There are some days that you think you just can’t move. You know you have to clean, you know you have the stuff to organize or work to do, but your brain is telling you that not moving is the best course of action. So today I did what I was capable of, and I took care of myself first.
It took me several hours to shower, dress, (at least in underwear and a shirt,) and do my hair, but I did it today and I don’t always. I did it today because I wanted very much to just -not- focus on the adult responsible stuff.
Sometimes it’s okay to take a break and I’ve been saying it, but I haven’t been doing it because I’m so focused on this idea that if I keep working and showing the world how productive I am, I’ll feel that way too.
Setting boundaries and putting limits on myself are not things that I am good at. I am always trying to prove that I am good enough, that I deserve to be the Loud Mouth Brown Girl, largely because of my abusers. Not just the boys and the men, but the teachers who failed me, the system that pushed me through the cracks, and the adults who thought I was capable of handling adult situations, without explaining to me that “I” wasn’t at fault.
In the 90s everything girls did was scrutinized. How we dressed, what we said, how we behaved, most girls I knew refused to eat pickles, bananas, or carrots that weren’t cut into slices because of the ways that boys reacted around us. We were twelve.
When I was 16 years old, a boy I liked gave me a love letter for another girl. I knew I didn’t deserve that because he knew how I felt, he just didn’t care. So I ripped up the letter and threw it down the toilet. I regret nothing, that boy made me feel like shit, and so I did what I needed to do to protect myself.
It was the last time I let myself have real, close, friends because no matter how many times I’d tried to be nice at that age, I was always the one getting hurt. Punched in the face by jealous girls, or lied about by other jealous girls, it never ended, and it was exhausting.
The last time I saw those former friends, his sister and I drank a whole bottle of 151, me because he was leaving town and he’d broken my heart, her because her big brother was leaving. I spent my whole life chasing boys and making everyone else around me the center of my movie, instead of being the center of my own story, for far too long.
Life got a lot more complicated, but at least without people pulling at me, telling me who to be, instead of seeing every compliment like approval, I’ve decided I am going to focus on complimenting myself. Loud Mouth Brown Girl is the only way I know how to center myself inside the story that will be one day written about my life.
But it’s a lot of work too. It’s a lot of stripping myself down to tell the world what it really feels like to suffer and struggle due to a brain that has been broken and bruised by trauma.
There are scientific studies that tell us that trauma changes the brain and that sometimes a brain can revert to the age of the younger versions you were when you were abused. Sometimes that happens to me, I call it letting little out, and as much of a pain in the ass as she is, she also reminds me it’s okay to take my time because we never got to when we were growing up.
I’m still putting the pieces back together, and I think I’m doing okay, I’m slipping in a lot of areas, but it’s because I’ve come to learn, that I have a lot to relearn, a lot of conditioning to break down and free myself from, a lot of saying “no,” to the same thing over and over and over again until I’m no longer called to answer “do you want to go back again?”
There are very good memories I have, moments when I felt alone before, and my favorite angels were around me. I couldn’t always see them, but I could always hear their advice. They were always there to remind me that things change and that nothing lasts forever, and I know this won’t either, but patience is a hard lesson to learn.
It requires everything you have not to scream when that’s all you want to do, it means learning restraint and focusing really hard on not losing yourself to the anxiety, depression, fear, the PTSD of it all.
It’s frustrating because on one hand, I think “oh this will make great content,” and on the other hand, how come people never talk about how easy it all seems? Like when it’s over I mean. You think climbing the mountain is going to be a bitch and it turns out it’s the kind of mind-altering soul-shattering experience of your life, but once you reach the top you forget about everything and how hard it was. Suddenly you’re talking about what a breeze it all is.
But that breeze only lasts. minute or two, until it’s time to climb the next mountain. Then you remember you hate, and you bitch, and you moan and complain, but then you reach the top again. And on and on the cycle goes.
Until you break the cycle.
The cycle I’m in makes me feel like I’m being dragged to a place I don’t know if I want to go, so I really have to think about every move before I make it more carefully now, and I’m genuinely afraid of that because that revolves around watching and waiting, which I’ve not been very good about.
Setting boundaries with myself is just as important as setting them with others. I have to really focus my brain on doing simple tasks like taking out the garbage, cleaning up after the cats, or even myself. It feels like I have weights on my body all the time, without any release, and the moment that I feel free for more than ten seconds the weights return. It’s exhausting feeling like my own body is fighting against my brain and heart.
It’s a constant battle to do things like go to the bathroom, get dressed, take a shower. I feel like I am a living experiment with these doctors and medications, and while most days I’m doing okay, I am really, really sad.
This isn’t the life that I wanted, it’s the life I’m carving out for myself. The life I wanted was stolen by abuse, by constant conditioning that told me that I wasn’t good enough to be loved and that the only time a man would love me was when I had something “real” to offer. Too many times the words beautiful, pretty, and lovely, were used as weapons to destroy my self-confidence. Given to other girls as a gift, thrown at me like a dagger.
Myself as a woman, is a very different person than myself as a child, and I feel like I’m trying to educate the world about what it means to be me now, but very few are listening, and the messages I’m trying to put out there, I think are important.
It’s important to know that life with a person who has a mental health disability or issue, is never going to be easy. I am constantly going to feel like I am falling over when I am standing up straight. I will always do my best, but my best may not be good enough for you.
It takes a very special person to love someone who is in a constant state of growth, evolution, and self-discovery. It takes someone who is patient, and I haven’t become that person yet, and so until I can love myself, yes I choose to live alone. I choose to live without the burden of having one more person to take care of when I can barely take care of myself, but I’ll be there one day.
Whether or not you are, remains to be seen, but for the lofe of God, if I’ve said goodbye, please….move the fuck on.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall