When I first went to the Police about what happened to me, they asked me to see a psychiatrist, who had me committed to the hospital against my will, then they had another doctor diagnose me as psychotic. I knew what they were doing, and they knew what they were doing. If I’m crazy, they don’t have to deal with my claims of more than twenty years of sexual abuse, gang rape, cult rape, and sexual trauma.
Yes, I get scared. I get scared all the time. I have boundaries that I put up that push people away, and that’s deliberate. I say no to thinks that the average person would say yes to, because I am afraid. I step away from doing things that other people want me to do, because I know that doing things the way they want me to do them, will pull me out of my comfort zone.
I say no, and have said no, to being in relationships, or around people, that could change my life in ways that other people would perceive as “better”, because I am not ready to do things the way that other people want me to do them.
I am fucking terrified all the time that people will tell me that I am too much, or that I am not enough. I am afraid all the time that I don’t make sense, and so when I say something and people go quiet, I always, always, add “does that make sense?” because I want confirmation that it is okay for Devon, to be Devon. I am constantly asking permission to be myself.
I talk a lot about how I am not doing that anymore, but these are tough habits to break, and it’s going to take some time before I get from the place where I am talking about being fearless, to the place where I am actually fearless.
There are people in my life, who constantly take what I say on this blog, and use it as a weapon against me, to tell me that I am talking to them “directly,” well maybe I am. Maybe that’s because in some ways I feel like you aren’t hearing me, so maybe sometimes this is my passive aggressive way of putting you on notice, because I’ve tried everything else.
I was talking to my friend Kim for an upcoming podcast, and she told me about an experience she had where she decided to say no, without explaining why she was offering the no.
The first time I said no, I was being sexually assaulted while my abuser’s girlfriend was in the house a hundred feet away from where we sat at the fire pit in the backyard.
I said “No.” I didn’t explain, I just said “I don’t want this,” it didn’t stop him from assaulting me, but it did teach me that I “could” say no. Now I say no a lot. I weigh the pros and cons in my head, and I decide more often than not, that I do not want to do something, and then you know what happens? I don’t do that thing that I don’t want to do.
It feels amazing saying no, and it’s giving me strength, but I am so zapped out on emotional strength, that every time I have to fight for my right to say no, or even to say yes for that matter, it takes all the brand new strength that I’ve accumulated out of me.
There are times when I succeed at doing something, or I accomplish something, and I feel like I have to explain to the people on the outside of these accomplishments, why I deserve to be where I am.
I have worked really hard over the last four years to get where I am, and it’s not much to some people, but it’s everything to me. When you’ve been beaten down, raped, and tortured so bad that you have very nearly come to death, you start to realize a few things about the world.
You learn that your experience is valid, and that just because someone has had a similar experience, doesn’t mean that they are willing to understand yours, or that they are even willing to care. There are people in my stratosphere who have deliberately tried to tell me that my experience isn’t as important as theirs, while simultaniously telling me that I am trying to make the same argument.
It’s frustrating to constantly rip yourself open and share your experience with the world, so that you can validate that you are on the right path, or worse, so that you can prove to other people that you deserve to be wherever you are in the world, and yet I constantly do it, because not talking about it nearly killed me.
I was very nearly murdered. That alone is the kind of experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Life matters to me, and I don’t want to spend it arguing with people, and so when it comes time for me to say “this is how I feel” or “this is what I am afraid of” I often choose to keep my mouth shut, because I am genuinely terrified of confrontation.
The last confrontation that I had was with a white, racist, abusive cop, who arrested me for having a panic attack and deliberately delighted in my pain and suffering.
I am afraid all the time, of losing friends, of choosing the wrong friends, of finding out that people aren’t who I think they are. I am trying to teach myself to recognize the signs, but sometimes I get lost in the “I really like this person,” and before I know it, that person is setting me up for destruction, often in big and massive ways.
I have reached out to some people of my past and learned to wish them well, without wishing them bad or harm and that is incredibly freeing.
I remember years ago when a now former friend expected that I was going to be interested in joining her coven. She didn’t ask me if it was something that I wanted, she just assumed that I would follow her to the ends of the earth, she was so shocked when I made it clear that I wouldn’t be joining her, that she hung up the phone. We haven’t spoken since.
I wish her nothing but the best that life has to offer, but I never again want to be in the position of being afraid to say “I want this.” What I wanted was a family, a husband, some children, I wanted to belong to someone, and I told her that, she took that to mean that I wanted “her” family.
Her insecurities, combined with my own insecurities destroyed our friendship. If we were to meet today, we’d both be meeting people we’ve never met before, because each of us have changed so very much, in a million different ways.
Perhaps one day I will be ready to face that conversation, but it’s not this day, and I am okay with that, I choose to believe that she is too.
Right now I need my space, and I need people to be willing to give me my space, and to make the choice not to push past my boundaries just because they think they know what’s best for me, or because they need something that they can only get by pushing past my boundaries.
Not everyone gets an invitation to my house. Not everyone deserves, or even wants an invitation to my home, and those that do receive an invitation to my home, understand from the get go, that the moment they cross the threshold, they are crossing into the place where my soul lives.
My soul is tender, scarred, and still hurting from the trauma. That trauma isn’t going to suddenly just go away because other people want it to go away, life doesn’t work that way. It will go away when it feels better, and I don’t know when that is going to happen, but I am excited to find out.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall