If life is a journey of self-discovery, my journey didn't really begin until I was sixty-nine, when I left Scientology. Before that I was clueless.
The above is a photo of me in 1961, when I was a debutante living in the nation's capital. I was eighteen. I loved being a debutante: a beautiful gown and a glamorous event with me, the center of attention. I was queen for one glorious evening. A new social circle opened up for me. I was also a college student learning about things I didn't know existed: art, literature, creative writing, classical music. Then a job and being pursued by a handsome young man who became my husband. Finally, my life was my own. I could make my own rules and do what I wanted. I was clueless and didn't know it.
Now almost eighty, living alone in a Midwest town, I have time to reflect. My coffers are empty but I have accomplished several things that are very important to me. I know who I am and I have a few good friends, both men and women. I've learned the magic of gratitude and tamed my ego, mostly. Those things are among my greatest accomplishments.
Looking at my life as a whole, I can divide it up in to 8 stages.
Phase 1: Childhood: Dark and unhappy 1-18. Phase 2: Butterfly emerging: Debutant, eligible young woman on her own, dating and working, mostly fun times. 18-25. Phase 3: Settling down: Married, pregnant, home owner: Mostly fun. 25-28. Phase 4: Life Interrupted: Mother dies suddenly, marriage falls apart, baby is born. Divorce alone. 25-28 Phase 5: Rebellion: Anti-Vietnam War Protesting and Magical Love Affair: 28-30 Phase 6: Exploration: Wealthy heiress spreading my wings: tee-pee living in Maui and settling down in Tahoe, Ca. 30-34 Phase 7: Scientology: Prison of belief, Roller Coaster, life slowly draining out of me. 34-69 Phase 8: Velveteen Rabbit: Journey of Self-Discovery, spiritual growth, some regrets. 69-now
My memoir, ESCAPING FREEDOM, is mainly about Phases 7 and 8. It is a cautionary tale with a more or less happy ending.