This post contains conversations about scarification, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, and violence against children. Please proceed with caution.
I don’t talk about physical abuse as often as I talk about sexual abuse. I will never forget when my mom’s boyfriend slapped me over five dollars I had lost.
He left a hand print on my face for a week. Police were called but charges were never laid. I don’t know if that’s because I didn’t want to press charges or if it was because the cops decided not to.
I do remember the humiliation of going to school with a hand print on my face however.
It wasn’t the first time that I had been touched by abuse, but it was the first time that the abuse had left a mark. It was the first of many scars to come.
I came to learn that scarring my body physically, or scarification, was my form of self-expression, only I didn’t see the way I did it as true scarification.
People get scars for a lot of reasons. Some call them brands, to celebrate an achievement, or to remember a loved one. Others do it for pain, because physical pain releases emotional pain.
It’s like our physical pain is the key and emotional the lock. I am learning as I look back over my life, how many times I hurt myself just to remind myself that I was alive. That I had escaped and survived.
I realize now that it’s more offensive when someone else scars your body than when you do it yourself. No offence to the professional Scar Artists out there.
I am talking about when someone leaves a mark like a hand print on your face, or puts a knife to your shoulder to leave a scar. That kind of shit. When it’s done with out consent.
It’s a violation of an almost sacred law, which is to keep your fucking hands to your God damned self.
There is an added layer of humiliation, because you think you should have been strong enough to avoid the attack, the violation.
Sometimes though you can’t, either because you aren’t supposed to, or because your opponent is just stronger than you and there is absolutely zero shame in that.
I need you to know that. I need you to understand that it is absolutely not your fault when someone crosses your boundaries. Because no matter how you choose to fight, you have to remember that you do not deserve to be abused.
My mother’s boyfriend had no right to put his hands on me, I could make excuses for him but there is no excuse. I was a child. I didn’t know any better, but he did. He made a choice that defined a very decent portion of my life, but it doesn’t and it absolutely will not define the rest of my life.
I decided that tonight as I wrote this piece. My life will not be defined by abuse, but how I survived in spite of that abuse. It will be defined by Loud Mouth Brown Girl and the connections I am making across the globe with women who resonate with what I am trying to do.
It will be in the layers of the pages of this website, and in the opportunities that come because of the work and the portfolio that I am building here.
As I write this, I have one eye closed because it’s itchy due to allergies, and I am thinking about how hard it is to write with one eye, and yet I am still doing it.
Now my eyes are closed, I will not edit this sentence as I write this, because no matter what I write, I am still writing, even with my eyes closed.
It won’t matter what happens to me, I will always be a writer. So much so that I totally fixed sentance to sentence.
Had to, I am a writer at my core. And I am a survivor. And I am a warrior, and there is no shame in that. There is no shame in surviving, and there is no shame in giving into the pain.
You did what you had to do to get through it, and if that means crying, or hurting yourself I understand. I hope you don’t have to go as far as hurting yourself, because no one should experience that kind of pain, but I understand if you do. I know where you are coming from even if I don’t know the exact steps.
I’ve been there myself, it is a very dark and very isolated place. That place convinces you that your scars are ugly.
Do you know what I am reminded of when I see the scars on my stomach? I am reminded that I was pregnant once. That I was almost a mother, that I am still the mother of a child that wasn’t yet born into this world.
When I see the scars on my body now I don’t think of the abuse, I think of the battles I survived fighting vampires and demons who didn’t listen when I said no.
I think about all the stories I am going to write about the battles I had and how nothing and no one is ever going to abuse me again. I am thinking about the pledge that I made to myself.
I have a tattoo, which is a kind of scar, on my right shoulder blade that says “Killed by Death.” A promise that I would never commit suicide because it’s not worth what I’d be giving up.
I made that same pledge to my followers last year, and several years prior when I got the words “stay strong” tattooed for a girl who thought she didn’t deserve to live.
My body is covered in tattoos and scars, and each one is beautiful in it’s way. A Reminder that I survived every bad day I have experienced to this point, and you will too. I believe that wholly.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall