Each of us mental health patients, those struggling with mental health in ways the rest of the world doesn’t see, and does not know how to recognize, or understand what it feels like to fall into the darkness, to fall so deep we can’t get out.
Last year a film on Netflix called Maid was released and it was a truly beautiful film. I watched that show at least twice and in that film, I saw so many women that I knew including my mother. Black, Chinese, Jewish women, all women struggling with abuse, trauma, and the need to escape in order to protect children that didn’t ask to be here, and were essentially getting the raw deal, because mothers were repeating the same mistakes of our past.
As mental health patients, we understand the desire to sink into the hole, because the hole is all we have. Outside the darkness and safety and comfort of the hole that we’re in, it’s scary. It’s hard work trying to function in ways that other folks do because other folks SEEMINGLY have it figured out, but in reality, all they’ve managed to do is trick the world into BELIEVING that they have it figured out.
So we gather in online communities hoping to find friendship, understanding, education, and clarity on all the things that we’re struggling with.
Often times when we do find these groups we end up being more vulnerable online than we would be in real life, and when we find those spaces we often find that there are other people on the other side of the computer who do absolutely not have our best interests at heart.
During this summit that I’ve been talking about and helping to host, I got introduced to so many great bands that I’ve never heard of before, and many that I’ve been legit DYING to meet. There are some people I’ve met that are fucking amazing, and others who need a serious kick in the head.
It was funny to me because last week or this weekend, I posted “never meet your heros,” on Twitter, and EVERYONE assumed I was speaking about famous people from Hollywood alone, but the truth is that I was speaking about a variety of people and that’s the problem with online communication.
So Many Of Us Struggle, and We Think That Because We Live With Mental Health, We’re The Experts On Our Own Sanity
It took a stupid amount of time to pull this event together, and to bring together enough people that the effect of the work that we’re doing is going to matter in the future, but once we all shut up for a minute, one thing was very, very fucking clear.
We have a serious problem on our hands.
It’s so easy for my Black friends to misconstrue why so many of my friends are “gutter punks,” or “goths” it’s so easy for the world to assume that Witches alone are white when in reality we as humans come in so many different shades of colour and it’s actually more beautiful when we step back and admire the work of the ancient ones who came first.
When we’re living with 1 thing, our whole lives, it’s hard to see outside of that. I go hard for women and children who are involved in KKK-based communities because I know about the conditioning that they face. The deep psychological trauma that comes from being exposed to nothing but hatred all day every day can and will absolutely destroy life.
We talk about “them”, as if they are the bad guy, but who are they? They are people who’ve been abused, who are autistic, who are stuck, who are traumatized, people who’ve been beaten, raped, and tortured, but because we hear what comes out of their mouths, or of their Twitter or Facebook feed, we believe that what THEY say, is actually what they believe.
Most white supremacists that I’ve met, including many that I’ve had the honour of watching on the amazing CNN special W Kamau Bell’s United Shades of America, I’ve learned that they don’t actually believe what they say, but the problem is that Black, and many Latinx, or Latino folk don’t give a shit, and they don’t necessarily have to care what a white supremacist supporter is going through, but here’s the thing.
How the fuck are you going to ask for understanding for what you’re going through, and then turn your back on someone else who’s going through the same, similar, or worse situations, just because you don’t like what they have to say?
“Well, I don’t want to make room for folk who hate me,” Ummm chile, they don’t hate you, they just don’t understand how important you are to their survival, and to their basic understanding of how you fit into their world is skewed ONLY because of the conditioning that they have faced.
How the fuck are you gonna have sympathy or empathy for a victim of sexual abuse, but not for a white supremacist who has faced struggles you will NEVER understand because YOU weren’t there when they were being transformed from a child into a murderer or rapist?
It’s hard to have sympathy or empathy for others when we think that we’re in control, and creating online groups often means that we feel like we are in control.
If we’re running a group and people are joining then it means that we’re on the right track right? But it’s also a lot of work managing hundreds of people in a group, dealing with all their complaints, and their drama.
One of my favourite groups is called Black Women Write Too, it’s a beautiful group of Black women hundreds of them, sharing their literature work, hoping that someone, SOMEWHERE will notice the work they are putting into their magazines, books, and blogs.
The problem is that for me at least, a lot of these authors are writing and romanticizing gang life in these novels. Go to any online bookstore and you’ll find thousands of pages of books and titles about women who think they can change the personality of a gangster. Love stories number in the millions of women specifically, who fall in love with gangsters thinking “life will just get better if he loves me.” Pfft.
The problem with online writing and offline reality is that the two are often not the same. Just because you think you know what something is like, doesn’t mean that this is the reality.
When you see this man, and I want you to ignore everything you think you know, what to do you see?
I see a Businessman, and a genius when it comes to making music, but more than that I also see a man who was shot nine fucking times, and yeah you bet your ass he raps about it a lot, why shouldn’t he?
Not many people survive getting shot nine fucking times, once. in the mouth, and once in the spine and near the heart, where at least 2 bullets still remain.
Many women look at a man who survived 9 shots and think “damn he’s fine,” because if HE can survive that, then he could protect you, but here’s the problem, the men, many many men, who follow 50 Cent don’t learn from his experience, and that’s because they think that the only way to get where he is, is by selling dope and hurting people.
Then we turn that around and look at men like Epstein – a man who “was” connected to billionaires, royalty, and all kinds of people who swear they are “doing the best they can by their communities,” by designing $30,000 dollar fucking wedding dresses, and we wonder why our world is so fucked up.
Hey here’s an idea, instead of spraying out shit like “eat the rich,” maybe we should actually start looking at how the richest people on the planet connect to the poorest people on the planet.
One of my favourite celebrity videos of all time is Angelina Jolee running from bombing in some place or another, I’m not going to link it because you can google this shit for yourself, BUT here’s the important part.
Online I see a lot of my friends, family members, cousins, and teachers, being trash-talked and I don’t say anything because I don’t want to be one of those people that’s like “hey look at me, see how many famous people I know,” because to me I don’t really give a fuck that these people are famous or rich, what I care about is how they got there and why the way they are.
But because those who don’t have, are so focused on what they don’t have, they aren’t realizing that we see the shiny, without understanding what diamonds go through a lot of pressure (blegh, I was asked SPECIFICALLY to use that cliche,) before they can be considered beautiful.
A diamond is only beautiful because it’s unobtainable, because it sparkles, and yet there are sooo many of them, but only so few get their hands on them.
We get angry because we “can’t,” have what we think we want, but then when we pull back the layers we see that what we thought we wanted is fucking ugly.
Oh, okay cool, so you wanna be a gangster huh? That means you want to be shot at. It means that you want to fight back when someone shoots you because if YOU don’t shoot first, someone is sure as fuck going to shoot you the first chance they get. Are you willing to risk that? Are you willing to put your kids in a situation where they might get shot at?
When Frank Gotti was killed in a car accident – and it WAS an accident – the Gotti family was devastated. The man behind the wheel went missing a while later. This is what gang life is, this is what mafia life is, you shoot before they shoot and if they come for them you better be prepared for war. What the fuck is sexy about that? The bullets?
When this film came out, it was originally about fast cars, but it was also about family, and what a family will do to defend itself, to protect itself, to make sure that every member of that family survives.
“No more funerals.” That’s the epitome of gang life, of life of war. When you are a soldier, it doesn’t matter if you are enlisted in a government army, or an online one, a street army, or whatever kind of army you can name, you are a soldier, period.
There is nothing sexy about wondering if “this day,” is the day you’re going to die, and it’s all well and good to say “make the most. of your life,” but how do you do that when every single day of your life is just being grateful that you got through the day without being killed.
I just got off the phone with my psych nurse, and I told her that I’m being stalked and harassed at my home, where I SHOULD be safe, and she told me that it was “not her job to keep me safe,” it’s only her job to offer me medication or to send me to the hospital, which I said I ONLY wanted to go to because I know that AT LEAST there, I MIGHT be safe.
If I’m lucky enough to get a doctor who isn’t completely ignorant or uninformed about gang life and the patterns that destroy the lives of women and children everywhere.
Dear Writers, if you think this life that I’m living is sexy, then you haven’t seen just how bad it can get, before it gets better.
Let me make this perfectly clear:
THERE IS NOTHING SEXY ABOUT GANGSTERS, THERE IS NOTHING SEXY ABOUT DEATH, THERE IS NOTHING SEXY ABOUT DESTROYING. THE LIVES OF ALL THOSE YOU CARE ABOUT JUST SO YOU CAN BE THE ONLY SURVIVOR.
Just a few thoughts from the Kriya Ohana Summet.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall