As the eldest of three boys in a single parent family, the pressure to pretend everything was okay was unbelievable. It wasn't okay, our mother was mysteriously overseas and us boys were very far away from understanding why. Closer to home we had a stressed out father trying to do everything by himself. Really by himself. Because of course people weren't cool with a man raising three boys.
I think people believe a man just can't be conscientious enough to raise kids by himself, but he was a very focused father, it was the stuff he wasn't conscious of that did the damage. I would walk around with a fake smile because a stressed out dad is a scary dad. I became quite the fucking weirdo and I carried a lot of disconnected, fucked-up behaviour into adulthood and eventually converted that into a fairly solid mental breakdown.
I feel sorry for my parents. At too young an age they were railroaded into a marriage they weren't equipped to deal with. Mum took off and Dad cracked under the pressure of doing the impossible. And that unbearable tension broke his kids.
I'm glad all that happened though, because it made me fight for my mind and my sanity in a way normal suburban white boys usually can't experience. Without my broken home I wouldn't have become an activist who pushes things as far as they can go. I've lost count of how many times I've been arrested since Occupy and I would do it again for the cause.
Family breakdown showed me the underside of society, where people fall through cracks and onto scrapheaps. My revolutionary struggle is all about the little people like my father, who faced an impossible task all by himself. The world we humans created needs to change and become about community and until that happens I won't be pretending things are ok.