By Sean Bedlam
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 okay.
"Dinner is served"
By Sean Bedlam
A single dad raising three boys is an angry household and our bedroom doors had been kicked in so many times by siblings confronting each other over missing comic books and other dramas.
It was so bad that they had to be flipped around and re-screwed to the hinges.
Our door weakening behaviour was so chronic that all three doors had been flipped around and reversed a few times to find fresh wood for hinge screws to bite into. Those doors were as screwed up as our sibling rivalry.
Our single dad needed to be at home of course, so his mates would come around to drink and hang out, which was cool, because they were all characters. One night I was sitting alone in my room when the door opened suddenly. One of dad's mates was holding a plate of food, so clearly dinner was being served. Room service! That was a nice moment.
Well it was a nice family moment if you ignore that my dad had instructed his mate to take full advantage of the fucked door situation. The door was blown off it's hinges thanks to a well executed flatfoot pushkick and that would have been a lot to take in even if I hadn't been sitting on the edge of the bed doing what teenage boys do about 16 times a day.
I don't remember what was for dinner.
About Sean Bedlam:
Sean is a political stand-up comic from Melbourne who has a show at the upcoming Melbourne International Comedy Festival called "Two Bearded Ladies". You find him on Twitter @seanbedlam and you can read the rest of his published stories here: http://www.bytestories.com/author/sean.bedlam Image copyright Sean Bedlam