I cannot believe that I’m here. It’s 2022, and I am alive, and well, I’ve had dental surgery again (still waiting on that) and I am feeling much better than I was last week, and this whole new year is ahead of me. Bright, shiny, and filled with all kinds of beauty, love, potential, and excitement.

A good portion of my excitement for this year belongs to the women that I have surrounded myself with. Women who lift me up and never ask me to be less of myself. My friend and co-worker Kendra and I are working on a workshop for 2022, and in that space, I recently told her that it might make sense for me to take a backseat.

Gracefully, Kendra reminded me that not only was this workshop my idea, but that if I stepped back, it just wouldn’t work without me, and that was so empowering. I knew I needed to hear that, so yeah it was a bit manipulative, but none the less Kendra reminded me to stop cutting myself short.

I deserve to be front and center, I deserve to have my voice heard, and I deserve to take what I know and prepare it so that others can consume it in a way that provides a future foundation for myself, and that was much needed for a reminder.

I am always super intentional about telling people when I love them, but I often struggle with telling myself the very same message, and so this year I am going to be all about telling myself that I am beautiful and that I am worthy and deserving of being loved.

That means investing in myself, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and even yes sexually. I am going to be taking what I can and using it to help others, while also using it to create something for my…own personal self, that no one has ever had before.

There are so many amazing women who got their brand, built their blog, and moved on and I just don’t want to be one of those women. I want to be one of those women who blog forever because blogging for me is what sets me free from a world filled with violence and trauma.

I want to be unapologetic about saying goodby to those who laugh at me and call me “stupid bitch,” under their breath as if I can’t hear them. I am tired of that being my title, I am neither stupid nor a bitch. I am a strong, powerful, influential woman, who knows her worth and understands finally that she deserves to spend her time with those who care about her.

Being authentic to me means knowing that I can’t work towards empowering others, in order to just tell myself that I am worthy of less than I offer to others.

I gave someone the “it’s not you, it’s really just me,” speech recently because I realize that when I am in pain I can be soo utterly toxic and that the reason that I haven’t been taking care of myself is that forcing myself to work is easier for me than focusing on taking care of all the things that are going wrong, because of what happened in my past.

The problem is that if you don’t have balance in your life, then the scales tip and things end up being way worse than they need to be, and because of that, too many times we physically manifest issues that wouldn’t have manifested if we’d just taken care of ourselves, to begin with.

I used to think that what I needed to get happy, was to be married, have kids, and “settle down,” but then when I woke up to all the bad stuff, I had to really think about what it means to set down roots and I realized that where I am is not where I want to be, and if I want to be where I want to be, then I am going to have to earn my place in herstory.

This year I am really going to focus on making myself the center of my universe, in a way that doesn’t take away or detract from those that I love. Creating balance in my relationships means letting people in, even when they force me to be uncomfortable because for me the most growth that I’ve experienced has always come when I am at my most uncomfortable.

Nada Chehade is one of my favorite bloggers, because I know that with her power and her light she is going to change the world for women everywhere going forward. Having escaped a horrid marriage, and flown to London for a smoke just to fly home to face her demons, Nada has proven that it can be done.

That you can be happy, and in love with yourself first, and that it’s important to do both before you consider who your life partner is going to be. This year I am not necessarily looking for “love” so much as I am looking for a partner.

I used to joke that Loud Mouth Brown Girl was entirely about letting potential suitors know “this is who I am, and I am not changing any time soon,” and while that’s certainly still true, it’s also going to be about intentional creation.

Community building is also something that I am trying to learn about this year, I say that only because I am tired of being alone. Four years of building this website have been a blessing and I needed that time, but now I also need to expand my horizons, as I was recently reminded.

Independence and freedom are important to me, but I’ve realized you can be independent, that doesn’t mean you have to be alone. I’ve been alone far too long, even before the pandemic. So this year I am going to deliberately find people who are like me.

You’ve struggled, you’ve been challenged by the universe, and you’re still here to tell the tale? teach me how you did it so that I know I can too.

Letting people in is scary, but now that I know what to look for, I can move forward knowing that I’ll never again let people who are as toxic as I am trying to learn not to be, ever again. I don’t want to be a toxic person, and so that means that it’s time to let go of the toxic people of my past fully and wholly, so I can move on into a light-hearted, passion-filled, love embracing, future.

You too.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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