The most vulnerable I've ever been is a year ago this week. Just five shopping bags of clothes and toys and nothing else. I forgot one bag full of his birthday things and had to go back. With twenty minutes to spare. Not even a toothbrush or pajamas. Everything lost. His first curl, her pregnancy cast.
Sharing a house with strangers in a strange part of town. Services, endless services. Some of them shouting down the phone asking you what were you thinking how could you have been so stupid, so blind?
I've never been able to lie.
Every person I've been with has commented on that aspect of me, when they're telling me I'm cute, I'm an airhead, I live with my head in the romance clouds. Longing to connect. Unfailingly honest. They like it until that raw openness is no longer theirs to exploit and manipulate but is now shining a light on them without elaboration or fabrication.
Then they want me to lie.
Will beg, rage, rant.
With birth. I tell women the truth. I wish I could pretend that every care provider could be trusted and would be respectful and it might make for a nicer conversation but it's just not what I see. It's why I don't fit in anywhere, into the landscape of birth that often wants everything to be fluffy to make a sale.
I'm not interested in just making a sale. I want a revolution.
Now there are many people who want to go even further, who want to fit a scold's bridle on me, who admire my passion and my conviction but most of all just want me to shut up when they disagree. Who want me to deny my reality and my beliefs. Not realising I have faced worse than them and won. Their pettiness only souring themselves. Other people whose lives would be infinitely easier if I did decide to stop telling the truth and pretended it didn't matter when there's so much at stake.
This time last year keeps going round in my head because I lost everything and also nothing. I clung to my work and would not stop serving and speaking, would not let it die. I built all this up from absolutely nothing at all, five bags, two children and the clothes on our back. And now I'm fiercely protective and vulnerable all at once. With more to lose.
And I still won't lie.