Seriously, I very rarely take breaks from writing or working on my writing, and the rare times I do it’s because I’ve been kicked in the back of the head by trauma and I have to take a break to deal with the trauma of being traumatized.
I advocate for losing your shit when you need to lose your shit, but the thing is, that sometimes that’s actually not so healthy. So here’s your trigger warning. This post is going to get uncomfortable for some folks, and that’s par for the course, isn’t it? But if you feel after reading this that you need help, please check out the list of Health and Help lines around the globe.
For some people “losing their shit,” means going off the wagon. It means drinking, or doing drugs, or cutting their arms, legs, and sometimes even their vagina. About four years ago I had a panic attack that had me committed to a mental ward at Saint Paul’s Hospital overnight.
I’ve said before it was the best sleep of my life, I slept on a single mattress on the floor with no blanket, and I just slept. I just let the darkness and the medication wash over me, and the next morning they let me go without a single drop of aftercare to make sure I was okay.
Considering the state I was in, there was absolutely no way that I should have been let go without speaking to a doctor, but that’s the mental health system in Canada.
When I woke up to more than thirty years of sexual abuse and trauma at the ripe age of 34, I realized more important than ever, that I had survived the kinds of shit you only hear about in the news, except no one thought MY story was important enough to talk about.
So Loud Mouth Brown Girl became a place for me to share my story, my place in the world where MY voice, the voice of Devon J Hall actually mattered. I left a volunteer position because after being arrested, memories freshly in tow, I was told not to talk about my story with other volunteers – even though often more than not, they were the ones that brought the topic up.
It became a never-ending game of “blame the Black girl,” while I was consistently being told by other Black potential volunteers that they didn’t feel safe with that organization.
This was right after I was arrested for having a panic attack on an airplane, so I didn’t feel overly bad about leaving, I needed time to heal. I needed time to readjust, to figure out how to pick up the pieces of the life that I had carefully cultivated out of undiagnosed and undealt with trauma.
I had spent years ignoring signs, pretending to not know shit I knew to be true and letting everyone around me suffer in aggravated annoyance because I wasn’t speaking up about what was really happening.
Now I have worked really hard over the last four years to build this website, to try and find a way to earn an income from my writing, and largely because of the pandemic, my own mental health, and the trauma of being someone who tries to find her place in the world, WHILE dealing with all different kinds of trauma, and I realize that I haven’t taken a real break, in a really long time.
The last time I took a break, I was in Winnipeg, sitting on a hill, looking out a stunningly green cascade of grass, tree, and water, and it was one of the most beautiful places in the world. Under the surface, however, there was racism, sexism, and the inability to support victims of trauma, because the status quo was to hush the victim and ignore the crime of the guilty.
This past few weeks I’ve been noticing things missing around my house, or moved from one place to another – my laptop is still gone, but my keys after being searched for two and a half weeks suddenly appeared in a place they shouldn’t have. A purse I’d used only two days prior, that did not have keys in them.
I have spent four years talking about gang mentality and how gangs have affected my life, how the choices of grown men have affected the lives of the children I knew, who grew up to be adults, who did everything they could to be the opposite of what they were raised with, and often ended up in the same gangs they tried to avoid.
This is the cycle. My step-father wasn’t in a gang, but he was an abusive sociopath with a desperate need to prove himself to a father that couldn’t care less about him, all the while punishing a little girl who saw him for what he was, and called him on his shit, while still trying to show him that she loved him.
I loved my mom’s boyfriend, I called him dad, I didn’t want him to adopt me because I figured that one day my birth father would come and fill the hole in myself that the boyfriend tried and failed miserably to fill. He failed because he was cruel, abusive, and had severe undiagnosed mental health issues, that prevented him from being the lover my mom needed, and the father he promised to try to be, without actually “trying,” to keep the promise.
I grew up neglected, ignored, and often beaten down by everyone around me and I am STILL here trying to figure out the secrets of my past, while simultaneously realizing that I survived a LOT of scary shit. Like seriously scary shit – that isn’t pointed, and it isn’t a dig, it’s a genuine shock.
People who have heard most of the story, have asked how the fuck I survived, I usually laugh it off Black Widow style, but the truth is that I really don’t fucking know. Call it luck, call it God, call it the Universe, I don’t know. I know that I WANT to be the Loud Mouth Brown Girl more than I want to be anything in the world because I can see the potential.
I can see with my own eyes, what it could be, what it might be if I work hard enough if I put in enough effort, and if I ask for help from the right sources, but the problem is that I’ve been asking for help my entire life and that’s never really worked out for me.
Like many people my age with severe mental health issues, we ask for help and we rarely get it because when we say “mental health,” people automatically go “dangerous.”
I’m not an animal. I’m a human being who has been traumatized and shocked into surviving by the automatic desire to not want to be dead and in a grave. Like many women and men our age, we often feel like we’re failures because we don’t have the house, car, husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/unidentified gendered partner, or children.
I don’t feel like a failure at all, however. The search for the perfect boyfriend who would protect me from all this gang shit never worked out for me. All I found were more guys who were completely confused by my existence in their lives, and my complete desire to NOT end up like their pregnant girlfriends who ran away to go party on long weekends and only came back when it suited them.
I didn’t and do not want a life that I need to run away from, I want to build a life here, in Surrey, but I have to tell you, I fucking hate it here.
Between RCMP corruption, poverty, and homelessness, I am fucking tired. I don’t walk anywhere if I can avoid it. I try to ALWAYS take a cab and while people think this means I have an excess of money, it’s actually a safety issue.
Those of you reading this from around the globe, don’t understand that when I mean I am fighting gang culture by speaking out, what I MEAN is, I am putting my life in danger by talking about the shit that happens to women, girls, and children, who are surrounded by men who want to be “gangsters.”
I’ve made the argument before and I’ll make it until the day I die: the boys that “I” was raised with, became abusers because they were TRAINED to become abusers. Through systemic and specifically designed rituals that forced us to lay in MY bed together, by grown ass men who wanted to feed off our lives by turning girls into sex slaves and boys into gangsters. They feed off of us by getting paid by the men we had sex with, and the drugs they forced the guys to sell.
THIS HAPPENED. And it happened under the eyes of gangsters, doctors, “foundations of the community,” cult leaders, journalists, and anyone and everyone who KNEW what was happening, COULD have said something, and chose not to because:
A) it would have stirred up a lot of shit people don’t want to deal with.
B) it was easier to stay silent
C) they were scared for their own families.
I was hypnotized – read beaten, threatened, and tortured – into getting into a van with 5 grown Indian men who dropped me a quarter-mile from a house that I was supposed to go to in South White Rock, specifically to see if what the men who abused me had “made it work.” In other words, would a 15-year-old girl do what she was told under the threat of death and violence? The answer? Yes, yes she would. And then she’d forget all about it because it was the only way to survive.
THAT HAPPENED to me, under the watchful eye of a BC Children’s Hospital Doctor who in later years would be arrested, charged, and eventually placed in a mental hospital after having relationships with patients. Two of which were outted, many more I am sure, were not.
I may not know how to get to the house, but I know damned well which house I ended up at – which was NOT the one I was SUPPOSED to go to, (I’m not that stupid now, and I wasn’t back then either.) Police were called, and the whole situation was put on record.
I went to the “wrong” house on purpose, covered in mud, blood from falling into a rose bush, and God only knows what else, with one sandle, and taken to a hospital. They said I had “some tearing” in my vagina, but not enough to prove rape. A visit with my family doctor weeks later, told me SHE knew EXACTLY what happened, and she didn’t report a fucking thing because I was 16.
When we talk about children needing privacy with doctors, I have to wonder where we draw the line. I have to wonder at what point that we start to recognize that Doctors are often the problem.
It took Simone Biles more than fifteen years to talk about what DOCTOR Larry Nassar did to her, and to hundreds of other Olympian athletes. The entire world listened to her talk to Congress about what she went through.
But when it comes to someone like ME reporting what happened to me? Or writing about it on my blog? I end up in a mental hospital EVERY SINGLE TIME I TRY TO TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED.
The only thing that tells me is that my abusers haven’t learned shit. You can lock me up all you want, but I am never going to stop talking about what happened to me, and when it all comes out and the world FINALLY starts to pay attention to the fact that there are STILL children being abused the way I was – around the globe – when people start to realize that what happened to me, and to 13 boys is not a coincidence, hopefully, I’ll be on a beach with me and my boys, sipping wine whispering “told you so.”
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
If you’d like to help me continue to build Loud Mouth Brown Girl, please consider donating by clicking this link to head on over to Go Fund Me to Donate to help keep the growth growing.