The Curse

I hate being idle. I always have. On days when I’m forced to listen to my body and I need to relax, I only feel guilty. Where did this come from?

It’s a combination of things: growing up around my father (and working for him) and then being in Scientology for a couple of decades. Both of these things screwed with my head. 

My dad was old school. I mean, truly old school. He came from a different generation than all my peers’ parents. He grew up during the Depression, fought in WWII, reenlisted, and was a workaholic. He put me to work before I was twelve. We had a pattern business, as he was a grader. He graded the sizes for women’s clothing in the garment industry. I was a cutter from then on until my mid-twenties. I worked mostly part-time while I had other jobs or worked as a musician, but most of the hours I worked with him went late into the morning hours, and this was when I was supposed to be in school. So, I didn’t really go to school. 

There was no pleasing my dad, ever. Never, “good job” or a pat on the back. I only knew about when I was doing something wrong or when I was some kind of idiot. I got shit from him when I was occasionally five minutes late or when I woke up after 7:00 am. Never mind that I was up until 3:am, cutting patterns all night while he was getting a good night’s sleep. A whole garment would need to be done by morning so he could bring it Downtown and it didn’t matter how long it took me and my brother to finish it. 

Waking up after 6:am meant you were a lazy bum. Not working a 10-hour day meant you were weak. Being female meant you didn’t matter. 

When I got deep into the cult, you were only as valuable as you could help someone or disseminate Scientology worldwide. Otherwise, you were just a useless human being. Even being a “public” and not being a staff member for Scientology meant you were looked down on because it was preferred that you worked for them. You’re at least expected to be trained as a “minister” so you can process others per their curriculum, not just pay to receive their services. It’s not an official no-no, but socially, it’s kinda looked down upon because you’re only as valuable as you can help. “Help” is a big thing in the cult. You’re pressured and guilted to be responsible, not just for yourself—and all things that happen to you no matter what—but for other people’s condition as well. No joke. They call this being “pan-determined.” Being in control of everything is the goal of your existence. The pressure is insurmountable. 

So I joined staff, not at one of their “churches,” but at one of their drug rehabilitation organizations called Narconon, which, these days, they deny is affiliated with Scientology. But I assure you, it absolutely is. It exists under ABLE (Association for Better Living and Education), an established wing of Scientology. It used to be run exactly like a “church.”

I joined that facility because my brother had a drug addiction, and I couldn’t help him. For years, I tried, but I just couldn’t get through to him. I figured I could try to help other people instead, and I rose up in the ranks there pretty quickly. I got fully trained in their business management to run all the processes for client services. A lot of good that does me in the real world, but I pretty much learned how to run the facility, working ten-hour days while training three hours at night. I ran the course room and sauna (sweat-out program), coached clients, did all the orientations with them, the testing, drove their case folders an hour away to the “case supervisor” each night and picked them back up in the morning—all on my own gas money—and was there to open up the facility before they got there, etc. I worked myself frantic.  

Now I think, who was that person? In comparison, I’m a lackadaisical, idle son of a bitch in my day-to-day life. I don’t work my ass off like that anymore, but I still feel odd sitting still and watching TV. Back then, I didn’t even have a TV. That was out of the question. And now, I can’t sit still. I’m totally antsy and mental and need to be doing something, preferably working. 

But now, a lot of the time, my body says, “No!” I have to lie down, take a nap, and take it easy. I honestly don’t enjoy it much, or yet. Even after all these years! I can hear my father’s voice in my head, “Get up, lazy! What is it you do all day? Your art is a waste of time! Learn a trade and get your life together!” It’s my brother’s voice too. He eventually stopped the drugs, but even when he did them, he was what you call a functioning addict and was always a hard worker with the same curse upon him. He doesn’t think I do anything with my life either.

But yeah, I guess most art is a waste of time. Maybe? I don’t know. I really can’t do much else! Recently, I’ve been starting to get real good at napping. That’s something, right? Sorry, Old Man. At least you’re not around to see it. 

2 thoughts on “The Curse

  1. Hannah February 17, 2024 / 9:27 am

    Art isn’t a waste of time; cutting patterns is a waste of time. Everything they do, the people who worship work for work’s sake, is a waste of time. More than a waste of time, it’s a waste of LIFE. They didn’t like the way you lived because you represented freedom and LIFE! Something they would never touch or taste.

  2. Ayin Es February 17, 2024 / 9:57 am

    Those are very compelling thoughts I will think about. Thanks M’love! ❤

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