I didn’t know what to expect when I first started this website. I knew that I wanted revenge, I knew that I was angry I knew that I had been pushed into a position where my flight or fight receptors were pinging off the charts, and I knew that I needed to survive, someway somehow.
When I first started this site, it can legitimately be said that I lost my mind for a bit. I can’t tell you if it was days or months, but I was not “Devon”, I was some other version of her that didn’t know what it meant to be human. My world was suddenly and completely rocked by all the memories that I am now fully aware of.
It was overwhelming, to say the least. I was completely out of sorts, and I honestly didn’t know if I would find solid fitting again. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night hearing the voices of my abusers. I hear them promising to kill me, I hear them promising to end my life in a variety of terrible and awful ways, and still I get up and I do the work that “I” need to do, so I feel like I am contributing to the planet.
This isn’t to say that I am unafraid, I am afraid all the time, but I keep going because the thought of staying silent is so foreign to me now.
Once I came out with my survivor story, the idea of turning backwards just altered everything about me. I use this platform on purpose to encourage other women – and men – to come out and share their stories, because I genuinely know that as scary as it is, life is better when you are living in your truth. Life is better when you are doing the things that make you happy.
I know that there are a lot of people on this planet who love me, who hate me, and others still who love the “idea” of me, without really being interested in doing the work to get to know me.
I don’t really care what people outside my brain think of me. Understanding that I matter to myself, above all others, means that I am free from worrying about whether or not others like me, this is a deliberate weapon in my tool box.
I spent years caring what other people think of me, and it nearly killed me. It frustrated the crap out of me because I felt like every time I finally started to show people the real me, they dissapointed me in one way or another. Usually in big massive ways that often ended up with me being physically, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually injured by the choices of the same people I was trying to impress.
Some days I sit here staring at this site in awe. Given everything that I have been through, I’ve written enough content for more than one book. I’ve already written a book, I never thought I could accomplish that goal. I know it’s good, it’s not going to change lives, but I know that it’s good.
I want my next book to be great. I want my next book to push me over the edge and get me one of those fancy “best seller” titles.
More than that, I want to know that the work that I am doing is having an effective change on those who consume the work that I am doing.
It’s so easy for a self defined “guru” to tell you life is all about doing positive thinking, but the truth is that this is only part of the work. The other half is getting your hands dirty. Acknowledging your pain is a huge start to dealing with your pain, and once you start to deal with it, with how much it hurts, with how offensive it is that you feel the way you do, you can start doing the healing part.
I hate that I went through all the terrible awful things that I went through to get where I am today. I hate it with every fiber in my being, but I offset that by the fact that regardless of what others’ think, I am really happy right now. Today I had a really bad meditation, and I realized that I am holding onto a lot of guilt and shame for things that were ultimately out of my control.
Yes the some of the things that happened in the world were a direct result of my choices, and yes they were bad terrible awful things, but I also know if I hadn’t made the choices that I had made, I wouldn’t be here.
I don’t know how to feel about that. On one hand I am alive, on the other hand, there are a lot of good people who were once in the world, who should still be here, that are no longer with us. I know I shouldn’t take the blame for their deaths, I can’t really say it’s my fault that my favorite actor got cancer. I can’t really say it’s my fault that my favorite singer killed himself, but what if I had made different choices, would they still be here?
I am trying not to hold onto that for too long, I am trying to tell myself that I deserve to be here, that I am doing work that matters to people, and that my work offsets the fact that other people I’ve cared about in the past are gone, but in the big wide scheme of the world, sometimes it’s hard to believe that.
When you look at the amazing people in this world like Heath Ledger, Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Bourdain, it’s hard to believe when they leave, that you deserve to be on this planet and they don’t.
Because the world tells you that if you are not “trending”, then your life isn’t as worthy as Paris Hilton’s or Kim Kardashian’s. If you aren’t making big budget films like Robert Downey Jr, or changing the face of politics like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, then you aren’t doing anything that matters.
It’s hard to believe that if you don’t have the fanciest clothes or the most elite items that the work you are putting into the world is worth it, until you remember life is so much more than luxury. You can have luxury and be truly happy, and you can not have luxury, and be truly happy. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
For me, for my personal journey, life isn’t about money, or fancy items. That isn’t to say that I don’t want them, it’s to say that I am getting along without them. I don’t measure my success by the amount of money in my account, not yet anyways. I measure it by my happiness, because for me personally, I spent so much of my life being unhappy, that this new phase is starting to make me really question the person I am.
I don’t fully recognize this person that I am becoming, this person that is spiritual, and sees the world as a whole instead of in small chunks.
I look at the globe as this big wonderous puzzle, and there is so much for me to see and to learn, and for the first time in my life I am putting myself out there towards people I don’t have to work to impress. For the first time in my life I am finding friends, across the globe who encourage me, push me, challenge me, to be the best version of myself, instead of the worst.
Yeah sure I want an iPhone, and yeah sure I want to travel around the world, but that will either be a part of my experience or it won’t. I can hope until the cows come home, but if all I am doing is sitting around complaining about how I am not where I want to be yet, then I am not doing the work.
I don’t think talking about my mental health is going to change the whole wide world, I don’t think I am going to be the Beyonce of the literary world, but I don’t have to be. I have to be the Devon of the literary world, and no matter how many people step into this pool, no one is going to swim the way that I am going to swim.
I’ve learned a lot in thirty-seven years, and I have come to realize that I am not perfect. I make mistakes – big ones – like trying to kiss my gay friend while I was drunk on new years eve, or trying to make out with a guy who was clearly not interested in me. I was a product of the abuse that taught me that ignoring signals telling me someone wasn’t interested, didn’t matter.
It took me a really long time to look at my behavior and to realize that the lessons that I had been following where backwards, upside down, and downright evil. I know better now. I know that I can be strong on my own. I know that I can live my life without hurting other people and I actively do what I do to try and alleviate some of the pain that I caused in the past.
I don’t know if that makes up for the mistakes of my past, but I have to live with the knowledge that I may never know. I live my life honestly today because I want to be accountable for my actions, because I want to do better. Because I need to do better.
If it’s not good enough then I am absolutely willing to learn, but I am not going to let the world break me down again. I did that once before, and not only did it nearly kill me, but it prevented me from understanding what it means to be really, truly, unapologetically happy.
All I can say is that I am trying, I hope you’ll take the risks you need to take so you can try with me, but if you’re not ready I understand. I’ll be waiting.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall