WARNING: THIS POST DETAILS SEXUAL ABUSE, TRAUMA, AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, PLEASE PRACTICE SELF CARE BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER READING.
So recently I got a letter telling me how great I am, and how everything that I said resonated with the letter writer. I was really happy to receive this letter, because I love hearing that the body of work that I am building on this site is helping people.
We emailed back and forth and they asked if I’d be interested in appearing at an event, and I said sure…for a price.
Yes, that’s right unless it’s an event that I am putting on myself, I am charging for my time and services.
I know that I do not have a certificate that says “this person graduated with high honors,” but that doesn’t mean that just because my experience hasn’t been put on the record, that it isn’t valid.
As a patient of mental health care for more than 30 years, I know how to advocate for myself in ways today that I didn’t know how to as a child.
When I was a child I remember telling my grandfather that I wanted to be raped – I was five and I didn’t know what the word meant, there was an entire conversation about how this was a TERRIBLE AWFUL BAD thing, but for years when it happened I would blame myself because “I” said that. Because I didn’t understand as a child what I do understand now.
As a child I was very naïve and I didn’t know how to use my words, and yet as an adult I feel myself overcome with big girl feelings, and the words that I use don’t often resonate with mental health “professionals,” as ironically as they do with patients of mental health “professionals.”
I am listening to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” which is about capturing the moment and making sure that you take every opportunity you possibly can to do the thing that matters to you.
So yes, I have said no to opportunities to speak in person about the things that matter to me, yes I have walked away from groups who don’t understand that the reason that I am who I am is because I was a little girl who was only five years old when she first began to divine the future.
What I said “I want to be raped” may have been innocent at the time, but it was a sentence that I truly believe changed my life. I was raped for more than 20 years, and while it’s still NOT MY FAULT, the fact that I knew in my heart what was coming, tells me all these years later that I was prepared for the worst, even though I didn’t necessarily want the worst to happen.
I was raised Catholic, and I sat in a classroom while the Priest (who works for God allegedly) who sexually assaulted me, violently I might add, told me that the ONLY reason that it was happening was because I was born Brown.
There was always a reason from the perspetive of my abusers as to why it wasn’t their fault, and the people on the outside of my head hear me repeating the lies of my abusers, thinking that I’M the one whose crazy because they can’t fathom another human being doing the kind of bullshit that was done to me.
I got news for you, it happens to billions of kids every day, every hour, every moment of the fucking day, a child is being molested or abused somewhere in this world, and told that it’s their fault because they are:
Brown, Trans, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Black, Asian, Jewish, Tall, Short, Too Light, Too Dark, Too Loud, Not Loud Enough.
The ones that survive without a drug addiction, or severe mental illness go off to do great things, and sometimes unfortunately they go on to continue the patterns they were taught on other kids, and so goes the cycle.
I want to blame God, I want to blame other humans for not noticing or not caring, hell I’d blame the Devil if I could, but the truth is that each of us make our own choices in this world. We have the free will to decide if we are going to choose to do good and save a life, or if we’re going to choose to do evil and take advantage of a life.
Too many times people in my life have taken advantage of me because I’m nice, they mistook my silence for weakness, they pretended that if they did whatever they wanted to me they’d get away with it, they thought that they could beat me down until I was nothing, thinking that I’d never fight back.
Well, I’m fighting back. I have used this website to share my pain, to share my joys, to share my fears, anxiety, and the PTSD of everything that I have gone through and I’ve done a very good job at creating a community of support for myself and others, but I am not done.
I want this to be the go to mental health website I want people for the rest of the time we humans have on earth to know that The Loud Mouth Brown Girl took the river of shit that she was forced to swim through, and turned it into something gold and beautiful.
I want the world to understand that those of us who suffer from severe PTSD, and chronic mental health issues can actually do good in this world, if the people trying to tear us down would just get the fuck out of our God damned way for a little while.
That includes Doctors, Teachers, Journalists, Parents, Loved ones, Family members, Friends, Allies, and especially you “supporters” who are just sitting back waiting for us to fall again.
I probably will go crazy again, I fucking deserve to after everything that I’ve had to survive to get to this point, and yes I believe that God can hear me, and yes I am fully aware that to those of you who don’t believe in God think that sounds crazy, but I don’t give a fuck.
I deserve to have my time and my efforts paid for, and if you aren’t prepared to do that, PLEASE stop asking me to attend your festival/workshop/showcase. I am un-interested.
As much as I want to help people and as much as I want to use my voice to change the world, I still have dreams and hopes, wishes, that I want to grant FOR MYSELF, that cost money. I want to buy my mom a house before she dies, because she hasn’t owned a house since I was born. She gave up her entire life to raise me, to put a roof over the head of myself and my brother.
She LITERALLY BROKE HER BACK trying to protect her kids, and she did not fucking FAIL, she was just so focused on survival that she forgot to keep her eyes on the prize for awhile, while my mom is STILL working her fingers to the bone, refusing to retire, because she can’t because she is still trying to survive.
My mom deserves to enjoy the last few years of her life in peace she deserves to travel, and I’d like to spend some time with my mom before she’s gone.
Building Loud Mouth Brown Girl is about for me, building a place where I can put my “stuff”, but it’s also about building a foundation for myself and my mom and my brother, so that we can afford to spend more time together.
No, I don’t want to be a fucking influencer, but I do want to be able to look at my bank account and not decide that dying would probably be easier than trying to thrive on this planet.
This is why so many of you go to work is it not? So you can pay for the things that you need so you can live in this world without wanting to end your damned life? Yeah, well guess what, this is my work.
I am doing constant and continual trauma work ON MY OWN, with a VERY small support group to help me out, and I am documenting that work here on this site for other people so they know they aren’t alone.
But I CHOOSE to do this blogging part, and that’s the only reason you’re asking me to attend your event, because I’ve done all this work to prove that I know what I am talking about when it comes to mental health, trauma, and child abuse. So you should be willing and able to pay me like you would anyone else.
And this isn’t a race thing – even though I know damned well you’re offering that white woman doing a similar blog money to appear, it’s a human thing.
If you want someone to do work for you, you have to pay them. Well my friends, opening up my heart and soul is work. Because I not only have to spend time thinking about what story I am going to share, and what I am going to talk about, but I also have to get dressed in an outfit.
I have to take time away from doing something for MYSELF so that I look good for YOU, and then I have to give the speech, answer questions, and then? It’s still not over.
Because chances are after sharing even the smallest part of my story, I have to deal with the emotional scars that I’ve ripped open for your audience, and that takes MORE time out of doing what “I” want and need to do. And on top of ALL that, I have to take time out of promoting myself alone, by promoting both of us, which includes promoting YOUR event.
Which is not what I am getting paid to do, but I AM doing because I want your event to be a huge success and helping to promote your event and your brand, just makes sense because why wouldn’t I tell people what I am doing? So really you’re getting free advertising out of me, I’d just like to add.
So yes, it’s time that you start really thinking about how much you want that mental health blogger to appear before your panel of judges, because that’s exactly what the audience is.
They are coming to hear whether or not we have anything of value to offer them, and they have paid to hear us speak, so we better say something that resonates with them, or we’ve failed at our jobs, haven’t we?
I’m not asking for an exorbitant amount, and I will work with you and your budget, but before you ask if I am willing to do a job for you, ask yourself if you can afford me. Ask yourself if you think that I deserve to feel as if the work that I am doing is valued, and if the answer is no, then I am definitely not the speaker for you.
At the bottom of this post you will find a link to a page that details my prices and if you like them let’s talk if you don’t then I hope you find what you’re looking for.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
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