Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of me publishing Uncomfortable – A Series of Unedited Essays by the Loud Mouth Brown Girl, and you know what? I can’t fucking believe that I am still alive.
I wrote that book because I was afraid that I was going to be murdered before I got the chance to publish a book, so it is not 100% my best work, but it’s the work that I needed to release into the world so that if I DID get murdered, I could say, I made the dream of my 5 year old self a reality.
There are days when I look at my alter and see that book and wonder what the fuck I was thinking, because throughout most of the writing of that book, I was completely and utterly stoned on cannabis.
There was so much genuine fear wrapped in writing that book, fear that I wouldn’t finish it, fear that it wouldn’t be good enough, fear that it wouldn’t sell a lot of copies, and you know what? It didn’t. It barely sold any, and honestly I don’t care, because there are at least 40 people out there with a book with my name, and my picture on it, and the whole book was endorsed by my friends Kim Rhodes and Stephen Coghlan.
The fact that my friends took time out of their busy lives to stop and read my book felt amazing, the fact that I can pick up a copy of my book and see the wonderful beautiful and overly kind things that they wrote about me, and my writing, make me feel loved, appreciated, and wanted on this earth, and I can’t be more grateful.
A year later I am sitting here in shock and awe, a year later I am realizing how fucking difficult it was to put all of those essays together, how spiritually broken I was last year, and how completely different things are this year.
This year I am even less apologetic than I was last year, and that’s saying something. I am not sorry that I started this website by naming some of the countless men who raped me, I am not sorry that I put them on notice that I am not going to live a life filled with fear that they might come back.
I am proud of the fact that I took all that pain, all that frustration, all that anger, rage, pain, and sorrow, and put it into a book for anyone in the world to read, because if I hadn’t, then I would still be holding onto it.
When I finished writing the book, I told my mom that I had just published a book, and her response was to tell me to take out the garbage. It was a crushing blow after thirty-seven years of working my ass off to survive so that “I” could be the one who wrote “that” book.
Having written the book, and experienced the fantastic gift of seeing people bought it, I look back on my life and I ask quite often if I would change things if I could….the person I was ten years ago would have said no, the person I am today says yes, hourly, every minute, every whisper of my former self wishing to be the person I am now, reminds me that it could have been so much better, if I hadn’t been…who I am.
I’ve done fantastic amazing things that I have never ever been able to convey into actual words before, and still cannot. The kind of “evil” that I have had to deal with in my lifetime, fits under no other word except for “evil,” and I don’t know how to get right with that.
I don’t know how to sit here and say “its okay my book wasn’t as celebrated as it should have been,” because I am brown, because I was a victim that too many people didn’t care about, because I am not famous, because I am not a big name person with lots of fans and followers.
To me, publishing that book was the Oscar of my life, it was the Academy Award, only there wasn’t anyone to celebrate with. Every single person that I might have once celebrated with is no longer a part of my life, and that’s because they are either gangsters and rapists, or the girlfriends and wives of gangsters and rapists.
People who….unbeknownst to me, were children that I was forced to lay in different beds with, forced to…do things that I wouldn’t have done if I’d had a choice. Writing that book was a choice, it was a desire, a passion, a need, a fantasy, a hope, a dream, and an unholy nightmare.
I omitted a lot of things that I would have kept if I’d felt safer, if I’d known I might have round the clock protection I would name names all over again, this time I’d let them stick instead of hiding behind deleted tweets and posts.
If I knew my guards had guns I would write it out in excruciating detail and throw it out to the sands of time to deal with, but I don’t have that, so I keep a lot of stuff to myself, and it kicks at me, that I didn’t do the words justice. It kills me that I didn’t write as openly and as honestly as I feel like I should have.
I hate that I forced myself to love people who turned out to be some of the most terrible people on this planet. I loath the fact that in a place called Surrey, British Columbia, where “nothing good ever happens to good people,” I was one of those people who was abused on one side of the border in North Delta, and became the kind of actress that no one has ever seen on this side.
Unintentionally, I lied to every single person that has ever claimed to know me, without even knowing I was doing it, because I was brainwashed into not talking about what happened to me…and then I wrote a book, filled with half-truths about what really happened, because I was afraid of what would happen if I had told the whole truth.
Whenever I think about people who write about their lives, I used to be very jealous because they got to tell THEIR full truth, but now I wonder how many of us write books only telling the good parts, because that’s what Uncomfortable is. It’s a difficult read, but if I wrote all of it down, if I shared every single inch of the story, you’d walk away wanting to throw up and slit your own wrists and I know this because I did that once.
The best series of books I ever wrote was a series of six journals that I Handed into the RCMP three years ago detailing as much of the abuse and my suspicions about the men who abused me as I could. I wrote those because I thought I was going to die then too.
I figured, if I did end up being murdered like so many of my Brown sisters, then at least the RCMP would have as much of the truth as I’d been able to compile, and then at least someone in the world would know what happened to me, that mattered, that was my life’s work.
I didn’t intend to to be the girl who detailed more than thirty years of sexual abuse, I sure as hell didn’t intend to be the woman who spent her life being chased by pedophiles and keeping notes in my head that would somehow make some sort of sense to the insanity that I was facing.
Yesterday I was thinking about all of my memories, about all the people that I used to love, and I realized at thirty-eight years old that I don’t know what love is, I’ve never experienced real love, because every inch of “love” I have ever felt in my heart has been twisted by lies, abuse, and the desperate need to protect myself from those who knew the secret, but like me, were busy protecting themselves.
I realize now that the reason that so many of us do not celebrate the writing and publishing of our books is that because we don’t have the energy, we’re too tired from being terrified that if we don’t hold our breaths, something bad is going to happen.
There are many successful writers out there that are completely full of shit, they present this idea of beauty, self love, self-appreciation, but in their own real lives they are drowning behind secret miseries that they never share with the world, and then before you know it they are gone, and we’re all sitting around talking about what a great life they had.
Right now my house is a pig style, there are bags from food delivery scattered across the living room, my cats are curled up under the alter and in the middle of the living room floor, and honestly? There are parts of me that are angry, bitter, and afraid, and still I am honestly happier than I’ve ever been.
I don’t have to lie anymore. Sometimes – a lot of times actually – I repeat the lies, the I love you’s, the promises of tomorrow and forever, the bullshit that I told myself over and over again to make it easier to pretend that I didn’t hate feeling every single hand who has ever touched me in ways that I didn’t want, didn’t ask for, or worse, allowed only because the alternatives might have been worse.
Every once in awhile I see my neighbors across the street, they are from a foreign country but I’m not sure which one, I know it’s an Eastern one, I see them walking back and forth in front of the house they rent for an exorbitant amount of money, but rarely do they cross the street to go to the park next to my house.
For years I’ve been feeling like I am and have always been, trapped in a birdcage, only allowed to fly so far before the bad stuff comes to the surface and my world is thrown upside down because of things that I didn’t understand, didn’t want, and didn’t know I shouldn’t have asked for.
I wanted my book to be a series of unedited essays that detail the lessons that I’ve learned, but if I am being 100% honest really that book is just more of what I do here, telling the truth without really telling the truth, not because I don’t want to, but because I genuinely cannot.
I don’t know how to explain it in words, I don’t know how to take words and help you to feel the weight of it all, because it’s heavy, trauma, I mean. It’s the kind of weight that never really goes away, and getting comfortable with that pisses me off.
I miss out on so much time because of the trauma that I’ve experienced, every single week there is not a single day that doesn’t go by without me curling up in bed and screaming and crying, and hating myself and everyone I’ve ever known for what happened to me.
So you bet your ass that I am going to be celebrating all day tomorrow, I am going to do something special, I don’t know what yet, but if not tomorrow than this week, I am going to dance around in my Loud Mouth Brown Girl hoodie, I am going to turn the music up loud, I am going to eat the food that will contribute to my fat ass, and I am not going to feel ashamed, because I worked hard to be able to take the time I needed to take to accomplish writing that book.
It’s difficult for someone to believe that someone like me has people who are jealous of me, but as it turns out there are a lot of them. I don’t waste time with jealousy, that’s not a friend of mine, it makes me feel inferior, ugly, selfish, and mean, I’ve been all those things before so instead of being jealous that someone else has done something that I want to be doing, I smile to myself and make a promise that I understand that if it’s meant to be in my path I will be.
If you’ve written a book, if you’ve taken time away from your trauma, if you have found a way to sit down and focus long enough to write your God damned book, then fucking celebrate yourself, because holy shit was that ever difficult.
Too many times we stare at our own lives as if we have nothing to offer the world, and then when we prove that we actually DO have something to offer the world, we sit there and tell ourselves it’s not good enough because it’s not being celebrated by others the way that celebrities and rich people are celebrated.
Honey, darling, baby, sweetie, you wrote a book.
You lived through this world filled with shit and garbage and bullshit and abuse and trauma so that YOU could be the person who wrote THAT book. CELEBRATE THAT SHIT.
If you want to be a writer because you want to be rich and wealthy, you’re in the wrong business. I say that as someone who loves words the way most people love each other, or food. I say that because words are in my genetic code. They are everything that I am, and everything that I could be.
If you want to write because you are afraid that you are going to die if you don’t, because you are afraid the world will be worse off without having read what it is that you have learned and what it is that YOU have to say, then congratulations, you’re a writer. Life is going to be difficult, stressful, lonely, loud, silent, scary, happy, joyful, amusing, weird, and downright fucking confusing as shit wrapped in gold, because who the fuck wraps bullshit in gold? Writer’s do.
Welcome to the club my loves, celebrate that shit.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall