I was in a cult. Britney was in a conservatorship. Our situations are crazy similar


Secretly behind closed doors, we’d both been held hostage, our personhood and civil liberties stolen

Nov. 12 marked the historic day when after 13 years, Britney Spears finally freed herself from her father’s stranglehold, proclaiming, “I ain’t a slave 4 u!” The termination process of Britney’s conservatorship went into full effect after a court hearing, booting her father, James Spears, as her conservator.

My father converted from Judaism to Islam when I was five years old, and I grew up in a Sufi commune that turned into a cult in the Hill Country of Texas. So, unlike Britney, a legal document didn’t tether me to my cult – my childhood did, so my exit was a lot less glitzy.

A judge, attorneys, and cameras weren’t present. Nor do I have a paper or a plaque to commemorate the day of my freedom. I don’t even remember the exact month, but I do know I was 20 years old living in England, where my leader had moved. I was caring for his eight children and three wives when I finally listened to the little voice inside me that said I needed to find my own path, separate from the belief system I’d been raised in.

I flew from London back to America, escaping the treacherous life I could’ve continued indefinitely.

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