Many people tell me that they couldn’t do what I’m doing. Somehow the fact that I’ve pretty much bared my soul (and my insecurities and anxieties) to friends, family, clients, and strangers – and that I do it over and over again, and more and more, each time I speak at an event or join a book club discussion (or get interviewed on a podcast – as I am here on IndoctriNation) – seems daunting to them. Daunting and incomprehensible.

Similarly incomprehensible it seems is the depth and fervor of my belief in Rev. Sun Myung Moon as the Messiah. “How could you believe that?” people ask, “it makes no sense.”

I get that it doesn’t make sense to them, and I get that it may not make sense at all. Though at the time it made complete sense to me and, as I’ve written before, some of the teachings are so deeply carved into my mind and psyche that even while I know that they don’t make sense and that they aren’t true, they still can seem true to me. But that’s another story for a different day.

Every time I speak, people ask me many of the same questions. Here are my answers. Yes, he was my Messiah. Yes, I absolutely believed. Yes, it is intoxicating to have a Messiah and to know the Truth (even if it’s not really the Truth). Yes, I would have done anything he asked me or told me to do. Yes, I was best friends with his children. And yes, that was a heady experience – a combination of feeling shamefully unworthy and unbelievably blessed at the same time. No, I did not feel brainwashed – again, I knew it was the Truth and I knew everyone needed to know it was the Truth. And besides, as I’ve said, I was too young to be brainwashed. I didn’t have a brain to be washed. My brain was pickled.

Yes, anyone is susceptible to extremist situations. (Again, it is inconceivably intoxicating to know you have the Truth.) Yes, the two worlds I grew up in and was caught between – the Moonies on one side and “sex, drugs, and squalor in New York City’s East Village” on the other – were a “mindf–k” to live in and between. And yes, at the same time they both seemingly helped save me from the other. Yes, I was damaged by my childhood, and I have “scars” on my psyche and in my soul. And yes, my journey to heal has given me tools that I love to share with others and a greater appreciation for life and love than perhaps people who haven’t experienced trauma of some sort don’t have and feel.

I’ve bared my soul (and my insecurities and anxieties) to the world to spread three messages. First, that extremist situations still exist and that they are, again, intoxicating. Second, for anyone who feels hopeless or damaged beyond repair, I want them to know that there is hope. I’ve been there. I can still go there. There is hope. And third, I believe that as a species we are too hard on ourselves. We are self-critical and self-judgmental, and we all need a huge dose of self-compassion and self-love.

These are important messages, and I will continue to share them. I will meet with any book club, be part of any podcast, open myself up for any interview, and speak at any group. (Again, I was lucky to be interviewed by Rachel Bernstein from IndoctriNation last month.) While my story is unique, the themes are universal, and each person who reaches out to me and thanks me for telling my story makes it all worthwhile to be this exposed and vulnerable to the world.

I was best friends with his kids. I’m here to talk about it – as long and as often as people will let me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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