Me at thirteen right after the BSB concert

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a model. I thought modeling would catapult me to fame and fortune, and I figured if I could make it as a model, then I could do anything in the world.

I wanted to be a model so much, that I would sneak out of bed and “walk the runway” to softly playing music, so my mom wouldn’t hear. I entered a modeling competition once, and the guy in charge said I was too fat. I was thirteen.

I had just seen the Backstreet Boys in Concert for the first time – I was thirteen, don’t judge me, Nick was hot!- I was excited about my future as a model, and I had worked hard at taking pictures to show the world what I had to offer. When I look back at the one picture I have from those days I see a lot of sadness, a lot of pain, and a girl smiling to hide the fact that she’d been molested by a priest.

Losing that competition forced me to “retire” from modeling, I even remember pretending to wave goodbye to my imaginary fans, and that was the end of dreaming for me. I was heart broken, even though I didn’t show it. I was completely shattered, it was the first time someone who had real power told me that I was fat.

So I stopped dreaming about being famous, or being a writer, or being talented, I just sort of “existed”, for a lot of years. I did what I was told, I followed the path set in front of me, one foot in front of the other, without really having a direction of where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do.

This year I set some goals, and thought to myself “let’s just see what could happen, maybe something, maybe nothing,” I wasn’t serious about my goals and I certainly wasn’t intentional about them. Loud Mouth Brown Girl only exists because I had a panic attack and got arrested, and for several months lost my fucking mind. It only exists because we entered a year in which we were hit by a pandemic and I needed something to keep my mind occupied so I didn’t go crazy.

It didn’t become a “job” until today really, until I realized that I am onto something, that I am doing something that matters to people. I know that because y’all got together and helped me raise three hundred dollars so that I could buy hoodies and donate them to the Surrey Women’s Center.

It only happened because the people who read this blog thought “you know…I like what she’s doing and I want to be a part of it.” And you are.

This website started as a place of insanity, everything that I said and wrote on this blog the first few months were true in some parts, and utterly insane in other parts, but the more that this site develops the more that I realize I WANT to be the Loud Mouth Brown Girl.

I want to be the girl that says to the next little girl “you aren’t fat, you’re absolutely beautiful, and I want you to be modeling my products.”

It’s only as I write this that I realize one day I am going to host my own modeling competition, it’s only today as I write this that I have realized there is absolutely power in my voice, and that my voice reaches across time and space to reach those of you who are reading this, or thinking about reading this.

I am not saying it’s easy, you don’t just say something and then it magically happens, you have to push your dreams along, you have to do the work. You have to take steps to make sure that your dream becomes a reality, but a big part of making your dreams come true, is speaking them into existence.

One day I am going to be a model, I am going to model my own clothes, and I am going to have an entire stable of models who are going to model my clothing.

I am not yet comfortable telling the world the stories that I’ve told myself. I go on walks sometimes, and I tell myself stories as if I am the character that I am writing, and on the fly I will come up with grand adventures, wormholes and portals to other worlds, but I never write them down, I want to develop this skill and I want to get comfortable sharing these stories with people from around the world.

I want to be strong enough to tell stories about my home town, and the places I’ve seen and been, because I truly believe that the only way that I am going to make my real dreams come true, is by telling stories that no one has ever heard before.

I never want to be the kind of person that actively tears people down, even people who have hurt me, and I think this is a part of my healing journey, realizing that my words have power, that they mean something, even to people who claim to hate me.

I haven’t always believed that my voice matters, that my voice has the power to hurt, because I wrongly assumed that people just didn’t care about me.

Until about five or six years ago when I left my job, and my “mission” behind, I realized that there ARE People who care about me, they just weren’t people who were capable of voicing the way they felt about me, much like I wasn’t capable of voicing how I felt about them.

I only just realized that we teach each other how to speak. My mentor, Charles Bivona once told me when I was bitching about the word “boo” meaning “poo” that language is ever evolving, and what means one thing to one person means something else entirely to someone else.

There are a lot of sick people in this world, who will tell you that your voice doesn’t matter, that you can never come back from the crimes you have committed or the hurt that you have caused, but my existence is proof that this is not true.

I have hurt a lot of people getting to where I am, and for years I didn’t think the hurt that I caused mattered, because I honestly believed that no one on this planet gave a shit about me. And then I met some amazing women, who taught me that what we say does matter, and the effect we have on other people has consequences, it was only when I realized that I never want to do anything to hurt these women, that I started examining how I’ve treated others over the last thirty-seven years.

I have a ton of excuses, I have a plate full of reasons, but the fact is that if you want to be the kind of person who helps others, you have to stop believing that no one cares about you. Because if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t be hurt when you lash out against them. If they didn’t love you, they wouldn’t feel sad when you treat them like shit.

A person I knew, and cared about quite deeply died last year, he was murdered, and his killer has yet to be found, I keep thinking about how much I tried to be a part of his life, and how much he made it clear he didn’t want me there, and I romanticized our relationship because it made me feel better. Recognizing that this person was actually incredibly cruel to me, and that he only apologized twenty-four hours before he died, broke my heart in ways I didn’t expect.

Largely because we could have been really good friends if he’d just tried to see things my way, we could have been really close if I’d been able to explain why it was that I behaved the way that I did, in truth I was just broken and I didn’t know how to communicate with this person, or with anyone for that matter.

I am only now learning how to communicate how I feel, how to voice my opinion in a way that isn’t harmful to the people that I am talking with. I am learning that I am not perfect, and I am learning that I make mistakes that have actual consequences, and that’s because I have finally found people who love me enough to keep me accountable and call me on my bullshit.

When you have people that care about you, and want to see you be your best self, you’re more willing to listen to them when they tell you that you’re in the wrong. And ironically I appreciate that, it means they are saying to me “you matter, your behavior matters, your words, matter”.

These are not statements that I grew up hearing, and while my mom was great, the communities that we lived in worked really hard to make me believe that I didn’t matter, that my dreams didn’t matter.

When I was being raped and abused, I didn’t think about having a future, I didn’t think about dreams, or hopes, or wishes, I just wanted it all to end. I wanted to die, I didn’t ever have the courage to take my own life, not really, but I thought about it often enough that I came very close to the edge, more than once.

I can’t change who I was the last thirty-seven years, but I genuinely hope that over the next thirty-seven I become the kind of person my mom and my aunts, and my uncles, cousins, siblings, and loved ones can be proud of.

I want to see the world, and I very much plan to be the Loud Mouth Brown Girl for a very long time, and that means not only speaking my dreams into reality, but continuing to be accountable for my behavior.

This year has been mostly… fucking sane, honestly. This year has been fucked up, for a lot of people around the world, a lot of my friends are suffering, a lot of my family members are locked away from each other. A lot of people that I care about are or have gone through hell trying to get to this point.

I have absolutely no right to ask for more than I have been given, and I don’t intend to, all I want for 2021, is the chance to be better, stronger, wiser, kinder, and more informed than I was in 2020. All I ask for is the room to grow, to be the best possible version of myself.

I look back at the past versions of myself, I see bravery, strength, power, inspiration, creativity, weirdness, silliness, acceptance. I see someone who struggled all her life to find her path, and now I get to be here, where she should be, writing this, for her, because she’s too tired to have her say.

I am hoping that I find her again, wherever she’s gone, I hope that I find that girl who liked to put on fashion shows and wave to imaginary celebrities while “walking the runway” to 2Pac’s “Wonder why they call you Bitch.”

I want to be the kind of person that will one day stand in front of RZA and be able to say “Thank you” for the life lessons without crying. I want to be the kind of person who looks down at the girls coming after her and says “come join me.”

I know that’s a lot to ask of one person, but I think I can do it, given some time, some energy, and some ingenuity. I think I can be the kind of person that I always wanted to be, but I know damned well that I won’t get there alone.

So to all of you reading this, thank you for your support. Thank you for watching me, reading my stories, reminding me of who I was when I thought I lost my mind, being there from the beginning. I fucking appreciate you, because I wouldn’t be here without you.

I get it now. When Celebs say they are where they are because of the fans, they absolutely mean it because it’s true. Those of you who hear our voices, see our stories, share them, talk about them, encourage those of us who are creators, you are the reason that we exist, because we’d have no one to listen to us if it weren’t for you.

So thank you for being a part of the Loud Mouth Brown Girl army, I love you.

Devon J Hall

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