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Hopes and Dreams, Trauma and Nightmares: You Can’t Have One Without The Other(s)

Life is a series of unending tests, designed to push you into becoming the person you’re meant to become, while simultaneously challenging the ideas of who you think that person should be. – Unknown.

I read that in a book somewhere, and as I watch these shows about these fabulously rich and wealthy women growing more and more fabulous, rich, and wealthy, I can’t stop myself from remembering that I used to want to be one of those girls.

Very nearly being murdered, is what convinced me to want to be myself, and that is incredibly ironic because I grew up believing that “my” self, wasn’t worth wanting to be.

Growing up in Catholic school lots of people worked really hard to bully and condition me into believing that I should want to be light-skinned instead of dark, that I should want to be small and pretty instead of beautifully brilliant in all ways. Too many times I was emotionally stomped on, in order to make those around me feel big, and I ate it all up with a smile and promised myself that “one day,” I was going to be the version of myself that I wanted to be.

Now I am, and my life is a fucking mess. How’s that for a pant busting pain in the ass? There are things that I want to accomplish in this world, that I can only achieve by going through the trauma that I am going through right now, and while I accept that fact, while I accept that there is a bigger purpose, a bigger reason for why everything feels ten times harder than it fucking should right now, I don’t accept that I should have to live like this to make someone else’s life better.

I am beyond broke, and while that was okay when I was in my healing process, now I am starting to come out of that, and I am starting to develop these wings that I always knew I was capable of growing, and I am realizing, I got royally screwed.

I was beaten, raped, tortured, branded, and psychologically decimated by the abuse that I went through, at the hands of grown-ass men who abused me because a) they’re evil and b) in some cases they were trained to be abusive, and somehow in my hometown, I’m the bad guy. How the fuck does that work?

It’s 2021 and we’re still talking about defending rapists instead of believing survivors, in 2022 I am going to make a concentrated effort to breed a knowledge base of women, to cultivate a community of survivors, who understand, who know what it feels like, and who are capable now of speaking up and out. It is going to be my mission to turn Loud Mouth Brown Girl into a brand that represents survivors in an ethical way so that never again can people say “why didn’t she/they/them/he/we speak up sooner?”

We’re speaking up now. We’re asking you to notice the signs of trauma, pain intolerance due to abuse, the screams that are made ten times harder by the fact that along with physical pain comes memories of abuse and the belief that we’re being tortured into giving repeated answers to questions we just barely remember.

It’s a never-ending battle when you are a survivor, you’re fighting your abuser, their allies, family, friends, and yeah in some cases, their fucking fans, who will never believe the person THEY love, is someone you wish were dead.

Fans, followers, family members, and allies, never want to believe that the people they helped to lift up are people who are incredibly abusive behind the scenes, and then when documentaries get made, when millions of dollars are at stake, we eat these shitty pseudo-life story films up and suddenly we believe as if the proof is in the fact that survivors ripped open their hearts to show you their trauma before it was worth listening to. “Well if Netflix believes in it….”

No what Netflix wants is money and they know that if they host it you’ll watch it, and so they make it, I’m not complaining, I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy. Right now CTV has a campaign talking about mental health and stigma and almost all the people in that campaign are Indigenous. I’m not jealous congrats, but yeah um what about girls like me?

There are more than 5000 missing and murdered indigenous women across Canada, we know this, do we know how many Black girls are missing and murdered? No, because Black girls don’t exist in Canada, at least that’s what you’d believe if you watched any of our television shows, read our favorite books, or tuned in to the major channels in Canada.

When we do exist we’re few and far between and we’re not allowed to talk about the struggles of being Black in Canada for more than five minutes or so at a time.

We live in a world that is designed to destroy us so that the universe can find the strongest of the strong, and yet here we are, and still, so few people listen to us because of the color of our skin or the appendage between our legs. If you thought I was going hard on mental health, trauma, and rape in 2021? You have no idea what’s coming in 2022.

I know who I was, I know who I am, I know who I could become if I keep down this road. I’m scared, and I am tired, but I am not alone. There are thousands of you from around the globe who are with me, who show me in a million tiny ways that my voice matters to you. I hear you when I’m screaming in trauma, I hear you when I’m hiding in my nightmares, I see you on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and I am so grateful you are out there. That you hear me too.

2021 was the year of development for me, I learned a lot and I saw a lot more than I should have about what I went through, about what I did to survive, and I found someone I really love inside myself. I found Devon again, and again, and again, in a million different possible versions, and every single version of the persons I thought I wanted to be back before I was nearly killed, taught me that the person I AM, is the person I WANT to be.

I like this person. She’s scarred, scared, and bruised, she has terrible teeth and she’s overweight, and she’s a little cranky and a little miserable, but she’s filled with hope and that’s what I want to be when I GROW UP. So I’m here, still growing up, still growing into myself, still telling you that you can find your person too, if you start looking inside, and stop listening to the bullshit of everyone who does not live inside your head.

This isn’t toxic positivity, don’t get me wrong, keeping on when you want to give up is the hardest most painful thing you’ll do, BUUUUUT, not giving up, means that you can be anything you want when the time comes, even if that person needs time to just sleep it off.

I love you. So don’t give up.

I.

Love.

You.

Devon J Hall

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