If I had been smart I’d have done my shopping at the beginning of the year, instead of the end, but I’ve since realized that my entire focus this whole year has been Loud Mouth Brown Girl. I haven’t thought about anything other than creating content, building a portfolio, proving myself, and focusing on making sure y’all have a ton of great content as many days of the week as possible.

I’m done. Right? If that’s true why am I still writing? because when I think about the question “what do you want?” which is something that’s been rolling around in my head for a few years now, I have really only one answer.

I want to be the Loud Mouth Brown Girl. I am the one and the only LOUD Mouth BROWN Girl, and no one else in the world can say that. That’s how I survived the last night of abuse, torment, and rape, that felt like I’d really walked through the gates of Hell.

Now that I am four years in, I’m starting to realize how special and important that “I” am the one that gets to say that this is my job, my brand, my company, my trauma project turned company.

This is the most amazing thing that I’ve done with my life at this point, but only because of the things that I had been through, given that I survived all of that, I am really proud of myself and I honestly haven’t been able to say that before this.

There is very little in my life that I did that was for my – actual individual – self, and Loud Mouth Brown Girl is the root of the first thing that I have ever done for myself. It’s not the thing that taught me how to say no, but it is absolutely the largest thing that is the result of finally standing up for myself and saying no. How can I not be proud of that?

The first was my witch tattoo, and before that, it was saying no to an old boyfriend, Loud Mouth Brown Girl is the third thing, and it’s the thing that’s keeping me alive when everything else is crushing and suffocating around me. I am a big proponent of the phrase “do the thing,” which I totally got from Kim Rhodes. I haven’t always thought “okay I want this let me go get it.” I’ve always had reasons and excuses for why I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.

This is the thing because THIS thing, happened after I was nearly murdered, and so everything else falls to the sidelines when I am focused on providing for myself a foundation that I keep praying for and that I even know, will lead to the kind of future that I want to continue manifesting.

That means that I’ve been neglecting things in other areas of my life, and yeah yeah balance is important, but there is literally no balance when you are just starting out, and there should be. They keep telling us that we’re supposed to party it up and hustle in our twenties, but I didn’t do that, I was just busy swirling around, and I didn’t know how to get out of it until it was literally too late.

Now that I’ve had time and space, now that I’ve processed as much of it as I am capable of processing at the moment, I am realizing that I unlike a lot of women around the world got really lucky. Because of that feeling of luck, I also feel more responsible for making sure that I do as much as I can to be part of creating what the future of Mental Health Content Creation looks like.

There are several different kinds of mental health content creation:

  • Medical written by those who work in the industry professionally helping others with their mental health.
  • Those like myself who are creating a record of what we’ve been through in an effort to help others.
  • Professionals who have their own mental health issues, but are writing about them to help others publically as well as privately.

I fall into the second category and I am quite proud of that because I wasn’t someone who fully understood mental health when I was in my twenties. I was working hard at helping others, but I was so insulated from the kind of information and education I needed to do my job effectively. I was essentially thrown into the industry of helping others, without really knowing what to do except to point people to those who had more knowledge than myself.

I know differently now, now I know the signs, I know what to look for, and I have my mom who educates me every single day about what I need to do to make sure that I stay healthy and that I continue to grow, and sometimes that means taking my stupid pills, or talking to the psych nurse even though she doesn’t listen very well.

Every single day that I write a blog post is a day that I feel like I’ve achieved something, even if it means nothing to anyone else because it’s verifiable proof that I am still here, and still alive, and still going to the place that I keep saying I want to get to.

There are things I say no to now, like driving (because I smoke cannabis) and relationships (because let’s be honest? No?) that I would never have said no to in my twenties.

I have completely become a different person, and when I think about “surviving Christmas,” I keep thinking that it shouldn’t have to be that way.

“Christmas is the most special time of the year.”

Is it? Because if that’s true why are we all consuming as much alcohol as we can, smoking as much weed as we can roll, in order to avoid having conversations with people who are creepy, confused, or downright evil? Why are we spending time with them at all? A former friend turned sexual predator (no joke) once told me that his family wasn’t “family,” mostly I think because he’s a horrible human, but I also haven’t stopped thinking about that.

Your family isn’t your family because they are genetically connected to you. They are the people who look at you and see love, joy, and happiness, in your eyes because you see they exist. They are the people who show up to support you on the days that matter the most, they are the people who respect your boundaries, and treat you with the kind of tender loving care they wish they had in their own lives.

Family are the people who matter to you because they want to matter to you and they make an effort to be nice to you, to show you that you matter to them, and who you genuinely feel happy to see, for no other reason that the person standing over there, makes you smile, even when they aren’t there.

Just because you share genes with someone? No, that doesn’t make them family, and you do not have to endure their abuse, their horridness, just so that you can hide the person you love being, so that they feel more comfortable around you, no matter what anyone else thinks.

If you are underage and you need to escape for a few hours in the garage, I understand, and I am sorry. I wish I could wave a majick wand and make all your lives happy and filled with love and joy, but since I can’t, please just know you’re in my thoughts this year. I am who I am because I struggled, because I almost died, because I FOUGHT to be here, please, please, do not give up.

I love you.

Sending all of mine,

Devon J Hall

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