Watching Home Alone as a child, I was often afraid for the protagonist Kevin — he was my age and he single-handedly had to stick up for himself against some really mean bullies — Harry and Marv aka The Wet Bandits. The Wet Bandits were the kind of bullies for whom age ain’t nothin but a number and they’d gladly pull anyone’s card, regardless if they possess cute charm and are blonde-haired-blue-eyed-white boys. These thugs were too legit to quit. And apparently so was Kevin. In successful efforts to save his house, he orchestrated traps that left the bullies with beebee pelleted groins, singed hair and blow torched heads, broken backs from flights down icy steps and what I can only assume is tetanus from the ol’ nail through the foot gag. Kevin didn’t get mad, he got even and he made sure those bullies knew that he was not someone to fuck with. He was one empowered young bruh.
Even though I knew that Kevin was doing a good thing by standing up for himself, defending his home, and makin’ those mean, meanies look a fool, I still had sympathy for the bullies. I cringed, tears welling when they got their just punishment. Everyone in my house was laughing, and I was crying, asking “why”?
I was always told that I was a v. sensitive kid. My step-dad would say “stop being so sensitive” as if my sensitivity was a defect to an otherwise normal affect — although tbh I was anything less than normal. I would cry at everything, I startled easily and I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. I attribute some of this to my upbringing: I was forced to feel sympathy for my bullies. My bullies were my caretakers, my bullies were my friends, my bullies were my closest confidants. My bullies were anything less than successful at making me feel secure, for my bullies were my mother, my step-dad, my brother. They were my best friends in middle school. They were my teachers who thought me inappropriate based on my unwanted, assigned sex and gender; I was FAAB (female-assigned at birth), but it was not fabulous.
In nearly every interaction, I have been the pushover. A side-affect of being told to “sit down and shut up”, of being gaslighted, of being afraid to speak for fear of literally being killed by my mother. Memory: my neighbor threw his Nerf football at me as I rode my bike down the sidewalk. He was 4 and I 6. When I told his mother, she said that I was being “dramatic” and that Mark was “just being a boy”, he was taught to keep bulldozing over others’ requests and my brother, who stood by watching learned that it was ok to hurt me. If I were to dig further, I suppose I could examine this as an example of how boys are raised to behave in a rape culture.
This continued in the home where my step-dad who didn’t know how to interact with children would tease me telling me if he didn’t, I wouldn’t know that he loved me — he was unequipped at knowing and lacked the sensitivity that the best way to parent a child isn’t through defacing them, but by rather helping them put on their face and dress it accordingly. I first met him when I was five and he took me, my brother and mom bowling. For whatever reason, I can only assume because I was smaller and weaker and a girl, I encountered my first exposure to his bullying.
Because I was smaller and lacked the ability to push the bowling ball completely down the lane, my step-dad thought it advantageous of me to roll it from the foul line; I kept creeping past the foul line, however, and slipping on the oiled floor.
Although my feet came out from underneath me, my head hit the hard floor, and I had to roll on my side to avoid the ball that flew from my hands and straight toward my face, they kept encouraging me to go past the line, amused and laughing. This persisted until an attendant came and asked them to stop.
Unlike the bullies in Home Alone, I didn’t do anything to deserve my own broken back.
I grew up home alone in myself. I was isolated, neglected and abused. This parenting was a product of outdated, spare the rod, and spoil the child mentality.
I didn’t fucked with anyone, and when people fucked with me and I fought back, I was met with severe backlash — so sever that I stopped trying. I stopped thinking that I had anything worth or stake in my own well being and life.
I moved back to Ohio a year ago, and am surrounded by reminders of my childhood, engulfed by the flames of lived oppression. Determined to never let anyone stand in my way again, oppress me or tell me that I can’t do something, I finally grew a backbone. In the last year, I have been arrested, pink slipped and fired for insubordination.
I am determined to fight against my bullies, I only wish that I had learned self-defense from a younger age, so that my school-yard fighting wouldn’t land me in jail or worse. Now that I have this newly acquired gumption, I need the skills to ensure that I’m safe; I trust that I will become more effective as I go along. I acted as if until Kevin met me or we encountered each other, and I have no problem fucking up my own personal Wet Bandits.