Here’s the thing, I didn’t use to be so tired and lazy. I used to get stuff done, mostly, when I wanted to, okay yeah I’ve been lazy in the past, but this is on a whole new level. This is just “I function just fine like this so leave me alone,” kind of procrastination, and the problem is totally on my shoulders because I’m the one who cut everyone out of my life. I’m not complaining, for the love of the Goddess stay gone.

But here’s the thing…without people in my life I have become single-focused, and that focus has been entirely about Loud Mouth Brown Girl. For the last five fucking years, my entire focus has been on Loud Mouth Brown Girl, and I’m really proud of what I have created here.

The stories that I’ve curated tell the story of a woman whose growing a little more a little differently than ever expected. I have memories from my past in Calgary that are pleasant enough, but when I ask myself if I’ve been loved enough, I have to wonder if I was loved at all.

This sends me down a shame spiral that leads me to believe for just a moment that I deserved what was done to me, and that’s a deep and dark hole, it’s very difficult to climb out of that space, but that’s where I’ve been the last few months.

In fact, that’s where I’ve been my entire life, believing that I deserved the way that I was treated when things could have been so different if people had just stopped treating me like some alien to be explored instead of a human to get to know.

I spent a lifetime waiting for people to stop judging me before I stopped caring and became this person and honestly not caring about what people think of me is the best thing that I could have done. All apologies to my mother but I was suffocating under the weight of being her daughter because she’s this amazing proud shadow and I’m often like a dark cloud.

I’m always the one that makes people feel uncomfortable, either because of my skin color or my voice, my laugh, my weight, and inability to give a fuck about social conventions unnerves people, and honestly, the idea of doing this on a large scale is both exhilarating and frustrating. Believe me, I want to be world-famous but if you think I’m going to give a fuck about what anyone thinks about that, you’re very wrong.

I have struggled, suffered, and lived with bullshit my entire life, people have ALWAYS stomped on me when they thought they could get away with it and especially when they knew they couldn’t because it was easier to be the bully than the bullied.

I don’t believe in eating the rich but I also don’t believe in letting the poor suffer either, I guess I’m more complicated than I thought because frankly, this world sucks. If I had a choice I’d pick a much different world but this is the one that I got.

All that being said, when you’re telling someone with mental health issues that “it has to get done so you might as well do it now,” what you’re saying is “to hell with how you’re feeling, do what I tell you,” and that will almost always inevitably elicit a trauma response that you won’t like that you’ll inevitably blame us for.

This is especially hard in work situations, which is why I took a part-time job because I know that right now with my mental health issues there is so much that I can handle, and a lot of it has to be mindless because honestly, my brain is empty of thoughts.

Because I chose to put my story out there because I knew it was the only way to protect me and to save my life, people think they either know me or that I am crazy, both can be true while being simultaneously completely wrong.

You don’t know me, but you feel like you do. I’m not crazy but I am adventurous enough to know that the more people who know my story, the safer I am…and I mean that literally. People will hopefully care enough to ask questions if I go missing, so everything that I do – everything that I have ever done with Loud Mouth Brown Girl has been less about being famous and more about being safe.

Which is why going forward I have to be honest with my employer about my situation, and why it is that I am doing the things that I am doing, but the question is, how much do I offer and when? Today on a phone call with my immediate manager I had to confess that life “threw me off-kilter and that i am taking my time coming back from mental health issues and trauma,” but I didn’t expressly admit where those emotional issues came from. Or that they were emotional issues.

My employer doesn’t need to know my whole story, it’s enough that the people who’ve read this blog know what I survived, between that, the cops, and the others who know, I feel somewhat secure in the knowledge that so far no one is planning to kill me that I’m aware of.

But the conversation about my mental health in “polite company,” is terrifying. I’ve asked a couple of Twitter friends to sit with me and have a conversation on the record about this topic because I know that I’m not the first person whose had to disclose a medical disability due to mental health issues before, and I’d like some advice.

There are ways to broach the subject and there are ways that it can be broached like a fucking ticking time bomb which would be bad for everyone all around. Part of it is also that when you hire me, you’re also hiring The Loud Mouth Brown Girl, and that means something to me. It means that I come with baggage, and I’m open about that baggage, if I’m working for you, we both have to consider what that means for our respective brands or companies.

In previous posts, I talked about the responsibility that comes with what you post online and thinking critically about what you say and how you come across it. Interestingly I have found myself wanting to write in a lot of things that the conveyers of Ottawa would agree with and that started to frighten me.

But then I started to realize that just because we agree on some issues doesn’t mean we behave the same way in voicing our opinions about those issues and that’s what matters the most.

It’s important for me to work from home because that’s where I’m most comfortable, and that’s where I do my best work. It’s also a pandemic era, so like…I’m not going into a fucking office, but not everyone has the luxury of making that choice. I recognize my privilege in that and appreciate it greatly.

I’m also not working anywhere or with anyone that isn’t wearing masks around me, you don’t have to wear them around your friends and family, but dude I have a compromised immune system, so does my mom, if one of us catches covid that’s it, lights out. If my mask-wearing bothers you we can’t work together, even if it’s online, because I believe in freedom of choice. Although I can’t believe in 2022, I’m saying that about fucking masks instead of you know, abortion.

I’m tired of this pandemic too, but part of the mental health mantra is keeping yourself healthy, and even though I smoke too much cannabis (hahaha just kidding), if staying away from people is going to keep me safe well that’s what I want to do. I think about all this when I think about a potential employer, and when asked to introduce myself these days I never fail to say “I’m the Loud Mouth Brown Girl,” it’s my mantra now.

I do this so that if they’re curious they can ask, and I can tell them more, or they can look me up, whichever works, I never want to have to hide who I am again and yes, aha, you’ve stepped into the pile of dog shit that is trauma response number 4,3900, sharing too much too soon.

When you’re living with trauma every fucking day is a surprise bag of “oh look, a new pile of bullshit triggers,” and for a lot of people, they’re so busy focused on dealing with the triggers sometimes we never get past them. It’s a lucky and blessed few who can be traumatized for a moment instead of a lifetime.

So what I’m trying to say to employers and employees alike, is go easy on yourself. There is no one journey to success when it comes to dealing with mental health issues. We’ve only started using that as a regular term for emotionally traumatic events in the last twenty years or so, so everything that we’re learning is new.

Practice patience, create safe spaces and work on open communication with your employer/employee, be a space where one can trust the other, and the rest will fall into place. Or be a jerk and get sued, whichever, at least I got the bathroom sorta cleaned and had content today.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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