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“I Don’t Want To Be A Success”

When I was thirteen I was hospitalized by a man who turned out to be a pedophile. I was not directly abused by him, but I do believe that the reason that my abusers found me, was because of him. In fact I am absolutely certain of it, even though I have no proof.

When I was in the hospital, I remember saying out loud “I don’t want to be successful”, at the time I genuinely meant it, but my older self smiles in pity and just says “I understand.”

At the time they were filling me with pills, testing anything and everything under the sun on me, and telling me that nothing about myself was nearly as good as it should be.

I was too quiet, too loud, too happy, too sad, too angry, too emotional, I was always “too” something, and eventually I just decided I wanted to be nothing, because being nothing was better than trying to fit into other people’s idea of who I should be.

So when friends would ask me what music I liked, I liked whatever they were listening to, with the exception of Arrowsmith, which was my favorite band growing up in the late 90s, I didn’t really like a lot of music back then.

I had stopped liking art, I had stopped finding things to be passionate about, except for sex. I became highly sexually advanced because of the abuse that I experienced, I thought wanting to have sex with grown men was allowed, was okay, and was expected, because that’s what I had been taught.

Prior to being gang-raped the last time, I had started to realize that all the girls in my life were dating these guys that had absolutely no ambition other than being “gangsters”. Every guy I knew was a gangster, knew a gangster, or hung out with gangsters, and everyone wanted a piece of the action.

All I wanted was my reality shows, and some fucking peace. I got tired of the drama, and I discovered that I wanted to do more than sit in a club and drink my life away like the people around me were doing.

It wasn’t like the movies, it damned sure wasn’t like the music videos, it was like what happened after the music videos ended. Someone (usually me) stayed a little too long, someone got punched, people plotted and manipulated other people, and it was just a vicious cycle of misery, neglect, and sadness, masquerading as happiness.

When someone had a birthday I went out of my way to make a big deal about it, I am talking balloons, toys, treats, the whole bit, when my birthday came around, none of those people even knew me well enough to want to celebrate me. It became exhausting trying to play the part of someone that I didn’t want to be, especially when I didn’t even realize that I was doing it.

I was just pissed off all the time, angry, bitter, manipulative, and mean. I was cranky by day, and cranky by night, and the more nights I spent in that place, drinking my life away, the more miserable I became.

While other people fell in love, I looked around and realized that the person I love was not in that bar, and not in that group of people, but the expectation was that like the women I hung around with, I would pick one and make him my “baby daddy.”

Back in my twenties people were “wifing” up, they were having babies, and they were dealing with what I realize was gender based, generational abuse, without even realizing that that had been their experience.

They, like me, had come to see the darkness as normal, because no one had ever taken the time to tell them it wasn’t fucking normal.

I look back to my thirteen year old self, and I look to the “assessment” that they did on me and I realize that nothing they said about me back then mattered, because not only did I not know who I was, I didn’t know how to convey that confusion to the outside world.

There was so much going on that the doctors didn’t know about, that the only logical conclusion is that they didn’t have all the information about me. I tried once to tell a Doctor what I had been through, it all came rushing out so fast that I got embarrassed and never went back. That’s when they quit on me.

That was when I realized that I couldn’t tell anyone what I had been through, because they would tell my mom, and that would only make things more embarrassing and shameful. I didn’t want to be successful because I was afraid that if I became a “success” I would lose all the parts of myself that I liked.

I was afraid I was going to lose the girl who liked to go for walks and make up long drawn out romanticized stories about her life. I didn’t want to lose the girl who grew up forgetting that she wanted to be a writer, by writing stories and seeing them as wonderful fantasies of things that might happen one day. I didn’t want to lose the girl who was living in her own film, but the darker the film got the more that I realized that I was being anything but successful.

What I had done was to become one of them. I had become one of the deniers, the pretenders, I had become a mask of myself, and the mask was so thick that I never thought I would get it off.

Telling my story the way that I did was one of the easiest decisions I ever made, because I honestly felt myself drowning and I needed an anchor to get me back. Reading back all the words that I wrote, and looking at all the decisions that I made at the early start of this website, I realize that I was in a place of complete and total insanity.

That doesn’t mean that the things that I wrote weren’t mostly true, but it means that at this moment I don’t even remember some of the things that got posted on this website initially.

There are holes in my memory right now, where there didn’t used to be, I don’t know if this is my brain trying to protect me, or some kind of neurological disease, but I am choosing to believe that the reason that those flashback memories are gone, is because I no longer need them anymore.

I’ve heard a lot of rumors in my hometown recently, about what people think of me, and honestly I really hate hearing how much people hate me. That sucks, but unfortunately I haven’t always been a great person – I’m not even saying that I am great now. I’ve hurt some people along my way, but I am trying to make up for it. I am trying to make amends, by being a better person now.

Part of that means choosing every day to be successful, because being successful with Loud Mouth Brown Girl means that I am helping other people, and for the first time in my life I am finding that I actually want to help other people.

Things are looking up for me these days not because the universe has suddenly decided to be on my side, but because damnit I have worked fucking hard to get where I am.

I keep thinking that something is trying to scoop up my soul and rip me out, and really I think it’s just the emotional roller coaster that is life. I think that the more that I come into my own, the more that I “wake up” from being the victim, I start to realize that I am actually still in the survival phase.

I feel like “if I just get through this” then I’ll be okay, but then something else pops up, so I am choosing to delete that thought process from my mind. I am choosing to be still, to listen more than I speak, and to watch more than I show.

I lost a lot of relationships that mattered to me on the way to this place, but I also realize that the person I was when those relationships mattered isn’t the same person that I am as I write this.

Sometimes I feel like it’s not even really me writing this, like I am a doll being used by outside forces as I share what’s at the forefront of my mind.

I realize now that the reason that I have had such a hard time writing good fiction is that it’s because good fiction requires good drama, and I’ve had a fucking lifetimes worth.

I’m tired ya’ll, I am down to the soul, bone tired. The only thing that I want to do is to climb into the drivers seat of a car, and drive down to New Orleans. I want to be there for Mardis Gras, I want to see the costumes, I want to hear the music, I want to feel the street vibrate beneath my feet as I dance the night away.

I want to walk the paths of the enslaved African American’s who came before me. My soul literally has been calling to New Orleans since I was twelve years old and read a book whose name I cannot remember, about the city.

Most of the stories I have in my head about New Orleans spider off from that web, the vampires, the demons, the angels, they all stem from New Orleans, and I am having a hard time being successful because I am writing stories about a place I hate, instead of a place that I love.

If there is one thing that I absolutely know about the word “success” is that if you want to be any good at it, you have to absolutely love what you’re doing. If you don’t love who you are in the moment, if you aren’t proud of the person that you’re presenting to the world, then you have to decide to get off your ass and say something. No one else can do it for you.

You have to be willing to put in the work, to step up and change old habits and behaviors, you have to do everything in your power to be the person that you want to be, on your terms, because the moment that you decide you’re going to sacrifice parts of yourself in order to impress or please other’s perceptions of who they think you should be, is the moment you lose pieces you didn’t know you needed.

I know that’s a long paragraph, so I’ll end it by saying this. I love the woman that I am becoming, and I fully intend to see my dreams come true. I know that there will be those who are going to try and gaslight me, or traumatize me, or kick me when I am down, but I am not going to let any of that stop me from being happy with who I am.

I know that I am not perfect, but I am not aiming for perfection, I’m aiming for happy.

What are you aiming for?

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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