The Death of Ms. Hagley

I thought I’d feel reprieve;
some kind of soul relief
to find out she died,
crucified by slow breaths;
a painful death,

almost as scarring as
the beatings she left
on my extremities,
days in school while
everyone stared at me.

What does this mean
that I feel anger
she got to leave
before she stood and
faced accountability?

They’re all escaping,
age taking them down
minute by minute,
ticking time bombs,
their lips pursed with
the silence they’ve rehearsed.

Want to make a confession
before you try to enter
your imaginary heaven?

Did no wrong so
you’ve held on
to the denial,
shame,
the victim blame with
wings transparent
if not invisible as
they don’t exist
when you are
birthed from evil.

Into the dark matter sink,
buried in the
absence of light.

You go become midnight,
thick and airless,
no lungs or blood cells;
nothingness;
that be your hell.

I try to feel some
kind of way but I’m
filled with memories,
flat and frayed.

I’ll leave behind
written manifestos
of what you all did and
never confessed to.

With my head held high,
I will always tell the truth.
Now I can speak your name.
So the world can truly know you.

This be my sadistic story;
the one I deserve to scream
while the blaming arrives asking
what about her family?

I reply
what about me?

v.k poetry

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.

Yesterday Was Her Birthday, and It Never Crossed My Mind

I knew I was shut down to her when I stopped praying for her every day.” My sister said.

I’ve never prayed for her. I don’t pray period. I’m non-religious, humanist, truther, but pray to an invisible entity? Not for me. I don’t even think of her fondly like I used to. I just think of what the cult formed her to be; a hardened, judgmental, passive aggressive, Narcissistic woman we called Mother.

Yesterday was her birthday, and it never crossed mine or my sister’s minds. We are just miles from her grave and feel no urge to go and visit it. We are closed off now.  She is ashes to ashes, dust to dust, cycled back into the dark matter. Did she come from there; meant to return to the nothingness she was formed into after Sam Fife’s Move of God cult took control of her mind?

As I write the sequel to Cult Child, the reality of who my mother became boils to the surface like a volcano. Stories I once thought funny now churn with the sadness and hurt of a woman who lost her spirit to an intricate ring of religious fanatics. They starved her, then criticized her when she got fat again. They treated our family like we were infected because we had no father. They urged her to divorce my dad, then abused her for being an unmarried woman. The mind control enacted on my mother, causing her to participate in and validate horrific abuses against her children, is deeper than any ocean ever dove into. Some call it a rabbit hole. I call it a bottomless abyss.

Every once in a while an ex-cult member will exclaim how wonderful my mother was, and I shake my head silently. As most narcissistic people are she was a fake angel to those she wanted to impress or gain something from and a human of passive aggressive and manipulative behavior behind closed doors.

It’s easier to talk about it. I can keep things short and sweet, tell the story in skeleton form so the listener gets it, and move on. Writing it out is much different. I am traveling deeply into this abyss, using ankle weights to sink me as far as my lungs can manage.  I am examining every angle to see and understand how fragmented our Mother became leaving pieces of evil to follow us kids into life after the cult.  She was so fragmented that she remained friends with the wife of my sister’s rapist up until my mother died.

What kind of mother does that to a child?
What kind of intense shattering did it take for the cult leaders to convince her to let them have her children?

These answers, I’ll never know from my mother directly. She is dead. What I have is acceptance of what was and a long journey of memories still left to purge from my body.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and I didn’t remember.
Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and I don’t feel a thing. No sadness.  No angst.  It’s a flat lake of nothingness in my feeling spaces.

I cannot succumb to the ridiculous notion of honoring parents just because she hosted my birth onto this planet. I was dying in her stomach before I even arrived. Does she deserve honor? Does she deserve respect? Some might say yes, she does.

I say no. She does not. There is no forgiveness without accountability, and that is something she can never give to me now. I do not believe in the notion that forgiveness is needed in order to heal and thrive. Just acceptance that there are malevolent humans wandering soulless through this planetary plane, and one of them end up being my Mother.

This was the last photo taken of me before the cult sucked her into their claws.  I wonder if she ever thought about how small my hands were, the dimples in my fingers, or how tiny my face was inside of those curls.   I never heard fond stories of my babyhood or reminiscing of when I was small.  Maybe she stayed silent because then the questions would come; questions that spawned answers which didn’t fit into the truth of what happened to us.  I look at my face, and I weep for a little girl who only had two years of happiness before spending the rest of her childhood in hell.

and it would be a long and winding road out of it; a road my feet still travel heavily on.

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The Hiding Place (“Cult Child” excerpt)

     “Brother Coblin announces at service one night that we’re all going to get to watch a movie called The Hiding Place. It’s about a woman named Corrie Ten Boom, a Jew who was in the concentration camps during World War II. I’m excited to get to watch a real life movie. I think about Anna telling Mama the stories about the same war.

But The Hiding Place just rips my heart out. I fight tears during almost the whole movie. Jess Carter laughs at me for crying, and I lie saying I sneezed and it made my eyes water. Corrie Ten Boom huddles on a bunk with her sister eating bread she’d stolen so they wouldn’t starve. Her head is shaved and she watches as people are marched to the gas chambers to die.

I will have night terrors when I get older; dreams filled with women in white gowns walking single file on a path carved inside a wall of snow. They will march towards the potato dugout gas chamber, and they be holding bloody babies in their arms.

Brother Coblin says when the Communists come they’ll do the same to us that Hitler did to the Jews. We’ll be persecuted for believing in Jesus, just like the Jews were tortured for what they believed in.

     The Hiding Place just leaves me with more bad dreams where I see myself standing in lines waiting to go into the chambers and die. I have a shaved head and black dust on my face. There are only children in the line with me. We have sad, hopeless faces with dark, hollow eyes crying tears that leave trails down our cheeks. Brother Ray stands smiling in the doorway of the gas chamber. He is holding a tin of cookies out to me. I start awake then shove my head under the covers, afraid of the demons that might be lurking in the dark corners of my room.”

“Cult Child” is available on Amazon.com (paperback / Kindle (unlimited/lending) http://www.amazon.com/Cult-Child-Vennie-Kocsis/dp/0692235647/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421028994&sr=8-1&keywords=cult+child

Broken Until Spoken

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This was not an easy photo for me to do this morning. I cried. It hurt to take. I was swept back to being a five year old child, mouth taped so often to train me to be silent, just like this, except it was white packing tape, so even more humiliating as I couldn’t hide my cracked, dry lips. For those who have read the novel, Cult Child, you may recall me describing this practice.

I forged forward today and took this photo in support of Broken Until Spoken because I was most definitely broken until I could finally get it out, talk about it, and allow the telling of my truth to be my strength.

My fellow abuse survivors and thrivers, these are the times for us to speak and tell our truths. If you are comfortable, please participate in this project.

WE! As in You and I, Need YOUR SELFIE!!

The Caning

I am in a bedroom trying to go to sleep.  I cannot go to sleep because in a room down the hall, children are wailing and screaming.   They are being beaten.  I can hear them.  I leap from my bed and run down the hallway towards the room.  I fling open the door.

There, with her hand raised high, is my mother, a long, thick cane in her hand.  There must be fifty children in the room, some having already been beaten, others, waiting their turn, shaking in a huddle, unable to escape what is to come.

She has a child by the arm, and she is striking the child’s legs over and over as the child screams.  I see the child’s face, mouth open, sobbing and screaming.  The children who have already been beaten are in a group together. Some are laying down in the fetal position, so obviously in shock.  Others are rocking back and forth, weeping and holding their wounds. The skin on their legs are splayed open.  I can see meat and flesh, bright black and purple bruises forming.  I scream at my mother as I grab the child from her arm.

STOP! JUST STOP IT!”  I am screaming. “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? WHY?

Her eyes are menacing.  She is looking at me with anger.  I feel no fear of her.  I will kill her if I have to.  I will not let her strike another child.   I am herding the children into one group, and as they see that I am there to save them, they begin to gather behind me.  We are all on one side of the room, and I am assessing getting them all out of the door, down the hall, into my room where I can lock the door until I figure out the next step to saving them.   My mother is on the opposite side of the room right by the door, the cane in her right hand. She is methodically tapping it on the palm of her left hand.  She has a wicked smirk across her face as if I am so silly to think that I can fight against her.  But I am ready.  I will fight her with all of my power, and in my mind, I will win.

She begins to advance towards me.  I stand strong in front of the children.  My fists are clenched.  I am planning.  I will go for her throat.  I will grab the cane from her hand and strike her on her head and neck, everywhere I can until she is beaten bloody and raw like the legs of these children.

But as she gets closer towards me, she becomes bigger and bigger, and I become as small as the children.  Suddenly, I am filled with terror, realizing, that I will not be able to fight her.  I am too little.  In my mind, I am an adult.  I am thinking as an adult.  In my view I when I entered the room, I was the same size as her, but now, I am no longer a grown up.  I am just an adult inside of the body of a little girl, and I know that I am next.  She is going to beat me harder than she has beaten any of the other children.   My throat is closing as I try and suck in my breath.

Her face is the most terrifying of all.  Her eyes are flat, black and soulless.  Her mouth is twisted into a crooked grin representing that she is enjoying inflicting this abuse, and that she will revel in beating me.   She is so close now, and I am no taller than her knees.  I am just a little girl with the rest of the children, and my body is shaking, shivering with anxiety and terror.

and the dream ends.

(featured image from Jill Greenberg’s “Crying Children”)

The Voices

What do you allow your inner voices to say to you?  They sound a bit like this, yes?  Are they telling you positive things?  They should be!  If not, you have the control to listen only to the loving voices.