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.

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.

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 See You

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Liz Ianelli

I met her online, but I feel like I have known her forever. We have conversations like sisters, laughing and saying whatever we want.  We understand each other’s brash language and sarcastic thinking.  I feel so happy to have this connection.  Child abuse survivors understand other child abuse survivors.  We have our own way of conversing.  We joke about off color things. We find the macabre fascinating and nerd out on unexpected subjects.

Liz Ianelli was sent away as a teenager.  For 993 days she suffered.  Now, she rises out of the ashes to speak for those who cannot.  Liz sat down with me and shared her story on my radio show, Survivor Voices Show.

Click below to listen:

Liz’s story and incredible artwork was recently featured in ICSA Today’s 2017 Fall Quarterly Journal. After over 80 deaths of her fellow survivors, many of them suicides, Liz decided to begin the #ISeeYou campaign to inspire others and let them know they are not alone in their struggle. She rallied up her fellow survivors to make videos sharing their stories and what we deal with on a day to day basis as a result of being abused. Soon, survivors were sharing their stories. Liz hopes to continue rallying survivors, asking them to make videos as they feel comfortable.

I proudly stand with Liz in the #ISeeYou campaign. We have to continue reminding each other that we are real, authentic and here to share with vulnerability. We will not live in shame. I see 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.

What Happens When We Dissociate?

How does Dissociation work? Is it okay to Dissociate? What happens during Dissociation? So many questions are posed toward the phenomena of trauma Dissociation.

The scientific process of Dissociation is a brilliant function of a human being’s DNA ability. There are many aspects which could be deeply examined in regard to the phenomena of Dissociation.

  1. Where does the DNA brain and body energy go when it leaves?
  2. Is the ability to Dissociate related to how much torture/pain a human can endure?
  3. Can Dissociation be controlled by the carrier?
  4. What happens during the Dissociative process?
  5. Why do some abuse victim’s Dissociate and not others?

In my memoir, CULT CHILD, I go into great detail about my Dissociative memories. These are real experiences which are extremely clear and prevalent in my memory. They have never changed. They have only been verified.

My Dissociation process as a child did not disappear, but instead, evolved as I became an adult. When I begin to feel my energy separate from my body, a myriad of physical signals happen first.

Sounds disappear. My body feels as though it is floating. My heart rate speeds up. I begin to see my current reality in third person perspective, as an outsider looking in. This happens in a matter of seconds. Then in a blink, I am elsewhere in my mind. I, personally, tend to travel to a dimension outside of my current realm.

Because I dissociated so much as a tortured child, it seemed like a natural and smooth transition to evolve the methods I used to transition, into my own meditative states. If my environment is right, I am able to push through the physically uncomfortable Dissociation transition to access differing sectors of my brain. Now, it is a willful and purposeful action.

The most pertitant element has been grounding to insure I am not left with aftermath; that I can come back to my present reality and be able to function at my own current level. Therefore, before using this technique I usually hold an object in my hand.

For me, there are now two types of “Dissociation”. One, emerged out of a childhood fear, fight/flight instinct, which I used as I was universally assisted through surviving cult inflicted torture.

The other would emerge as a flipping of those ritual tools, utilizing the survival abilities of my childhood abuse as newly assistive methods through which I now freely access the other dimension.

So, from my experiences, there is no set answer to the “What happens when you dissociate?” question. There are too many mitigating factors.

  • a human’s level of pain tolerance
  • a human’s mental strength
  • an abuse victim’s environment
  • an abuse victim’s DNA
  • the type of abuse enacted

For instance, my Dissociations found me continuously returning to the seventh realm, as I know it, while another abuse victim I am friends with jumps to a planet within this galaxy. Yet another abuse survivor I know remains on the ceiling, watching the full extent of their abuse. One element I observe in regards to the extent of an ability to control Disaociation seems to also include a human’s personal evolvement. The more evolved human deals with less fear, thereby being able to travel easier.

To answer how one dissociates would be to speak with every abuse victim who has used Dissociation to cope. While our experiences and circumstances are all differing, what we do have in common are the physical signs, as described above.

Possibly, when we master the skill of traveling, not in fearful Dissociation, but in an ability to focus, using Dissociative abilities to access the levels of our own existence, we have come to explore our memories from a place of empowerment.

This takes work. It has taken me years to evolve my methods. I am still evolving them as I am determined to access more of my mind’s caves. It takes being healthy so the body doesn’t fall ill. One must be able to be in a soothing environment to do this work. Because it is emotionally laborious, most Dissociation carriers avoid the exhaustive journey.

Yet, I say that if one chooses to face the layers of their own dissected childhood, that through the exhaustion, tears and haunting images, learning to stay grounded and traveling into Dissociation has been one of my strongest developments.

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.

Motherless On Mother’s Day

by Vennie Kocsis

I don’t quite understand these constant holidays, dedicated to moms and dads and bunnies and love. I see them as marketing scams, a way to boost economy almost every month, by throwing in a Holiday.

But hey, maybe I’m bitter.

On these days I am reminded of my absent mother. See, not only did she pass away in 2007, her mother’s soul was stolen when I was three.

Recruited by an ill-intended woman into a sinister cult, my mother was forced to be separated from her children, initially physically starved through food rationing. After years of brutal torture, all of our spirits were broken.

Emotionally, I never had a mother. In cult life, I was rarely allowed to express my feelings to anyone. This was considered to be self centered behavior, a feeding of the flesh and a sin in the eyes of God.!!If by some chance I caught my mother in a listening mood, my emotions were most often turned back around on me.

“Suck it up, buttercup.”

This was one of my mother’s favorite phrases.

These days feel so distant to me. Social media is filled with flowery and adoring words dedicated to mothers. They are loved and adorned with the flowers of sparkly attention.

I wonder if those mothers are supported every single day as they raise children, work and juggle schedules. I wonder if they have their own mothers to love them.

My mother is not here to love me. If she were here, she would most likely be in the midst of her Queendom, wearing her dark “Godmother” sunglasses which she’d taken to wearing for her glaucoma.

She would be the center wheel, the rest of the family mothers in her shadow, as she preened. There is a wince inside of my star heart, a little ache to return, back into the portal where my real home awaits.

I see the outstretched arms of my celestial Mother, her lips parted into a smile reflecting light from her pearly white teeth. She is waiting for me. She is proud that I succeeded in my mission.

“Welcome Home.” She says softly.


(Gif by Vennie Kocsis)



There is no banner or trumpets to celebrate my return. We are not a star family of false pretenses. She gives me the intimate connection which supersedes any material gift.

She holds me inside of her love, and as her arms wrap around my body, I sigh a heavy breath into her chest. I am home again.

To the mother in the starlight, who visits my dreams at night, soothing my cries, stroking my holographic hair, I am alight in your glory. We will see victory in this round.

Around My City She Sleeps

There are people who learn to trust the streets. I think of their lives, how they have made darkness their day and daylight their night so they can stay alive.

Where is the safe space when the alleys are teeming with the unloved at night, ravaged by the anger in their souls, screaming out their behavior and trying to numb the pain?

I understand why she sleeps in the day, quiet beneath an office building eave, on a porch never used. I watch the employers walk quietly past her, making sure not to wake her as they enter their offices.

This mixture of compassion and hopelessness fills my observation. She is sleeping soundly where she feels safe. Somehow, there is a silent understanding of this, and so she is left to rest.

I wonder of her story, who hurt her heart, body or both. I wonder when she gave up, how old she was and what would make life different for her.

Caught in a moment around my city, I see the humanness of humans. I feel the dance of empathy and indifference from those who walk past. If they let her sleep, they’ve done enough.

And I feel a woman with a ghost story, thankful for a tiny porch and the chance to sleep in quiet, beneath a mound of blankets, escaping reality for a few short hours.

Around my city, she sleeps, the wind weeps and minds escape into dreams.

©venniekocsis.com