There are many days when I look around my house and ask myself what the hell it is that I think I am doing. I have a long way to go before I can comfortably invite people into my space, and it isn’t just the messy stuff, it’s the “you’re in my space, get the fuck out,” part.
Years ago a former friend remarked that she’d never been invited into my home. There was a reason for that. I stopped inviting people into my home when I was seventeen, largely because I’d learned home was for family, and the people that I thought of as friends, weren’t staying around very long anyways.
For a little while when we moved into this apartment, I thought it would be a safe space, and then it really just became a place to store our furniture while we worked sometimes twenty hour days at the shelter.
A place to rest my head, in a place that isn’t very restful, largely because it’s filled with memories of men doing things they shouldn’t do, that’s what every bedroom I’ve ever had has been.
There’s never been a bedroom that I’ve ever had where I’ve felt truly safe, and that’s largely because my bedroom has often been the place where I was abused, or where I ran from the abuse. Even in the bedroom I have now, there are memories of a man kissing me when I didn’t want him to, and instead of it being a safe space, it became one more place where a man felt the need to claim my body, without my permission.
I have been asking myself for years now why I’d rather live in the mess, and the answer is actually really simple. If my house is a mess I don’t have to invite anyone in, and if I can’t invite anyone in, then I’m safe right? But then I’m not rested, I’m not healing, I’m just surrounded by mess.
So this week I’m making a concentrated effort to to get my shit together. Largely because on Saturday morning I started working on a new book. This one is going to be a workbook filled with ritual ideas, and personal essays, designed to help the reader make a concentrated effort to change their lives.
I’m not writing this for any reader in particular, I’m writing it for girls like myself. Girls who need to sit down and have the steps detailed in front of them, so they can fill out the questions, and answer them honestly, in ways that will help them go “okay, got the plan, now I know what to do with myself.”
This was supposed to be a simple e-book, and it’s turned into a much larger more in-depth project, because that’s what happens when you’re a writer, but it’s also more important than an e-book would be to me, because throughout the process of writing the first thirty or so pages, I realized that if I am going to put this out there into the world, I have to actually follow the advice that I am giving.
When I think about the way that I want to live my life, and the future that I want to have, it’s not filled with people, places or things…other than a maid, but it is filled with honesty, and accountability.
It’s filled with me being as honest as possible, because being honest is what has kept me alive, even on days when I just want to give the hell up. Working through trauma is difficult, and sometimes all we want to do is sleep, but over the last four years, I’ve been so physically drained. Even as I am trying to post information and ideas that inspire others, I am physically wiped out.
A good portion of the reason why is my diet, it’s fucking terrible, but, another part of it is that being on disability, and not having a living wage, not being able to separate my trauma from my work, is also really exhausting.
Someone told me that I should stop writing about trauma, but if I do that, then what the hell am I writing about, honestly? And if I’m not writing, then I am absolutely not healing.
The problem with those of us that suffer from trauma, is that once we find something that works, once we find something that makes us feel better, we throw ourselves into it and we can’t pull away because we’ve found an anchor, and we’re terrified of what will happen when we lose that anchor.
That’s why relationships are so difficult. We rush into these unhealthy relationships thinking that having a person by our side is going to make everything better, in reality it’s a distraction. If you can focus on the new person in your life, then you don’t have to deal with the problems, if you’re not dealing with the problems though, you’re really really, not healing.
When you’re entering a new relationship everything seems new and exciting, but once the layers get pulled back and the person you’re with starts to see the real you, are you ready? Forget about having to explain yourself, it’s about carrying the weight of what they might say.
What if they’re horrible about your trauma?
Worse, what if they’re not? Are you ready for that? I know for a fact that I am not, I have too many bad patterns to break, too many trauma related signals that I have to deal with before I am ready to bring someone into my life, mainly because the thought of having anyone else to care about, is scary to me.
Like many of you who live with trauma, I’ve been burned too many times by people who think they know me, who’ve said shit about me behind my back as if it were 1000% factual, only to be proven wrong when the actual truth has come out, and rather than feeling vindicated as the lies are revealed, I’m just exhausted.
On the family and friend side, there are so many of us who are surrounded by the “when are you going to get over it and have babies?” Um probably never? I’m not overly interested in being pregnant. Nine months without a drink, a joint, or a smoke? Are you insane?
I just got a handle on my mental health again, and right now I am thinking about all the moms, and the single parents specifically, who have been raising children in the middle of a pandemic.
Y’all are heroes. You deserve medals, and awards, and millions of dollars in free therapy, because when you’re dealing with trauma, on top of trying to raise children who don’t turn into rapists or murderers, or sociopaths, well I mean that’s just a lot to handle, and you’re doing a really great job.
If you’ve managed to get up, clean a corner of the house, and smile while helping the little people in your world function in a healthy way, you’re doing a good job. If all you’ve managed to do today is stay in bed all day, you’re doing a good job.
Yes I wrote a book, but it wasn’t about healing, it was about uncomfortable life lessons that I learned in really terrible times in my life. I am not “healed” and I don’t ever think there’s going to be a day when I look at my life and think “wow, I’m like really done with that,” because healing is always a life long journey, but in the process of healing, there are moments.
So to you I say today find a moment, when you can take a moment, give yourself some grace, and thank yourself, in the moment, for doing the best you can.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall