I was twenty-three when this photo was taken, and occasionally volunteering at the church, but I was spending most of my time with my friend Shawn. He’s a good man now, and he was back then too.
I once flicked a smoke and actually launched it at a degree several steps away from him and somehow it landed thanks to the wind, in his left eye. The look he gave me had me locking his balcony door and laughing until I couldn’t breathe as he climbed in through the bedroom window.
He was the kind of guy who showed up to hear me sing when no one else did while claiming he just wanted food. He was my friend and continues to be to this day even though we’re not as close.
That’s because gang culture stole our lives. There was a rumor that Shawn sold drugs, but if that’s true I never saw it. I saw a guy who liked to get stoned while sitting on the ugliest white couch I’d ever seen and play God of War until he had to go to work the next day.
I see a man now who still plays video games while raising his daughter, and trying to keep himself sane, because HE’s the guy I promised would deserve to have daughters. Not because he needed a life lesson, but because I know, what all girls know…Shawn was just a really nice guy.
The night this photo was taken, I am wearing an exponential amount of makeup, something I rarely did, because my boyfriend at the time had just hit me in the face, and this time he’d left a bruise. You can’t see it here, because I learned early and easily, how to cover up bruises, too early if you ask me.
“For the protection of my daughter…” Too many men say these words, or something annoyingly similar, but very few of them actually give a fuck about their daughters.
My birth father called me last week, through WhatsApp, I had to reformat my phone and so of course he had access to me again. I’ve spoken to the man less than five times in my life, all as an adult, and never once have I been glad to hear from him.
He missed too much, and I went through too much, for me to be proud to be his daughter. As a child the winner my mom had around was mean, cruel, evil, and downright trash when it came to be the kind of man we should have had around. But she loved him until he trashed our house and hit me so hard he left a handprint on my face. Separate incidences, but both equally traumatic.
The handprint lasted a week, and no amount of makeup was able to cover it because I couldn’t get access to the right shades. There were social workers, cops, lawyers, and judges, but he’d be back. He waved to me once from the highway, I got on the bus and pretended not to hear him. When I was asked by another student about it, I said I didn’t know him.
We never saw him again.
That was the first and last time I would make a choice in defense of my safety, and the safety of my family until I was thirteen, at that age I was only eleven.
The second choice I made was to stay quiet about the Wolf Pack, and the Adrenaline Mob, and the Red Scorpion’s, or my limited knowledge from rumors and conjecture that I’d been able to put together over the years.
That choice saved my family, sure, I didn’t tell them that grown men were bringing kids into my bedroom to rape me, and they lived, they’re all safe and well protected today, but me? I’m an emotional mess, and I don’t know what to do with myself.
I’m the girl that was important because I was the mullato girl without a family of big scary Black guys to protect her. The Hell’s Angel’s for all their bravado does not protect children from pedophiles unless they know it’s happening, and I made a concentrated effort at fifteen to make sure they didn’t fucking know.
I was sixteen when I started hanging out at Willi’s Pool Hall and occasionally going to the Attic, Willy’s was where the Angel’s went back in the day, the Attic is where they go now. They were nice to me, bought me a few pops, let me play pool for free, and hang out with kids who I didn’t really know and didn’t really like.
My focus wasn’t on hanging out with the racist Latino kids that hung at Willy’s, my focus was on figuring out who was raping me, and who was making money off of me. I couldn’t ask questions, and I couldn’t go to the cops, but I could damned sure meet the people whose names were being used when I was being raped in my bedroom.
Not a single Hell’s Angel I met at either pool hall or anywhere since for that matter, was involved with the men who raped me unless they ordered a group of 12–16-year-olds to have sex with each other for money and I HIGHLY doubt that was happening.
The fact that I’ve mentioned “The Hell’s Angels,” several times, with a photo of my face at top of this article should tell you how unafraid I am because there’s nothing to be afraid of when you’re telling the truth. I didn’t ask permission to tell this story and I am not as they say “connected”, I am telling you that this is my story and to my knowledge, they weren’t the bad guys in MY story.
A lot of people will want to know where my mother was, why she didn’t do anything, the simple answer is she didn’t know. This was the late 90s and people didn’t know the signs of abuse, and if they did, they sure as hell didn’t notice it in me.
I was careful. I was a secret agent, I was a CIA Agent at age thirteen and I learned all the tricks of how to stay silent and quiet, and also my brain was broken so the moment someone would hit me, my brain would do a hard reset, and I would forget.
Instantaneous memory removal is a great superpower when you need it, not so much when they come slamming back on a fucking airplane all at once.
That’s the part that people don’t understand about mental health. I had perfect mental health as a child. I was normally rambunctious, fun to be around with a great laugh and a beautiful smile.
Adults stole my smile, literally destroying my teeth through repeated threats of abuse, adults stole my heart, stomped on it, then put it back as if everything was suddenly okay again because they said so.
They did that to all of us, and then in the press, we’re “gangsters” and in the comments, we’re “thugs”, “why didn’t you just leave?” And go where?
Growing up we were told repeatedly that if we tried to talk, if we tried to run, we’d be found, and murdered, because “The Hell’s Angels, don’t mess around,” and so we stayed hoping it would get better until we realized that many Angels over the years had heard the rumors, and were on OUR side, not the sides of our abusers.
That changed the game, but only because we actually had to start TALKING about what happened. That only happened because I started Loud Mouth Brown Girl com, and since its inception, I’ve still never spoken directly to the boys who became men, who abused me or were abused with me, when we were kids. Except for Jason, whose houseless.
John won’t look at me, (not Bacon the other one,) and neither will anyone from my past, because I’m the rat. I’m important because I spoke out about what happened to me in order to make sure it never happens again, but I’m a rat because I told the cops about grown men who were cops back then or became cops after being abused, who are continuing to abuse their power today.
The perception of girls in gangs is that we have fancy purses and travel in beautiful cars and on luxury boats but the reality is that we’re often isolated, abused, working two-three jobs, just trying to get by, and caught up in a bunch of bullshit that has nothing to do with us.
The reality, my friends, is that oftentimes we’re on disability while working at a church and hanging out at a club just trying to blow off steam because we know we’re holding shit back but we have no idea that we’re surrounded by the same men who abused us as children because we’d been brainwashed into forgetting.
There’s more, much more, but that’s for part three.