Into the Seven

My artistic work in progress is a 52 page collage art book. It is based on a set of cards I designed from art I created while writing “Cult Child.”

The cards are a set of 7th Veil Mind Mapping cards with which I do readings.

This book will be the only other set of cards in the public domain. After adding my next four pages I’ll be at 26 pages. Here is a glimpse at some of the pages.

I am so stuck on the use of gel press gel printing plates. The possibilities of color mixture and patterning with gel presses are seemingly endless. I spent this afternoon prepping more pages. Enjoy this time-lapse video of me working away!

Prepping Pages

Take time to create in whatever way is best for you. Toss dots of paints. Make up your own styles. Learn from others. Most of all, express yourself!

Don’t forget to join our social media site: thethrivingnook.com 💫

WIP – Collage Art Book

I have been hibernating and making art. These pages make 20 completed pages of a work in progress (WIP), which is a 52 page art collage book using last year’s planner cover. 32 more pages to go, and it is flowing out.

Sound on, babes!

Now, I have the 2021 hard back covers to make a new book. I am excited about this one. My friend sent me a pack of photos taken as far back as the 1800s, and I have a plan for them; their stories, who they are.

Collage is my heart’s most joyful expression.

The Universal Eye of Justice Is Always Watching

Go to the thrift store. Get a nice frame. Take out the art. Replace it with your own. Grab your Acrylic Pens and go for it.

Music: “Seven” by Prince

The Universal eye of justice is always watching. Keep your intent rooted in loving boundaries. Take care of yourself. Fall into your passions. Disappear for the winter. Emerge new in the spring. Do what makes you happy. And for the sake of your mental health, create art!

I use this 136 pound oil and acrylic paper. It’s bleed proof. Remember that there are no rules to creating art. You can be abstract. You can spill and pour. Pouring is a great way to begin making art. The Art of Paint Pouring is a great book for beginners You can be messy! I love this book, Get Messy Art: The No-Rules, No-Judgment, and No-Pressure Approach to Making Art by Caylee Grey. Layering art is fun. Drawing circles and lines using color and smudging with your fingers, let yourself be free!

“I’m Kind Of a Big Deal: We’re Talking Cover-up”

Collage Book by Vennie Kocsis

Collage art is a medium which I feel most in harmony with. For me, it’s akin to throwing runes and letting the story emerge on its own.

I picked up some outdated pocket planners from Half Price Books to up-cycle into new books. Below is a time-lapse video of my first collage creation in 2020 which has emerged thus far, a summary of everything I understand about a family story not yet fully told.

The process of making this book was approximately ten hours of sporadic creating over time. There are always breaks needed to keep myself balanced. I follow my body’s signals. Letting memory emerge can be a slow process. I take the time to let my subconscious guide me.

I have a painting I’ve been trying to finish since 2012. It can be a year or so before I create new art. It sits in my eye’s view. It is a depiction of a lucid dissociative memory. It is at least 60% done. Every time I begin to go to it, I stop unconsciously. I just can’t muster up the interest to finish it. The emotion won’t come, not the same emotion which was there when I started it. So, I wait.

I say to myself, “Ok. It isn’t time yet.”

This is my process of creating.

Digging into memory is like mining in a deep and dangerous tunnel system. It has to be done safely and with self-care in the forefront of importance.

While you will watch a short five minutes below, for me, it is hours of music and madness, glue and floating words condensed into a representation of glued together pieces from a cult childhood that left images in my cellular memory which tend to have a mind of their own.

To become the owner of this original book, visit Vennie’s Studio.

Remember to get through it. Don’t stay in it.

The Eye Of the Mother

This past decade has been filled with many turns in the bumpy road I have traveled. I have pushed through deep depressions and sad realizations about this human existence. I have absorbed and grown my mindfulness and ability to receive and give love.

I have waded through dissociative disorder peaks, organizing the many compartments of my mind and doing the work to continue the integration of my brain. I have had situations which left me riddled with deep hurt. I spent time grieving, as twice I lost individuals who are extremely dear to me.

My heart has ached. I trudged through the self-accountability of learning how to re-parent adult children. I accepted and owned my own parental failures as lessons, not losses. I faced myself and my own behaviors, including how they affected those around me. I held all of my shame in my palms. I cried the guilt out of my soul, letting it release and evaporate into the soft air of Puget Sound.

My. Rainier, WA

I lamented lost loves. I clawed my way out of self-abusive behaviors and self-deprecating lifestyles. I ejected people from my life in order to preserve my own mental health and balance. I purged the pain of these difficult decisions. I endured the aftermath of their rage and blame. I stayed rooted within myself.

The decade came to an end with a bang. I realized how much I have risen, as I remained valiantly standing quietly in my truth. My defenses don’t matter anymore, only my boundaries. I have congratulated myself for making this much progress thus far.

There are many roads still left for me to travel. I am writing out the dusted shelves holding more memories behind closed doors in my brain. I am stepping through each door as they open, scribing out the facts and conversations holding answers to my existence and childhood experiences.

This life has been surreal. Being a cult child has been an experience which has let me feeling like I lived a life separate from my current existence. I am my own investigative journalist diving into my DNA as I retrieve the memories my trauma has hidden from me until I was ready to receive them. Unfolding into myself requires a specifically calm environment. I have learned to demand this space.

I had a plan to do an intentional painting on New Year’s Day. I wanted to move into this new decade setting more intentions of my body, mind and spirit continuing to heal.

Yet, when a baby is on its way in a family, they have a mind of their own when it comes to arrival. Hence, my fifth grandchild decided to enter the world on January 31st. I placed the painting plans aside to be with my family as new life arrived.

Zephyr; a gentle breeze

She is a peaceful, quiet little one. I am thankful that our forward generation grows and builds itself with love. Growing up without any family, I cherish these children, and the many ways they bring me moments of smiles and love, reminding me that good childhoods exist.

When mom arrived back home and settled in to rest, I returned to my original intention of creating my new decade painting.

I set up my camera on high speed mode to record the process so I could both share it and look back on what emerged. I also like to view through my phone as I’m creating art, as it gives me a different perspective and can inspire new ideas.

I sat down with a blank canvas, gathering old paints which were soon to expire, wanting to utilize them efficiently. I had no plan in my mind of what I would create. I closed my eyes, connected to my spirit, breathed deeply and began.

I first began to release a figure representing past pain, dark and brooding, filled with thick mire and a shrinking, red heart. Then I paused again and with another exhale I let my tools begin to cover the darkness, birthing new layers through space, dimension and color.

I built up the color, seeing the eye of my spiritual mother, hearing the soft whispering of her gentle words from within my own cells, leading me to the infinite parts of my existence and exploding above the path which is my way forward.

The Process Of Creating;

click to watch

Eye Of the Mother

It is unknown, what is to come. With a heart of hope, I stand inside my authenticity. I am formed from the gravel my spirit has pushed its way up through. I have swam inside of the depths of this human abyss with only my nose barely above death, to breathe and stand here in silence.

I have no resolutions going forward. My intention is softly rooted within my heart, my bones, my skin and my brain. May we all look toward ourselves with a love and patience blooming with self acceptance.

While the road is unclear in the distance, I move forward with persistence. I am protected by the gradients of my own inter-dimensional existence. This journey on earth, while often brutal, is filled with the wonder of infinite possibilities. I will not be broken.

Let go of that which no longer serves you. Accept the new without fear.

A Story of Religious Abuse and Torture

Introduction:  This piece is a contribution from an abuse survivor.  It details extreme abuse and could be triggering to readers.  Please consider caution if you are a trauma survivor.  

By Lusciana Philomena

I was born in the US in the nineties. My sister was quite older than me. She had her own issues, but this is my story. What I will say, is that at one point, I discussed my childhood abuse with her. She believed me in our mutual conversation, then betrayed me and told one of my parents about it. The result was the family turning against me and calling me a liar. It created a new wound in me. Yet, I also saw that the Narcissistic triangulation that my parents created with my sibling never ended. It was hurtful to have a moment of validation taken from me by the betrayal of my sibling.

My parents were blue collar workers who both came from military families. We didn’t move around a lot, but we did move churches quite often. Yet, regardless of what denomination my mother and father were trying out at the time, we always reverted back to fundamentalist, Pentecostal Christianity. This was my life from birth into my twenties.

For those who don’t understand the Pentecostal religion, it is a belief system of rituals such as prayer through laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, frenzies, clapping and dancing as if filled with the “Holy Spirit”. I imagine Christianity is wide spread enough that most people have a grasp on this sect of the religion. We were taught about demons, ingrained with demonic threat and fear. We were often put through rituals where throngs of the congregation members would lay their hands on us children to fill us with the spirit of God so that the demons wouldn’t enter us. I was claustrophobic. I felt panicked when I was in these moments. They scared me, and the energy pressed down on me, as I felt small inside of these moments.

I began having nightmares as a child. I would lay in bed awake for hours at night praying and pleading with God to please not let Satan take me. Because of the extreme nature of the fear and torture I was experiencing, I became adept at dissociating away from my body. I was often threatened with eternal torment in a place called “Hell“. I was told that I could lose my salvation and be damned. Yet, in those same breaths, I was also told how much God loved me. I could not make sense of anything around me. Many days were filled with fear, uncertainty and there was no safe place for me. There was gossip, deceit, and trickery everywhere in my environment. I never knew who I could fully trust.

I also attended a private Christian school from kindergarten until I graduated high school. Private schools are not required to adhere to the same curriculum or child safety rules as public schools. In private school, abuse was constant. Since the religious belief systems were also the same as the church we attended, they used the same methodology of punishment. Teachers subjected me to solitary confinement in closets and rooms until I lost track of time. There was physical abuse, severe mental and emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, public shaming and humiliation, degrading remarks, inappropriate sexualization and touching, and isolation from other children and the outside world. I was kept inside of a bubble of fearful compliance.

There were layers upon layers of cover-ups at school, as the staff was always watching us and each other. I felt constantly surrounded by human predators waiting to pounce. My mind was terrorized. I was often the focus of being targeted. I thought I was just the worst child in the school. In the beginning, I was a well-behaved child who merely daydreamed. Looking back, I believe at that time I was actually beginning to dissociate from life as a whole. Soon, I decided that since I was going to be in trouble anyways, I might as well give them a reason to punish me, so I began to act out. This at least gave me a satisfactory feeling of justification versus being punished for nothing.

In my home life my father was a confusing man. He could be the most loving father and also the most brutal. Since this was all going on at the same time as the abuse at church and school, I tend to remember these time periods as one, long bundle of abuse. My father taught me “games” that I eventually was conditioned to ask for and even enjoy, which haunts me to this day. I believed that I was born to please my father and make him happy, protect him, and do his bidding at all costs. I also believed that once my father died I would have nothing left to live for therefore I would have to end my life after his. I was conditioned to be my father’s puppet by him directly as well as his immediate family, who told me that I must do what my father commanded.

Some of the “games” he played with me included nerve shock torture where he pressed his fingers deeply into trigger points in my body, pulling the tendons up and away from the bone, then twisting and grinding them. Places he targeted were behind my knees, my neck, and my pelvis area. He purposely created a mixture of pain and sexual pleasure in my body. Regardless of my age, my body scientifically responded, giving him the results that he wanted.

Other forms of torture included tickle torture where I was forced to stay still or else the game started over; he used light breath, fingers and whiskers to tickle my body. All of my father’s sadistic leanings were filled with sexual elements. My household was rife with sexual inappropriateness. My mother would also sometimes behave in inappropriate sexual ways, behaviors that I should not have been exposed to as a child. I soon believed that my mother knew what my father was doing and didn’t care. My father would freely smack me on the behind, as if I was his girlfriend, whenever he wanted. He pinched my skin in inappropriate places, tried to get me to kiss him and chased me around the house. My mother simply hollered at us to settle down.

My father contorted my limbs, bending them the incorrect way. This caused excruciating pain, and I would scream. He threw ice water on me randomly when I was showering. Sometimes he would just stand in the doorway and flick the light off and on, off and on, repeatedly. I could not say a word or ask for him to stop. I was in complete compliance. My mother sometimes participated, throwing water on my face in the morning until I woke up feeling like I was drowning. I was yelled at to get up for the day, again my lights being flicked on and off, on and off. It was all because I was a heavy sleeper, they would say, sometimes laughing at me at the same time.

The torture my father enacted on me seemed endless. He would press into my sternum until the pain was excruciating. He pulled my fingers apart so wide it felt the skin would rip. He’d instruct me to stick out my tongue, grab it with a towel and pull until I screamed from the intense pain. He would laugh when this was happening. He would laugh intensely, as if it was the most entertaining thing. Sometimes he would lead me around by my tongue as I was in pain. Yet he would be laughing, since to him, it was a game. My father allowed me to have pets. Not because he wanted me to be happy. No. It was so he could use them to abuse me further by abusing them. I had the belt used on me to the point that I dissociated from my own body in order to withstand the pain.

As I became older with my father grew more deeply confusing, because coupled with his “games” of inducing mind blowing pain on me; he also showered me with love. At times he whispered in my ear that he loved me and would whisper other loving sentiments. There were moments of doting on me. He had endearing pet names for me. He also treated my pets the same way, sometimes loving them, sometimes cruelly abusing them. These moments induced a great love and bond with my father which intersected itself into the fear state that I existed inside. His behavior created a duality through which I could not critically navigate emotionally.

This abuse was also coupled with ritualistic religion, such as my father quoting Bible verses in the middle of abusing me. I have many gaps for which I don’t have answers. My body and my intuition have an idea of what hides inside those gaps. I often don’t even want to think about the possibility of what more my father did to me, that my mind has chosen to suppress. My mother projected jealousy onto me and in doing so, also physically and mentally abused me. She made me shower with her. Both my father and mother bathed me far beyond the years that I should have been being taught to bathe myself.

My father was an alcoholic and pill user. One night when I was a young adult he physically and sexually assaulted me. I hit him multiple times to get him to stop. Years later, when I confronted him, he alleged not to remember those moments. Yet, with persistence, I finally got him to admit to abusing me, and he said he was sorry. Then he proceeded to use emotional blackmail on me, victim blaming me and trying to make me feel sorry for him, saying that I was “killing” him. My mother was no help when I called her, blaming me for the situation and saying that she didn’t have time to be bothered. I felt helpless and in shock. She further stated what a terrible person I was for hurting my father with such lies. I knew that when it came to accountability in my family, I may never have it.

Because of my childhood, I endure flashbacks, complex PTSD, an eating disorder and fibromyalgia. I have insomnia to avoid the night terrors. I am hyper-vigilant about being followed, and I am often in fight or flight mode, feeling trapped. My capacity to develop my own spirituality as an adult has been severely hindered due to having a constant, tangible fear which lingers inside of me. Being an abused child left me with mental health and physical disorders. I have severe body somatic pain which can’t be associated with any one specific physical injury, leading doctors to connect my body pain to the reality of body memories.

Body memories are caused by trauma settling into our cells. Therefore, the body manifests the abuse on a daily basis, causing severe genital pain, joint and tendon pain, neuropathy that shoots nerve pain through my whole system. The nerve pain mimics the tendon shock rituals performed on me as a child.

The most confusing part about my abuse is how my parents could be so loving at times and so sadistically brutal at others. I realize that my identity belongs to them and now, I am struggling to figure out who I am before I was born into a childhood of abuse and confusion. I am sifting through broken pieces to integrate them so I can get to know who I really am.

Because of my experiences I have a great capacity to understand others who have been tortured. I know that as I continue to work through the aftermath of my own abuse, I will continue to grow and be a strong support for my fellow survivors.

I don’t know if I’ll even understand why I was tortured, except to understand mind control on a level so deep, a parent believes a religion justifies the abuse of their child. I want to know who trained my father to utilize such specific torture methods on my muscles and limbs. There are so many questions that leave tangled pieces in my mind. As a child my mind fragmented into “pieces or aspects” in attempt to endure what I was being put through however they have more or less integrated now. I wish my parents knew how much accountability and truth would change the course of each of my days. I wonder if my paternal grandfather learned these torture methods while serving in the military, and in turn, used them on my father. Again, I may never have these answers.

And so, I must stand inside of radical acceptance and continue creating who I truly am.

ART

When art comes out of me, it can take on varying forms, depending on who is holding the pen or the paint, as you will see in the pieces below.

 

POETRY

                Another outlet for my pain is writing poetry.  This expression has been a crucial part of my healing journey.

Porcupine No Longer

Ashamed and frozen in fear, time stops.
Pretending to be asleep; staying very still…
Lying and waiting, pretending it’s all just a dream.
“NO! Get up! I have to do something!” SCREAM!
*Silence*… I don’t make a sound. No one can know. Ashamed!
Eyes now scrunched up tight and fists form into balls.
Go into my mind. Pretend I am a porcupine.
Can’t touch me! Can’t touch me! I am a porcupine!
Doesn’t work…
Porcupine’s quills have been plucked clean away! Exposed.
Body is a map whose lands have been plundered before.
Monster’s fingers are legs, walking the map, exploring it all.
Monster is greedy: taking what is not his to take.
Too scary. So scary. Can’t be happening.
Dumb, wretched girl.
Pretend. Pretend. Pretend. Smile. I’m alright.
Tomorrow I’ll pretend I don’t remember what happened at night.

Healing Under a Canopy

Stroll through the shaded wood I must;
Liniment for a marred soul.
In love with the seclusion it offers;
I yearn for the peace it brings.
Amble about in nature’s song
I stroll along to such sounds:
Singing birds, dinky feet on Forest’s floor, water-a-trickling.

Healing from a pain so deep
It threatens to crush my voice.
I rebel, fight back, scream, kick, cry.
I will not allow this.
You cannot have my soul.
My past will not destroy me!
Your ‘control’ is merely an illusion.
I am no longer a child.

For I see the light.
It’s above me,
Filtering through the leaves.
It streaks my face with gold.
I feel its warmth on my skin.
This is the color of confidence.
I give myself the permission.
I can heal.
No one else can have
Me.

I smile.
I laugh.
I cry.
I’m filled with joy.
I am at peace.

Up ahead, I see a bridge.
I will cross it.
I will burn it down.

My story is the story of countless children being raised just like I was. Please don’t forget them. I want other survivors to know that you are not alone. Time and self-work make days easier. Please know that healing to a level of thriving is absolutely possible. To kids everywhere being abused, you are so strong and brave. You have the right to speak up; to tell your story; to be believed, heard and protected. You have the right to be safe and loved. You are not alone, and there are many of us Advocates dedicated to rescuing you and helping you heal.

Art Therapy for Trauma Survivers

Sometimes it helps me to dump my head through visuals.   I believe deeply in art and photography therapy for trauma survivors.   Many of you say “but I’m not a good artist!”  See, it’s not about being “good” in someone’s eyes, even your own.  It’s about figuring out your method to expel pent up energy.

Slashes of red and orange paint swiped across a canvas can be an abstract release of anger.  Photos of flowers you love can lift your spirits.  There is no method set except the one you choose.

Here are a few examples of art pieces and photos of things that called my to me.  If you’d like to see more, you can visit my art store at:

Vennie-Kocsis.pixels.com

Photography

Digital Art

Canvas art / mixed media

Now go! Create! Gather leaves and stones and paint.  Let your body naturally lead you into the outlet ever human is gifted with.  💫💫