shunning

Shunned

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“Unacknowledged” graphic art by Vennie Kocsis

Where is our place,
we ask each other?
They write books and tell
the stories of dozens,
except us, forgotten,
our grief shunned,
held silent and we
have no place to call home.

So we create our own shell.
We enter it and sometimes
our ethereal strings connect,
and just like children
we talk through invisible cans.

Left behind.
Standing to the side.
We are the shadow lurkers.
The odd ones out.

Look to the left and right.
Seeing our fellow
survivors cry and they
can’t speak yet
can’t talk about what
they hold inside.

We few who have found voices
left over from the dripping
anger of Sam Fife’s horror,
stand in our huddled group
so small, it becomes miniscual
buried inside of
the bigger picture
belonging to the ones
who have each other.

We look at one another
realization settles into our eyes.
It’s just us against
this waning world.
Others shouting they stand with us
from distances so far
we are left in the familiar
hole of knowing the words
won’t match the action and
there’s always a catch.

The cusp of the feel is real.
The truth of the eyes which
never look at you
are black, the skin sallow
and we follow our own souls
walking this path alone.

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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Odd Girl Out

I never felt like I belonged to my family. I lived their dynamic hovering on the outside looking in. Mom and sister always seemed to have secrets between them that I never seemed good enough to know. I didn’t feel included or chosen. I was often told to go away, things were none of my business that I was just a kid.

Years of abuse in a cult weren’t the only aspect of my childhood that would chart my future relationships. I would feel like an outsider in almost every part of my life. Even now I often feel the same way; either unnoticed, misunderstood or both. Highschool was often a filmy dissociation. I hover in most of my memories, seeing my life from a third perspective view.

Living on the edge of cloudy hazes turns loneliness into a quiet craving to always be alone. Just as a prisoner becomes accustomed to their cell, I have become accustomed to solitude and absent intimacy. If I wish for anything, it is to be beautifully courted, slowly, with time, respect and patience where I am whisked into lands of surprises by eyes telling me that I am accepted and loved. i know, but a woman can wish.

I feel as if I am stepping over a milestone where I won’t be able to turn back. Aloneness will have settled in so deeply, I will make the outskirts my permanent home.

From around eight until I was a teenager, my mother, sister and brother all told me that my father wasn’t quite sure that I was his. I spent many a day examining my siblings’ features in comparison to mine. I was tall and lanky, while they were shorter and stockier. My lips were more plump. Hmmm.

I picked it all apart, adding to the story, which confirmed in my own head that I was in fact the product of my mother’s alleged affair. I even spent some years wondering how I could find my “real” dad until finally, in my adulthood, I posed the question openly. It was greeted with laughter by my siblings and mother. What a joke, they said. How could I believe something so silly?

How could I not? How could they tell a child their father wasn’t their real father? Since when did “I cheated and got you” become a joke?

At 38 years old, I finally got a chance to ask my father, if he ever doubted that I was his.

“Absolutely not.” He said firmly and without a second of hesitation. “I always knew you were special and undoubtedly mine.”

There was a slight quiver in his voice, and a pause filled with emotion. Pain. A man hurting. That’s what those three seconds told me. My whole body felt his loss.

My father had loved me, but I was ripped from him, then taken into a sick world where I would always be the ghost girl, drifting on walls, watching other people’s movie screens. I’d be the girl who grew into the shadow of a woman, still fragile beneath a shell.

I am a woman remotely viewing human lives, sitting on the outside. I watch lips mouth lies to one another. I see lovers gazing at each other. I tap my pen against my cheek. I am conditioned for being different.

It is sometimes a rabid duality, to both crave togetherness and aloneness, all in the same breath. Somewhere, someone understands the balance some of us need between together and alone. I only hope one day to meet them.