger anymore, I feel pity.

My goal now is to love my life. It’s to do things that make me happy. I don’t care if I’m rolling around in money or fame or not, as long as I’m content then that’s enough success for me.

Adults & Bullying

christmas lights shaped like two reindeers

When it comes to dealing with bullying, parents and teachers, first of all, need to take it seriously and ensure the victim is okay. So many adults forget what it’s like to be a kid. They don’t realize how things that wouldn’t hurt them, would crush a kid. Sure, kids are resilient, but things that happen in your childhood do influence the adult you become. It’s not a big deal to you, but a child hasn’t been alive very long, so it’s the end of the world to them.

They also need to try address to the root cause of the bullying. What’s going on in the bully’s life that caused them to lash out? Are they having a hard time at home? Are they imitating someone else’s behaviour?

Very few people are just “bad eggs.” It’s not that simple. I think the bullies were failed too and deserved better.

The Bottom Line

I hope the people who were nasty found peace.

wooden rudolph the red-nosed reindeer christmas tree decorations

And for those who were just assholes for no reason, if they’re still assholes now, then they must be miserable. No one genuinely content with themselves of lives would ever even consider bullying someone else, so I also pity them.

Either way, it’s not my problem anymore. I graduated.

I’m not perfect, but I’m not a malicious person.

27 thoughts on “Why Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer Was My Childhood Hero – My Bullying Story

  1. There was a lot of buzz last year with people claiming that Rudolph ‘normalized bullying’ and made it seem ‘okay’ but I think it’s exactly the opposite – Yes, it did show bullying, but it then showed Rudolph discovering himself and his own strengths, standing up and rising above it all. It’s a story of hope for SO many children that may be facing something similar right now.

  2. I’m so sorry you were bullied like that so young! But at the same time I have so much respect for your growth and positive outlook right now. And if your younger self could see your reasoning for making those decisions I’m sure she wouldn’t be disappointed either x


  3. I am so sorry to hear about your bullying. I was bullied a lot too in middle and high school so it too has affected my confidence today. I am glad and proud of you for being able to rise above it even though it’s not easy xx
    Hannah the Mad Dog

  4. I love your nose. You better start loving it too ๐Ÿ™‚ By the way that telecaster is so cool (Is that a telecaster?)

    Also, THIS > “People who are hurt can either be kind and make sure no one feels like they do, or take it out on others.” Bullseye!

    1. Thank you, no one has ever told me they love my nose!

      It’s my bass it’s a sunburst Stratocaster by Jack & Danny

  5. Love this post. Your childhood photos are just adorable!! You were such a cutie and you’re beautiful now!!! I grew up watching the same rudolf and think its amazing!!! I’m sorry you went through that at school, other kids can be dicks!! I went through bullying too and it totally sucked!! xx

  6. Aww I love the cute pictures of you as a kid, especially the first one, you look so happy! I believe that bullies and people who are generally rude to others are always either hurting or insecure about themselves so they take it out on others. I’m glad you’ve been able to see that now and rise above it.

  7. Describing me perfectly. I love Rudolph but I never associated his situation with bullying or being bullied because I didn’t care about what others want from me. My destination in life is countryside and forget what others want or give

  8. My 4 year old son just had a part in a play about Rudolf and as others have mentioned I had never put the obvious two and two together but this gives a good perspective. It’s a great opportunity to start conversations about bullying early. Cheers!

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