This is a question I was asked on Twitter today, and now I present you with my response:
I’ve been doing deep breathing, especially during my mediations when I hear shit that I don’t want to hear, which is usually thoughts or messages that have nothing to do with me, but everything to do with people that are either no longer a part of my life, or never have been.
I think I need to disengage from the internet for a while, and from television, but I know that I won’t because it takes practice to turn your brain off, and honestly that’s much harder than filling it with so much shit that I can’t think straight.
It’s a catch 22 situation, the television and blogging help me disengage, but what I hear on the tv gets stuck in my brain and then I can’t get it out when I am trying to relax.
Like Bennifer, did you know that’s a thing again? I don’t give a flying flip about J-Lo and Ben Affleck but I know what’s happening in their relationship because I am being inundated with the drama through every news program that I watch, and I can’t help but think “how high school.”
They are the popular kids and instead of standing around lockers talking about them behind their back, we are literally sitting in our own homes learning about every public aspect of their relationship via our tv screens and telephones.
And honestly? I get it.
Celebrity culture gives us a place to escape our own problems, if we focus on what they are doing, then we don’t have to focus on what’s going wrong in our own lives.
Celebrities exist to make us feel something: Sorrow, jealousy, anger, sadness, laughter, joy, we live our lives as if they are an extension of us because we pay their salaries so what happens to them should matter to us, right?
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want Loud Mouth Brown Girl to be, and where I want to go with my fiction writing, and I am not going to lie, I definitely want to have a bigger slice of pie so to speak, when it comes to my bank balance, but I’m not entirely sure that I am willing to sacrifice all the parts of me to have that future.
I don’t necessarily know that I want to keep sharing all of the details of why I was abused and I keep thinking about the day that “success” comes knocking on the door — what would that look like? Would everyone in the world be privy to all the terrible horrible things that happen to me?
It’s not that I am afraid of success — which is what I used to think — it’s that the stuff that COMES with success is terrifying.
When you are someone the world sees as successful, people assume wrongly, that they are owed every part of your story. “Who are you? How did you get here? What are you going to do with what you have?”
And if you don’t answer those questions correctly then you are canceled — and don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people that I don’t think deserve nearly half the “success” they seem to have, but then again I realize, is it really my place to judge?
I can’t stand Tucker Carlson, I think he’s nothing more than a mean bully who uses his platform to cause harm and hurt others whenever he can, but in the scheme of things it doesn’t matter what I think, because there are people who are far more numerous than I, who thinks he deserves everything that he has.
Okay fair enough — he went to school, he worked hard, he got a job that pays him well, I don’t hate him for that. I dislike him for the shit that he says and how he says it and who he says it to, while he’s sitting on his high horse talking about how immigrants are destroying a country that was literally built on the blood and bones of Black and Indigenous folk from around the world.
Part of the allure of “success” is the fact that I for so long, lived in poverty and I’ve been conditioned to believe that more money will bring me happiness, and to a certain extent that is true. It WILL allow me to do the things with LMBG that I want to do, that I genuinely believe will help the world, but I also recognize that as Biggie once famously said “mo money, mo problems.”
Trying to deal with my mental health these last four years has taught me that I am not prepared for what bigger spotlights will bring my way, but what I have really come to learn is that I am not prepared for the amount of hatred that I will receive purely because of the color of my skin.
There are a lot of people in my former life that I used to consider friends, who secretly hated me because of the color of my skin, and I honestly didn’t know until recently. I thought we got along, I thought we had a good time together — no as it turns out they hate me, because I am mixed race, Black and White, and they find that offensive because they’ve been taught to think that’s offensive.
Ironically this is just a small wading pool of people, but what happens if and when I do get to be one of those lucky few who “make it big” doing whatever it is that I am trying to do, how much hatred and race shaming am I going to have to deal with then?
To answer that question I often turn to my friend Marley K, who writes Marleyism.Com, a great website about what it means to be a Black woman, just trying to have her voice heard.
Marly gets hatred every single day — she gets threats, she gets reminders of toxicity, she gets told that she’s faking her victimhood and that she has nothing to complain about.
White supremacists live right next door to us, and every single day they make the decision, to choose, to hate us, because of the color of our skin.
It's literally like this:
I could look at my situation realistically OR I could CHOOSE to blame the Black person because that’s just easier than acknowledging that I could be doing things differently.
As children, we were told that we could be anything we wanted in the entire world, which is why Barack Obama became President, and why so many Black folks go into STEM research, and why so many Black folks go into sports and theater. We want to try all the things, be all the things just to prove that we can.
And when our dreams do come true? We have thousands if not millions of people telling us they hate us because we’re Black.
I am a person who never, EVER watches European Football, but I chose to this weekend because my mom’s home team England, was playing, and I wanted to watch them, so I could “be there” if and when they won, and if I am being honest I am heartbroken that they lost, and not because it was England.
I am heartbroken because 3 Black football players missed 3 kicks that cost England the match, and when that happened, England, Europe, America, and most of Canada erupted with rage.
And not just because England lost, but because the final three kickers, were Black men, in the case of Bukayo Saka, boys really.
Bukayo immediately fell to his knees and started to cry and it wasn’t just because he didn’t kick the winning goal, it was because he knew what was coming, and his worst fears, that I KNOW in my heart he carried with him through the entire tournament, became reality the moment that England lost that game.
He knew what every single Black or BIPOC person around the world knew: if it had been white men taking kicks, and losing the game, England wouldn’t be as pissed off as they are, but because they were Black? That’s a whole different story.
This is the reality when BIPOC people become household names, we are constantly held to higher standards, and then dragged ten times as hard as our white counterparts when we mess up or fail, and some of us choose to fail on purpose because failing up gives us our ultimate goal: fame and fortune. Candace Owen.
But those of us who just want to see the stars? To those of us that want more than shining lights and gold coins? Those of us who want to stand on a beautiful bridge overlooking the Chinese sea of green beyond the Great Wall of China? We are denied that dream because we have to choose between our mental health and our dreams.
What we should have been told as children is “you can make your dreams come true, but the moment that you do, everyone is going to hate you, because you did it while being “other”. (Read Bipoc, Asian, Jewish, Woman, Trans, etc.)
When we are Black — specifically — and we win our awards, or get the opportunity to tell the world how we feel about the accomplishments we are called:
- told we are on our high horse
- told to shut up and sing
When NFL football players started taking a knee, it was because they were BLACK people, that white American’s around the globe demanded they lose their jobs, that they are told to “get back in line”, called un-American, made to feel like they didn’t belong in the country that their ancestors helped to build.
Time and time again Black colored people or dark-skinned people, and this includes Indigenous, Jewish, and Asian folk, are told that if we want our dreams to come true, we have to accept the fact that this means we have to face the rage and anger and hatred of our white counterparts who think they want the life we have, but who do not want to do the work to make their own dreams come true.
Time and time again white “supervisors” co-workers, and pretend allies throw us under the bus, steal our ideas, take our promotions, and we’re supposed to smile as they fill our mouths with a spoon full of actual bullshit because if we don’t we are “angry” and “unreasonable.”
It's not unreasonable to tell a child that they can make their dreams come true, it's not unreasonable for that child to believe they deserve to have a healthy well-rounded life filled with “success” but without the trauma of being Black on this planet.
Black folk, Indigenous folk, Jewish, and Asian folk should have access to free therapy from the moment they realize the world hates them for existing, for the rest of their fucking lives, and the taxpayers of the planet should pay for it.
I was raped because I am mixed-race.
I was tortured because I am of mixed race.
I was abused because I was mixed-race.
I was abused because they thought “mixed-race” meant harmless, afraid, unworthy of protection and love. I was abused because my abusers thought wrongly, that I wouldn’t figure out a way to call upon my ancestors for strength, for will, for power, for the energy to do whatever it is that I have to do, to make sure that what happened to me doesn’t happen to anyone else.
When I was growing up I didn’t want wealth AND fame, I wanted stability, and I figured that having money would allow me to build a place, a foundation, a center where I could go to escape the harshness of the world.
That’s why I covet my privacy, what little I have left, that’s why I don’t invite people into my life, that’s why I don’t allow people the space they need to hide from the fullness of me. I am who I am, because this is who I was forged to be, and because I am this person I make others uncomfortable, not just because of the color of my skin.
But because I am the LOUD Mouth BROWN Girl. I am both unapologetically loud AND Brown, and I am so without shame. I don’t give a fuck about what people think of me, but it’s also taken me a long time to get here. And honestly? I don’t feel this power every moment of every single day, because sometimes the hatred is just too damned much.
The sudden crash of fame weaving its way into my life scares the crap out of me because I’ve heard football players getting death threats, simply for taking a knee, in the name of all the Black folk murdered by white people. Simply for saying “yo, dead folk, dead brothers and sisters, I acknowledge you.”
Not only are we abused at higher rates, but we’re not even ALLOWED to acknowledge those who didn’t make it to the same finish line as the one we’re looking for. We’re not ALLOWED to acknowledge their trauma, their loss of life, the loss of their presence in our lives.
We’re told to get over it and move on, and then we’re told that it’s the fault of the dead, because you know….they weren’t white.
The emotional toll it takes to find a way to forge past the idea of “your dreams can come true,” and into the reality of that phrase can literally cost some of us our lives. But to the many of you who hate us because of the color of our skin, and what you THINK the color of our skin represents, that will never matter to you.
The only time Black and BIPOC people are allowed to make a life for themselves is when the life they are trying to build for themselves, benefits the white people that surround our orbit. Whether we like it or not.
So to answer the question I was asked this morning on Twitter: “What would you do if there wasn’t racism in this world?” I’d fucking sleep.
Just sleep, and nothing else, for like a year. On a beach, surrounded by other Black folk sleeping without fear they are going to be murdered, raped, or beaten, in their sleep, simply for existing.
I would sleep.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall