On the first of January H asks me in which ways I am like my parents, what have I taken from them, good or bad, and I don’t quite know how to answer. It’s true that I haven’t had to think of that so explicitly in a long time. But it is oddly consoling to realize I am not responsible for everything that has entered into me. My coping mechanisms are not necessarily my own, even though I have been made to feel shame for them—I come from a man and a family that chooses oblivion in the face of difficulty. I have been made to feel shame for that mechanism from the very persons who gifted it to me. It is a freedom to think of it in this way, as something that is part of me but not my own, to walk up the frozen streets from Parkdale and feel the shame lifting, like someone else (not my parents) is taking it on their shoulders.

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