Sometimes my stomach hurt. Sometimes I got eczema. Sometimes my hair started falling out. But all of it was preferable to speech, to pity, even to intervention.

Growing out of my Bad Childhood left me with a curious coping mechanism: when faced with any emotional trauma, I just acted like everything was okay until the pain subsided enough to be dealt with in a more "rational" manner. That this occasionally took the form of unexplainable fits of crying years too late in front of sympathetic but utterly clueless friends didn't matter. That I was "handling it" in the meantime did.

But not this year.