Nature and Love Are Crucial To My Mental Health

2

I am heady from the smell of ocean. I walk slowly to the vast, rolling surges of white foam.  My son, the cinematographer, snaps photos of my bliss, following silently as I dance and skip. Life becomes different when I am with the sea. It is humbling for me. It is reminding me that I am small within the realm of infinite reality.

I am surrounded by my family. Babies toddle about, smashing sand into hollow, plastic turtles, their faces giggling.  This joy that has emerged from the depths of my ancestral traumas and struggle, has instilled in me a deep appreciation for the small nuances of life.  You see, this journey has been a scattered learning curve filled with crashes and burns. I have been into the depths of its darkness and risen into the brilliance of its light. I will not fall again.

6

I press my toes into the sand, aware of the soft scrub of the grains against my feet. I enjoy the firmness of this beach, impacted, forcing me to dig into and be present with the awareness of this feeling. Grounded inside the sensation, I let the earth infuse with my skin, sending her energy into my spirit.  She is soft and firm.  I am safe above her.  There is no rumbling of engines or honking of horns.  I am here in this moment completely alone.

5

The wind lifts my dress. I am in surround sound with the soft roar of the waves. They are a symphony rising and falling, reminding me that in an instance, swells can turn. She reassures me, that even if pulled into here tidal arms, sleep will be cool and peaceful. I feel every cell filling each drop of her endless depths move inside my skin. We resonate together, as even the seagulls crying out to the fish become a faded echo.  On this shore, I see dimensions I’ve never traveled before.  I see possibility.  I see me in the sea.

4

I wonder what happens inside of the mind and spirit when a human just walks into the sea? Eventually the body becomes numb from the dropped temperature. I imagine there is scramble and a struggle against the pulling of the waves as the limbs lose the ability to fight.  An acceptance washes over when the mind realizes it will never return to shore. The eyes close and gulping in the salt, the waves become one with the spirit here. Inside this liquid world, beings exist, the same as me; different environment; Otherkin.  It is not a walk I desire.  It is a wonder, a curiosity, a movement of my mind.

I am grateful for my life. It is big within this smallness. It is filled with surviving and thriving. It sings the songs of promise. It tells me to hold on, keep fighting and stay strong.

I stand inside this diminutive yet immense piece of planet; one so beautiful, yet filled with abominations beyond the imagination. I must return to the reality of my mission; my dedication, to make a difference. But just for today, I escape, just me and the waves.  I am infused by the sea and my family.  This is where I am balanced; when all is calm; where there is no storm; when we drift gently and in harmony with the tides.

3

 

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.

Liberation Point: Survivor Voices

I recently listened to the story of a woman who escaped a life in a fundamentalist religious cult.  I am always drawn to those who were children in cults, as I find the most comradeship with their stories, often similar to mine.

She is standing at the podium, poised, articulate and dressed in a dark suit.  She tells her story slowly, unfolding the pain of the cult survival which drives her passion to grow an organization supporting people just like her.   She speaks of her struggles to adapt, the experiences which she will never forget and the scars it has left upon her family.

“My worst day as a free soul is far better than my best day in captivity.”

Samie Brosseau

Samie Brosseau

I have tears as she shares.  I am her.  She is me.  We are the faces of random strangers we pass in the street.  We know nothing of their lives, but they could be us.  We grew up sequestered from life.  Our normalcy was reversed as we learned to become accustomed to being hurt.  We were refused a connection with our own authentic being and free will.

Yet, we have survived, and now I sit here so proud of who we have grown to be.  I listen as she bravely talks about the work she and her partner have done in just a short fifteen months. They have helped eight cult survivors transition into a life they would otherwise be floundering inside of.  Eli Weiss and Samie Brosseau work on event fundraisers to garner funding to provide real-time support for cult survivors.   I hear the echo of their voices’ repeated passion of being “ON THE GROUND“; understanding crisis, and what is truly needed.

“On the weekend, a couple of us will hop in the car and just drive, you know? They get to experience what it feels like to do what they want to do. They get to connect, and we laugh. We just talk about regular life. That’s how they want to be treated. Accepted.  Just like they’re people, because they are.”

Eli Weiss [on supporting cult survivors]

Eli Weiss and Samie Brosseau

I am watching from the wings as child cult survivors, now adults, are swiftly rising.  They are creating storms with their voices and healing as they exhale.  They are standing up for themselves.  They are refusing to bend.

We must pay attention to what is happening right now within our communities.  Every day, children wait for us to notice; for us to speak up.  Every day another child wonders if there is someone out there waiting should they become brave enough to run.

Oh, yes, we are here waiting for you with open arms. It is the time of the Experiencer, and we will all rise together through support, open communication and sharing.

Click the logo below to visit Liberation Point and find out more about their organization.

https://www.liberationpoint.org/home.html

 

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.

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

Why “Push Through” Can Be An Illusion

A few months ago my twenty-one year old son and his friends invited me to go hiking.

“Oh, hell yes!” I responded with excitment.

Nature is one of my many loves. I rubbed my hands together gleefully. How cool these youngsters want an oldie but goodie like me along.

“Now, mom,” my son advised, “this is no ordinary hike. I mean, you gotta cross some streams and shit. Like it’s uphill.”

“I’ve hiked before.” I retorted defensively. “I grew up in Alaska learning survival skills. HELLO! Ya’ll should HOPE to have me along.”

We laughed together as we packed our backpacks with carbs and protein snacks, water bottles and extra clothing.

What a beautiful drive to the mountain base. It was to be a mere four mile hike up to where a world opened to more beauty. There, we would have a majestic view of a lake and vast valleys. My adrenaline pumped as I thought about getting up to the plateau and the photo I would get to capture.

The first two miles I cruised along, soaking in the crisp clean air, waving to tree friends, smiling at rock faces, enjoying the streams and waterfalls.

Mile three the struggle began. The trail became steeper. We’re halfway there, my mind told me. I had this hike in the bag. My son paced me, walking ahead of me a bit, then cheering for me as I huffed and puffed my way to him where we would rest a minute and go at it again again.

Halfway into mile four my legs began to shake. My mind said, fuck you, there’s only a half mile left and then you will be sitting, having lunch, absorbing the best view and resting for a while.

But my legs wouldn’t move. My mind spun with thoughts.

“Get your ass moving.”
“You’re gonna let all these people down and be totally embarrassing!”
“Quit being a wimp. You’re stronger than you think.”
“Just rest for a second then push through!”

Still my legs wouldn’t move. The muscles in my thighs were shaking. My body was not complying. I couldn’t take another step up the rocks. In seconds I was crying; angry and frustrated. I had underestimated my body. Here I was, almost all the way up, with only a half mile of this goddamn hike left. This couldn’t be happening to me. I felt on the verge of physical collapse, but my mind did not agree.

I sat on a rock with my head in my hands, warring with my body as the group gathered around me, calling encouragement.

“It’s okay!”
“Wow, look how far you’ve made it!”
“Save your strength. You will need it for the three mile trek back down.”
“You didn’t let us down! This trail will alway be here!”
“We can come back!”
“Next time we’ll do a different, easier trail!”
“We are so proud of you!”
“We love you.”

Not one time did anyone say:

“Get your ass up and Push through!”

This concept of pushing through is over-rated and over used. Quit saying it for everything. Sometimes people need to rest. Sometimes they need to be congratulated for their hard work. Sometimes you need to acknowledge this. Sometimes you need to praise them for how far they’ve come, then help them back down the mountain so they can rest before they try again. Pushing through is not always the answer. Remember that.

Stream of Consiousness III

It is midnight and the rain is falling.  There are never torrents here in this land of evergreen forest.  She pours softly from the eave gliding down the tree leaves outside my window. 

I have knocking pain strobes in my eye sockets,  headache gone raw.  Sleep is a tender trinket dangling and taunting my view. 

Counting woolen lambs never led me to dream land.  What might I miss if I’m not aware to watch the night? What might my eyes exclude?  Where might I find myself wandering if I go down under?

My Oz is not the home Dorothy dreams of. 

There are teeth longer than devil nails chattering in the distance, while I wish on stars like the ghosts don’t exist.  I pull out fuck you guns, first my left, then my right.  I have the predators in my sight. 

Hush little angel. Don’t you cry. I’ll hold you as you say goodbye. How could they look into our eyes and think what they did was alright? 

I’m not in pain or angry.  At least not in this moment.  Answers are coded in light beams where truth is not what it seems, illusions are fueled by schemes and in the end they’re still screaming. 

But right now it’s me and the raindrops keeping my heart from stopping.  It’s me and the water. I flow. Mother. Sister. Daughter.  I am the eyes of my father with a shattered heart, left sore from too many wars. 

And his silence aches as I feel his heartbreak, the whispers of his tears.  Too many years lost.  Wind. 

But it’s just me and the rain again.   

She Left the Planet

She jumped off a bridge into the middle of traffic in North Seattle this morning. She has lingered in my heart all day. I don’t know her name, what she looked like, if she had children or a husband, family, had ever felt love or had someone hug her.

And that makes me sad.

I see people in stores, brows furrowed in seeming anger, faces down trodden. I smile at strangers. Occasionally its reciprocated. Most times it’s met with a look of confusion.

We’re so disconnected our eyes no longer meet. We don’t share smiles.

I wonder how many people passed her today. I wonder if anyone smiled at her or met her eyes. I wonder if one person had, if she still would have walked to that bridge.

To the woman who left the planet today. I feel your human suffering. I know you’re being loved now.