I’ve noticed a pattern, especially in the last several years. December always used to be the strongest most powerfully busy time of the year for me. Largely because we were always getting ready for Christmas Dinner at the mission – picture getting ready for a wedding, every year for eighteen years.
On the exact same day every year, Christmas Day, hundreds of people – including families and children – from the community would come together to serve, host, and eat Christmas dinner, and it was a beautiful thing. Total strangers sitting together sharing a meal and laughing, exchanging food they didn’t want for food they did.
But then that stopped because we left that community and so I found a way to fill the days. It started with tears and moved toward writing, now every Christmas I still work, but the work has changed. I work on myself, and I track that work here on the website, but this year I’m starting to feel the fatigue. I finished a book in 2022, that I started in 2021. It only took a few months to get the framework done, which was a lot faster than I thought it would be.
Now that the framing is done, I can go in and add the meat and muscles, and I’m excited about that, but I’m also tired.
Looking around my house you wouldn’t think that I’ve been working on myself, but that’s because the work I’ve been doing has been internal.
About two years ago I decided when the full weight of everything I’d been through settled in my mind, I was done. I quit.
I quit the world and decided to focus on building Loud Mouth Brown Girl, but this month I’m starting to acknowledge that I’m not feeling exhaustedly in a hurry anymore. I’m not rushing, and I don’t feel like I have a deadline that I have to write a certain amount of words to before I die.
It took me until today to figure out, or at least to acknowledge that the last two years I’ve been sharing my story WHILE still processing it all myself, not really fully focused on doing anything other than surviving.
I’m wiped out. I feel like I don’t have the words to try and describe what it means to try and heal from something so traumatic, however, I also feel the responsibility to try, so that the people in your lives who are living like me, feel like they have someone who understands.
I know how hard it is to explain to the people in my life how tired I am because they see me functioning. I make coffee, I eat, I go to the bathroom, occasionally I shower and even take the garbage out, but like, that’s ALL I’m capable of doing.
To the average person, this is just normal stuff that you do, for me, everything I do is a part of getting my life back and it’s getting harder and harder, if I’m being honest, to fucking care what other people think about. Now, ironically, I’ve been saying that I don’t care for years, but of course, I do, if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be writing this.
It takes so much work when you’ve lived through horrors that no human should have to know about, to just breathe. To just “be”, and people expect that when you’re home with them, you’re automatically going to assume you’re safe. When you’ve been traumatized like me, like Soldiers in war zones, like other victims of sexual or physical violence, there is no “going home.”
There is no “safe” place. Every place is a potential danger because a part of you will always remain stuck in the place where you were traumatized. You leave that person behind, that person who was afraid, and you become something else, and that’s great, but the new person takes time to get used to. That new person is brand new, and they are on CONSTANT alert.
You, as an outsider, cannot change this. You can learn and adapt to what makes US feel safe, to what makes US more comfortable, to what makes life easier for US, but what you cannot do is judge us based on how we choose to survive.
Some of us end up on the streets, going from place to place looking for a meal, others end up in towers, looking down and asking what makes us so different. Not a god damned thing makes us different, it’s not about what makes us different, it’s about what we DO differently to heal.
Each of us chooses the path of least resistance after being traumatized because that’s what we’re capable of doing. Some of us are great at pretending we are not, but every human on this earth has been traumatized by something. So judging others because they “aren’t on your level,” or worse because “they can’t shower every day,” is a disgusting ablest view on something those of you judging us can’t possibly understand.
It’s not that we were traumatized, that keeps us holding back from releasing the horrors of how we really feel into the world, it’s the fact that we’re trying to control demons trying to take us over, that makes us strong. That’s why so many people who haven’t seen or heard what we’ve been through, back away. We scare them.
On top of all of that, we’re expected to be “normal” and “functional” the way that everyone else is functioning after the war, well nope, sorry I can’t do it and I’m not actually that sorry. I’m tired. I’m bone to the last cell in my being tired, so I need the world to leave me alone for a little while.
I said this same thing in 2021, and I say it and feel it every single January through to February, and I’m not sure why entirely, I think it has something to do with the first time I CHOSE to have sex with someone, who turned out to be a jerk, who joked about pedophilia like it was funny. No, it wasn’t. I made a bad choice that time around because all I’d been taught was to make bad choices.
And when I start making good choices, I get told by everyone around me that I need medication or more medication, instead of asking if rest would be the best solution.
That’s why I haven’t been writing that much lately, I needed a break somewhere, and those breaks are going to get longer and longer because I’m coming back to myself. I’m coming back to the girl who cleans regularly, who showers daily, goes for walks, and enjoys the sun. I am not going to let this stupid pandemic steal my life, but it’s okay for me to go and sit outside by myself and enjoy the sun again. I deserve to.
There are a lot of things that I worry about, but all of 2021, I was terrified to go out and so I worked, and I’ve worked myself into a hole and if I don’t take a breather, I am going to break down again. I can already feel the weird stuff starting to happen. I’m wanting naps, I want to drum on my legs, I want to hurt myself, it’s because my body is telling me that I’m tired.
So if you don’t see a post every day or even every week, please don’t stress, or worry, there’s tons of great content for you to check out on the site, and I’ll be on Twitter and Social Media, but just as I close this, the next time a survivor you know tells you their tired, ask them what you can do.
It’s a huge relief to know someone WANTS to do something, and sometimes, that’s enough.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall