So I am going to go back to school. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do forever but because of my mental health issues, and my disability status, I’ve been afraid to try. I have gotten comfortable in what is easy, because for sooo long, life was unimaginably hard.
Today I want to curl up and cry, just weep, in particular, for all the years that were wasted just trying to survive all the trauma, all the abusers, all the men who couldn’t keep their dark thoughts and their gross hands to themselves.
There is quite literally nothing I want more, than the chance to go back to school and do everything that I can to build a better future for myself.
Thankfully I only have to fulfill 1 credit in order to graduate, which is annoying, and due to a bunch of racist teachers, but also, I don’t have to pay for the classes that I need to take in order to graduate which is a huge weight off my plate.
I am hoping that now that I am older, I’ll be able to consume the information that I need to consume, in order to have the best possible chance at success, and it’s really important to me that I do this on my own.
There are a bunch of classes that I want to take, and I really wish that I could afford a full four year education at the college of my choice, but as it stands, because I didn’t graduate when I should have, there are a lot of roadblocks in my path.
That just means that I have to find ways around them, so instead of taking a four year education I’ll have to take a variety of classes over a number of years, to be able to study what I want in a way that I am able, but I am okay with that.
I know that I want to take the Cannabis Educators program, but I also know that I want to know the fundamentals of running and operating my own business. I am eager and excited, but having just called a local school to find out what I need to make this happen I was told to relax, because the school doesn’t open for another month.
Which means that there are a whole bunch of questions hanging over my head right now, about what I am allowed and not allowed to do and all of them have answers that I need, because if I am not careful they could take my disability away from me, and honestly…I still desperately need that support system, as much as I can’t wait to say “this is the last time I take help from that corner of the world.”
I have always wanted to be independent, but I didn’t always have the energy or the capability of knowing what that really meant. After high school I floundered, I didn’t know what to do with myself, no one prepared me for life out of school, they just let me go, “here you go little Brown girl, go into the world and survive,” without telling me how or showing me what to do.
A lot of my high school years were spent surviving rape, torture, and sexual abuse of all kinds, and so when school was over, I really didn’t know how to go get a job, how to put a resume together, how to apply for higher education, not one person in my life said “hey are you even prepared?” and I didn’t know how to ask to get them to show me.
Now I am 38 and yeah I am a bit resentful that no one took enough of an interest in me to show me how to survive, how to thrive really, but regardless of the fact that a lot of stuff should have been shown to me that wasn’t, I still want to achieve the dreams of my younger self who wanted to travel around the world being the perpetual student.
I wanted to study at the Vatican, I wanted to study history, music, art, philosophy, and the only reason that I am not choosing to study those things, is because now I am at an age where honestly I have to think more practically, than fantastically, whether I like it or not.
It’s not that I am running out of time, but there is a certain amount of, “you need to get serious about pulling yourself out of this pit,” and unfortunately as much as I would love to just take courses on things that I am interested in, I have to take courses that will give me the best chance at a future.
I have come to terms with the fact that when “I” ask for help, the people in my life who are always ready and willing to offer a yes, aren’t as ready and willing to do the work to actually help me in the ways that I need.
I’m thinking a lot about the Olympians out there in the world right now, dealing with their trauma publicly, all those who are fighting for their mental health while showcasing their talents and athleticism, and I am thanking the Universe that I don’t have to be on that stage, because I know that without a shadow of a doubt, I’d end my life.
It took more than twenty years for abuse to destroy me, and at least fifteen years for me to start finding myself again, and that’s a lot of wasted time. A lot of time when I could have been living, and thriving, finding someone to love, and having a family, that time was stolen from me and I am never ever going to get it back again.
It would be easy for you, a white person to say that racism didn’t destroy my life, but it absolutely did.
I wouldn’t trade the color of my skin for anything in the entire world, or the universe, or any dimension, but I will say that if I had been born white, my life would have been a lot easier to navigate.
I wouldn’t have been abused to the degree that I was maybe, and I certainly wouldn’t have had teachers who denied me a single credit that I needed to graduate simply because they didn’t like that I, a Brown girl, was smarter than they were. And yes, that shit happened.
In the past setbacks have always shut me down and forced me to hide inside myself out of fear and shame that I wasn’t good enough, I’ve never been the kind of person who stared at a challenge or a person who tried to tear me down and told them to go fuck themselves but being gang raped again changed all that.
Those men stole my life, and yeah it’s true they were victims once, but that stopped the moment they decided to become perpetrators. I already know they aren’t going to jail, and they aren’t going to face any real punishment for what they put me through, but I can’t and I will not, focus on that anymore.
I don’t care about them. I don’t care about the fact that they are out there screaming at the top of their lungs about how I was just a whore, or how they paid me and it was all consensual, I don’t care about the lies they are spreading, or the people that believe them because I know the truth.
Martin Luthor King was beaten up, spit on, had rocks thrown at him, and was called all kinds of names because he openly believed that people of color should have the same opportunities for growth as their whiter counterparts, and for the first time in my life that’s really struck home with me.
Why should I continue to live in poverty and misery because horrible things were done to me, by evil people? Why should I continue to not get paid for things that other people get paid hundreds of dollars to do?
This week I did a couple of posters for someone in the NDP, do you know how much people who do this for a living get paid? It’s a lot more than the beer and burger that I am going to get.
I am tired of doing things for free, and I am tired of not having proof that I know how to do, what it is that I know how to do. I know it sounds silly but I want that piece of paper that says “Devon did this, she faced the challenge of education, and she graduated,” and I am excited about the doors that may open down the line and the adventures that I might have after choosing this path.
So on August 30th I am going to enroll in whatever classes I have to take, in order to achieve my goals and yes I am going to be bitching and complaining at every single turn, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.
So do me a favor and wish me luck, and if you’d like to support me in this endevor you could always buy something from the shop, I’d really appreciate it.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall