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.

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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.

Swaddle Your Heart

Where do I go when I float?

Away from the frayed tentacles

Of memories and ligaments,

Strained from twisting, turning,

Child, they said, this hurts me

More than it hurts you. No.

I go back to moments and sit,

Quiet inside the hopelessness it’s

Good to remember this; to never forget

Lest I leave behind the reasons why

I fight until my brows ache.

You got lucky if you didn’t get raped.

It takes the soul away; flight, it

Wanders in dark nights and mires,

Like quicksand, it is the hand of

Every time we were violated

Again and again and again.

Rock with the sadness, my loves.

Hold it bravely in your tender arms,

Like a baby you can re-love the child;

The defiled despair living there

In the core that is shattered and torn.

Fly with the visions, sweet thrivers,

Take back your mind. Release the ghosts.

You are not that anymore; not the

Forgotten child in the chains

Of monsters and madness. No.

You face yourself in the mirror;

Command the past and swaddle

It into the depth of your soft heart.

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.

Nature and Love Are Crucial To My Mental Health

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The Girl In the Mirror

You loved me,” I said, “when I was at my lowest. Yet, I didn’t quite know you were loving me. I was in tears so many days. You held me. Together we traveled the tunnels of rewound memories, finding ourselves sometimes on clouds and others in quagmire. Through these times, these deep struggles, you were always there, even when I wasn’t aware of your presence. Now, as I look into your eyes, clear and concise, I am elated that you were patient. You waited. You got to know each part of me explicitly. We have grown into one moving energy, crafted through the moments I struggled to find you, calling you to please come to me as you were wandering. Today I am grateful. Today I say thank you. Thank you for returning to me; for finding me and being inside my wholeness.”

You’re welcome.” Replied the girl in the mirror.

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

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.

Don’t Forget Me!

Hey, V, don’t forget me when you reach the top.”

The top of what? The top of the end of child rape? The top of the Eiffel Tower? The top of the end of mentally ill people creating more and more victims? The top of my bed to get out of it on a Tuesday morning to drag myself to counseling? The top of the next chapter of a book taking years to write? The top of making it to a conference to educate some people on child abuse?

THE TOP OF WHAT?????

I get it. You’ve mystified me because of what I choose to let you see online. Don’t do that. Disappointment guaranteed. GUARANTEED!

If I had cameras 24-7 blasting from my tiny living space to the World Wide Web you’d say, “Oh, gosh. Well, okay then.” It would be akin to stopping to see a wreck.

Alright, maybe not that bad. You’d see me dancing around to BeeGees music, meditating and doing soft yoga, boringly writing (she’s STILL writing?), making art and then binging on crime documentaries and cosmology shows while I relax in my bed and write blogs like this.

You’d have periods of staring at my cat while I escaped to the woods. Then when I returned you’d say, “Babe! Look! Look! She’s talking to herself/her cat again!” You don’t even know and you won’t, nosy ass!

I can tell you one thing I have had to forget. Time. Because there isn’t “enough” of it if you start measuring how damn busy life becomes, the more you choose to keep pushing yourself out there.

That is how people get “forgotten”. Not because they don’t mean anything to us, but because we become stripped of our time. When down time becomes less frequent, it’s often reserved for immediate family. You pop in our heads. We get side tracked.

I hate that stupid saying that if someone cares they’ll make time for you. Not true. If someone cares, they’ll respect someone’s lack of having extra time.

This statement of “don’t forget me” has always baffled me. What does that mean? Send money if I get rich? Remember that most of the people who say this to me never share my work or support me in any way. I won’t forget you. I usually don’t forget the people who tell me not to forget them as if they’re entitled.

I’ve never said this to an aspiring or established creative. Maybe because I am a creative, that I understand the ridiculousness of this statement. Instead I wish them well and may we meet again, and I’ll do my best to explore their work.

I’ll be alone dancing you know it, baby, and I don’t care if you forget about me. Stop putting those expectations on us.

Look, you think Gaga hand writes all those printed letters that get sent to her little monsters? No. She has assistants who do that. Now, I’m not comparing myself with LG, I’m just saying, busy is busy.

So, as you who use this statement, in return I say this. Don’t forget me now, and I’ll be less apt to forget you later.

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