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.
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.
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.
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.