Freedom from Overwhelm? Hardly.


Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been pretty overwhelmed lately.

I’ve been in the process of liquidating a store. More than a store, it’s been like a second home to me for the past four years. It’s where I learned what a real leader is and how to become humane again. It’s where I was finally able to just be myself and shed the façade I’d had in place from my years in scientology.

So yes, I’m overwhelmed right now. Overwhelmed with the regular customers coming in day after day to let me know how sad and angry they are. Overwhelmed with the huge amount of work that needs to be done with the small amount of staff I have. Overwhelmed with the feelings of loss and change, when I thought this was going to be where I would retire.

What’s so amusing about all of this is that I, as a scientologist, rose to the level of OT III, the level you’ve probably heard about because it reveals just how crazy scientology is. I’ve linked to this before, but here’s a refresher just in case you forgot.

OT III is pretty much a make-break point for scientologists. Once you reach OT III, you’re among the “special” people who know the inner secrets of scientology. But that’s not the amusing part, this is: The “end phenomena” of OT III is FREEDOM FROM OVERWHELM.

That’s right. When you complete OT III, you’re supposed to be free of that feeling of overwhelm. Nothing in life is supposed to be able to overwhelm you. Hilarious, right? Particularly since when I was in the sea org, I was being thrown things on a daily basis that would overwhelm anyone: impossible deadlines, threats of violence, on and on. Perhaps that’s why I finally left the sea org and scientology just a few months after completing OT III… the cognitive dissonance was too much to handle.

So here I am, a supposed “OT III completion”, yet I’m absolutely overwhelmed at the moment. If anything can prove how much scientology DOESN’T work, it’s this situation.

Something else I just thought of: A few years back, when I first started managing the wonderful store I’m closing, I told my District Leader, Karen, that “I don’t get overwhelmed”. Oh brother. Karen, when you read this, you’ll certainly remember that. Now you know why I said it! I’m sure you thought, “What the hell is she talking about?” Too funny.

What’s interesting about all this is that in the not-too-recent past, I would probably have been piling on to that overwhelm by blaming myself: “I reached OT III, so I can’t POSSIBLY be feeling this way.” Scientology set me up to think I was superhuman, so any time I wouldn’t act perfectly, I’d think there was something wrong with ME.

But thanks to writing this blog and sharing my story, I no longer blame myself. I know who I am, and I know that it’s normal to be overwhelmed in certain situations. Most importantly, I know that it’s perfectly okay to be this way, so I no longer beat myself up.

To all the scientologists out there, FREEDOM FROM OVERWHELM IS A LIE. Overwhelm is a part of life. You can’t be free of it, but you can certainly learn techniques to deal with it. That’s what I’m doing, and look! I’m writing again! Even in the middle of the store-closing-circus. HURRAY!

Sure, I’ll continue to be overwhelmed until the store closes at the end of next month. That’s okay. On the other side of that overwhelm is a bright, exciting future, one where I’ll be writing full-time for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine any scenario that could be more wonderful than that. So I’ll put up with a little more overwhelm.

In the meantime, I’ll keep writing this blog. There’s some good stuff coming up in the next few days.

Next Time: How being a scientology staff member made me act like a criminal. 


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