Balancing Our Trauma and Creativity

The other day I was having a conversation with a fellow trauma survivor and writer. She posed a question to me.

How do you balance everything you want to do and keep your head together?

There are many blogs about creativity which advise on this subject, and many of them contain very valuable information.  So, I had to answer her from my own personal perspective.  Instead of repeating what is suggested, I wanted to answer her direct question about my daily process specifically.

You see, I am a free-flow creative. Forcing me to follow a set schedule is a sentence for the death of my creativity and passion. It is the driving force that will push me into emotional flat feel. I will strain against the confined system and begin to have a growing irritation towards the control of a schedule until I wither.

Any rigid type of living, for me, is a recipe for depression as I stare at the screen because it’s 1 PM, this is my scheduled time to write, but I don’t want to be writing at the moment. My soul wants to create art, work on other projects or even rest for a while.

Many branding gurus advise to stick to that strict schedule and don’t vary from it. because that is how successful people happen! So it was that I redefined the meaning of success for myself.

Read here to find out makes me feel successful.

Do I pay attention to the marketing side of my brand? Absolutely. I am a lone wolf with a friend who helps me with computer tasks when she can. I have no expectations of her. She has a family and helps me for free. I bow and kiss her feet for that! 95% of my brand is solely controlled and operated by me.

Do I read branding blogs? Absolutely. Following branding bloggers like BadReadheadMedia, by 30 Day Marketing Challenge author Rachel Thompson, have given me excellent information. Partaking in Twitter hashtags like #MondayBlogs, #SexAbuseChat and #NoMoreShame, have helped me connect with some great trauma survivors who are vulnerably baring their souls. Connecting with creative trauma survivors, like artist Liz Ianelli and podcaster Matt Pappas, keep me inspired.

What I don’t do is allow what I read about suggested success methods to pressure me. I glean what feels fitting for my own life and my brand, and I incorporate it. I don’t change the specific routine I have for my-self care, a routine for which no specific schedule really exists. I make a “to do” list almost every day (because 1/2 of it is usually carry over from the prior day), and if there’s a timeline due, I make note of it. In the end, though, I always do things in a rhythm which matches my own positive flow. If something sinks me, it’s not for me.

Being a trauma survivor and a creative can be daunting. When I put too much pressure on myself, I tend to drop into shutdown. My creativity flow is dependent on the state of my mental health.

I always put my mental health and quest to continue being the healthiest before everything.

If two hours is all I have to give to my creativity on some days, that’s what I give. Some days I don’t create at all. Other days I catch a wind and go for hours. All of this is is unpredictable and unknown for me.

My creativity is flowing water at a pace I currently feel happiest following. I cannot re-carve the banks of its river. Instead, I float its calm stretches and row its rapids, staying with the grain of the waves and enjoying the view along the way. To me, this is balance. For me, this is the best route to reach the vast sea of success.

I hope you stay balanced through your creative journey by putting yourself first. I hope you take walks in the trees or lay in the grass and count the clouds. I hope you free flow with yourself, absent of any painful expectation, and know that if you care for the growing plant of your creative well, you are guaranteed to grow into the tallest tree.

P.S. Today I accomplished vacuuming and this blog post. SUCCESS

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

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A Different Kind Of Damaged

You are a different kind

Of damaged, chaotic mind

Confused you use words

As projection swords and

I see the hurt behind the eyes

The reflection as your soul dies

Lie by lie by lie; the ones you

Tell yourself are true so you

Have a good enough excuse

To dart the arrows with no regard

Of the blood flown from hearts

Torn apart by your anger and

My mind says danger. Danger.

There is pain too deep to touch,

A hole that one could fall through

To end up in a deep abyss

Of your untethered loneliness.

Such a sunflower shouldn’t die

Drowning inside an inability to cry,

You sip illusion, a savory wine;

Your mirror, a self-made design.

Everything that makes you wince

Tells you what needs love’s attention

As you ignore. Ignore. Ignore;

The parts of you so bruised and sore.

I can only sit and observe,

The winding streets of your hurt

Hovering above the purity

Stolen from your childhood

An inability to develop so you

Scrambled and scratched your

Way through life; numb the wounds

With bottles of booze, laugh away

The moments draining your happy,

Regret and listing what you’re lacking.

I feel slightly stoic and disinterested,

An odd reaction, to not feel sorry

For the churning of your own hurting.

When light floats inside your air

You call the darkness; safer there?

No more minutes can pass me by.

I’m swiftly running out of time; must

Focus forward; head held high

Silently take the podium and speak.

Empowered woman. Empowered me.

©️ VennieKocsis

Boundaries: Enacting Them With Empowerment

Boundaries

It’s no secret that I have a tumultuous past. From time in jail to extreme sexual misuse of my body to behavioral problems, I have run the course of self-destruction, projection, being attached to petty dramas and other avenues of self harming, trauma based personality traits.

I am purposefully open about my past.  I want people to know they are not alone. I want people to know they do not have to live in shame.  I want people to know they don’t have to let anyone reverse them to the skin they have shed through healing. So, there is nothing which can be hurled toward me in regard to my past, nothing rooted in truth anyway, which I will not acknowledge. Part of my healing journey has included learning to stand in my place, not with shame or regret, but with empowerment.

I get to choose what to discuss or not discuss. I get to choose what to accept or not accept. I get to choose, period, and that’s that.

I also used to have a deep need to defend myself, explain my side and try to make everyone see and understand ME. I have associates who could tell you story after story of the times I lamented and recycled the same situations until I crazy-made my own mind. I was often in a negative-based mental space.

I felt owed. I felt people should adjust to me. I sometimes felt discarded, shunned and unaccepted, even by my own friends. Until I realized it wasn’t true. I was literally creating a negative storyline in my head that wasn’t fully rooted in truth and acceptance but instead, in my own self-based perception. There was some behavior from people which made me back away but concerning me, in retrospect, I churned those situations far too long and too much.

When we are in that state of mind or have friends who are in that state of mind, where we are churning instead of growing and learning, we can hold space and listen. I don’t mind listening. If you, the reader, don’t want to listen to others situations or can’t hold space, you also have the right to say, “I don’t have that to give to you right now.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to be in the space holding position. I have had friends tell me how frustrating it was to watch me churn petty problems instead of figure out solutions. So, I get it now. I’m an experiencer of this negative thought patterning.

I have a major boundary when it comes to being in the listening position, and that boundary is enacted when someone’s struggles are thrown at me like darts, and I am suddenly in the scapegoat position.

Writing on this subject was inspired by waking up today to a very long message from a friend explaining a situation that we had already discussed just a day ago and seemed, to me at least, had been lain to rest. Okay. I accepted that some things might still be unresolved for them. So, when I began to read, I was open to listening until I arrived at this phrase:

you have written a book and working on another about your torment and pain that some may dismiss as drama.”

Ah. Now I see. Because this person is attached to adult drama, they had the audacity to compare it with my childhood trauma. What I was reading was a projector’s mindset. I was being crazy-made.

I even further realized I was a target when I continued reading and arrived at… “All the times you schemed, planned, and even asked me to be involved. Or carried on without me, I never said a thing. Yes I was angry.”

At that moment I became slightly alarmed.  My mistrust meter went up to level red.  I began to search my brain. When did I scheme with this person? When did I ask them to be involved with a scheme that made them angry? My brain could find nothing. I attempted to call them to openly discuss it so I could understand more clearly what they were even talking about. They didn’t answer.

Then it hit me. If they were actually really referring to every person who has schemed and planned with them, but they couldn’t aim their anger at the actual person, it was being aimed at me. I was dealing with a deep projection.

This is where I advise not to take everything someone says to us literally as if it refers directly TO us.  If we cannot connect it to a specific event, most likely it really is not rooted in us.  However, we should not allow anyone to speak to us in ways which disrespect our growth and the ethics we work to maintain.

By that time, I was angry. How dare they speak to me this way. How dare they imply such things to me, that I’d ever schemed or been a petty person with them. How dare fabrications be thrown my way. How dare they not have the respect to answer the phone and actually talk to me about it.

By that time, I knew that I was done. I knew that I needed to separate from the recurring theme of this person’s personal life and being in the projected position. I realized this person was just being plain malicious and mean to me. At least that is how it felt.

I realized how hurt I was in that moment. So many times, I’ve been the only one listening to them; the only one understanding; the only one protecting. I sat on my bed, looking at my phone and realizing this was the crossroad we are at, and I had to choose to turn. That doesn’t always feel good.

I sit back now, writing out this emotion and decision to cut ties. I am hurt, confused and irritated to even have pettiness infused into my day unexpectedly. I also understand this really doesn’t have anything to do with me personally. I am being scapegoated. When I am feeling like that, I take my leave for my own spiritual safety. I always wish well, even as I wield a verbal sword when I slam the gate shut, in my heart, I always hope for healing and eventual accountability.

These are the times it hurts to cut ties with people we have been there for and truly care about in regard to their well being. This decision, for me, is rooted in the fact that this person has no respect for my own mental health, in that they found it alright to disrespect me. This person has now chosen to impede on my peace and mental health. That is a strong boundary for me now.

I write about this to both expel the negative energy that it created in me and to really drive home that we get to choose. I used to HATE when people said that to me. It pissed me off because I wasn’t ready to change my self-defeating behaviors. I had excuse after excuse. Everyone else was the problem. While yes, others had issues too, I needed to learn how to just focus on my own and not allow them to project theirs onto me. I had to also learn how to not project mine onto others.

I could list out the various physical and mental impairments I generally positively live with on a daily basis. I could demand everyone comply to my needs in regard to them. What I’d rather do is tell you that instead, I made the choice to create an environment which is conducive to my own well-being. I created it by building boundaries and standing mostly quiet in them, only raising my voice when it needs to be heard very clearly. It changed my whole life for the better. Any situation or connection which is not contributing to my greater good can be released or even taken a break from.

Once, one of my sons and I took a break from communicating because things were tumultuous between us. As a mom, I felt crushed. I spent many a night crying and lamenting until I finally realized that I was part of the problem. I needed to learn some different parenting skills, became accountable, listen more and stay rooted in my own safety boundaries. I started focusing on how I could do better, and our dynamic grew into a better and more loving space. I needed to lead by example in that situation.

I don’t expect you to compare any situation you may be having to my own. I share these examples because when I chose to own my own life and stand in what felt safe and comfortable for me, it changed everything. When we choose to heal the triggers which once rocked us they aren’t as daunting anymore. We remove the trigger and live from a state of self-care.

Until we choose to put our own peace of mind first, which can also, unfortunately, include pissing people off to do so, we will always be in the negativity zone. Becoming an empowered person means putting our own well being first.

Release unneeded worries. Cease churning negative situations. Create safe boundaries for yourself and adhere to them without fear of backlash. Most of all, accept that we are the only ones who can choose to protect and put ourselves first in our own lives.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

Redirection

Sometimes things in life make me pause and focus on redirection. Being a creative and a passionate Pisces, I can easily become side tracked into projects which aren’t necessarily meant for me.

I can be like a hound dog, occasionally distracted by attractive scents, sniffing successfully until something redirects me.

Technology has changed me. It has created a false sense of urgency which has distracted me. Each time I sign into my brand, there are influxes of posts telling me how important it is for me to be present, every day! And if I can’t, I should be figuring out HOW or I will FAIL, FAIL, FAIL!! 😳

There’s pressure to figure out what day I should post; what content I should present, exactly what time to attract as many “likes” or “retweets” as possible, who my target audience should be, how to search for them, and if I can’t succeed in THAT, I should consider paying someone to do it for me.

I am rebelling. I am redirecting. I am watching the doers. The truth is, that for someone like me, nothing is more important than focusing on my creativity. Those who love me and support me will be waiting in the wings when I emerge from periods of hibernation.

I feel a great sense of urgency to redirect; to deeply travel the pathways into myself on a more intense level. I rise the highest when I am free of influence and distractions.

Having full control of my mind and my rhythm is crucial to feeding my soul. In these times, I call upon assistance and hand her my phone. I go dormant into the cave to do the work which must be done.

Redirection is pertinant to my current existence. Not everything is meant to be. It is up to me to discern these paths; to choose the best route and weed out that which is not contributing to my mission.

Somewhere in the corner of a cafe, a table awaits a girl whose fingers are ready to pound keys and tell the rest of her story.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

I Fasted For 2 Days. Here’s What Happened.

Water Fast

When I decided to try a two-day fast, my intent was to begin short stints of fasting and clear my mental status.

I did my research. I am healthy. I’ve never had high blood pressure or internal organ issues, so, after checking it all out, it was a go.  I chose a water fast. I would go two days without food, drinking a healthy amount of water each day.

I began on a Thursday, planning to end it on Friday and celebrate with a soft breakfast on Saturday. I felt determined and extremely interested in what my thought process would be.  I purposely made sure I had no food in the house to keep myself clean of temptation.

Thursday started with a cup of coffee.  I spent most of the day without hunger pains. At 12:16pm, I noted a growling stomach and a headache.  I was feeling calm and having few thoughts of food.  At 12:46 pm, I received an email notifying me that my phone bill was overdue.  Shortly after making the payment arrangement, I thought of food.  With a slight moment of worry, my brain had sent me to my addiction as a soothing mechanism.  The fact that I had to write the emotion made me aware of the connection and able to work through it.

Here are some notes I took on day one.

1:20 PM – Hunger pains. As the day gets later, I’m reasoning again; that I could eat light.  Today I am focused on the accomplishment intention in this fasting.”

1:52 PM – Feeling very focused

3:00 PM – Had a conversation with a friend about how difficult it is to find someone to date; how we wish we had that intimacy sometimes. Found myself thinking of food afterwards – possible comforting the feeling of lack of partnership?”

3:47 PM – Fuck… this… shit… Why am I doing this? I’m soooooo hungry! AND nauseated!”

4:30 PM – So need to eat something I feels – physically like shit – nausea is off the chain!”

I made it through day one by drinking a small cup of coffee in the evening to let the caffeine curb the nausea and headache.  I got a decent night’s sleep.

Friday, I started the day again having a small cup of coffee.  I spent the morning gulping water.  My notes for the day proceeded as I continued to struggle with thoughts of food.  At about 11:00 AM I thought about getting some soup, a bit of broth, just to curb the nausea.

 “12:39 PM – stomach growling like a mofo – goddamit!”

My stomach was growling, and a slight headache was growing behind my eyes.  I began to worry about not being able to sleep that night due to hunger pains.

2:57 PM – Fuck whoever is cooking good smelling food nearby.  I am commanding it to smell like a pig farm! I also feel oddly high and I haven’t smoked a damn thing.”

4:15 PM – I’m reasoning with myself to just have a salad tonight – to change the fast and only eat a salad in the evening.  Tummy growling audibly! Like a fucking choir from hell – a demon choir.”

7PM – Had coffee with a friend who came to visit.”

OKAY FINE! I also ate a small bit of bean and cheese burrito.  SHAME SHAME SHAME!”

As Friday evening progressed, I gained an intense clarity and focus.  I scrubbed my bathroom on my hands and knees.  I completed a plethora of small tasks that had been sitting undone for days.  In just two days of fasting, I had learned an immense amount of information about the way I think and how my emotions correlate with food.  I felt inspired.  I felt that my DNA had begun to reset itself.

I now intend to do five days soon.  I love a good challenge.  I have a competitive spirit. I want to fight my food addiction through this mental process.

I will journal it again, and share my experience with you.

Note: Please do your research and check with your doctor before fasting.  If you deal with medical impairments, fasting may not be for you.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

The Day I Disappeared

Life Behind the Veil

“Life Behind the Veil” by Vennie Kocsis. Click the photo to view more art.

Click to Listen to the Spoken Version:

https://anchor.fm/e/99f7a0?at=2202210

The day I disappeared and
Became invisible
Was the moment
I became invincible.

I got lost inside
The existence of my absence.
I lost my laughter,
Which had
Trickled in moments
Of hopelessness,
So I could feel and
Deal with the real.

I disappeared and
It brought me here.

Now I stand
Unexpected
Affected and feeling.

I am healing.

It is said the sum
Of the numb means
We have succumbed to
Acceptance.

I call that self-rejecting.

I want to be affected
By the dejected.
I want to hold their fears
In my palms, dip my
Fingers in the ocean to
Release the tears.

I let myself see.
It’s my freedom
To go nowhere
So that I’m always
Somewhere and

Even now as these words
Run through minds
Who question meanings
Of bending time

I fade into the distance.
I am no longer
Resisting the calls to
Explore caves lined with
Files of memories waiting
To fill the gaps and
Bring the rest of the
Memories back.

The day I disappeared,
The world was quiet.
My face never reached a screen
Nor an ear, my screams.
I became an echo of a dream,
A memory slowly fading
Into remnants of words
Melting into the earth.

Vennie Kocsis is the author of Cult Child and hostess of Survivor Voices Show.

One Badass Redhead

Click the graphic to visit Rachel’s website

In this journey of traveling the grid of the internet, I’ve been privileged to connect with a variety of individuals.  Through these connections, I have learned, found support, grown and joined the ranks of strong survivors who are shamelessly telling our child abuse stories with the intent of helping others.

When I met Rachel Thompson, owner of Bad Redhead Media, on Twitter, I resonated deeply with her writing.  In her books, Broken Pieces and Broken Places, she passionately pours out the rawness of her pain in a writing style akin to painted, language art.  I was immediately hooked.

Being an independent author, I equally latched on to her amazing marketing book, The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge, geared toward toward supporting the budding author in learning how to market on their own.  I took the challenge, and I learned!

I recently had the honor of talking with Rachel on my radio show, Survivor Voices Show.

Click below to listen as she shares her life, her story of child sex abuse, her triumphs and how she masters focusing on self care, writing and growing her brand.

Click to Stream Rachel’s Interview on Spreaker.

Click below to listen to Rachel’s Interview through Survivor Voices Show on YouTube:

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Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.