A Moment In the Mind of a Mother With DID

I stand still in my slippered feet. The girls are at the table coloring. My youngest son is visiting from college and is recalling a childhood moment with me.

“You took me to watch The Grinch, remember?” He asks. His eyebrows are furrowed.

“I did?” I am flipping through the years like micro film, trying to bring up the memory.

“Oh my gosh, mom! How can you not remember that?” He exclaims. I drown in his frustration.

I am on the spot standing in shame. How careless I must seem to not remember an experience that is so obviously a fond memory for him. What kind of mother would not remember that moment? What kind of mother doesn’t remember special memories with her children?

A mother with DID. I want to say this as he continues on, his brother joining him, but they don’t pause to let words in, and they’re certainly not seemingly interested.

“You DO know who the Grinch is, right?” My eldest asks.

“Of course I do.” I reply.

And they go on to tell me of the movie, and I remember Jim Carey’s antics and sparkly green fur. I just don’t remember seeing it at a theater.

But I can’t say it right now, with granddaughters happily coloring away in their coloring books and my sons in their own energy, laughing and remembering.

I can’t say how I will claw away at the particles of blank spaces trying to find this moment. I can’t let out the lump in my throat that outside of those who understand my cult aftermath, I will stand judged and misunderstood more than not. There will be no room for explanation or conversations that open doorways to understanding.

I can only quietly walk away and wish I could switch minds with them for a day. Then maybe we could understand each other. I could see myself from their perspective. I could understand them more if I could see me like they do.

It’s not their responsibility, but it’s mine to remember. I walk away wincing the ache of failure. How can I ever explain to them the maze that is my brain? How can I draw out blank spaces, pain and the exhausting  strain of remembering?

I accept that only those who have suffered similarly to me can feel with me. Only those who have experienced the fragmented pieces that are the aftermath of a complex childhood filled with physical, sexual and mental torture, can truly understand what we become, who arrives to help us through, and why we stand staring, akwardly on the spot, holding blank spaces in our palms.

Why “Push Through” Can Be An Illusion

A few months ago my twenty-one year old son and his friends invited me to go hiking.

“Oh, hell yes!” I responded with excitment.

Nature is one of my many loves. I rubbed my hands together gleefully. How cool these youngsters want an oldie but goodie like me along.

“Now, mom,” my son advised, “this is no ordinary hike. I mean, you gotta cross some streams and shit. Like it’s uphill.”

“I’ve hiked before.” I retorted defensively. “I grew up in Alaska learning survival skills. HELLO! Ya’ll should HOPE to have me along.”

We laughed together as we packed our backpacks with carbs and protein snacks, water bottles and extra clothing.

What a beautiful drive to the mountain base. It was to be a mere four mile hike up to where a world opened to more beauty. There, we would have a majestic view of a lake and vast valleys. My adrenaline pumped as I thought about getting up to the plateau and the photo I would get to capture.

The first two miles I cruised along, soaking in the crisp clean air, waving to tree friends, smiling at rock faces, enjoying the streams and waterfalls.

Mile three the struggle began. The trail became steeper. We’re halfway there, my mind told me. I had this hike in the bag. My son paced me, walking ahead of me a bit, then cheering for me as I huffed and puffed my way to him where we would rest a minute and go at it again again.

Halfway into mile four my legs began to shake. My mind said, fuck you, there’s only a half mile left and then you will be sitting, having lunch, absorbing the best view and resting for a while.

But my legs wouldn’t move. My mind spun with thoughts.

“Get your ass moving.”
“You’re gonna let all these people down and be totally embarrassing!”
“Quit being a wimp. You’re stronger than you think.”
“Just rest for a second then push through!”

Still my legs wouldn’t move. The muscles in my thighs were shaking. My body was not complying. I couldn’t take another step up the rocks. In seconds I was crying; angry and frustrated. I had underestimated my body. Here I was, almost all the way up, with only a half mile of this goddamn hike left. This couldn’t be happening to me. I felt on the verge of physical collapse, but my mind did not agree.

I sat on a rock with my head in my hands, warring with my body as the group gathered around me, calling encouragement.

“It’s okay!”
“Wow, look how far you’ve made it!”
“Save your strength. You will need it for the three mile trek back down.”
“You didn’t let us down! This trail will alway be here!”
“We can come back!”
“Next time we’ll do a different, easier trail!”
“We are so proud of you!”
“We love you.”

Not one time did anyone say:

“Get your ass up and Push through!”

This concept of pushing through is over-rated and over used. Quit saying it for everything. Sometimes people need to rest. Sometimes they need to be congratulated for their hard work. Sometimes you need to acknowledge this. Sometimes you need to praise them for how far they’ve come, then help them back down the mountain so they can rest before they try again. Pushing through is not always the answer. Remember that.

I Don’t Have a Boyfriend, and Apparently That’s My Fault

A male friend told me that I don’t have a boyfriend because I don’t want one.

What does that even mean?” I asked.

He said “You want too much.”

It left me perplexed. How is that possible? How can I ever want “too much” when it comes to the peace and comfort of my own existence.  This does not even equate in my own mind.  No.  Those days are over; you know, the suffer in silence type of give in to bullshit type of not going to do that anymore because I matter to me now.   Say that twice.

So what should I do?” I asked him.

I love to ask questions of people to satisfy my fascination with psyche; to listen to the thoughts and words of the human; soak them in and read what lives beneath their skin.

Like quit being so picky. You know, if a dude is married, for instance, sometimes he’s not happy or it’s on the rocks. That doesn’t make him a bad guy. Like, open yourself up.”

::BLANK STARE. TRULY. BLANK FUCKING STARE::

That doesn’t even need explanation. I’ve been that route. It’s called self abuse. Now at this point, you guys, I’m giggling to myself inside, in a hysterical kind of “am I really hearing this ridiculousness?” kind of way.

I don’t have a boyfriend because I don’t want one. I don’t want one because I want too much like…

laughter
time
special presence
dedication
loyalty
passion
integrity
ethics
stability
commitment
insane sex
understanding
acceptance

you know, all those far fetched things that might take a little,

emotion
giving
selflessness
true interest

Yeah, the type of things I tend to freely give in a relationship.

Once, I sat across the table from a man who said, “I just need to get me a trophy wife.”

I got offended. Then later learned what a trophy wife was and immediately stopped being offended. There are just some superficial terms that I didn’t understand the meaning of. Trophy wife was one of them. When I found out what it meant, I immediately thought “Oh no. I don’t want to be one of those.”

Emotionlessness does not become me. Putting on airs is not my forte’. Giving a shit what anyone thinks of me is not something that often crosses my mind. I’m me equivalently. I have passions. They matter.  Anyone else’s opinion just doesn’t. I’m amicable.  I have grace.  I form relationships.  We’re not swimming in the shallows, though.  I don’t stay there long.  I like the bottom, where the coral reef and colorful fish live.

Here is my answer, dear friend. I don’t have a boyfriend because I am at peace with my aloneness. I am so at peace with this aloneness that I will disallow anything less than what is at one with my own state of being to enter my temple. If these parts that make me feel at peace do not match the current male existence that is floating in my grid, then I am fully at peace with the resulting aloneness.

I haven’t time for small talk, and I love to be silly. I am deep as oceans and crave savant conversation. I like silence that is not mistaken for anger. I can ride in cars and listen to music and not need to speak. I am most comfortable with space and time around me. I need to be allowed to BE. And if that means being with only me;

Then okay. I am in acceptance.

I have moments I long for touch, to be held to a chest, looked at with tenderness, surprises and early morning not giving a shit breath, but they do not override my unwillingness to bend from what contributes to my heart’s happiness, and the greatness I know that I am.

You see, I believe chivalry was murdered during the feminist movement when human beings mistook the right of women to have equal pay, equal treatment and the right to vote, to mean we no longer wanted to be involved in romance and connection. Illusion killed chivalry. Feminists didn’t.  Apathy replaced empathy, and that is a choice.

and I figured that all out… alone.

[image credit: “The Arrival” by Paul Bondart art – paulbondart.com]

Because Humans Represent The Possibility Of Loss

When I was a little girl of one and two years old, I existed inside of a perspective attached to my sister’s hip. She is four years older than me. It seems I was always either hiding behind her hip or holding onto a part of her belt loop or dress so I could feel safety. Staying beside her, I had a constant guide who would always know what to do next. My father was gone a lot because he worked as a military contractor. My mother was busy giving over her time being slowly love bombed into a destructive cult.

So, my older sister was my anchor, and my older brother was our body guard. My sister took on a mothering role, and my brother, a protector role, available to whip some ass if any other kids in the poorer neighborhood we moved into, messed with us.

Then, in the blink of an eye, our lives were turned upside down, and we were all ripped from each other when my mother decided to take us to one of the most brutal of all the compounds owned by Sam Fife’s Move of God cult. As a three year old child, I went from the safety of my sister’s love and my brother’s protection to never seeing my brother, and not being allowed to speak to my sister or my mother. Overnight I went from safety, to terror. abuse, isolation and fear.

I could only catch sight of my sister when we were out working in the fields. Or when we were in the dining room, we could have telepathic conversations through sneaking eye contact with each other. She holds the memories of my screams when I was beaten. She saved my life once, putting herself in danger to stop a beating where I had passed out and dissociated when I was somewhere around five years old. My sister and I have a connective strand of trauma survival that is unique only to us. There is a deep wound of abandonment and isolation that these experiences created inside of me.

They had a deeper effect on me because I could not process what was happening to me. I was only three, and at seven and nine, my sister and brother could only see me being abused, see each other being abused and helplessly stand by. It would remain this way for years.

When my family’s love is ripped from me on any level, I am deeply triggered to the emotions of that childhood trauma. When I am left by the way side by a family member, not spoken to or responded to, I feel disregarded and reduced to ashes. I am three again, feeling confused, terrified and abandoned, ripped from the only love I truly trust. I am left inside of the unknown. I trust too little or I trust too much. This creates an end result of me not trusting at all.

When these types of situations arise, it does assist me in moving through them when I am able to connect the emotion I am experiencing to the trauma that the situation is triggering. When I can understand that I’m weeping uncontrollably because I feel the pain of the disregard, in the least I can bring about resolve for myself.

I feel the strong emotional trigger of the isolation and abandonment. The tears I flow are no different than a wound which must seep in order to heal. It’s squeezing the infection out. It is me learning to deal with loss, the exhaustion of it repeating itself and somehow figuring out how to maintain acceptance of it.

Recognizing my triggers can be difficult. I have to piece these fragments together, sift through these thoughts and open my mind to understanding their impact on me. I am fragile, yet I have to continue living in spite of the loss. It takes time to figure this out.

Every time I experience it, I ask myself if I have the strength to deal with loss anymore. Each time I am unsure. I don’t know if I can. Each time, I do regain my strength, yet I feel just a bit more tired inside.

Life moves on and each time I am used or feel abandoned, it leaves pieces of my love ripped from me. It changes me. It molds me differently. I become more silent inside of myself, where acceptance leaves me in a state of constant observation and a feeling of not really wanting to connect with most things human, outside of children who havent learned to be cruel yet.

It makes me feel distant and shut down into myself, to continue accepting this solitary path, away from the victim blaming and the sick minds who can attack us with our own traumas, to be the silent writer in the attic, seen occasionally carrying groceries; isolated from the rest of humanity because humans represent the possibility of loss, and loss has stripped me to bone.

Streams Of Consciousness | 6.18.15

Your call tonight left me hollow / my chest is under bricks / breath heavy / I feel you separating / and I touched you for a time / like when I was a child / I admired you / now I lose you / again / you’re going back to them / back to the smothering caverns / so familiar / fear of the unknown / is greater / than the pain you’ve called home / so you choose / the lesser of the two / I am riddled with the loss of you / he will isolate your mind again / make the rest of us out to be villains / years will pass / and there will be the memories / of the few months we / laughed and planned / two girls once more / like before / we have always been / a family torn / can I hold this space / my arms are weary / and I am leery of losing / the strands of this heart / are violin strings / shorn from themselves / my skin sleeps but / the lump in my throat / says weep, girl, weep / this sadness runs so deep / I am a million pieces / each trying to figure it out / the turned down mouth / a smile lost / yet all is flat / no real tears yet / will they come? / maybe it’s time I go back / reclaim the coldness / so I don’t have to hold this / next time it will be worse / the hurt / it will beat you / until your knees shake / and you said you were done / with heartache / I wonder how much more / you’ll take / if you’ll outlive / the emotional rape / but I got a journey / I have to take / and I can’t stay, sweet sister / I can’t stay / holding space I gave / and still I love / still I yearn / as the tides turn / becoming the ash we burned / in the hopes that your loneliness / wouldn’t become excuses / and I must tarry on / with my mission / but first I must try / to cry / so the heaviness / will turn light / replaced by acceptance / but first / I gotta feel this

Collateral Damage Station

I’m on the outside
bright color
peacock spreading
I own my street,
a path forced discreet
by tainted company

I’m on the inside
where children weep
and we speak
this language of
naivety, conversations brief

know what it’s like
to be the weird one
so, pretty stays silent

She’ll only be assumed

Life consumes her
leather bound pages
to be passed onto sons
there are chosen ones
holding secrets governmental

they’re a temperamental two

and twisted rhymes might
leave you confused
you can absorb
if you choose too

watch the eyes
they never lie
ignore the lips
stay quiet

all ain’t what you see
what you created it to be

sweet angel baby with
magic throwing stars
hidden inside her scars

wars make me stronger
throw the boomerang farther
each time I finish
I gain an ounce of strength
and release more weight

watch their eyes
they never lie
true seekers are
skilled for the dive

gearing up there’s
’bout to be a battle
tuning instruments
test my snake rattle

watch my eyes
I refuse to lie
you created a warrior
who’s unable to die

I am on the outside
smiles and bright
on the inside
ensues a vigorous fight

and who can be the strongest
hold out the longest
when in the end
they’ll find out
this story’s just pretend

an illusionary fable
it’s time to turn the tables
dig up graves and
invade the caves

tell the world a parable
of how the evil ones fell
it’s a serious situation
at collateral damage station

but I got a cleanup crew
what about you?

venniekocsis.com®

She Died Today

Exactly eight years ago today she died.  I was at work when I got the phone call.  It was expected.  She guilted and ate herself into diabetes and an early death.  She was only 65.  I used to call her Mom, then Mother, and now I call her by her first name.   Maybe it’s my way of disconnecting in the hopes I can get through the rest of this writing journey to expel the rest of the pain.   I woke up this morning feeling tearful, raw, alone inside my soul, and so I start this journey of being blatantly vulnerable through the fear of mockery and judgment.  I wade through this mist splayed open to this journey of vlogging through The Rise.