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Growing up I was always in the middle, it’s the single most reason that I didn’t fit in. I didn’t value what the girls my age valued. I wanted freedom, they wanted to get married and have babies – I figured getting married and having babies would GIVE me freedom, because I figured if I was old enough to have babies, I was old enough to call the shots.
In my twenties I met of a lot of amazing women, some amazing in good ways, and some in not so good ways. Each of them though, taught me about the kind of mother that I want to be, when I finally get to the place where I might be ready to have children. No, I am not there yet.
In preparing for the release of the new podcast Stay Lifted Sis, and the end of my course on Cannabis, I’ve been trying to figure out what I might want to do with my new credits, and you know what? I only have a vague idea.
I make people uncomfortable because I am a mixed-race Black woman, who celebrates white women every chance I get because for the most part I’ve been inspired, pushed, challenged, taught, and encouraged by white women in various ways throughout my life.
I haven’t found acceptance with Black women comes as easy, and I get the reasons why, Black women are not naturally prone to trusting anyone, and from what I’ve learned about colorism, I am starting to understand that there are very specific reasons that Black women including myself, are more likely to push people away, than to invite them in.
But this is specifically why I want so much to create a space where women, trans women, Black women, bi women, lesbian women, Asian women, Jewish women, all women, of every color, nation, size, orientation, color, creed, and nationality, can come together.
I got a taste of what that might feel like, and every time I expressed a desire to bring “all” women together, the idea was rebuffed because some cultures of women, need to spend time bonding with each other, in many cases, because they were the “only” in their group of women.
I get that. There are a lot of organizations, companies, brands, community groups, etc. that focus on creating specific groups for specific types of women. Writers, entrepreneurs, teachers, Black women, Asian women, Lesbians, Trans women, if a woman exists under a singular label, there is a group for it, but we are constantly being pulled a part by our labels.
The idea of the Women’s March was a beautiful dream, and it brought millions of women together, but the organizers of the march openly and with deep, unregretted silence, ignored Trans women, Colored women, and many other “kinds” of women, simply because they didn’t fit the “ideal.”
When I really started thinking about what I wanted Loud Mouth Brown Girl to be, I told Jessica Brown, that any woman who doesn’t fit the mold, who doesn’t fit into the box, could be considered Brown, because Brown is a mixed color.
I got this name because when I was 22 a boy called me a Loud Mouth Brown Bitch, and someone told him not to. In 2017, a white cop said the same thing, “loud mouth brown bitch,” I told him I was going to make it famous. And I am fully going to do that, but despite what I and others thought, the “Brown,” is not about the color of my skin.
It is in part, but mostly it’s about all the women around the world, who don’t fit in. They were Burqa’s or they do not, they have tattoos, or they don’t. They pierce their bodies, or they don’t. They dye their hair, or they leave it natural, they are not the same as the woman sitting next to them, they are similar, but they are NOT the same.
They don’t believe that the woman that is on the other side of the computer, or the office is competition, they believe that woman is someone that they are teaching and learning from in equal measure.
The women in my circle don’t overly focus on the color of my skin, sure they might notice it, and they might recognize that the color of my skin comes with challenges they don’t have to face, but they aren’t so focused on whether my skin is lighter or darker, that they can’t find ways to bond with me. They see a woman, who has struggled, and survived, and they want to be a part of my life, because they are women, who have struggled, and survived.
Whatever job I take in the Cannabis Industry has to be a reflection of that. It has to matter that much to the women that I surround myself with, because I have spent far too many years being alone, surrounded by women who were afraid that my right to thrive, came at the cost of their right to survive.
There are days when I look at my phone and I realize that the very few women that I have to call, none of them really get that. They are on different wave lengths, and while that’s totally fine, they aren’t interested in really being in my life, for me.
When I first started this site I told Jessica Brown to stay away because I wasn’t sure how men in my community, who abused me, were going to react to the things that I was saying.
I no longer give a fuck.
Too many times we women have allowed ourselves to be limited from having friendships outside of our comfort zones, because we’ve been afraid, and rightfully so, that the women who aren’t like us will set out to destroy us, rather than lift us up, and it just does not have to be like that.
When I held Survivors Connection I was deeply dissapointed because I thought it was going to be an experience I would be celebrating even today. Instead it turned out to be an experience that left me reeling at the fact that a woman I had trusted, would rather step on my dreams, then help cradle them forward.
It doesn’t have to be like that either. I want to create something, I want to build something, it matters to me that these hands, these legs, breasts, ears, eyes, nose, and brain, work together with my heart and soul, to combine everything I am, and use all of it, to enrich the world. Less about creating a legacy, and more about making sure that there is a giant oak tree that symbolizes the idea that you CAN move forward, even after a life filled with trauma.
In order to do that, I need to surround myself with women who inspire me, who challenge me, who help me reframe what it is that I think of when I think of Devon J Hall, and in order to do that, I have to make a concentrated effort to put myself out there.
To go and find these women one by one, and move forward with them by my side, learning when I can, teaching when I have to, and never ever forgetting that Brown in particular is a mixture of many people, places, and things, that inspired me to finally become the Loud Mouth Brown Girl they always said that I was.
The difference now is that when I hear that phrase, I just think:
“I legit don’t have to behave the way that others tell me to. I’m Brown, I’m in the middle, the rules on either side of the spectrum don’t make me happy, so I’ll make my own damned rules.”
Making my own rules means that I can celebrate all women, I don’t have to choose between who to celebrate based on the color of one’s skin. I can look at the content of their hearts, minds, and souls. There are so many amazing women in my circle, and each of them have had to experience different battles and journeys, but that doesn’t make their lessons any less valid, and their skin color certainly doesn’t diminish or devalue their experience.
I am excited about the idea of creating whatever it is this next phase of my life will inspire me to create, and I just wanted to say thank you to every single woman and girl I have ever had the humbling privalege of meeting. Y’all are the reason that I am who I am, and I am grateful for that. To those that are still around thank you so much for sticking it out, for those who took off for the hills, or those I had to throw off a cliff, I wish you well, hope you survived.
For those yet to meet me, I assure you my bark is bad but my bite is worse, I’ll fight to the death for you, or against you if I have to. I am not a quitter, I might be tired, I might be sore, but I will never give up.
Sending all my love on this day of International Suicide Prevention, to all the women in the world who want to or feel they need to give up, PLEASE remember your women are out there, waiting for you.
Devon J Hall