Love & Gaslight

by Vironika Wilde.

Vironika Wilde is a is a poet, feminist, award-winning author, nomad, queer, cat fanatic, immigrant, survivor, tree hugger, and activist (her words, not mine). She was also the Featured Artist at the May edition of Poetry Open Mic at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre where she skillfully took the audience on a very personal journey that brought about equal parts laughter and tears.

Photo of Vironika Wilde
Vironika Wilde

Her premiere book of of poetry, Love & Gaslight is collection of poems about being an assault survivor who clawed her way back from a devastating relationship. As an Indigenous Russian writer, Vironika takes her raw honest, sometimes brutal stories, and weaves them into a compelling portrait of a person over-coming seemingly insurmountable emotional odds.

If you’ve ever had an unfortunate relationship with someone who is both capable and willing to use gaslighting as a tactic for control, then you know just how confusing and crazy-making your life can get.

Love & Gaslight by Vironika Wilde
Love & Gaslight by Vironika Wilde

Vironka’s growth after being entangled with an abusive partner can be felt from the first poem in the collection, “I Don’t Hate You, I Hate Who I Am With You”. Her work spares no punches and is more or less organized in chronological order, one that matches her transformation from a broken and abused victim to a powerful force, one that can no longer be fucked with.

Scattered throughout the book are what she refers to as a “Note To Self” which are telling little snippets of where she is in her growth cycle. Noteworthy are works include “Bad Sex”, “Turn Around, The Door Is Unlocked” and “Forgive Those Men Baby, For You” which pay homage to the toxic masculinity that often underpin daily life, especially for women. 

From “Love & Gaslight” by Vironika Wilde

Love & Gaslight will leave you feeling deeply, and that, after all is the intention behind the writing. The works allow the reader to have space to identify, and possibly wake-up to what is otherwise a topic not well understood by the mainstream.

Those who control the narrative of how our culture operates are very often the ones behind the abuses that inflict so much silent damage to those around them. Emotional abuse, particularly narcissistic abuse, is possibly more devastating than physical abuse simply because it cannot be seen as readily by those who could potentially be of support. Bruises and broken bones are easy to identify, while emotions and manipulation not only leave invisible scars, it’s very often impossible to articulate to those around us.

From “Love & Gaslight” by Vironika Wilde

Vironika wraps up her text with a number of uplifting works such as “New Message From Tomorrow” and “10 Commandments For The New Rage” which contain a promise that what’s to come after an abusive relationship hold the possibility of things not only getting better, but that our current pains can act as a catalyst for very real and profound change.

Before you put this book down, make sure to read the works on the final pages, the “Notes To Self” that didn’t make it into the main text of the book. They contain some beautiful truths about relationship and growth that’ll leave you wanting more. •

Too much For You by Vironika Wilde

And there is more. Vironika has already released her first spoken word album Too Much For You and a new take on the traditional self-help book called The Art of Talking to Yourself: Self-Awareness Meets the Inner Conversation. Vironika continues to write poetry and perform around town and she is currently working on several fiction manuscripts. You can get more of Vironka Wilde here.

Raymond Helkio writes reviews for The Reading Salon and is a theatre artist, writer and poet living on the edge of insanity. Get in touch.

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