Seven years ago I left the Church. I’d been a part of one church group or another since I was a baby, and so to leave Church felt in a very real way like leaving God behind. But the more that I thought about it, the more that I started to realize that like many Scientologists out there, the church and my faith, might intersect, but they are not one and the same.

Rise from the Ashes Young One

One day I will sit around a bonfire with all my people, all of them, and we will sip on beer after a dinner of laughter and joy, we’ll fight, we’ll laugh, we’ll sing, and then we’ll have a moment where everything goes quiet. Someone, probably Craig will say, something like “at least we didn’t die.” And we’ll laugh, but oh my God we came close. So many times.

That’s the hope. The dream of the Riverhouse, a place where people can bring their kids, live and work and be free, and not worry that the shadows and darkness of our past, will affect our children. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but I want it to. Lots of us I do I think.

Maybe we’re all together, maybe we’re not, but either way, we’re safe, and we never have to think about the bad days again because they’re over.

That’s what every survivor really wants, it’s why we don’t really all like being called Soldiers, it’s why some people are triggered by the word survivor. It means something, and it has power, and it’s a reminder that in order to be a survivor, you have had to have been victimized in some way.

Or traumatized, or been through something where you had to survive, and that thing you survived? Yeah, it probably very nearly killed you.

Seven Years Ago I Had No Idea What I Was Doing and Here I am, Knowing What To Do

So much of my life was a clusterfuck of “well, we’ll see where we’re going when we get where we get.” A great way to say “holy fuck, please don’t let me die…” politely. But the problem is that without a plan, you really have no recourse but to hang on and just hope it turns around in your favor.

I’ve been lucky. I don’t mean that lightly, I mean that sincerely because I’ve been lucky. More than once, I should have been murdered, very nearly was, and there are still days I’m certain I actually did in fact die.

Today I am so different than I was seven years ago. I’ll just as easily kill a man with a look or a bark as I will my fists. I’m not the girl you want to mess with anymore.

Just now I was watching the NFL game, and it hit me. These men roar and are loud and make noise and no one blinks an eye. It’s all a part of the game, ramping yourself up to go out and be a warrior on the field. But before that what happens?

Do they all feel great about themselves when they first wake up in the morning? Do they struggle with mental health issues that they don’t talk to anyone about? Of course, they do, and so when I speak now, I don’t speak for myself anymore. I don’t speak for others, but I do ask others to come forward and share their story. That’s going to be a big part of what I/we want Loud Mouth Brown Girl to be in the future.

A place where many voices come together to be many things, not just one thing to one person. I know it’ll take a lot more work to get where I want to go, but I also know that is precisely where I am going and I’m not going to let anyone stop me. I used to hide my goals, always keeping my dreams to myself, talking a lot, but not really saying anything that mattered.

Now everything I say matters and so I choose what I say very carefully, but this time it’s not to protect abusers, it’s to remind myself that my voice holds weight, and that weight is heavy when used in the right way. It’s a powerful gift and not one that I take lightly.

So, yes I want the Riverhouse, but I also want to make sure that any future I build is free of toxic masculinity and abuse that might put the people I love in danger.

Still, a lot of work to do on that front, but we’ll get there. Because we’re trying.


Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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