Listening to music when you’ve lived with PTSD for so long, hits differently than before. Suddenly the words of the tunes matter more, suddenly the work that went into the song, painting, drawing, play, and television show, all matters more.
The stories hold more resonance with you when you’ve lived through battles that nearly stole your life, or the lives of those you care about, and everything changes, after you’ve experienced PTSD.
Each of us experiences trauma in very different ways, but one of the things that’s always true is that when you’ve been rocked to your core, suddenly your eyes see everything differently, and that includes yourself.
Maybe you have scars you didn’t use to have, maybe you don’t walk or speak the same way that you used to, maybe you don’t see the people in your life the way you used to, and even worse, maybe you can’t look yourself in the mirror.
Did you Scare Yourself?
Fuck yes! I think the one thing that superhero shows never get right, is the fear that comes with realizing you can survive some seriously scary shit and come out of it stronger, and far more powerful than you really know what to do with.
Sure there’s the crippling anxiety of wondering if the job that you’re destined to do, is the job you’re capable of doing, but as long as you keep your head down, and your mouth shut and you don’t create waves, maybe no one will notice whether or not you do a great job.
And sure it’s not great to go unnoticed, but it’s a hell of a lot better than being noticed and fucking it up…right?
This Is Why We Struggle With Celebrating Ourselves
Too many times we’re told that “celebrating ourselves,” is an act of arrogance, but the truth is that we’re conditioned to stay humble so that other folks don’t have to do the work of actually participating in celebrating ourselves, and yeah, it’s jealousy, and it’s “what about me-ism,” and it’s a lot of things, but the worst part of not having other people around to celebrate your experiences, your journey, and your wins, is that sometimes you start to feel like you aren’t worth celebrating.
That’s a really tough cycle to get out of, so this is precisely why I’m throwing myself a party. It’s been six years of planning to write Loud Mouth Brown Girl, seven years of acknowledging the trauma, and five years of actually writing, that’s a lot of work that demands attention, and a lot of life lessons that demand sharing with the world.
Loud Mouth Brown Girl + Six Oh Four North = A Hell Of A Lot to Celebrate
I’ve worked really hard, and it’s so funny to me when people ask me what I do all day. I write I think, I study, and I focus on taking what I’ve learned and breaking it down into smaller chunks for others who like me, may not necessarily have their own dictionary that will help them express themselves in a way that outsiders can understand.
It’s hard when you’ve been traumatized to find the words, and it took me about 34 years to find them, I had Sex Abuse Chat though, and I had a variety of friends from around the world that I was able to talk about when it came to abuse and the experiences of trauma that I’ve been through. I’ve been lucky.
A lot of the people online who helped me get this far are people who unfortunately won’t be able to attend a celebration here in Canada for LMBG and 604North, which sucks a lot because most of the ones I’d want to celebrate this journey with are the people who wouldn’t be able to make it.
And that folds into “well I don’t have anyone,” which isn’t necessarily true, it’s just that the people who know me the best: The activists, the community leaders, the hackers, the geeks, nerds, goths, and punks, the boys and girls that taught me how to be as much of an adult as I’m capable of being right now, are in their own literal worlds, far away.
So I’ll take lots of photos, and I’ll make sure they know they are missed, and I’ll do everything I can to ensure that I honour what they taught me, by making sure that the new people in my life know how much y’all mean to me, but it won’t be. the same as actually having you there, and that’s the part that breaks my heart.
It’s difficult for me to celebrate myself because for years I was always so busy celebrating everyone else, but taking the time to actually honour my hard work by saying “yes I did this and I deserve to hear even just a small bit of applause,” is difficult, but only because it adds pressure to what I’m already feeling about what I should be doing, and how I should be doing it.
I’m Not Like Everyone Else, That’s Why This Works
The reason that Loud Mouth Brown Girl is interesting, at least to me, is that it’s the first time in Surrey BC, that a Creole woman has come out and said “hey so I’m not doing okay and here’s why.” I think I have an absolutely fascinating story, but I also think that achieving the right to say this is “my story,” and “this” is my voice, wasn’t easy. It was really difficult, and if I don’t take time now to celebrate, then not only am I going to burn out before I get the chance to do anything special.
There is a battle of good and evil brewing, literally. There is so much darkness in the world, that I honestly think at some point, we have to find different ways to fight. I’d like to sit down with a glass of wine, and a group of my favourite people, and say “hey, thanks for inspiring me to be who I am, for letting me know it’s okay to be me.”
So in the end, it’s not REALLY about celebrating LMBG and the launch of 604North or 2 books on mental health, it’s about saying thank you to all those who made space so that I could learn how to be myself.
In short, when the time comes that you accomplish a goal or a dream, celebrate the hell out of it, because if you don’t, who will?
If you have thoughts you’d like to add about this post, please leave a message, and let’s talk about them,
Sending All My Love,
Devon J Hall and Krisya Ohana