“If You Want To Date That Man…You Have To Live By His Rules…”

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So I have this reoccurring dream. It’s a dream where I’m being driven by a man I was told years ago, died by shooting himself in the head. Now, I didn’t particularly like this man because he owned a tattoo shop, where I got my first tattoo — a dragon crawling out of an egg for my grandfather and auntie who died from different kinds of cancer.

He also sexually assaulted me, so I wasn’t a fan, needless to say, and yet he’s still driving this car, taking me with him against my will, I don’t know where we’re going, but I do know that every time I think of that dream I’m trying to kill him because I don’t want to go where he’s going. He’s dead, I’m alive, I’d like to stay that way thank you.

Now, he wasn’t a gang guy, but he was a loser, his shop closed after he died, and not a tear was shed in the tattoo community. I did, I cried, and people think it was because I loved him.

What I loved was having 8 minutes to speak to a man, who wasn’t sexually assaulting me, he ruined that…by sexually assaulting me. Right before I got the tattoo, so yeah, I was shocked, but I got it nonetheless, because I didn’t know what else to do, and I didn’t know how to say no.

Years later a girlfriend was sitting next to me at a strip club telling me how she didn’t want to date the guy that was interested in her. I told her in no uncertain terms what I will tell you now: “When You Date A Gang Guy, It’s His Rules, Or The Highway,” unless you’re me. Devon J Hall.

The reason that I’m different isn’t that I’m more powerful, or have deeper gang connections, it’s because I decided a long time ago that if he was going to treat my friends like shit, he’d probably do the same to me and worse, and as it turned out, my choosing NOT to date a gang guy, was more dangerous than if I had just relented and spread my legs for a guy I didn’t love.

Which I did plenty. Out of all the men that I’ve shared a bed with, only 2 were men that I consciously chose to be with, and both of them later turned out to be jerks to other women, when they weren’t always to me.

“I decided.” — Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman

The most powerful feminist but not really feminist film in the world. She had a man who wanted her, he WANTED her, but he didn’t LOVE her, not until she walked away. Not until she took what she needed and showed him that all she needed from him was his money.

Only then did he fall in love, and only then, did SHE decide to give him a real chance at being with her, because by the end of the film he started to realize that the life she’d been living wasn’t the life she wanted to live. She wanted him, he wanted her, but both were only able to be together when they worked together on HER terms.

The only reason that people hate Pretty Woman is that at the end of the story she gets the man, who has the money, but she’s already decided FOR HERSELF, who she is going to be, and people loathe that.

One of my favourite things about Meghan Markle is the fact that she walked into the castle, took the prince, threw his title back in the faces of the people who raised him, and loves him without giving a flying fuck what anyone else thinks. She didn’t need to be a Princess, probably didn’t even want to be, she wanted the man, and she got him. And people HATE her for it.

I waited a long time to see the royal family thrown around and kicked, and that’s only because my very English mother and her entire family have worshipped the English crown the same way people all over the world do.

She had the plates, she had the spoons, they watched the specials, they listened to the rumours, they made their assumptions, when Diana was alive, my mom was not a fan, but as soon as she died — and I remember sitting in our two-bedroom apartment in Calgary when Diana died — my mom wept like her own mother was gone.

She talked on the phone to her mother and her sister, and they cried together, and I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen. Mostly because we didn’t know Diana, it took years for me to understand the respect of that woman, not because she was a royal, but because she was an unhappy woman, with what the world assumed, was all the power in the world.

The truth is that Diana of Windsor lived the way she was supposed to live for a very long time, and when she stopped living that way, all hell broke loose. She was enemy number one on every paper in the world, because how dare she did not love the pathetically spineless Charles who was cheating on her and treating her like shit while she was pregnant? How dare she not prioritize status and fame over happiness like all good English women?

If there’s any woman in the world I want to be like, it’s like my future self. My current self doesn’t need a man to be happy, they need space and time to figure out their life, because yes WE suffer from crippling indecision due to trauma that comes at the hands of white men who thought that speaking out was spineless when remaining silent would have meant that I was strong.

So here’s my question to all the Gang Guys out there — if I’m speaking out repeatedly about how fucking awful it feels to be shoved in a corner if I am telling you how much I hate holding your drugs if I tell you that my friends are tired of raising children in houses that hide guns and dope if I am speaking out and continuing to put my face out there so the entire world should they decide to find me, knows what I look like, how spineless am I really?

When grown men decided that I was a danger to them because I believe in someone they hate and tried to murder me several times, they began stalking me and trying to make me look like I am crazy. Have I reported it to the police? No, I stopped doing that after the umpteenth time, and do you know why?

Because if I report any more “incidences” to the cops we all know I’ll be committed again because that’s what they did last time, and the time before that, and the time before that.

Because I was so overwhelmed by the amount of bullshit I had to deal with from church women and gangsters alike, I lost my mind for a while, and if you’d had to live MY life, you’d truly understand how much, writing Loud Mouth Brown Girl set me free.

When it comes to women’s rights and freedoms, I have to ask myself honestly if we have any. I saw a series of tweets yesterday by a man who listed all of “his accomplishments,” after the age of 21 when he thought he wouldn’t succeed at anything.

Basically, this douchbag lists all his accomplishments and is SUPER proud of himself because while becoming a doctor/lawyer/douchbag/whatever, HE also managed to raise six kids.

Nowhere in this thread does he say “my wife supported me and helps at home by raising our kids so I can follow my dreams while she’s…you know, my wife and mother to my kids.” Not so much as a single drop of emotion spent for the PARTNER that is helping him to succeed, no mention of the hopes and dreams that woman may have given up so that HE can brag on Twitter about “how it can be done.”

That’s what it’s like with a lot of men — not all of them mind you — but a lot of them see women as an accessory, a thing to have as a stepping stone to accomplishing their dreams.

Especially in gang life:

  • Get the job selling dope
  • Raise up the ranks
  • Get the perfect girlfriend
  • Throw her under the bus should you ever get busted with dope
  • Get her pregnant as soon as possible so she can’t leave
  • Rinse Repeat with as many girls and women as you can
  • This is your legacy, your children, most of whom probably don’t even know your fucking name because you’re in and out of jails, institutions, or you’re probably dead and their family decided they were better off without you.

This is gang life, it brings nothing but misery and shame because you as a girl KNOW you deserve better, but you’re conditioned to question whether or not you DESERVE better, and the reason that it took me so long to figure out was not that I was doing drugs or getting high every night.

It was because I couldn’t see the patterns in my own life, that led me to constantly make choices that felt right but only because the choices I was making were comfortable.

Writing Uncomfortable was my way of screaming at the world. I didn’t exclusively write about rape, I certainly didn’t write about the men in my life, I wrote instead about the way that I was seeing the world, in a way that my brain was able of saying what it needed to say.

It’s only now at 39 that I am trying to break free of “gotta have a man so that I can be seen as worthy,” and while this isn’t the mentality of ALL women who are connected against their conscious choice to gang life, it was certainly mine.

My greatest fear is that any success I achieve will only seem worthy because of the man that I may be attached to in the future, in reality, this insecurity comes from the fact that the women who were “taken care of,” and “loved,” were some of the same women who dated wannabe gangsters who hadn’t even come close to making a dent in that world. Appearances and the Perception of Power are everything to these people.

Recently Jamie Bacon was recorded on a contraband cellphone talking about how everyone “rats out” as soon as they get the chance. The video is on youtube so you can google and find it yourself. I mention it because when I started Loud Mouth Brown Girl, I was called a rat, I was told I wouldn’t survive, and I deliberately chose not to fucking care.

Come at me cunts.

I have a stalker now, I don’t know who he is, but I know he’s been in the house, I know he has a key, I know I’ve reported it, and I know that as soon as I finished reporting it I was laughed at.

My medical record is more than enough to convince the police that I’m crazy, but that’s what they said about Maple Batilia, and Reena Virk, that’s what they said about the millions of women before us, who ended up dead at the hands of someone they knew because the police didn’t know how to hear our fear.

Their names are famous around Canada because they are Indian women and Indian people tend to get itchy and angry as all hell when you kill their women. In Canada when Black women die there is silence.

I am a Mixed-Race, Creole Woman made up of English, Irish, Scottish, maybe Gypsy, and Jamaican. But all people see when they see me is a Loud Mouth Brown Girl with a messy life, who worked really hard to get away from the gang world that nearly stole my life more times than I can count.

And the REASON they see only that, is because THAT’S what I share openly and honestly on social media, when I tried to report what happened to me the day I have arrested someone at CTV News told me that my story basically “Wasn’t important enough to report on.” Now, I’m hearing that people from CTV and other big-name organizations want to work with me.

No thanks. I’m good.

I’m going to work with small grassroots organizations helping Black youth. I am going to uplift Black authors and writers, I am going to plug as many holes as I possibly can when I am able, and not one moment before.

Do you want to know what kind of woman I want to be when I grow up? I want to be the kind of woman who can be proud of the woman I tried to be.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

And yes, my pronouns are still they/them. Get over it.

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