thriver

Are You Successful?

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“From Waif to Warrior” by Vennie Kocsis – Available for Purchase at: vennie-kocsis.pixels.com

I was asked “Do you feel successful.”

Yes. I do.” I answered.

Their face squinched up.

But you don’t even own a house.”

I had to chuckle. I wasn’t offended. I actually welcome these conversations. It opens up perspective. I was able to explain that I have never wanted to be tied to a mortgage. I don’t like being tied to payments period. I have never had that desire. Anytime I was, it was a great struggle for me. I felt chained and inside of the humanoid mill.

I have always been a wanderer, a traveler, even at times, a runner, from situations I couldn’t handle. But I never have longed for riches or looked at that as a definition of success. If I ever longed for it, it was in a thought of how many people could be helped if wealth was in the hands of the compassionate. Yet, mainly, my mind is always ablaze with possible creations, projects, new ideas to filter in or let blow away in the wind.

You see, I am successful because I walked through fire, burning and scalded to now stand in the most authentic space I’ve ever felt. I am successful at owning the totality of my own life, shamelessly. I am successful because I wrote my story, years of aching and crying, vomiting into plastic bags, most often alone, in dark rooms, screaming out the childhood torture to expel it from my molecular structure.

I am successful for the songs which flowed through me to soothe my spirit and the poetry book so eloquently penned; that I found my gratitude and can look at four brilliant, independent publications. MY hands made those. MY DNA poured those timeless scrolls into tangible literary works. I am successful because they will remain forever, precious to someone.

I am successful because I get to be who I was born to be. I get to create art. I get to CREATE anything I wish. I get to call my own shots. I get to stand in a place of empowerment and not fear of loss. I am successful because I am at peace in this space.

Our definition of success could be defined the moment we are doing what we love, when we are healing and growing. Maybe therein is the critical switch, a word definition, away from accumulation and into inspiration.

I am successful.

Vennie Kocsis is the author of CULT CHILD and host of Survivor Voices Show, airing every Sunday @ 6PM PST. She is an advocate against child abuse and indoctrination. She is an artist and poet residing in the Pacific Northwest.

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Child Abusers Rarely Take Ownership of Their Crimes

If my mother were alive, and you were to ask her if she allowed her children to be abused or if she abused her children, her answer would most likely be (with Bible in hand), “Absolutely NOT!”

She would then most likely go on to tell you what difficult children my siblings and I were to raise, along with a myriad of other excuses to support the gross denial covering the guilt she couldn’t face.   This is what abusers do; blame the child, and all too often, naive adults actually believe it.

A couple of years ago, a friend who grew up in the same cult as me had a conversation with a woman who knew me when I was a child. My friend asked the woman about my time as a child at the second compound I was taken to in Alaska, and the woman said this:

Well, she was quite a boisterous child and was always in trouble a lot.”

She victim blamed a child who she witnessed be abused and yet still, thirty plus years later, the denial runs as deep as the ocean. What should we have expected? That our abusers would admit to their crimes? What a ridiculous notion. Child abusers rarely admit to their crimes unless they’re caught. Given the chance, they will quickly blame the child.  Witnessing child abuse and doing nothing is just as criminal as participating.

Victim blame a child abuse survivor, and that’s where my patience, kindness and association ends.

I do not ever condone a child abuse survivor having to defend themselves against the abuse they suffered. My fellow child abuse survivors, we’re not mentally ill. Our abusers are. Those who would attack your abuse are in serious need of psychological help themselves.

They lack empathy and understanding. Attacking someone’s child abuse is an extremely apathetic action. I feel we must use our voices to stand against those who would deny the atrocities that we endured as children and that children still endure. We have to stand our ground and not allow children to ever be blamed for the neglect and/or abuse they endure.

Tonight I sit in contemplation, knowing where my passions are, and what makes me feel in a space of forward movement.   I am aware of where I put my time and my energy, for my goal is to always be focused on believing and supporting child abuse survivors.

I Received a Beautiful Award!

Once a Victim Now a Survivor Award

Award

I’m really honored to be payed forward the “Once a Victim Now a Survivor Award“. Thank you so much, Darque Thoughts

I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my emotional vomiting. If one reader feels less alone, then all the retching is worth it. Thank you guys!

I was asked these five questions as a part of this award and have passed this award forward to five more survivors below.

1. In what ways do you feel that blogging can help people with psychological trauma or mental illness?

Writing therapy is a great way to clear the mind. Instead of bottling up the pain, flashbacks, nightmares and myriad of emotions, we are able to give it to the virtual page. That is a great clearing for me. I call it “language letting”.

2. How has blogging helped you with your healing process or your personal journey?

Blogging has been both a great outlet for me to write my emotions, document my moments as well as connect with others who have experienced trauma and came out on the other side surviving, just like me.

3. When did you start your blog and what motivates you to write?

I’ve been blogging for a while. I started in the days of Live Journal, then to MySpace, and now, with WordPress, since 2012. WordPress has afforded me a great connection with like minds, and I happen to dig their mobile app. What motivates me to write the most is the knowing that I cannot hold all of this inside of me.  It’s constantly pushing it’s way out of my fingertips in some fashion, be it poetry, stories, essays or whatever else comes out. I don’t often blog for the sake of anyone else or with readers in mind. I write to get it out. If someone reads and relates, then that is a great added bonus. If no one reads, I got it out. Either way, I come out ahead.

4. If you could encourage other victims to become survivors what would you say to them?

Learn the skills of coping and soothing. Don’t try and erase the moments that feel overwhelming. Face them head on, and understand that it is okay to cry, to feel, to hurt, to grieve and to know that afterwards you’ll still be able to find that laughter; that some days are really awesome and others really fucking suck, yet what makes us survivors is that we come through. Reach out to others like you; who can understand your pain and don’t let your pain define who you are. You are in control now. Your abusers are no longer running the show. You get to choose what feels right and good for you. Lastly, never, ever, silently suffer for anyone.  Seriously, tell anyone who doesn’t have your best interest in mind, or who doesn’t care about your needs, to take a hike.  It is OKAY to say no now. 

5. Since you started writing, what has been your favorite or most positive personal accomplishment(s) and/or achievement(s) in the “blogging world”?

My greatest personal writing accomplishment is my novel, Cult Child. I’m equally proud of the other publications I’ve published. My favorite moments are always, without a doubt, when someone tells me they’ve read something I’ve written and it made them know they’re not alone. That is the beautiful side of this internet blogging world. Knowing I have touched a heart is very rewarding. Sharing our trauma experiences is an intricate part of our healing process.

Aside from the one who payed this Award forward, here are five amazing survivors I read; who make me feel understood and whom I believe are equal candidates for this Survivor Award.

1. Refractory Ramblings From the Darkside
2. The Not-So Secret Life Of a Manic Depressant
3. Leaving Fundamentalism
4. Healing From Complex Trauma and PTSD/CPTSD
5. Survivorship – for survivors of ritualistic abuse
You may pass this Award forward. Below are the four steps to do so.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Nominate your own bloggers to pass the award to
3. Post the 5 questions below for your nominees to answer (also answer them yourself)
4. Inform your nominees and post a comment in their blog to let them know they’ve been nominated

The questions:

1. In what ways do you feel that blogging can help people with psychological trauma or mental illness?

2. How has blogging helped you with your healing process or your personal journey?

3. When did you start your blog and what motivates you to write?

4. If you could encourage other victims to become survivors what would you say to them?

5. Since you started writing, what has been your favourite or most positive personal accomplishment(s) and/or achievement(s) in the “blogging world”?

Paying forward our Survivorship is a wonderfully uplifting circle. Thank you again, Darque!

Kaleidoscope

So much to say,
Once held back
By attacks I
Retrace my tracks
As silently they
Watch and wait.

It won’t dissipate.
Fear is an illusion.
I invite these intrusions
To include truth
Even if it hurts you.

Surgery is painful
To the human skin.
Ignoring the wound
We can rot from within,
Until we travel
Into the core
Where the bruises
Feel sore;
Where it smarts
In the center of the heart.

Still we must start
Somewhere;
Must lay it all bare,
Stare it in the eyes,
Avoid denials and
Dive into the places
That hold the aching.

Hush, my baby,
It’s okay to cry.
Here’s my shoulder.
I’ll wipe your eyes.
I’ll believe your stories
And hold your tears.
Inside this liquid
It’s safe here.

My soul is a monastery.
My heart is a choir.
If I must sing
To ignite the fire
Then let the chords
Be absorbed
In molecules and phrases
That disengage us.

Kaleidoscope
So full of hope,
So etched with worry
It smothers the sound.
If you continue to run
How can you ever be found?
If you keep closing your eyes
You’ll forever be blind.

I speak with home.
She tells me to shout,
Embrace the newness,
Expel the doubt,
And somewhere in between
It will all be found out

Even if the guns resound
In the hopes to drown me out;
Even if all that’s left
Is a stem
A string of what once was me
I will still be shining,
Floating infinity.

Vennie Kocsis
venniekocsis.com

Rest Without Getting Depressed

During my childhood living in the cult we children were required to always be kept busy to the point we were often in sleep deprivation mode.  It was so ingrained into my head that now, in adulthood, I have struggled with being okay with just simply resting.  My inner talk would begin, saying things like “You’re being lazy.” or “You should be doing SOMETHING.”

This conditioning of always having to be working as a child has followed me deeply into my adulthood.   At the same time, exhaustion sets in when one has worked since such a young age.  Where typically I should have a zest for working at this current point in my life, I often find myself feeling an aversion towards it, become exhausted even at the thought of having to keep a regular schedule without knowing how my body/mind/spirit will feel.

I dealt with a trigger toward the end of the week and found myself exhausting very quickly, body wanting to sleep, and I listened to it, getting hours of rest.   I had some thoughts I wanted to share afterwards about the difference between sleeping off a trigger, resting the body and letting it heal as opposed to being depressed.  For me, at least, there is a difference, and I’ve had to learn how to differentiate between the two.   I talk more about this in the below video.

Broken Until Spoken

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This was not an easy photo for me to do this morning. I cried. It hurt to take. I was swept back to being a five year old child, mouth taped so often to train me to be silent, just like this, except it was white packing tape, so even more humiliating as I couldn’t hide my cracked, dry lips. For those who have read the novel, Cult Child, you may recall me describing this practice.

I forged forward today and took this photo in support of Broken Until Spoken because I was most definitely broken until I could finally get it out, talk about it, and allow the telling of my truth to be my strength.

My fellow abuse survivors and thrivers, these are the times for us to speak and tell our truths. If you are comfortable, please participate in this project.

http://brokenuntilspoken.com/2014/11/02/i-need-you-we-all-know-abuse-is-silent/

The Sadists Come Like Lightening Bolts

The sadists come like lightening bolts, Sila!” Madge exclaims, a warning glistening from her eyes.

Shut the fuck up, Madge.” Maude orders. “Leave her alone.”

But Sila knows. They are like lightening bolts, and they will flood her with their electricity, then leave her depleted. They will strip her skin, extract her emotions and bottle her love. She is open prey for the wild no matter where she is.

It’s Angie.” Vennie says. “She attracts them like a moth to light. They become friend, then foe, lover, then liar, laughter then leaving. And we are ALL here to clean up the aftermath.”

the blame

Angie’s fragments
Sila a curled up caterpillar
Madge taunting
Maude doing damage control
Vennie writing it out
Knowing quietly observing

silence

long, long silence

Sometimes,” Knowing says softly, “lightening strikes and splits open things that could never be split open if not for the power of the electricity. Sometimes what’s inside the open spaces revealed, is a treasure that would have been hidden forever. Thank the lightening when it strikes.  It is opening your caves.

And so we do. We thank those who have become our lightening bolts, striking us, devious, mischievous, and as the smoke rises from our skin, it hurts yet through the process of healing the burns, we learn.