When was the last time you said “I need…” ? when was the last time you said to yourself, “I need a break” and then actually took a break?

Sometimes we get so caught up in what we think we need to do, that we forget what we actually need to do.

Recently I have had this voice in my head telling me that I am a fraud, and I just keep calmly saying “no I’m not.” It’s not imposter syndrome, it’s the voice of my abuser trying to tear me down so that I will stop talking about what happened to me.

What happened to me is that I was dragged into a sex cult, and raped for twenty-two years, on top of the eleven years I was raped and abused before that. Most of my life up to the age of thirty-six included years of sexual abuse and trauma.

It was only five years ago that I started talking about what happened to me, and all these years later, that I was able to say the words “I was gang raped.” I am still actively learning the language of abuse and trauma, and it’s shocking to me that I didn’t know how to say “I need…” before, but to be fair to myself, no one taught me that I was allowed to need anything.

I look to all these people in the blogging and newsletter world, and I keep thinking “wow they’re working so hard.” I am so proud of them for putting themselves out there, because I know how hard it is to do that. I struggle with promoting myself and the stuff that I am putting into the world.

I struggle with saying “I did this” and pointing to the work that I’ve provided for consumption, because I’ve always been told that I am not allowed to have dreams, and no matter how hard my mom tried, her voice couldn’t drown out the voices of my abusers.

I look around my house some days and I think “you don’t deserve to live like this, in a box, surrounded by stuff you don’t need,” and other days it brings me a comfort to know that my home is my sanctuary away from a world that for years tried to destroy me.

I am working on all the things when it comes to my mental health, but I am also incredibly physically exhausted. There are things that I need to do that I am not doing, like getting a family doctor, largely because I am so tired of the sound I hear on the phone when I tell the Doctor that I use cannabis.

Finding a Doctor who is without judgement in BC is incredibly difficult, there is an air of superiority that they carry that can be incredibly damaging to the psyche, but now that I have written about my medical insecurity, it’s time I suppose to actually do something about it.

Recognizing in my search for mental health, that there are people I can reach out to for help is absolutely huge. Keeping myself accountable is really important to my overall health, but keeping myself accountable without being negative about it, is a superpower that I have not yet mastered.

There are plenty of times in a day I berate myself in the worst possible ways, and I don’t know why I do it. It’s not that I don’t think I deserve better, because I know I do, I think it’s because I am mentally trying to keep myself humble, which is messed up when you really think about it.

When we talk down to ourselves we start to believe that shit, so I try to counteract that negative voice with positive inflections, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. Which is to say, I understand how hard it is to believe that you can be beautiful inside and out.

Recently a couple of my friends have remarked on how sweet I am, and while it’s lovely, instead of saying “thank you” I’ve found myself laughing and saying “I know,” and it’s not because I am arrogant, it’s because I am trying to remind myself that I damn well deserve that compliment. Because I work at being seen as sweet.

I make a concentrated effort to support my friends when they need me to because I know what it feels like not to be encouraged, I know what it feels like to be surrounded by people while simultaniously feeling completely alone.

People don’t quite understand what that means when they’ve never felt that way, but it’s something that teenagers especially go through a lot.

Being a teenager is all about discovery, it’s all about learning what you know and what you are capable of, and that can be so damaging to the psyche, but interestingly it’s also something you go through in your thirties.

I for one, went through this sort of metamorphosis, where I started discovering that I am an entirely different person than I was in my twenties. I went through the same thing when I hit about ninteen or so and I realized that I didn’t have to hide my drinking anymore.

Unlearning old habits is difficult, largely because the old habits brought me so much comfort in my past, but I also understand that being uncomfortable is apart of growing up.

I used to think that when you hit twenty-one you were all grown up, and I was really down on myself for not being able to do the things that other kids my age did. I didn’t know how get a job, I was so naive, I was so lost, and I didn’t know how to connect to the world the way that other people did.

So I went through a phase of distracting myself as much as possible, when I got my first job at twenty-three it wasn’t about helping people, it was about distracting myself. Helping others was just a biproduct of that.

The same can be said about starting LMBG, I was trying to find a way to occupy my brain so that I didn’t focus on the trauma, and while it worked, I also recognize that now it’s time to start putting some kind of plan together for my future.

You can’t stumble into success forever right?

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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