I took my pills last night. I slept like a dream, but today I wanted and needed more sleep, so I gave myself some. A luxury I know not everyone has access to. I know it sounds silly to count my blessings, but I have to. Gratitude isn’t something I used to experience often and it wasn’t because I didn’t have things, people, or places to be grateful for.

It’s because I was so sad I couldn’t see past the misery to see the happy parts of my life.

It can be super hard when you’re stuck in the darkness to look around and see the light. However, thanks to mom mostly, things are looking up and I can see things that make me smile, that aren’t entirely about building a brand.

LMBG didn’t take over my life, I focused on it so hard because I NEEDED not to focus on the misery, and so by pushing it out and into this vehicle, I was able to help make room for other stuff, but the problem is that there are people in my life who refuse to believe me because I won’t keep ripping open my scars.

At a certain point, you have to close the door on sadness, you have to tell it it’s not welcome here, and that’s what I did today.

I didn’t sleep longer because I was sad, I did it because I damned well needed more sleep and the freedom to take it without apologizing, and now as I write this I am feeling better. I had help, I didn’t get to this place alone, but it took screaming, pleading, and begging to get here.

I didn’t have a choice about that, but I am encouraged now that people see what I see, that maybe some people have had a difference in perception that will hopefully mean people like us, will get the help we need.

There are too many of us who worked on the front lines of poverty and ended up with mental health issues that go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, because of what we saw and the things that we had to do to survive. I’m not just talking about gang rape or lies. I’m talking about the years of unshed tears, the years of holding onto other people’s stories without being able to do more than offer a meal.

Some will tell you that it’s enough to listen and offer a meal, but it never ever feels that way when you’re on the front lines of poverty. It NEVER feels enough and that can weigh on you for a very very long time.

These days I am watching as friends across the globe see the result of their hard work. Nada’s book and mine too, Renita moving forward with Be Your Own Kind, even Ally’s divorce is all a sign of forward movement, and even though we’re all struggling, we’re also not giving up, on each other or ourselves.

There’s gratitude for that because my girls are showing me how it’s done.

I am finally starting to see a future, that isn’t filled with decisions that revolve around what kind of man I am going to be with, and I am starting to realize all those years of saying I didn’t want a relationship was because I was barely taking care of myself.

I haven’t thought about that before. I didn’t know how for a while I forgot how to brush my hair, the other day on Hallow’s Eve I told a bunch of friends how much they meant to me, I didn’t get everyone, but that’s because there are just so many of you.

And no I’m not always grateful. I shouldn’t have had to go through a lot of stuff, but I did and I’m still here, so that’s something.

I found a way, but it was a lot longer and harder than it had to be, and if I’d done it myself it would have been much more difficult. I didn’t build this alone.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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