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Because I Matter…So Do All Those Tears

I have been writing like crazy all month. ALL Month, and I thought I had months more of work before the workbook was finished, but it’s finished. It’s done.

It’s exactly how I want it, and with a few minor edits it’ll be absolutely perfect, but until then I am sitting here thinking about the crew, thinking about the family. All the people I left behind when I decided I’d rather be a writer than a gangster, and I’m crying a little bit.

I keep asking myself what the fuck makes me so different? Why can’t they just get their shit together and stop selling dope? Why can’t they get out? Why won’t they even try? Because leaving the only life you’ve ever known behind is fucking difficult.

It’s like being stuck in Spiderman’s web, one does not simply just walk away from gang life, but reading this tweet from my friend Ashley who has her own very different struggles reminds me, it’s not impossible.

Each of us is suffering from mental health issues due to trauma, PTSD is a bitch let me tell you, and I KNOW I’m not the only one who was traumatized by what was done to us as children, I’m just the one putting a face to that trauma, and you know what? I’m fucking tired of it. I’m tired of being the only one in Surrey, British Columbia to be talking about gang culture and the destructive nature of drugs and alcohol addiction.

When I say I’m the only one, I mean I’m the only one blogging about it every day, and I hope the others will come forward but I doubt it because no one wants to have this conversation. “Yeah, I sold drugs and I was a douchebag about it,” doesn’t inspire confidence that you’ve changed.

People don’t look at former drug dealers with kindness, love, and acceptance. They don’t respect you until you prove to them you are willing to earn it, and when you do fight tooth and nail to get their respect the smallest slip can destroy your life.

For the men in my past to come forward and talk about what they have been through, they’d have to actually face the reality of their situation and publically admit to being victims of abuse.

Not many men want to admit to that. It’s one thing to do it in a room filled with people who understand and have been there, it’s another entirely, to do it on a blog or a website, or a podcast. It’s another entirely to do it in such a public way that your face is forever synonymous with drug addiction.

Yes, there’s a part of me that feels sorry for them, because they don’t have the courage, or even the desire to come forward like I have, but I judge them because I am angry that out of all of us I’m the only one to come forward. That all the people I loved, that I supported, that I care about, refuse to support me in return by saying “me too,” even to me privately.

I am super proud that I have finished my book, I am super proud that I am on a new path and that a brand new journey awaits me, but I’m also angry that I’m alone too because I shouldn’t have to be.

There are judgments in the NA rooms, because “oh you must be healed,” no motherfucker, I’m not healed just because I’m not coming to meetings. I’m not going to meetings because I’m sick of the drama, I’m sick of guys hitting on me, I’m sick of people thinking that my vagina is going to replace their addiction. It’s happened too many times for me to feel safe in those rooms.

But on social media, I can talk to people like Wally, and Dr. Ashley, and so many others who get it, who don’t hit on me, who respect boundaries, who understand the difference between “I need help” and “I just want to get laid so I don’t have to think about it.”

The tears, the screaming, the pain, it’s all worth it because I’ve written my 2nd book in 2 years, and I’m really fucking proud of myself, I just wish I could celebrate it with the people I love, with the people who SHOULD have my back but instead are too afraid of what others will think of them for coming forward.

I’m listening to Eminem with a bunch of other artists right now and I am admiring how these men have for more than 20 years remained friends. Through so many fights and battles, Snoop, Dre, and so many others have supported each other. When bullets were flying, when people were dying, they were there for each other.

These men call themselves gangsters, they say that they respect each other, and yet when the shit hit the fan where were they all? Nowhere to be found. They left it to the women to control the narrative, they left it to the women to fight the battles, they left it to the women to clean up the mess. These men are not gangsters, they are children playing at being gangsters.

I survived, I got through all that shit so that I could be the one to write “I Can Do This,” and eventually people across the globe are going to read it. Maybe it’ll be a critical success, maybe it won’t be, but I’ll forever be able to say that I wrote it.

When we talk about mental health issues, we don’t often praise ourselves for being courageous enough to come forward and share our stories with the world. It’s not easy to present yourself on social media, or anywhere else for that matter so that other people can judge you and dissect what you’ve told about yourself, and make comments about whether or not they believe you.

Everyone is going to comment on whether or not you are telling the truth, people around the globe are going to question your story, but if you come forward the shadows can’t hurt you anymore. The darkness can’t eat at you when you live in the light, and that’s where I need and want to be. In the light with all those who like me and Doctor Ashley are talking about the pain instead of letting it fester.

It’s better on this site, away from the drugs, away from the gangs, away from the tears that come from being afraid you won’t make it through the night. It’s better on this site to choose to be who I want to be, instead of living the way I have to live just to survive.

Today I’m going for an ultrasound on my breasts again, doing normal stuff, taking care of myself the best way that I know how because I’m the only one who can. How many of you are sitting there thinking you could never share your story? I bet you, you could.

Yeah, today I’m doing fine….but that’s not every day. We deal with the bad days because the good days are so fucking rewarding. Join us, it’s an army of friggen happy people. Whoda thunk?!

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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