teenager

My Mother Didn’t Want Me Calling Boys So I Wouldn’t Look Like a Slut

Cover Only

“Rise of Sila” book cover – coming soon!

As I’m writing “Rise of Sila”, the sequel to “Cult Child“, which details my transition as a teenager from growing up in a cult, to adjusting with American culture, the many ways in which I was conditioned by my child sexual abuse is coming out in deeper ways.

Excerpt from “Rise of Sila”:I feel confused and lost.  Boys come to school all the time with “love marks”, as everyone calls them, on their necks.   Why does that make me bad?  When it comes to boys, things aren’t so different in this world than they were back on the farm.  Boys get treated better out here too. Girls? We’re dumped if we say no when they want to have sex with us and sluts if we say yes.  My second lesson is that because I am a girl, even in this new world, I will still never be right.

Eventually Mama does ask me where Russ is; why he doesn’t call anymore.  I tell her he met another girl and doesn’t want to talk to me anymore.  Mama spends the next hour telling me that men are shit.  They’re all shit.  They take and take. That’s it.  So, I should expect it.  I should never trust a man as far as I can throw him.  If I carry one thing into my adult life I better take this one, Mama rants on.   Her voice fades into the distance as it has come to do when she begins to lecture.

I won’t listen. I will grow up to become battered and bruised by the men I would choose.  I will also become hardened.   She’s right about one thing, though.  Right now, as I sit here listening to her, I know I’ll never be able to trust a boy.”

My mother reinforced in me an ideal that males can never be trusted.  She did so any time a boy I liked didn’t like me back.  While she had strict rules about boys, so I wouldn’t look like a “slut“, such as not allowing me to call them because a “lady” always lets a boy call her, she also projected her own hate for men out through my coming of age experiences.

The layers of aftermath created by the abuse of Sam Fife’s Move of God did not end the day we boarded a plane at the Fairbanks, AK airport in 1984 and flew off to Tennessee.  It would settle into my skin and dominate how I experienced every aspect of my life in regard to relationships.

Writing this sequel is, at times, daunting.  Stories I once told as funny, in short, cryptic and satirical form, now take on a different perspective as I re-live the experiences.  They’re not so humorous anymore.  They are painful and raw.  They are a direct look into my own reality.

Most of all, they are making their way out of my DNA, through my fingertips, and into the pages of a book, which continues to tell my true story through the eyes of a girl named Sila.

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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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A Poster Child for Shame

There’s a duality existing when what we long for finally arrives. In that moment we are tasked with facing it. Now, I am going back inside. I am choosing this journey. While still somewhat tired from writing “Cult Child”, I want to keep myself surfing this wave lest it all disappear.

As I am writing “Rise of Sila” I am facing some extremely harsh realities. I am diving into teenage stories that bring more realizations of the emotional intensity and aftermath being an abused child  had formed.

In some ways, we became a predator as a teenager and young adult. I wasn’t brought to that realization until today, talking with my therapist about teenage moments that as I write, I realize are filled with an incredible amount of shame.

Gottamn, that fucking hurts. It makes me angry. It makes me wince. How dare they.

I sat talking with my therapist, and she was so beautifully raw with me. Softly facing it. She asked me, “What would you know right now, today, do if you met a teenager like the one who sometimes came out in you? How would you treat her?”

I know what I would do today. I would empathize with her, hold her and do everything for her that I was screaming for. I would want to know what happened to cause her so much pain. I would see the need for love. I would reach out and give her a voice. I would believe her. I wouldn’t judge her.

“Then as you write your teenage experiences, that’s how you treat yourself. With understanding.”

Is this what I am tasked for in this life cycle? Is this why I took this mission; to stand in the footsteps of the shame, holding the highs and the lows of every human who experiences child abuse, teenage wildness and criminal behavior; standing firmly inside of owning it? Am I to be a split open example of how painful it is to heal? Am I to be a warrior of the journey of human mind control survival?

When the switch happened as a young girl, I didn’t realize the totality of its many manifestations, until I sat down to it write it out. I didn’t know until I looked back, how formed we had become and how utterly out of control the wheel had been spun.

As I drove home today, I thought to myself, I know why Lot told his wife not to look back. It had nothing to do with religion or the tale of a sinful city. It was a metaphor that sometimes going back can grind us to salt if we’re not strong enough. Lot’s wife wasn’t strong enough, so she crumbled.

I hope I am strong enough.

I believe that I am.

The Most Difficult Part Of Writing Is Writing

My life as a writer is a very solitary existence. Outside of my therapist, brother and sister and my fellow cult survivors on the internet, there is not one who has walked directly in my shoes and understands why writing my post cult experiences are just as daunting as writing Cult Child was.

It is different writing fiction from fact. If I was writing fiction, the ideas would drift from my fingers onto the page and the worst I might deal with is the daunting tasking of actually making myself WRITE.

It looks something like this:

Set the timer.
Write 20 minutes.
Off 20.

Set the timer.
Write 20 minutes.
Off 20.

Set the timer.
Write 20 minutes.
Off 20.

And it continues until….

MAYDAY! MEMORY SHUTDOWN!

This happens when I hit an empass like writing about a body shaming experience, one of the times I was raped as a teenager and more than anything, having to deeply recall conversations and the way that my mother manipulated us in every day small little ways. Her language, her body mannerisms, the things she allowed me to do as a teenager versus the things I couldn’t do and how grossly imbalanced these things were in regards to what actually is and isn’t okay for a teenager.

Yet, this is also a part of my therapy, writing these words, mashing the page, getting them out, shutting down and curling up in a ball wishing I could cry, the anger, the triumphs, the fact that I’m here, writing about it and hoping that other humans even give a shit to pick up the pages.

I am envious of writers who pound out books like grating cheese. Still I manage, juggling my life in the hopes that somehow I can push through this sequel. I write, hoping that when this is finished, I will feel some kind of completion of this phase; that I can purge these emotions enough.

and then I get to finish the fun novels; the series I’ve been working on when I need a break from the emotion.

Raped in the Moonlight

I’m in the backseat he’s on top of me. In my mind, I’m screaming no.

But I am sixteen years old and silent.

Groomed by the many hands who have touched me in places non-consenting, I am frozen right here, right now.

It is 1985.

“Just go on a double date with us.” She urges me. “Come on. I don’t wanna go alone!”

My body is already screaming “don’t go”, but I can’t abandon a friend, a habit I’ll carry through life. Something I’ll always pay for in the end when it turns pretend, but here, right now I am willing. I will be there for my friend.

I don’t know him, this date she has pre-arranged. I am stuck sitting in the back seat beside him with my stomach gurgling. He is sandy blonde hair and everything I don’t want touching me, pale skin and pompous sense of southern entitlement.

But she, my friend, has her own agenda. She wants someone along for the ride so she is not alone, and I am quietly wishing I’d stayed home.

I am bitter. I feel used. I don’t know how to refuse until it’s too late.

There’s not much fun to be had in a Tennessee town when the sun goes down, and we head to a back road field, crack open a few beers, smoke dirt weed, and I am praying she doesn’t leave me.

I sense the situation is about to shift to places I will leave my body to avoid the emotional pain of. I am trapped here, fearful and conditioned to comply.

I sit in the back seat of her mother’s station wagon. We have a curfew, and I’m hoping we’ll go back soon. But she starts walking off into the darkness with her love, and I am left with the strange boy hovering over me.

Here is his predictable slide into the back seat.

Feeble attempts to find my voice and say “no”, but I am envisioning death and boys who snap when girls resist and embarrassment that I made a scene, a prude, a drama queen.

I lay listless, head back as he does his business. My eyes become focused on the moon. She is shining clear and bright through the back window. She is almost full, and I call to her in my mind.

“How could this be my life?”

She watches as if I don’t matter. I am abandoned by her silence so I go mindless.

He is saying things he finds sensual, stupid questions boys ask when they’re in their primal, questions that make them feel worth, like my confirmation would relieve any guilt of his theft.

I will carry secrets of violations, fearing for my reputation, a girl so naive I can’t formulate ways to avoid threatening situations.

It will become a pasty mix of shame and self blame, raped beneath the moon, counting grey patches on her surface letting the minutes hazily float by.

He tries to hold my hand on the way back. As if taking from me warrants temporary ownership. No. That piece of chipped heart is buried in the place where the wheels were parked, sunk into the ruts in the country mud.

And I am just an invisible woman in a young girl’s body hoping my star family will find me and help me return to my home, hidden behind the moon.