Alabaster Possibilities

I sit in the silence
of a million swirling thoughts.
I don’t accept this separation, and
I chew on the assumptions
like they are the last supper.

I see ghosts pass me,
they flatter me by choice;
their words swirling like
raindrops that make my hair moist.

I am alive with decisions
as the voices whisper,
calling me to stay on path,
don’t get side tracked.”,
and I listen intently.

I kneel beside a flower.
She is starting to die.
I hold her lovingly
as her petals cry.
I wish to breathe for
every fish that has expired;
wish to Love for
every soul weary and tired.

I open my arms to
receive the Moon.
I am spiraling sunlight
where my skin is anew.
I let Love become me.
I am one with the leaves.
I look into the Mirror
to see the divinity in me.

There is a world around us.
It breathes and weeps.
It is filled with open wounds
from the pain that seeps.
Unable to feel hate only
passing disappointments,
which give way to forgiveness;
as I step through the gate
where Love awaits.

I hold moments in my palms
like diamonds of time
that teach me to smile
so the rough waters will calm.

I wash tears with compassion,
sprinkle relief on lowered faces,
I am passing out rations,
a taste of a new day.
I am touching momentary madness,
turning it into sanity,
where the children skip,
and the sadness becomes happy.

You bathe me in acceptance,
and for the first time ever,
awakened to my worth,
where actions blend with words;
where beauty comes
in forms of laughter
like alabaster bath houses,
where the skin is released
into the steaming sea;
where we Love freely;
because time has gifted us
infinite possibilities.

walk with me beside the ocean.
it’s been a while since we’ve spoken,
and i was hoping we could remember,
the days when we danced together.

(written in 2011)

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.

Born Crazy: A Video Poem

You’re crazy.”

How often have you heard this phrase thrown around, either flippantly, in jest or to victim blame someone who has overcome or is recovering from abuse?

I heard this often as a post-cult teenager and well into my adult years. While I was actually dealing with the behavioral aftermath of being an extremely abused child, instead of receiving support, caring and nurturing I was told that I was crazy. When a child is told enough times that they’re mind is insane, we begin to believe it.

This poetry piece is from my spoken word album, Dusted Shelves, which is available on Amazon in paperback and c.d. Written in 2013, it is a representation of a life by which I was conditioned to believe that I was crazy.

Some abuse survivor work is considered to be dark and oddly psychotic. This piece would fall under that theme.

**Trigger Warning for those who are sensitive to these themes**

Born Crazy

When Writing Out Trauma Is Crippling

A wise person once said, “There are three things you should never share; your relationship, your finances and your next move.”

It has become a mantra for my life.   Years of being both vulnerable and held back at the wrong times have left me speculating my own judgment.  Being alone is safer, away from the possibility of re-victimization.

I learned harsh lessons as I grew up. With no boundaries to define danger or relationships I was tossed out of a childhood that had been riddled with abuse straight into the very society I had been trained to fear, hate and one day even war against in the name of God.

With blinders on, I ran towards everything I’d been taught was sin.  I bathed in it.  I dove inside of it like it was a swimming pool.  I became prey, a seal pup in an ocean full of sharks.

A couple of nights ago, while working on “Rise of Sila“, the sequel to “Cult Child“, I had to write a trauma memory.  I had to get into the details of it, part of them being a time my sister wore long sleeves to hide the bruises her rapist left on her upper arms.    When I was finished with the section, nausea swept through me quickly, suddenly and filled my mouth with water to the point I had to curl up on my bed and do focus breathing until it passed.

Fuck.”  I thought.  “It’s starting.”

This is what happened while I was writing “Cult Child“.  The trauma surfaced in waves, and with it came years of sporadic vomiting, night terrors, migraines, days in bed weeping, high peaks of anxiety and agoraphobia and a lot of deep isolation.

I smiled in selfies to post on the Internet. I spun on the positivity pole as if I was the poster child of survival, and I hid the reality of how crippling writing trauma is for me.

I thought I would feel some kind of relief after getting “Cult Child” out.   Yet, I didn’t.  I felt incredibly proud of myself that I had accomplished the project.  I also felt an extreme exhaustion that still lingers as I continue on.   I feel weakened.  I feel that I have only spilled out a sliver of the truth about the reality that was my childhood.

Last night I had a dream which rocked me. When I woke up this morning, the emotions of the dream came hazily with it bringing short, flash images of children milling about, a lot of confusion and an inability to grasp the rest of the images.  There are no worse dreams for me to have, than the ones which involve children.  They take the longest to shake from my eyes and the hardest to re-balance my heart from.   [Click here to visit my Dreamscape category where I document them.]

I am pushing myself, because this story must be told.  It has to be left behind so my sons and lineage will have documentation of their ancestral life.  I have to tell the truth for myself, hoping that maybe, just maybe, after I am finished, there will be some reprieve.

But, right now, in this moment, I just feel like avoiding.

Stream of Consciousness | 1.6

duality / what an odd position / to both / thrive in solitude / drown in aloneness / behind the smile / an ache / that never goes away / arms to hold me / are shadows / only visible / in night dreams / clutching pillows / i have landed / on a planet / of shallow waves / a place / unfamiliar / far away from / beneath my sea / blue washes / my soft cheeks / they will / always leave / when the storms / get deep / no matter how much / the voices plead / stay / stay / don’t go away / but i am here / inside the gray / looking for realms / where the otherkin stay / i could leave today / make it a forever / would they say / i miss her / she was / a good kisser / survived / so much shit / it left a / mental sickness / i am weary of / being food for / the wicked / if i must / sleep alone / in this valley / let the ghosts rally / twist me / into cocoons / taking me / home soon / so tired / spirit endings ache / too much heartbreak / makes the body bend / until the moon / says it’s the end / and she / releases the tides for my / mothership to arrive / i float invisible / in a world of / crooks and cars / i won’t / make it far / unless i / start running now / i just / don’t know how

My Journey into Disbelief

I was born into this world doctrine free. My father was an agnostic lover of physics, and while my mother was raised Pentecostal Christian, she neither practiced the religion nor incorporated religion into our home. However, when my father started working on military projects which kept him away from home for sometimes weeks, my mother became open prey for a cult recruiter who so infused herself into my mother’s life that at three years old, I was forced into the extremist Christianity written about in my memoir, “Cult Child”.

As a child and into adulthood there was a constant war going on inside of me. This conflicted feeling existed naturally in me, both while living in the cult and transitioning into mainstream society as a teenager. My instinct was telling me that this Christian belief system was not authentic, but fear of a place called Hell held me inside of the belief system well into my early twenties.

While attending college in the early 90’s, I read “The Witching Hour” by Anne Rice. This book ignited something in me. There were traits in Ms. Rice’s characters which felt familiar to me; traits such as hypersensitivity and the ability to feel what others were feeling; seeing into people, and there were memories of my childhood which surfaced after reading the book. Because the cult sequestered me so far away from society, my hunger for knowledge delved me deeper into supernatural subjects.

I wavered for a while, still gripped at times by the fear of not believing in God and being sent to live with the demons in hell. I also found that I turned to Christianity when things didn’t go right in my life hoping that if I just believed more, things would change for me. When that did not happen, I explored deeper into paganism, pulling out pieces of my European historical roots. It was during this time I felt I was starting to put my fragmented existence back together.

Paganism led me to Santeria, a short study of Voodoo, Satanism and Shamanism. I curiously peeked into Mormonism and what the Muslims believed. I explored mainly for knowledge, thirsting to know all of the different paths which existed; paths I never was allowed to discover on my own. I delved into my Cherokee history and my connection to nature and the planet. I stuck my toes into Yogi and Osho, checked out the Buddha and jumped on the awakening and oneness trains. Yet, something interesting was happening to me.

I was definitely awakening. I was waking up to myself. Thirty years after being taken into a cult and losing all of my identity through an indoctrination which restricted my critical thinking, I regained my mind, deprogrammed myself and realized that I actually did not need a belief system which involved group think. In fact, to be who I am, I did not need a belief system at all.

So who am I? I am a non-believer who doesn’t worship anything or anyone. I journeyed deeply into disbelief, and what I found there was my free and clear mind. What I found inside of disbelieving was a knowing that empathy is inside of my DNA, not my belief system. For me, there is no reason to wonder where I came from or where I am going, but instead to be present inside of what I am doing right now, being mindful to the needs of others and defining my own boundaries of self love. In this space is a peace that no belief system has ever brought me.

Recovery Time for Trauma Survivors

You’ve planned all week for Friday’s dinner. You don’t get out much. Hyperawareness keeps you home most times. There are the buzzing hive sounds of every patron’s voice. There is the echo of the hustle and bustle. Surely, everyone in the establishment is looking at you, confirmed by the moments your eyes coincidentally meet more than one strangers’. See? They ARE looking at you!

But you’re gonna do it. You’re gonna push yourself, get out into the public and socialize. This will be great. You’ve already planned your outfit by Wednesday, maybe even trying it on to be sure. Pre-planning is finished with no Thursday worries except hoping that Friday you actually come through and show up.

Friday mornin you are ready. You are looking forward to it, actually. Friday afternoon you get a call. Change of plans. Dinner has been rescheduled for Saturday. Everyone else is cool with it, and so you say you are too.

but FUCK!

Saturday you’d planned to stay home and relax, watch a movie, have you time and anyways you’d been planning all week for Friday!

The glass bottom has just dropped out. You won’t make Saturday’s dinner. You’ll make an excuse that you already had other plans, which you did, even if they were with yourself, and you’ll grieve the lost chance to actually get out. You might feel like it Saturday, but doubtful.

Because it’ll be a while before you brave the human maze again. These moments are like rare sightings.

and that’s part of what it feels like to carry social anxiety and agoraphobia all the while smiling beautifully through your glowy mask. Too much change, even the slightest, can make some boats head back to shore for good.