Some dogs who’ve been beaten by their owners, like the way I was beaten, will often stare wide-eyed at you, while they shake like an underdressed child who’s been standing outside in the cold for longer than he wants to, and is why, now, when the part of me that thinks he should be nice all the time, admits to the wise man in his head that he’s always so angry, I know I’m doing myself a heart-saving kind of self-service. The wasted life I think I’m living may look like a life of carrying stones for a wall in some other asshole’s idea of keeping others out, but is a way to build oneself up and become practically invincible, while remaining open to whatever comes. It’s why I can ask what’s so wrong about being unfriendly with those who’ve invalidated my expertise like it’s their job, or some charity work, when practically everybody I know knows my sense of happiness has and will always be tied up in my love for masterful writing and my belief in its power to embolden the self in the most dire of circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with it, as far as I can tell, from inside my Arctic-grade Carhartt Jacket, with my knit beanie on tight and my backpack strapped, back to chest, the way it’s always been, and will always be for adult children of abuse and neglect such as me, who’ve always known they would spend their lives in the cold, being strong for everyone else.