TRIGGER WARNING: Please practice self care while reading this post as it does discuss difficult topics, without going into detail, but still. ~ Devon

If 15 years ago you would have told me that I was going to make Blogging a full time gig, I probably would have agreed with you.

But I wouldn’t have said “I’m going to be the Loud Mouth Brown Girl, one day.” Because I didn’t fully realize it until I was into my twenties, and even then it was just something people said about me to tear me down.

It wasn’t until I was arrested that I really started focusing on the KIND of Blogger I wanted to be, and it wasn’t until this year that I refined and corrected the idea that I had in my head with what you see now.

A few years ago I told my friend, mentor, and sort-of-adopted-surrogate mother, Jen Marchbank, (who mothers’ everyone she comes in contact with,) that I was fascinated with the aging process of being a woman.

Like I was O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D with everything that was going through my mind, and all the changes that my body was making even in my twenties, and I didn’t fully realize that I hadn’t grown up yet, I still – if I am being honest – am not fully grown.

As a direct result of all the abuse, the trauma, and the processing of it all, my brain has sort of been set back in terms of emotional growth and understanding.

It’s taken me a long time to catch up to others my age when it comes to emotional maturity, and blogging has been a huge part of that. One of my biggest regrets is that I don’t have all those blogs from the past, that I don’t have those millions of words that I used to describe what I was going through for all those years.

It would have been nice to be able to go back and chart my growth between then and now.

Honestly, because I don’t have those blogs, I haven’t exactly got much to go on, except for my memories which are vastly skewed by the abuse and trauma. I have only recently come to a place where yes I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually, exhausted, but I am also really proud.

My house might be a mess, but for the first time in my entire life I can honestly say that at least 60% of the time, I know who I am and what I want out of this world. That’s a huge cry from 15 years ago when I honestly had no idea what I wanted or needed.

Today I am doing this thing where I am looking at a hundred potential futures, and I am saying no to everything and anything that I am absolutely certain that I do not want.

I don’t want to be with a man just so that I can have a man on my arm, but I also don’t want to be with a woman just to shock people into realizing that the person I marry could be either or, and that the physicality of their vessel won’t matter to me as long as the person I marry is the RIGHT person for me.

Years ago it would have been, “let me just find someone so that I’ll be protected for a little while from people who will abuse me.

The worst part about the abuse was learning how many girls and women were involved in actively tearing me down because they thought I was “in their way.” I have a really complicated relationship with other women because any perceived slight now makes me run away and hide instead of confronting the issue, and acknowledging that is truly big for me.

I tend still, to take a lot on my shoulders that isn’t my responsibility to carry, simply because the words “it’s your fault,” have been repeated to me soo much, even when things aren’t my fault.

I struggle with knowing when to take blame, and when to offer blame for others to take and I always have, “it’s your fault,” has been a reoccurring theme throughout my life, but the difference between now and 15 years ago, the only real difference, is that I am aware this is an issue that I struggle with.

I am not as self aware as people think that I am, but I am BECOMING self aware, I am still in the phase of my life where I am collecting information and taking stock of what I need to course correct or fix, not just so that I can be better, but so that I can be happier.

A lot of that whole “being happier” means that I am becoming far more choosy about who I talk to about my story…yes I’ll tell the details to anyone who asks, but the feeling part? I try to keep the resentment, the anger, to myself. Not because it doesn’t deserve to be shared, but because I don’t know how to convey the anger, resentment, and downright rage, if I am being honest, in a way that won’t scare the shit out of people.

I’m looking back about twenty-five years or so, to the girl who believed that Courtney Love was responsible for Kurt’s addiction, and I am realizing, just now as I write this, how naïve I was.

As a young girl who had already been abused and traumatized so much, I had so much to learn, and I really didn’t know just how much I didn’t know about the world and the many, many, personalities in this world that are trying to co-exist. In a world that makes you doubt everything about yourself I am learning that I have a lot of responsibility for causing harm when I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing.

There were times I was a bitch on purpose, because I was angry, or hurt, and I didn’t realize at the time how much the sting of what I did to others would last, but looking back I also realize that I wasn’t a bitch because I wanted to hurt THEM, I was a bitch because I wanted to push them away.

I still do that. I still push people away instead of confronting the bullshit, because a lot of times – not always but yes, a LOT of times – confronting the bullshit means fighting for myself until I prove, and I almost always can, that I am NOT the bad guy, and I don’t have the fucking energy for that shit.

Take me as I am, or go the fuck away is my mentality NOT because I am a bitch, or a Cunt, but because God damnit I am fucking tired.

I am in very real ways still very much broken by what was done TO me, and ALSO by how I reacted to what was done to me. Shocked and terrified of the person inside of me whose absolutely terrified to come out because she knows damned well that if she does, the world will try to destroy her all over again, because she is just that damned strong.

The kind of strength that I carry inside of me is a fucking burden – and I don’t give a shit if you think that’s arrogant – I have earned the right to say that I am strong. BUT.

That strong version of me is tired, she doesn’t want to fight anymore, she’s been raped, tortured, kidnapped, nearly murdered, and she survived all of that and now she’s resting, so I am here, telling the tale so that she can sleep because damnit she’s earned the right to sleep.

I’m not as strong as she was. I can’t just turn my emotions off anymore, I can’t just not acknowledge the pain that she and I are both going through and not try to do something about it.

The kind of strength that “I” carry in this moment, is different then the kind of strength I carried when I was being habitually abused, but it’s still a strength now that I think about it.

I have more empathy than I used to, but I also have a wall that goes up that says “don’t feel too bad, because at the first chance he gets, that wolf is going to eat your face.”

I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, because it always does. – Yaya Sisterhood.

I struggle with calling myself Black because my skin is brown, but also because to say that I am Black denies my mother of the credit of 38 years of taking care of me, and protecting me best she can, in a world that tried to define me as victim only.

I am The Loud Mouth Brown Girl, because I AM physically Brown, but that Brown comes from a Black absentee father and a white mother who did everything she possibly was able to do.

I can say a lot of not great things about my mom, but very, VERY few people outside our family can, and so to say that I am Black denies her white existence and I am not okay with that.

So yes, even at 38 I struggle with my identity, and that’s only because until I was about 27 I wasn’t aware that I was allowed to HAVE my own identity, my mom was too busy trying to survive this world, and I was too busy being brainwashed by abuse and trauma.

It’s taken me 38 years to fully connect with what it means to be human, and yes I am still learning, but as my abusive grandfather said to me before he died, you never know how much you don’t know until you’re on your death bed.

I will constantly be growing and evolving, and I hope that in 15 years I still have this blog to come back to so that I can say that I can chart my growth fifteen years from now.

I hope that I am still alive to tell the tales of children of abuse, who cannot yet speak for themselves, and I hope that I am STILL doing whatever I can to learn how to help others stem the flow of trauma and grief, because no one can do this alone.

I have a lot of great people in my life, and their support means the absolute world to me, but right now in this moment and this place I am really grateful for the isolation, which isn’t something that I used to be able to say.

I wasn’t able 15 years ago to process what I was going through, and now that I am strong enough to do that, all I can say is thank you to the 15 years worth of versions who came before me, and all the versions before them, because of you I’m still alive, and we’re still working together to build the foundations of a better future.

Here’s to the next fifteen versions of us, and the next fifteen years,

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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