Six houses, five apartments, three motels, a Hollywood mansion, (with mom’s latest fling), and a small vegetable farm in Pennsylvania. Moving 16 times before age nine is enough to screw with any kid’s head.
At age 14, Carol Es decided to leave her rootless, dysfunctional family after having suffered years of neglect, mental abuse, and sexual molestation. Fast-forwarding into adulthood, she tried to balance school and work while couch surfing with friends. Though she continued to work for the family business — alongside one of her abusers — cutting patterns for the garment industry, which she had done since the age of 11.
Feeling stuck, lost, and broken, she began seeking help. In the midst of that search she accidentally followed her older brother into Scientology. Seduced by the celebrity that lured her brother in and the magic promises to fix her situation, she buried herself in the concepts and philosophies of the group, and the years pulled her deeper into the cult. She hopelessly denied an underlying mental illness that was getting worse in order to stay true to the doctrine of L. Ron Hubbard.
Keeping pieces of her authentic self was not easy, but as a drummer and an artist, Carol managed to maintain her unbreakable bond with her passions. She exhibited her art and played music tirelessly in bands on Sunset Boulevard and around the LA circuit. Her story shows how it’s possible to be both brainwashed and live “normally” in the world of contemporary art and rock n’ roll.
After a tumultuous childhood and 20 years in a cult she has taken a huge stride out of the blackness of fear and silence in completing this written work. Carol shares with us an unexpected perspective through moments of true vulnerability using gallows humor and inviting the reader into her confidence, laying bare her most raw and intimate revelations.
Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is not just another survivor’s tale about overcoming life’s horrors and coming out victorious. It’s a relatable story about doing what you can with what you’ve got, no matter how broken your tools might be. Gaining the ability to identify growth from experience is the true victory. Sometimes, learning, relearning, and coming out okay is triumph enough.