Why Writing and Living My Cause Is One Of the Most Important Things I Do

When I was a small girl and well into puberty, I lived an abused, contained life through which I was disallowed any individual choice or voice.  As I grew into my early preteen and teenage years, I found secret ways to write small poems and release emotions I needed to purge.  In the Alaskan tundra, down off of Richardson Highway, on a cult compound, deep inside forests of evergreen trees, are the remnants of thirty five-year-old paper journals I hid there as a child.

After leaving Sam Fife’s Move of God cult, I spent my life writing, not as a forced concentration, but as a part of who I am and was. I have always written in journals, on remnants of paper, glued or tucked inside of those journals, and jokingly laugh that when I die, my sons and grandchildren will have a field day going through my writing.  I sometimes envision my granddaughters as older women, laughing as they read my thoughts and the most secret parts of my heart.

When I decided to open up my online store, Designs by Vennie, I passionately wanted to have products which are unique to the inspiration of writing out our trauma and documenting our triumphs.  I also wanted to wear my cause, Survivor Voices.

Last year was a year of creating digital art and taking photographs.  I was releasing so many of my memories through the layers and collages I created.  I chose the ones which impact me the most as covers for my journals.

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Deprogram Journal: a place to dump the layers of the thoughts that are not your authentic ones.

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I created t-shirts and matching caps to support wearing this cause of us survivors being able to own our voice.  We have the right to speak our truth.  We have the right to be believed.  We have the right for justice and respect.  We are not mentally ill.  Our abusers are.  I want this apparel to be a simple statement which can start a strong conversation.

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Wear your cause as a strong survivor voice!

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I loved this watch because it has multiple colorful bands to choose from and brings color into my wardrobe.  It’s also sporty and inspires me to go take walks, since it is sweat proof and sporty.  We survivors deserve to love ourselves.  We should go outside and get into nature to remind ourselves that life is worth living. Wearing a watch is also good for the writing process.  If you have a memory or thought to write in your journal, you will be able to immediately note the time, which is an important part of documenting our journey.

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Time will tell.

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I hope you will peruse the products I have created for Designs by Vennie and support your own journey in writing while also supporting a fellow child abuse survivor.

May your life be filled with color.  May your pages be filled with the truth of you.  May you proudly wear your voice, start a conversation and without shame, tell your story.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and other publications. She is a also a poet and hostess of the podcast Survivor Voices Show.

Nature and Love Are Crucial To My Mental Health

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I am heady from the smell of ocean. I walk slowly to the vast, rolling surges of white foam.  My son, the cinematographer, snaps photos of my bliss, following silently as I dance and skip. Life becomes different when I am with the sea. It is humbling for me. It is reminding me that I am small within the realm of infinite reality.

I am surrounded by my family. Babies toddle about, smashing sand into hollow, plastic turtles, their faces giggling.  This joy that has emerged from the depths of my ancestral traumas and struggle, has instilled in me a deep appreciation for the small nuances of life.  You see, this journey has been a scattered learning curve filled with crashes and burns. I have been into the depths of its darkness and risen into the brilliance of its light. I will not fall again.

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I press my toes into the sand, aware of the soft scrub of the grains against my feet. I enjoy the firmness of this beach, impacted, forcing me to dig into and be present with the awareness of this feeling. Grounded inside the sensation, I let the earth infuse with my skin, sending her energy into my spirit.  She is soft and firm.  I am safe above her.  There is no rumbling of engines or honking of horns.  I am here in this moment completely alone.

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The wind lifts my dress. I am in surround sound with the soft roar of the waves. They are a symphony rising and falling, reminding me that in an instance, swells can turn. She reassures me, that even if pulled into here tidal arms, sleep will be cool and peaceful. I feel every cell filling each drop of her endless depths move inside my skin. We resonate together, as even the seagulls crying out to the fish become a faded echo.  On this shore, I see dimensions I’ve never traveled before.  I see possibility.  I see me in the sea.

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I wonder what happens inside of the mind and spirit when a human just walks into the sea? Eventually the body becomes numb from the dropped temperature. I imagine there is scramble and a struggle against the pulling of the waves as the limbs lose the ability to fight.  An acceptance washes over when the mind realizes it will never return to shore. The eyes close and gulping in the salt, the waves become one with the spirit here. Inside this liquid world, beings exist, the same as me; different environment; Otherkin.  It is not a walk I desire.  It is a wonder, a curiosity, a movement of my mind.

I am grateful for my life. It is big within this smallness. It is filled with surviving and thriving. It sings the songs of promise. It tells me to hold on, keep fighting and stay strong.

I stand inside this diminutive yet immense piece of planet; one so beautiful, yet filled with abominations beyond the imagination. I must return to the reality of my mission; my dedication, to make a difference. But just for today, I escape, just me and the waves.  I am infused by the sea and my family.  This is where I am balanced; when all is calm; where there is no storm; when we drift gently and in harmony with the tides.

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Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and other publications.  She is a also a poet and hostess of the podcast Survivor Voices Show.

The Girl In the Mirror

You loved me,” I said, “when I was at my lowest. Yet, I didn’t quite know you were loving me. I was in tears so many days. You held me. Together we traveled the tunnels of rewound memories, finding ourselves sometimes on clouds and others in quagmire. Through these times, these deep struggles, you were always there, even when I wasn’t aware of your presence. Now, as I look into your eyes, clear and concise, I am elated that you were patient. You waited. You got to know each part of me explicitly. We have grown into one moving energy, crafted through the moments I struggled to find you, calling you to please come to me as you were wandering. Today I am grateful. Today I say thank you. Thank you for returning to me; for finding me and being inside my wholeness.”

You’re welcome.” Replied the girl in the mirror.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

Balancing Our Trauma and Creativity

The other day I was having a conversation with a fellow trauma survivor and writer. She posed a question to me.

How do you balance everything you want to do and keep your head together?

There are many blogs about creativity which advise on this subject, and many of them contain very valuable information.  So, I had to answer her from my own personal perspective.  Instead of repeating what is suggested, I wanted to answer her direct question about my daily process specifically.

You see, I am a free-flow creative. Forcing me to follow a set schedule is a sentence for the death of my creativity and passion. It is the driving force that will push me into emotional flat feel. I will strain against the confined system and begin to have a growing irritation towards the control of a schedule until I wither.

Any rigid type of living, for me, is a recipe for depression as I stare at the screen because it’s 1 PM, this is my scheduled time to write, but I don’t want to be writing at the moment. My soul wants to create art, work on other projects or even rest for a while.

Many branding gurus advise to stick to that strict schedule and don’t vary from it. because that is how successful people happen! So it was that I redefined the meaning of success for myself.

Read here to find out makes me feel successful.

Do I pay attention to the marketing side of my brand? Absolutely. I am a lone wolf with a friend who helps me with computer tasks when she can. I have no expectations of her. She has a family and helps me for free. I bow and kiss her feet for that! 95% of my brand is solely controlled and operated by me.

Do I read branding blogs? Absolutely. Following branding bloggers like BadReadheadMedia, by 30 Day Marketing Challenge author Rachel Thompson, have given me excellent information. Partaking in Twitter hashtags like #MondayBlogs, #SexAbuseChat and #NoMoreShame, have helped me connect with some great trauma survivors who are vulnerably baring their souls. Connecting with creative trauma survivors, like artist Liz Ianelli and podcaster Matt Pappas, keep me inspired.

What I don’t do is allow what I read about suggested success methods to pressure me. I glean what feels fitting for my own life and my brand, and I incorporate it. I don’t change the specific routine I have for my-self care, a routine for which no specific schedule really exists. I make a “to do” list almost every day (because 1/2 of it is usually carry over from the prior day), and if there’s a timeline due, I make note of it. In the end, though, I always do things in a rhythm which matches my own positive flow. If something sinks me, it’s not for me.

Being a trauma survivor and a creative can be daunting. When I put too much pressure on myself, I tend to drop into shutdown. My creativity flow is dependent on the state of my mental health.

I always put my mental health and quest to continue being the healthiest before everything.

If two hours is all I have to give to my creativity on some days, that’s what I give. Some days I don’t create at all. Other days I catch a wind and go for hours. All of this is is unpredictable and unknown for me.

My creativity is flowing water at a pace I currently feel happiest following. I cannot re-carve the banks of its river. Instead, I float its calm stretches and row its rapids, staying with the grain of the waves and enjoying the view along the way. To me, this is balance. For me, this is the best route to reach the vast sea of success.

I hope you stay balanced through your creative journey by putting yourself first. I hope you take walks in the trees or lay in the grass and count the clouds. I hope you free flow with yourself, absent of any painful expectation, and know that if you care for the growing plant of your creative well, you are guaranteed to grow into the tallest tree.

P.S. Today I accomplished vacuuming and this blog post. SUCCESS

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

Don’t Forget Me!

Hey, V, don’t forget me when you reach the top.”

The top of what? The top of the end of child rape? The top of the Eiffel Tower? The top of the end of mentally ill people creating more and more victims? The top of my bed to get out of it on a Tuesday morning to drag myself to counseling? The top of the next chapter of a book taking years to write? The top of making it to a conference to educate some people on child abuse?

THE TOP OF WHAT?????

I get it. You’ve mystified me because of what I choose to let you see online. Don’t do that. Disappointment guaranteed. GUARANTEED!

If I had cameras 24-7 blasting from my tiny living space to the World Wide Web you’d say, “Oh, gosh. Well, okay then.” It would be akin to stopping to see a wreck.

Alright, maybe not that bad. You’d see me dancing around to BeeGees music, meditating and doing soft yoga, boringly writing (she’s STILL writing?), making art and then binging on crime documentaries and cosmology shows while I relax in my bed and write blogs like this.

You’d have periods of staring at my cat while I escaped to the woods. Then when I returned you’d say, “Babe! Look! Look! She’s talking to herself/her cat again!” You don’t even know and you won’t, nosy ass!

I can tell you one thing I have had to forget. Time. Because there isn’t “enough” of it if you start measuring how damn busy life becomes, the more you choose to keep pushing yourself out there.

That is how people get “forgotten”. Not because they don’t mean anything to us, but because we become stripped of our time. When down time becomes less frequent, it’s often reserved for immediate family. You pop in our heads. We get side tracked.

I hate that stupid saying that if someone cares they’ll make time for you. Not true. If someone cares, they’ll respect someone’s lack of having extra time.

This statement of “don’t forget me” has always baffled me. What does that mean? Send money if I get rich? Remember that most of the people who say this to me never share my work or support me in any way. I won’t forget you. I usually don’t forget the people who tell me not to forget them as if they’re entitled.

I’ve never said this to an aspiring or established creative. Maybe because I am a creative, that I understand the ridiculousness of this statement. Instead I wish them well and may we meet again, and I’ll do my best to explore their work.

I’ll be alone dancing you know it, baby, and I don’t care if you forget about me. Stop putting those expectations on us.

Look, you think Gaga hand writes all those printed letters that get sent to her little monsters? No. She has assistants who do that. Now, I’m not comparing myself with LG, I’m just saying, busy is busy.

So, as you who use this statement, in return I say this. Don’t forget me now, and I’ll be less apt to forget you later.

A Different Kind Of Narcissist

I didn’t know they could exist. I had seen signs of what I thought might be a mixture of two states of being which are on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. So it was that I began to observe what I call the Narcissistic Empath to see if I could find a pattern in this type of human.

As I have observed over the years, a pattern which emerged for me was something new and undefinable. It wavered between Narcissism and Empathy. Yet, it was not completely either of the two.

Being an Empath (highly sensitive person) my intuition is finely tuned. I can go into the multiple ways in which I “see and feel” human beings. The reason I share this part of me is to give you a glimpse of how I see others.

I am a behavior watcher. I listen to words, and then I sit back and deeply observe the individual’s behavior. This behavioral pattern which was emerging in this type of person felt like something slightly different.

After having an association with a couple of them for a few years, I now see a definition for this type of human, the Narcissistic Empath.

How can this be? I asked myself this question. How can one be both a Narcissist AND an Empath?

According to psychology, narcissists cannot feel at all. Albeit, I am no scientist with a PhD after my name. I am a self-educated person who has spent hours and years studying psychological subjects out of sheer curiosity and need to understand the workings of the human mind. I began this study to understand my own childhood and journey in life.

When the realization sunk into me that this is what I was observing, I set out to specifically find personality types that fit these exact criteria. Three main patterns emerged in my observation.

1. Narcissistic Empaths are very loving and protective with those they care deeply for. They are softer with the way they communicate with those people. They are less apt to be cruel. They are more sensitive to their loved ones’ needs. It is genuine sensitivity. They are patient and aware of their words.

2. They don’t give a damn about people they do not know or have an interest in only sexually and will often make these types their targets. They target strangers. With strangers there is no emotional connection for them.

3. They are palpable. They change. I watched one associate spend a long period of time in a very positive mindset. They were very dedicated to their creative craft. Their interactions were loving and kind. Then an event happened in their life which hurt them deeply. Enter their Narcissistic state of being, in which they are currently sunk. The projector behavior has been the most disparaging to observe. They teeter from positivity to downright meanness, depending on which way their current state of being has leaned.

The Narcissistic Empath seems to be one who teeter totters from one side to the other depending on who they are dealing with and what their personal situation is. It is natural for all humans to have a change in behavior if things in their life get rough.

However, a Narcissistic Empath will take it to the extreme, projecting in vicious and often very convoluted ideals. Yet, what is the difference between a Narcissist and a Narcissistic Empath? The Narcissistic Empath will still be kind to those they love and actually feel it deeply. This is different from the Narcissist who feels nothing and will, without care, abuse those they love. The full on Narcissist fakes their empathy. A Narcissistic Empath fakes nothing. Their Narcissism is real and so is their empathy.

There are many quotes available from “gurus”, urging humans to rid themselves of ego. Yet, the definition of ego is simply a self-identity. So, in fact, it is necessary to have an ego/self-identify. The inflation of the self-identity into an unrealistic self-view is what creates the definition for being egoistic. There should be balance in the human ego. It is the center of who we are. When there is unbalance in our authentic self-identity, it is akin to a rocking boat on a choppy sea.

My questions regarding the Narcissistic Empath kept me on a path of investigative observation.

Could the Empathic side heal the narcissistic side of these humans? If so, what would it take? Was it possible to have both a cold and unfeeling part and a deeply loving part; to switch back and forth between the two? Oh yes. Humans do it every day. Yet it’s not Bipolar or even Borderline Personality Disorder in what I have observed. Still, these people are different, from bipolar and BPD people.

The Empath sees life deeper and in a completely different way, based often out of cosmology minded DNA. The Empath feels things the that non-Empaths are feeling. The Empath absorbs. They see into others; their pains and passions, and I wondered if part of the Narcissistic Empath was also a shutting down to feeling because of the heaviness it can sometimes carry, to be a highly sensitive person. I know of Empaths who do drugs or drink to numb the influx of emotion, using synthetics as a blocker, unable to create their own sense of balance by getting to know themselves deeply.

I believe that the Narcissistic Empath can heal by making deep positive choices toward self-love and having willingness to do concentrated work on themselves.

If they clean their social environment and the self-deprecating thoughts that they use to both degrade themselves and justify the times they lash out, I am of the belief that eventually, with daily routine, the Narcissistic Empath will heal the “dead” part of themselves and be able to become an Embodied Empath, fully in their power and sight, knowing how to balance it and throw away the un-needed junk.

I am observing a few such individuals to continue studying this state of being. I want to see which paths they each decide to take over the next few years. I want to know which part of them will “win” based on which path they choose.

How do you tell the difference? That is a loaded question since Narcissists are adept at faking empathy. However, one thing I’ve noticed about the Narcissist. If one knows what to look for, they’re not that good at faking empathy at all. The sign of their narcissism will always show its face.

With a Narcissistic Empath, there is a turning which happens. The empathy is consistent, present, and genuine. There seems to always be a major event that swings them to the side of shutting down all emotion. They make it through small bumps, but the larger ones make their empathy disappear. Then the Narcissistic phase will remain until they heal the pain. Once the pain is healed, they move back into their genuine Empath selves.

It’s like a mold which needs to be removed and the only one who can remove it is the homeowner.

This is where the work comes in. This is where humans tend to falter, and understandably so. It hurts to heal.

We must face all the torn parts of ourselves that are triggered when we are hurt. Yet, our self-identity can be that of a torn shirt. We grab our needle and thread and stitch the hole. Sometimes we have to re-stitch it, but we stitch it all the same.

So then, we can also stitch the patterns of our pain into beautiful patch works, covering ourselves with the finished blanket of self induced empathy. This, dear ones, is a path to self-healing.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

Boundaries: Enacting Them With Empowerment

Boundaries

It’s no secret that I have a tumultuous past. From time in jail to extreme sexual misuse of my body to behavioral problems, I have run the course of self-destruction, projection, being attached to petty dramas and other avenues of self harming, trauma based personality traits.

I am purposefully open about my past.  I want people to know they are not alone. I want people to know they do not have to live in shame.  I want people to know they don’t have to let anyone reverse them to the skin they have shed through healing. So, there is nothing which can be hurled toward me in regard to my past, nothing rooted in truth anyway, which I will not acknowledge. Part of my healing journey has included learning to stand in my place, not with shame or regret, but with empowerment.

I get to choose what to discuss or not discuss. I get to choose what to accept or not accept. I get to choose, period, and that’s that.

I also used to have a deep need to defend myself, explain my side and try to make everyone see and understand ME. I have associates who could tell you story after story of the times I lamented and recycled the same situations until I crazy-made my own mind. I was often in a negative-based mental space.

I felt owed. I felt people should adjust to me. I sometimes felt discarded, shunned and unaccepted, even by my own friends. Until I realized it wasn’t true. I was literally creating a negative storyline in my head that wasn’t fully rooted in truth and acceptance but instead, in my own self-based perception. There was some behavior from people which made me back away but concerning me, in retrospect, I churned those situations far too long and too much.

When we are in that state of mind or have friends who are in that state of mind, where we are churning instead of growing and learning, we can hold space and listen. I don’t mind listening. If you, the reader, don’t want to listen to others situations or can’t hold space, you also have the right to say, “I don’t have that to give to you right now.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to be in the space holding position. I have had friends tell me how frustrating it was to watch me churn petty problems instead of figure out solutions. So, I get it now. I’m an experiencer of this negative thought patterning.

I have a major boundary when it comes to being in the listening position, and that boundary is enacted when someone’s struggles are thrown at me like darts, and I am suddenly in the scapegoat position.

Writing on this subject was inspired by waking up today to a very long message from a friend explaining a situation that we had already discussed just a day ago and seemed, to me at least, had been lain to rest. Okay. I accepted that some things might still be unresolved for them. So, when I began to read, I was open to listening until I arrived at this phrase:

you have written a book and working on another about your torment and pain that some may dismiss as drama.”

Ah. Now I see. Because this person is attached to adult drama, they had the audacity to compare it with my childhood trauma. What I was reading was a projector’s mindset. I was being crazy-made.

I even further realized I was a target when I continued reading and arrived at… “All the times you schemed, planned, and even asked me to be involved. Or carried on without me, I never said a thing. Yes I was angry.”

At that moment I became slightly alarmed.  My mistrust meter went up to level red.  I began to search my brain. When did I scheme with this person? When did I ask them to be involved with a scheme that made them angry? My brain could find nothing. I attempted to call them to openly discuss it so I could understand more clearly what they were even talking about. They didn’t answer.

Then it hit me. If they were actually really referring to every person who has schemed and planned with them, but they couldn’t aim their anger at the actual person, it was being aimed at me. I was dealing with a deep projection.

This is where I advise not to take everything someone says to us literally as if it refers directly TO us.  If we cannot connect it to a specific event, most likely it really is not rooted in us.  However, we should not allow anyone to speak to us in ways which disrespect our growth and the ethics we work to maintain.

By that time, I was angry. How dare they speak to me this way. How dare they imply such things to me, that I’d ever schemed or been a petty person with them. How dare fabrications be thrown my way. How dare they not have the respect to answer the phone and actually talk to me about it.

By that time, I knew that I was done. I knew that I needed to separate from the recurring theme of this person’s personal life and being in the projected position. I realized this person was just being plain malicious and mean to me. At least that is how it felt.

I realized how hurt I was in that moment. So many times, I’ve been the only one listening to them; the only one understanding; the only one protecting. I sat on my bed, looking at my phone and realizing this was the crossroad we are at, and I had to choose to turn. That doesn’t always feel good.

I sit back now, writing out this emotion and decision to cut ties. I am hurt, confused and irritated to even have pettiness infused into my day unexpectedly. I also understand this really doesn’t have anything to do with me personally. I am being scapegoated. When I am feeling like that, I take my leave for my own spiritual safety. I always wish well, even as I wield a verbal sword when I slam the gate shut, in my heart, I always hope for healing and eventual accountability.

These are the times it hurts to cut ties with people we have been there for and truly care about in regard to their well being. This decision, for me, is rooted in the fact that this person has no respect for my own mental health, in that they found it alright to disrespect me. This person has now chosen to impede on my peace and mental health. That is a strong boundary for me now.

I write about this to both expel the negative energy that it created in me and to really drive home that we get to choose. I used to HATE when people said that to me. It pissed me off because I wasn’t ready to change my self-defeating behaviors. I had excuse after excuse. Everyone else was the problem. While yes, others had issues too, I needed to learn how to just focus on my own and not allow them to project theirs onto me. I had to also learn how to not project mine onto others.

I could list out the various physical and mental impairments I generally positively live with on a daily basis. I could demand everyone comply to my needs in regard to them. What I’d rather do is tell you that instead, I made the choice to create an environment which is conducive to my own well-being. I created it by building boundaries and standing mostly quiet in them, only raising my voice when it needs to be heard very clearly. It changed my whole life for the better. Any situation or connection which is not contributing to my greater good can be released or even taken a break from.

Once, one of my sons and I took a break from communicating because things were tumultuous between us. As a mom, I felt crushed. I spent many a night crying and lamenting until I finally realized that I was part of the problem. I needed to learn some different parenting skills, became accountable, listen more and stay rooted in my own safety boundaries. I started focusing on how I could do better, and our dynamic grew into a better and more loving space. I needed to lead by example in that situation.

I don’t expect you to compare any situation you may be having to my own. I share these examples because when I chose to own my own life and stand in what felt safe and comfortable for me, it changed everything. When we choose to heal the triggers which once rocked us they aren’t as daunting anymore. We remove the trigger and live from a state of self-care.

Until we choose to put our own peace of mind first, which can also, unfortunately, include pissing people off to do so, we will always be in the negativity zone. Becoming an empowered person means putting our own well being first.

Release unneeded worries. Cease churning negative situations. Create safe boundaries for yourself and adhere to them without fear of backlash. Most of all, accept that we are the only ones who can choose to protect and put ourselves first in our own lives.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show. She is an advocate, poet and artist.