So I am taking this program from a local organization here at home, that is all about learning to tell the stories about myself in a way that is more conducive to creating the life that I want, instead of the life that other people think that I should want.
And tonight I received a lot of questions that I want to answer on this blog. Questions about how I see the world, and what it is that I expect to get out of sharing my story, and it occurred to me that I am allowed to change the fucking narrative about my own life.
Because it’s my life.
I’m the one that has to look myself in the mirror, I’m the one that has to crawl into bed every night in hopes that I caused more help than I did harm, I’m the one that has to live with the consequences of my actions.
I am fully aware of the consequences of sharing my story in front of people who are not fully emotionally prepared to hear what it is that I have to say about my experiences, and I am fully conscious of the harm that I have caused by sharing my story.
On a completely different side of the spectrum, learning how to reframe my story so that
a) it causes less harm
b) still remains true to who I am
Is something that I am only just learning to do because I’ve never had anyone teach me how to share my story before, and that’s not something that we think about often when it comes to mental health.
When we reframe the way that we share our stories with other people, we often learn to reframe the way we ourselves, see our stories, and our journey’s and that can be an absolute game changer when it comes to moving forward on our paths.
I have struggled a long time with the idea that I am sick, vs that I am weak.
Physically I am weak. I am fatter than I have ever been in my life, I am getting a lot less exercise due to the pandemic and the fact that so much of my time is spent doing internal trauma work on my own, so I don’t feel the inclination to go outside and get fresh air when I know that I should.
Some days I am physically exhausted, and so thus I am weak, I am incapable of doing things that people think that I should, because I can’t physically move my muscles to do the things that I know I need to do.
The idea that I should see myself as “sick” instead of “weak” makes me feel like there is something wrong with me, like my brain doesn’t work the way that it’s supposed to.
Until I reframe that to acknowledge that given what I have been through, my brain works exactly the way that it should.
Knowing that I have genuine trouble identifying myself as “sick.” I am not sick, but I am weak, and knowing that I then realize that my focus should be on getting stronger again. It means going out for walks more, it means eating healthier, it means smoking less.
I know that I have to do these things, but the fact that I am not doing them is a choice that I am making because I know full well that I am genuinely not ready to deal with the reasons that I am avoiding doing what I should do.
Right now I am just trying to get comfortable, it’s been so long since I’ve had a proper sleep, since I’ve woken up ready to face the day with more than just a brave face, it’s taken a lot out of me to share all these things that I have shared on this blog, and with my friends and family.
I still have a lot of scars, and a lot of fresh wounds that need to heal before I can say that I am “successful.”
All of this being said, I can now officially introduce myself like this:
I am Devon J Hall, the Loud Mouth Brown Girl. I am a strong, powerful force of nature, who doesn’t care what other people thinks about her, but does do what she needs to do, in order to feel safe in a world that wants her to feel anything but. I work every day to improve my quality of life, and to push myself forward so that I can do what I need to do, to help the people in my tribe, sisterhood, and family, not necessarily in that order. I am not “healed”, however sharing my story has helped me to heal. Now that I have learned to process everything that I have been through, I am ready to take the next steps to focus my energies on creating the kind of life that I want for myself, instead of the kind of life that statistics say that I should have.
For years I defined myself by my trauma, and my trauma alone, but there are so many aspects to myself, to my existence that I am just starting to understand. Growing up I wanted to be powerful, and I thought having “power” meant having “money,” but the truth is that the power that is inside of me is chaotic, and strong, and filled with creative imagination.
I am a good person, and I deserve good people, places, and things, in my life, but before those things can come into my life, I had to clear my life out of all the things that didn’t bring value to my life, or that tore me down just as I was finding my way up the mountain.
I won’t say that I have reached the apex of this journey that I am on. I think a lot about suicide, the other day I was in so much physical pain I begged and pleaded for death. Today I am grateful to be alive. There are things that push us past the limits of what we think that we can manage, and then something pops up to remind us that we can go further, that we have to go further, and that we can’t give up.
In my life that is God. There are no physical reminders of God in my home, with the exception of a few bibles, but there are many reminders of different religious idols and faiths in my home, and in a very real way it’s because I am still angry at God for the things that I have experienced in this life.
It’s not because God did me wrong, it’s because too many times people in my life have used God as a weapon against me. Trauma will take everything you love and twist it into something that will gut you like a knife, just to stop you from pushing forward, but when you look at the manifestation of the pain that we’ve been through, and you reframe the conversation about those manifestations, you start moving towards training your brain to think about things in a different perspective.
It’s the little chunks that we have to focus on. The little steps, instead of the big overwhelming steps. I can’t always get out of my head to shower every single day, because showering is a huge trigger for me, so I do the showering when I can, and I refuse to feel guilty for not doing it, because I have no one to answer to but myself.
It’s a responsibility, taking care of yourself, and I can’t always do all the things all the time, but when I change the narrative to something that helps me eliminate the guilt, shame, anxiety, depression, and fear, I feel stronger and more capable than if I didn’t.
One step at a time, leads me to the next step and the step after that and so on and so forth, and it just makes it easier.
Learning to reframe your story isn’t about making it more comfortable for other people, it’s about making it easier for you to see all the good and wonderful and beautiful things that are a part of your journey, that have gotten lost in the shadows of the trauma.
How do you define yourself? I would love if the folks reading this would introduce themselves in the comments. I’d love to see what you think about what I’ve said today.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall