Ants At the Symphony 

I am back in my high school town. Although there are no beaches in Martin, TN, I am perched, legs crossed, in front of one. This small beach boasts crystal clear, soft blue water rolling in with a slow, tender tide. I am sitting in an ancient stone colosseum. It is as if it was lifted from a fallen city and placed where it grandly sits now.

I am wearing an elegant black dress, shoulderless and simple. I glance down at my toes, perfectly painted deep blue and tucked inside of toeless, black heels. My hair is coifed and sprayed perfectly in place. I am grandly dressed for the symphony.

I am perched alone on one of the stone benches, closest to the stage which has been set up with the beautiful beach as scenery behind it. On stage is a large orchestra filled primarily with strings.

The music surrounds me. I close my eyes, feeling the soft embrace of the cello and the haunting tears of the violin strings.

Suddenly my right forearm begins to itch. I look down and see a red bump close to my wrist. It looks like I have been bitten by a mosquito. I scratch the bump, and when I do, the skin lifts and ants come scattering out of the hole in droves, covering my wrist and hand.

I panic.

I wake up.

It’s coming out.

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

Collaborator No More 

Don’t ask me to collaberate unless there’s compensation, and that compensation has to be given to me first.  I’ve been burned more than not in the area of collaborating. Giving my time and talents over to anyone is a privilege.  My gifts have value.

Collaborators are interesting creatures.  They love bomb like this:  “Vennie you’re the greatest (flattery, flattery, flattery) I’d love for you to (write/paint/sing for me)!”

In the past, my response was to trust, have ethics and step up to the plate in the exchange.  Until…

Weeks later… The collaborator had their shit from me (because I followed through with what I said I was going to do), and I had… Nothing in return. Then suddenly their love bombing disappeared, the collaborator conveniently doesn’t know me anymore and pays no more attention to my work.  They have moved on to their next victim.   They are in the business of extraction.

So when people ask me to collaberate the answer is no unless there is direct compensation.

I am sure many creatives can relate to this type of scenario. Creative exchange should be an equal flow.  Not one side using the other.

Creatives who have gone Hollywood are a turn off to me.  They are stripped of ethics and swept up into the pattern of using and discarding people. They care only about notoriety.  Where is the passion when art becomes emotional and financial greed?  We creatives should receive compensation, of course.   But when creatives use other creatives, that is not collaboration.  That is piranha ass hattery.

Erykah Badu said that once a creative gives their gifts away it doesn’t belong to them anymore.  I agree.   I give away my words every day.  I bare my soul.  I risk plagiarism, and it doesn’t matter because I’m connecting with lives.  I do so by choice.

But don’t ask me to work on your project for free.  My free time is already invested into the stock of Vennie.

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.

Soul of an Angel

“Soul of an Angel” was written in 2009 and just recorded yesterday as I made this video. It is a representation of the connection between abused little girls and the abuse they often continue to endure in adulthood. Little girls are our earth angels, and there is no penance for the level of evil of those who defile their beautiful existence.

Child Abusers Rarely Take Ownership of Their Crimes

If my mother were alive, and you were to ask her if she allowed her children to be abused or if she abused her children, her answer would most likely be (with Bible in hand), “Absolutely NOT!”

She would then most likely go on to tell you what difficult children my siblings and I were to raise, along with a myriad of other excuses to support the gross denial covering the guilt she couldn’t face.   This is what abusers do; blame the child, and all too often, naive adults actually believe it.

A couple of years ago, a friend who grew up in the same cult as me had a conversation with a woman who knew me when I was a child. My friend asked the woman about my time as a child at the second compound I was taken to in Alaska, and the woman said this:

Well, she was quite a boisterous child and was always in trouble a lot.”

She victim blamed a child who she witnessed be abused and yet still, thirty plus years later, the denial runs as deep as the ocean. What should we have expected? That our abusers would admit to their crimes? What a ridiculous notion. Child abusers rarely admit to their crimes unless they’re caught. Given the chance, they will quickly blame the child.  Witnessing child abuse and doing nothing is just as criminal as participating.

Victim blame a child abuse survivor, and that’s where my patience, kindness and association ends.

I do not ever condone a child abuse survivor having to defend themselves against the abuse they suffered. My fellow child abuse survivors, we’re not mentally ill. Our abusers are. Those who would attack your abuse are in serious need of psychological help themselves.

They lack empathy and understanding. Attacking someone’s child abuse is an extremely apathetic action. I feel we must use our voices to stand against those who would deny the atrocities that we endured as children and that children still endure. We have to stand our ground and not allow children to ever be blamed for the neglect and/or abuse they endure.

Tonight I sit in contemplation, knowing where my passions are, and what makes me feel in a space of forward movement.   I am aware of where I put my time and my energy, for my goal is to always be focused on believing and supporting child abuse survivors.

When a Child Is Trained For Death

On October 7th, the world was supposed to end again, as it has been for centuries, since Christianity unleashed its torrent of mind control on humanity.

When this story hit the internet, there was a lot of laughter and mocking towards it. I agree. It is ridiculous. However, I find the concept of Heaven and Hell to be ridiculous period. With the state of the planet as it is in now, humans have already created a scenario much worse than the hell they use to fear control children into compliance. Yet, there’s another aspect of this story that I wonder if you have thought of.

I was a child in an end-times cult. I will tell you this. There was no fun or joking in being a child preparing to die either for Christ, the end of the world or both. I believed that I would die. From the age of three, into my teenage years, it was a given that the world would end, and I, along with all of my family and friends, would endure a painful combustion. It is a rigid circle of mind fuckery from which a child cannot escape. There may be rituals involved, such as drills to teach the children how to behave and pray when the end arrives or even an invasion of some kind where they will be killed.

This is part of how soldiers train for war. They train to die. Why are we allowing this to be done to children? Teaching a child that the world might or will essentially end and that their death might be painful, but it’s all for God, is child abuse.  Add in the Rapture and the hope inside of the child that maybe they’ll get swept up in that, maybe it’ll happen before the end of the world or maybe it’ll happen all at once. The unknown is just as fearfully mind bending.

When will people stop allowing children to be mind-controlled, trained for death and abused under the guise of religious freedom?

“When a child is trained for death they will always see the world through eyes of fear.” Vennie Kocsis, author, “Cult Child