I am not going to lie, I really didn’t think anyone would care if this site lasted another year, but a few people have proven they do, by putting their money, literally where their keyboard is and I am so appreciative that all I want to do is curl up and cry. $225.00 has been raised, which means I’m halfway to my hard goal of $415.00 to keep the site going for another year and to make the necessary upgrade.
To that my voice, matters to other people as much as it means to me, tells me that Loud Mouth Brown Girl is officially a collective. It’s not just me anymore, there are other humans pointing their energy at making sure that this website gets to stay up for another year and that’s massive for me.
You, the readers, are the reason that I get up every day, because if I didn’t have you I wouldn’t keep writing, and there are so many amazing people in my collective, in my circle now, that I didn’t know I wouldn’t have had access to, if I had given up and ended my life.
The fact that so many people have supported me all these years, from the physical and the digital world, tells me that the hard work is paying off, and that it’s absolutely worth it to keep going, and for those of you out there thinking “I don’t have anything like that,” that’s because you haven’t made anything like this before, but it’s not too late.
You have the power to create something, that no one else in the world can create, whether it’s a knitted sweater, or a blog, or a video, whatever it is you are the only person in the world that can do it, and when we talk about following our calling, or following our passion, I truly believe it’s the same thing.
There are a million people who will tell you that your voice doesn’t matter, but that’s often because when they look at you, they really see themselves.
They aren’t trying to discourage you – not always – they are looking at you and wondering why it is that your voice matters when they feel like theirs don’t.
The truth is that if you want your voice to matter to anyone else, you have to believe it matters yourself, first. I know it’s trite, and I know that it’s cliche, but the truth is that if you aren’t loving on yourself, why should anyone else? How can they love you, if you don’t know what you need? We have to teach people how to love us, and sometimes that means asking for money to support our writing habits.
I want to be with the person I love, but I also want to be the kind of person who can look back at the work and say “yes I built this foundation, and yes I had help, and no it wasn’t because of money, it was because people cared enough to tell me, in a million ways that my voice matters. – Devon J Hall
The last two times that I’ve run fundraisers, I gave up before we’d actually collected any funds, because I thought it was stupid to ask people for money to help pay for this website, but then I started thinking about all the context that I put into this website.
For the first four years of this website, I needed to dump everything, or as much of everything as I could from my brain into this website, just to get it out of my head, but the more that I wake up to the realities of my situation, the more that I realize I am getting comfortable asking for help. Whether that means asking for money or asking people to write, or asking people to make a picture, whatever it might be, asking for help is a huge part of success.
No successful person on the planet, did it alone. From Beyonce and Oprah to Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, every single person on this planet who fits the perception of success that we’re conditioned to respect, is a person who has asked for help at one time or another, even if they deny that truth.
“However, if you find you can’t HELP yourself, there’s no shame in asking others for help. Sometimes asking for help is just as heroic as giving it. There are treatments and therapies and counselors that you could benefit from—but no one finds answers if they’re too afraid to ask the questions. Don’t let your PRIDE tell you otherwise.”
― Chris Colfer, A Tale of Witchcraft…
When I first started this blog, there were a lot of people who turned their backs on me, who let me know that it wasn’t okay that I “spoke outside the family,” that I left the “gang” in the most powerfully public way that I could.
I left and I didn’t fucking ask permission this last time, I walked out of that strip club promising I would never be back and I meant it and I’ve kept that promise every day since.
I asked for help in all the normal ways. I went to the RCMP, I went to the cops, I even spoke to a Fireman about what happened to me, and one time a guy who said he was a record producer. I spoke out, and I ran, as far as I could, and when I finally got home, I realized that I didn’t want to live the life that I was told I was going to be living for the next thirty years.
This digital platform that I’ve been building with your support, has entirely been about securing my safety and protecting my sanity while telling the truth about what happened to me, to us, in as many different ways as I could.
Without you reading this blog, I would have no verifiable proof that I am doing the right thing.
When we look at amazing women raising their voices and sharing their story, whether they are activists or television producers, we often see them getting all the attention that we wish we had, thinking that the more attention the more fans, the more the validation that what we went through, was worth it.
Fame isn’t going to make your pain go away, it’s not going to make the abuse stop, but yes it might insolate you a little more than the average person dealing with trauma, but it also might make sure that everyone in the world knows what you’re going through. Or thinks they do.
Look again at Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, or any famous woman of color (no she’s not white,) and you’ll see women who are stalked, harrassed, emotionally abused in a variety of ways from people who either claim to love or hate them more than anyone else.
The fame doesn’t make that stuff go away it only amplifies what those of us who are not famous are going through. And so we have to learn to measure our expectations with the realities that we’re experiencing.
I am not just trying to make money for the sake of making money, I am trying to build a community of people who have been traumatized by life on this earth, who can and are able to support each other, but I am also trying to learn how to help others, so that I can pass on that education.
Too many times people put their own shit aside too soon, and rush into trying to help others, causing more damage than necessary, because they don’t know that what they are doing is reliving toxic behaviors learned in the efforts it took to survive.
Reaching out and asking for help, be it money or emotional support isn’t easy for me, but I’ve called my friend Sue Letwin a couple of times now, and she’s been able to put things in perspective for me. I’m on a journey, and while our paths are definitely not headed in the same direction, it’s still super cool that I can pick up the phone and call her to check in or to ask for help when I need it.
In a mirraod of ways Sue has taught me that it’s okay to be different, and strange, and beautiful, and this is from an Elder White Woman who I’m not supposed to like or trust because “white girl privilege,” but by choosing to IGNORE that, and by choosing to let white women help me with some of the burden, I am making sure that I can continue to do my job, as effectively as possible.
I’m still figuring out what this work looks like for me, and where it is that I would be the best fit in the mental health sector of our society, but as I figure it out, I am teaching and working at creating a new foundation for mental health that others may not have considered before, and I really wear that responsibility every single day.
Knowing that my voice has power, that my voice has the ability to share and disseminate information, means that I am aware that I have the ability to cause light in some people and darkness in others, and I wear that responsibility too.
I can’t do this alone if I am going to be the kind of success that I want to have in my future. If I am going to be the best version of myself, I NEED my readers, followers, friends, family, allies, to tell me when I am straying off course, and sometimes when they just assume that I can handle it all by myself, I just get frustrated and angry and I throw out words I don’t mean, which harms our connection.
It would be easy to blame it on mental health issues, but the truth is that it’s just fucking overwhelming sometimes to try and handle everything for yourself, and that’s why it’s so important that we reach out for help. Maybe your counselor is a dick, so you find another one, and yes it’s that fucking simple.
There are free programs that you might think you are too advanced for, that have ways of helping you put what you already know into contexts you didn’t know you needed before. There are teachers out there willing to teach you and you can find them in Facebook Groups or Twitter Spaces, or Clubhouse. There are places to find people that can teach you what you need to know, that aren’t in standard educational spaces, and you have to make an effort to find them before you give up on yourself.
I know it’s hard, and I know it’s scary and you feel alone, but I PROMISE you, that you are not alone. You are going to be okay and you are going to be loved you just have to let yourself take the risk.
How much is it going to take? As much as it takes. Every single day of your life, you have to find a purpose that is greater than yourself, and that means that sometimes, you have to take a fucking break and let others take over.
If you need a break take one, but when you’re ready, clearly, there will be those of us who ar where, to help you get back up.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall