My next chapter was among the most personally defining. It took me decades to admit this and even longer to learn from it.
On the streets of Hollywood, with little to gamble, a gambler was born. Not so much from taking risks, but from discovering new meanings to life and leaving behind all previously held beliefs of self worth and monetary value.
I was the product of a prosperous family, but not a happy one. Until Hollywood, despite some obvious detours, I was still motivated by the path many of us learn by default, one that is built on careers, credit scores and cocktail parties. Hollywood was the final nail in my mental coffin.
After a year in Hollywood, I would spend the next 2 decades destroying my credit, spending all my disposable income and taking every risk in exchange for all the memories and sensations my mind and body could handle. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
So how did I find myself homeless in Hollywood? I got screwed both figuratively and literally.
First, let's scroll back to my arrival at Scientology Sea Org HQ in Hollywood.
For those of you new to the myth (<petty sarcasm) of Scientology, it's a “Church” or rather a system of beliefs in how the world works. In a nutshell, a famed sci-fi author wrote a book called Dianetics, which demystified (or in hindsight, utterly confused) some well accepted understandings of life.
How did I end up in the back of a van on my way to become a dutiful disciple? That sci-fi author, L Ron Hubbard wrote one of my favorite books, Battlefield Earth. Throw in a pretty recruiter, a personality test that proved I was the “perfect” candidate, the fact that I was out of money, and all other options AND the adventure begins…
My arrival in Hollywood was not your typical tourist experience. I was driven straight to an average building on a narrow street filled with other disciples. Inside I was shown to a room stacked with sets of bunk beds 3 high. Yep 3 high. I used to love the top bunk, but now It looked really unsafe.
A minute later I was all alone for the first time in a long time. Looking around, I remember thinking how strange this all was. Still in my Army fatigues, my military ruck slung over my shoulder with all my earthly possessions. What did I get myself into? Why was I here?