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.

survivor_voices_women39s_vneck_tshirt

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.

Growth Sometimes Comes In Small Packages

It’s been a long run with me being a parent. I was a young mother at twenty. The parenting skills I knew, I acquired from my own mother, and well, anyone who has read “Cult Child” knows that her parenting skills were sub par.

There were things I hoped I would never do; like make mistakes. No one ever told me that was okay. No one ever told me that I was a flawed human being.

My eldest son went straight into parenthood at a young age. He is a warrior child, and while his personality is… Virgo, fact based, ready to make a move and sometimes difficult, I admire the tenacity with which he figures out supporting his family.

This is where I feel I failed as a mother. I didn’t have the best of life skills in my earlier days and because of that, my eldest especially, suffered with the same.

When his little daughter was born last week, 6 weeks before time, just a mere 3.5lbs, in the ICU, but doing so well, nothing in the past mattered for me. We sprung into action. I realize that while I cannot do everything, like be a nanny, I can be the best YaYa to these beautiful grandchildren and support my family emotionally while still maintaining my own mental health boundaries.

We are growing. I am learning. My sons are teaching me that I have to let go; that I will always be mom and they will be brothers who have secrets and moments in which I am not included. That hurts sometimes, triggering me back to being a child on the cult, shunned for some infraction. Yet, I bring my critical thinking into the forefront and remember that this is not the same. This is two brothers loving each other, and they deserve that special bond.

In this experience, through help from friends and my counselor, I’m learning my place as mom; that I cannot fix everything. I cannot rescue everyone. I can support without exhausting myself. That is my responsibility to maintain.

I am thankful today for these lessons, and I take them with me, adding to my infinite growth.

Gail Treadwell, Author of “Holy Hell”

I had the privilege of meeting this author at a cult conference.  She is an amazing woman, and her book, Holy Hell, is riveting.  Many thanks to Gail for her review of Cult Child:

I found this book engaging and eloquently written. Even though it is written in the form of a novel, I consider it memoir material. The story is told through the eyes of an innocent child who endured years of abuse, and relied on her creative spirit, passion and connection with her inner world to survive. You will fall in love with this little girl’s feisty and vivacious spirit.

Fortunately, the author is using her hard earned life experience to draw attention to the devastating affects on children being raised in cults. They never had any say in the matter.

Vennie, I say bravo for your heartfelt and brave work.

Gail Tredwell
Author of Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness