I wasted somewhere between three weeks and three decades. And counting.

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

The first week after our call I was actually doing great;
My last mail to you concluded I should get back on my Sexual Odyssey, the call itself revealed what makes me tick  professionally and I vowed to move forward in full integrity to who I was.
And then;
Nothing.

I thought I was just dealing with one week of not being very productive, when yesterday I almost signed up for a line a work that would have taken over all my time, my identity.
It was like a less-dramatic version of signing up to the foreign legion, and I was THIS close! 
The appeal was so very big to sign up to doing this training leading to a new professional identity and a good salary, relieving me of the assignment to make money as a writer.

The irregular working hours, and inflexible holiday periods would make it a day job just to recover from work. My time to have friendships or connections to family let alone my time for creative endeavors would effectively drop to zero.
But the payoff would be, I could never return to teaching yoga, I would be able to take all my YouTube channels down, all my blogs, and all my books, and I would never have to deal with being a creative person ever again.

The payoff would be I would be a success to worldly standards, and everybody would understand writing had just been a fluke, sparked by not having a quite-right-for-me career in yoga.
The new line of work would also be self-explanatory that someone who did this would be thoroughly unhappy being a yoga teacher, I would never have to explain that again. Also a big perk.

And today I’m recovering from that one-day episode, and I feel a combination of guilt of betraying myself, and a not-so-certain it was a good idea to save myself.
If I should not have just get it over with, and throw myself on a path that is both productive and of service, in a traditional way.

Because I’m at my wits end.

I can open my phone and read my own mission statements, but it feels like betrayal.
All the topics I have decided on to become an expert at, and all the ones I m already an expert at, it’s just a matter of stepping into it publicly;
I only want to run away.

All the videos that need to be curated, all the books that need to be created from all the columns and articles (I don’t even have a Dutch book yet under my own name!);
It all chokes me just thinking about all the work I have to do to monetize what I created.
And this in turn paralyzes me to create anything new because I know that it will only weigh me down one day having to go over it and polish it properly and do something with it. More writing means more work for future-me.

I haven’t written, nor done yoga, nor wrote Nikki, nor worked on my book in three weeks.
I haven’t touched my Inbox for LS Harteveld in three months.
And I want to burn my yoga books and get rid of all other yoga material so that I never even consider teaching it again.
I want to terminate all my Dutch blogs and all my blogs (but one) under my real name, and I want to cancel all “her” YouTube channels.

I want to free myself of all the diplomas and work experiences  I have acquired for the last three decades. 

And be free.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

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Nederlands blog:
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The forgotten odyssey

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

I Googled whatever it was Odysseus set out to do (fight the Trojan war) and what kept him so long before he returned to his kingdom to find his house invaded by suitors for his wife and his dog waiting to die until his master had returned.
From what I remembered there were singing sirens, a trick with wax in his ears not working, and a narrow escape from a giant where Odysseus and his men were hanging on to the bellies of a herd of sheep. 
I had forgotten the other details.

First thing I learned was that I had also forgotten how to spell odyssey,(odyssee is Dutch, English should be odyssey) which was illustrative of how long it had been since I had silently abandoned my 2021 sexual odysseey.
And for far less clear reasons than sirens enchanting me with their singing.

Although if I count male singers and rock music, then I actually did abandon the sexual odyssey around the time my involvement in Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses music, deepened!! 
And by now, September 2022, I have stopped “mindlessly” listening to Bon Jovi concerts, because I have it in my head all the time.

Constantly hearing Bon Jovi live music in my head has become the new normal for longer than I can remember, so there has definitely been a moment when I switched from predominantly being the writer Lauren Harteveld, who did undertake a sexual odyssey in 2021, to working predominantly under my real name, in the field of yoga, art, and rock music.

I was indeed caught by a muse, enchanting me with his voice;
And I did forsake my Lauren Harteveld sexual odyssey.
Forsaking Lauren Harteveld – period.

Aside from my letters to you, and the very occasional Lauren 1997 diary post (about 5-ish a year?) this account has been lying dormant since August, September 2021….

In my letter to you, three weeks ago, I talked about removing another layer of service-industry put-on.
A residual but very persistent layer of seeing myself as a service provider, when on my deathbed all that’s gonna matter is if I made my art and spoke my message.

That it’s very okay to DO work for money, but it is absolutely not okay to mistake that work for your purpose, your identity, for what you came here to do.
My last letter to you, was about stepping into my identity as a writer slash artist, but I chose “writer” because that is the most recognizable aspect.
So the previous letter established that I was a writer.

But not what to write about, nor which of my two accounts should be dominant.
Lauren Harteveld or my real name.
And that, proved to be a question that could not be answered so quickly….
So WHAT to write about, and as WHOM?

After a year of all my creative work being almost exclusively under my real name; I have a good understanding of what it is I do there.
And WHY!
I did more than just being caught in a sheep barn, and more than just listening to enchanting singing, but nevertheless, my Lauren Harteveld odyssey was forsaken and I forgot who I was.
Or who I also, was.

Am I really only this person who goes by my real name, or am I Lauren Harteveld?

About a month ago, I confessed to a friend that if I had a choice, I would only be Lauren Harteveld.
My real name would just be one that existed on paper, did not exist on LinkedIn, a name that had no blogs and that could not be found on Google, except for perhaps having a yoga career that she apparently ended.

If I had migrated and lived abroad, I would not bother giving my real name a new career.
Instead, I would be Lauren Harteveld 100%.

Ever since I became less and less of a yoga teacher, a process that can be traced back as early as late 2013 when I signed the lease of a small yoga space and ended the expensive one (I had a 3 month notice period, it was nearly spring before I was freed from that expensive one), I have been grappling with the question of:

-who am I, my real name or Lauren Harteveld?

This was the easiest part, because every time I gave it serious thought, I knew I was Lauren Harteveld.

-what is my purpose work; yoga or writing?

This is still undecided. I’ve had the career teaching yoga, and also visions of my purpose being teaching yoga, I had vivid dreams, strong callings!
And I’ve had them from 1998 and upward, before I even DID yoga.
And they started returning in 2015, 2019, and have been consistently haunting me ever since.
The vision of me teaching yoga, under my real name, is so bright and clear I can almost touch it!
But I have lost so many years trying to bring it to life… 

Since this August I have installed a yoga sabbatical, I m putting it to rest, and will only pick it up if I ever do know, what it is.
Or what it wants from me.
So maybe despite all those powerful visions and all that history doing yoga and teaching it; that may mean I will Never, pick it up again.
It will have to return with a good and urgent story, if I am to ever touch it again.

I’m not ruling out the possibility yoga was never more than a siren on my way, that has effectively kept me from getting home, for twenty years.

With writing, I never had that doubt. I just did it.
And do it, for this account as well as under my real name. I love writing, I could do it all day, every day.

The only reason I never fully gave into it, is because very few writers make their living writing their true purpose work.
Their real truth.
And that is the only thing, I am interested in sharing.

Overviewing it, I can see how this all points to me being indeed a writer and not a yoga teacher. 
But I drew that conclusion last time already, so this whole paragraph is as redundant as my 20 year career in yoga.

Yet although I was certain that I AM Lauren Harteveld, and that my purpose is very likely to be a writer, at least for the upcoming year – I still found myself grappling with a third question:
-What is my purpose work writing?
Is it the work under my real name?
Or being Lauren Harteveld where I write about living in 1997 and used to be on a sexual odyssey?
Until I moved into my real-name account and forgot all about it.

And… back to the no-brainers!
Of course my purpose is this work, here under this name. 

Don’t get me wrong;
The topics and projects I have under my real name are amazing.
They’re better and more satisfying than I could imagine my relationship with the world, to ever be;
But they’re frickin’ coasting.
They’re just scratching the surface of what it is I’m capable of, and also what I need for full satisfaction.

I need to cut deep, and lay bare, the deepest of truths, and I can’t do that under my real name. For various reasons and none of them have anything to do with my reading audience. None.

But these reasons do have to do with ME not wanting to face the world on a day to day basis, real life, physically, and being known for my deepest message.
I m not going to discuss sexual freedom over buying oranges in the supermarket.

I know I would have the same problem if I had migrated to the French Riviera, but there I would not live among twenty years of personal history and people knowing me from other lines of work;
And here I do.

The strongest motive to keep coming back to working under my real name, seems to be finance.
I was reluctant to see my yoga career ending, and constantly picked it up in some form, over a hardheaded belief teaching yoga was a “real” profession that could make money, and writing what I want, is not.

Even now, three weeks after writing you I am going to identify as an artist – and for now rounded off to writer – I can see how there was STILL that layer  of coverup.
Similarly to mistaking yoga to be my purpose work.
Where I now mistook writing under my real name, as my purpose work.

Like I said earlier, there is absolutely no shame in working (including being an entrepreneur) for money;
But do not confuse it for your purpose work.
Similarly, there is no shame in setting up a superficial and therefor far more sustainable and predictable career as a writer under my real name!
The biggest mistake I have made the past three weeks, is that I have mistaken the career under my real name, for my truest work.  

When all it is, is work I am comfortable connecting over.
Work I would love doing 40 hours a week.
Comfortable explaining or talking about, even over buying oranges in the supermarket.

Both the yoga as well as writing under my real name was, and is, the work that has brought me love and connection, and a sense of meaning and belonging because it contributes something, and that does feel incredibly good.

I feel that work under my real name, is the work that if I get behind it a little bit more, and if I really choose to be a writer, now that I have finally let go of the yoga parts that held me up for so long-
that it is the work that can and will bring me the money, the glory, and all in a wonderfully sustainable way where no one gets hurt.
Least of all me. 

But after one year of writing next to nothing for this blog;
After completely forgetting about my 2021 Sexual Odyssey for this blog;
One year of Lauren 1996 moving into 1997, but writing so very little;
Not even touching my Lauren Harteveld 1994-1996 manuscript, which is still in the same stage I left it in 2021;

After that one year of working under my real name, I feel stranded on a mountain where Jon Bon Jovi as my Calypso, has effectively enchanted me.

And I can’t decide if I should be glad that all the STARS of my dreamlife are lining up, everything is going so smoothly, and the universe seems to be conspiring against me to give me all my heart has ever desired!

Or, alternatively, if here on this rock, proverbially – but who knows one day for real – sitting on Jon Bon Jovi’s lap, I am actually totally lost.

The furthest away from home I have ever been. 
And dangerously close, to forgetting who I am.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, my 1997 diary, and hopefully a return to open sea of my Sexual Odyssey!
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 
 
 

 

Your ideas are your highest work | Creative Constellations Program | Sara Saltee, Saltee Academy

Click photo for this and/ or other available work from Sara Saltee

This is a letter of recommendation for my creativity coach Sara
I have had the honor of working with her for 4 years, and it is my intention to write a post so that other creative thinkers find her.

“Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.” – Rilke

Sara writes about the assemblage Cherry Love: 
“This sweet and juicy couple of cherries are poised on separate platforms (one grounded in roots, the other in flow) but their stems arc toward each other in a protective caring relationship.”
And it is that kind of relationship I have learned to appreciate, validate, and ultimately learned to understand as the only available relationship I am prepared to have, that I would call one of the most important fruits of our work together.

That although there are many reasons, why I have few longterm relationships in any area of my life, that it ultimately is because the cherry love just wasn’t there.
I ve had people coming over to my platform, telling me what to do.
I have seen platforms not being rooted in earth, nor flow.
I ve had people acting from a place of me needing to be saved from my platform, as well as people reaching out from a place of me needing to save them.
I’ve seen people eyeing me out if I was a good-enough candidate to unite their platform with mine, either professionally, in friendships, and of course, in love relationships.

I have left them all.
And anybody who is in my life, can be certain that if they cross a line somewhere there, my priority will be in keeping our platforms separated.
Always.
And when that fails, when I have failed in doing that, then it leaves me no option but to sever ties.

Because I do not believe in the union of the two cherries.
I believe only in two sovereign cherries,  who CHOOSE to reach out their stems asking:
“Do you want to play?”
“How is Friday for you?”
Two cherries asking consent, over and over.
Two cherries who never use, “abuse” what they built in the past, as an excuse to cut corners in connecting and in communicating.

Every time my 6 time coaching package with Sara expires, I say:
“I would love to keep working with you. Is that okay for you?”
And although my heart sinks at the thought of her saying No, I know it is giving somebody else the freedom to say No, that is the essence of any good relationship.
And it is the ability to be okay with that No, that is the essence of being good with yourself.

Because Sara is good being on her platform, she can let me be good on mine.
And where other’s irritation with my rants, my endless streams of thoughts, my multitude of passions, and in particular with my disruptive sexuality, rebelliousness, and ruthless demand to be heard in exactly what it is I say, and to not bring that bitch back to “but now let’s get practical”;
And to not bother me with your barely suppressed irritation of my wordiness, or kill it by giving me your homework assignment.
Do not betray my trust by measuring me by standards we never agreed on.

But see me.
See me on my platform, pit and all, stem and all, shining and glowing;
Or turning red as a pepper from all the things that frustrate me!
And BE on your own platform and to THEN have something insanely profound to say?
That is Sara.

I have often asked her how it is possible that she has succeeded where almost no one I know has been able to hold the space in situations like that. Or if they have, it was definitely not for such a long period of time.
And although she has shared that she came from “a large, intense family in Albuquerque New Mexico,”  (source, https://www.salteeacademy.com/aboutsara)
I attribute her groundedness and strength to her Creative Constellation Program:
A course where you can understand how you are as a creative.

The course is a joy for many reasons;
It’s profound!
Insightful.
Visually striking, with Sara’s assemblage art.
The Creative Constellation Program is like advanced astrology for creatives, where you get a powerful understanding of who you are as a creative, and how all aspects of yourself fit into the whole.
How, just like stars, those different aspects actually work in conjunction.

But the reason I think Sara Saltee has been such a great coach to me, is because the framework she created for The Creative Constellation Program, means that she has gone very far into the world of ideas and abstract concepts.
When you rage, when you think, when you flow, when you feel you’re onto something, and you’re almost there, and you know you need to keep following the white rabbit because otherwise you may never get this trail of thought again!
Then Sara knows where you are.
Because Sara, has a map.
Created it herself.

Where others, almost inevitably, fall off their map once you unleash your true line of thinking, once you show who you are as a thinker – and you are met with their professional or personal demand that you box that shit up and only tell the conclusion;
That you stick to their program, or to the job description;
Or that you pick a frickin’ lane! – 
Then Sara does none of those things.

Sara, hears you out and has SMART things to say!

Now if you made it all the way down here, and think you too may be in need of someone who meets you at your level, and who does not try to tell you how to live your life on your platform;
Who does not panic when you show them who you really are;
Someone who is deeply rooted in her values, who knows how to navigate in the abstract world of ideas, and who coaches from the solitude of her own platform without trying to influence what you do on yours;

Who coaches from a deep understanding that you two are equal,
and therefor respect each other, and keep asking the other for consent before you take the next step. And if you are able to hold yourself up so she can say no;

Then Sara Saltee is your coach.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 
 
 

 

An understanding

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

During the time Sex and the City ran, people always wondered how Carrie could afford living on her own, in a Manhatten apartment, riding taxis, eating out and never cooking her own meals.
How she could afford Cosmopolitans – cocktails, not the magazine, although she probably bought those too.
How she could afford parties, fun, adventure, designer clothing and $40.000 worth of Manolo Blahnicks by season 4, from writing one column a week.

Fast forward to 2022 and we see her Podcasting and yes, she also writes a book, but it is clear the money is not coming from that.
Assuming the book from the original series, with her collected columns, didn’t turn into an evergreen well that keeps on giving, then any money coming in from work has to be what she’s been earning as one of the three hosts of the Podcast.

It is also clear that when she starts writing her book, in the follow up series And Just Like That, this is a routine outside of what she normally does.
So she has not maintained her writing routine, over the years.

Which raises many, many questions, and none of them have to do with money. Because money wise, we can assume that her marriage to Mr.Big has taken care of that.
We no longer need to figure out how she’s paying for her lifestyle on a padcaster salary.
Oh no.
The mystery we now have to solve is of an entire different nature;
Was she ever, really a writer?

I started making yoga videos in 2015, and as the years progressed they started to get more general. Be more about mindset, my life, business, and about topics that had to do with pop culture and not yoga.
Even now I feel I’m still struggling to understand what I want with it. It’s always been a struggle.

I can see how video makes for a more interesting medium for both myself as well as for an audience. There is so much more exposure and connection going on, if you film.

However, here’s what it has not and will not ever do;
Replace writing.
Speaking, whether on camera or in real life, or even if you would record only an audio or a podcast, doesn’t even come close, to what happens when you write.

The art of speaking is as different to writing, as painting is to sculpting.
They require different skillsets, satisfy different needs. They serve a different audience, and perhaps serve different times.
In history, they will have a different place as to how they are perceived.
And how you, the maker, are perceived.

But mostly, whether you ARE a writer, or you are not a writer, is not a matter of what’s in demand. Your “line of work”, if you want to call it that, changes with technology; The typewriter becomes a computer, and paper becomes a digital cloud.
However, writing does not become: Now we open our mouth and are speakers.

If Carrie, once financially safe, no longer writes but has become a podcaster instead, then was she ever a writer?
If the question, “When money is no object, what do you want to do?” is apparently answered with:
“I would make a podcast.”
Then in my opinion, she was never a writer.

She was never consumed from the inside out by what Writing and its muses, want from you. 
Or, even worse, she did have that passion but the writers for And Just Like That (SATC follow up, 2021) didn’t understand what motivated Carrie Bradshaw.

Maybe softening and generalizing her genuine, chosen art form of choice, which had been writing, into a current day, social, relatable, hobby;
Had been their choice.
To have her move away from this introspective and not very interesting art form.

Either that, or Carrie Bradshaw really was what she said she was, in her first episode:
A sexual anthropologist.
Technically speaking, she never claimed to be a writer.
And with her podcast she is still in the realm of sexual anthropology.

It is questions like this that have been haunting me for the last three weeks. And not so much for Carrie, but for me.

I identify three things, three separate areas, and I keep messing things up, because I identify as one of them, yet always come out on the other side that No!
I am NOT that.

It wasn’t until I am writing you now, and illustrate my trail of thought drawing a parallel to one of my two “writer idols” (the other one is Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct), that I think I have solved it!

There are only three options:
Payroll, entrepreneur, and artist.
And I KEEP mixing them up!
Which causes many confusion, but also one fantasy, that I want to share, before I continue:

I have indulged in the fantasy of how beautiful my career as a yoga teacher would have been, if it had been a salary job, or a job with an hourly wage.
Both options that do not exist for yoga teachers in The Netherlands. Or anywhere else in the world I reckon.

But the thought that the only thing I would have to do, would have been to get really good at my craft, take extra trainings, new certifications.
Start teaching teachers, and be successful, all with the lovely security of being an employee! 

Okay enough daydreaming. 
But it has been I would say “healing”, to realize that if my chosen area of work, had had a whole career path behind it, I would have loved to have gone the extra mile, and have been very motivated to be one hell of a yoga teacher!! 
But running your own business (which being a yoga teacher required) no longer allows you to actually be IN your real work.

A dynamic I did not understand, until recently.
But there are really only three options.

1. Either you are a professional, in a payroll job.
And can cater that monomaniac love and indulgence for your work and your craft!

Or
2. you are an independent, and in many lines of work, just like yoga, you can only do your work as an independent;
But when you are an independent, you are no longer a professional. You no longer have a profession to indulge in or identify with, because as an independent we all have the same job:
Entrepreneur.

Our only job is to come up with profitable business models, that change with technology, with markets, with time.
And our talents or skills are only relevant to the degree to which we can monetize them.

Carrie Bradshaw the entrepreneur, sold her columns around the turn of the century.
And twenty years later, Carrie Bradshaw the entrepreneur, sells her presence to a podcast.
But what is most likely is that she never did any of that for money, and that she was in fact:
3. an artist.

The artist, is not the professional from 1. because they do not have job security, nor are they the entrepreneur from 2. because the artist is committed to creating. Not to making money.
Carrie’s art form may have gone from writing to speaking, just like artists can move from painting to sculpting, but
what stays the same is the need to create.
Creation, for an artist, is as urgent as breathing.

We, as a society, do not learn to differentiate, between the responsibilities of an entrepreneur, versus on a salary/ payroll.
And we definitely do not learn about the third one.
About having a calling, a purpose, a passion;
About having a necessity to create.

Something that will breathe you, move you, and eat you alive and drive you to madness, if you don’t cater to it.
So you may as well make the best of its presence, a
nd go for it.
GO for that career as an artist!

And absolutely not because it is your best option of the three. I would say it is by far the worst of the three options employee, entrepreneur, artist.
If there was just an inch of bandwidth, I would not choose artist.

Jim Carrey’s father, was a gifted saxophone player. But instead of becoming a professional, he became an accountant. A job he got fired from, when he was 51, which caused the family to become homeless.
About this, Jim Carrey says:
“I learned you can fail, at what you don’t love.
So you might as well do what you love.”

It’s not success as an artist, versus success as an entrepreneur or even a career as a professional.

It is knowing, that even if I fail to make a cent, and no one will know my name;
That experience, the decades to come, will carry within itself, the deep satisfaction, the knowing, the understanding, that I am walking my path.

Proudly.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 
 
 

 

A day like no other

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara 
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

I know it’s still one week before our call, a week where I hope to regain my strength and the absolute joy and the high I have been on for two months, minimum.
So then why write you now, one might wonder.
Why not wait until Wednesday or Thursday, and have the starting point of our conversation at a point with the bar higher and the mood brighter?

Because I think something important is at play.
Something as important as that time I went in to get vaccinated.

It was my personal choice, in order to not make it a topic of discussion.
If it was possible to get passively aggressively vaccinated, then that’s what I did. It was the ultimate: “Well, let’s not give you the easy target of making that an object of discussion.”
And to a lesser extent: Taking one for the team, because we live in a society, and when in Rome – etcetera.

I went in and while most public responses to it were praise of how well it was organized, all I thought was:
Oh.
My.
God.

Let me rephrase:
Oh.
My.
FUCKIN’.
God.

I felt an ungrateful and overly sensitive citizen, yes.
But nonetheless: OMFG.

All I could see were rude bouncers, ill organization, and contagion wise unsafe situations with regard to holding social distances, indoor waiting time, questionable ventilation, and mandatory 15 minutes waiting time in that unsafe space, after the vaccination.

I did not praise the efficiency and instead thought the impersonal treatment, the windowless building or the tent straight from wartimes, and us being herded like cattle called for associations so horrendous that I thought about quitting all my artistic expression and all effort to contribute something to this world or make something out of my life.

Because if these vaccination locations were actually praised, and no one found them horrible;
Then what I said didn’t matter.
I, didn’t matter.

If a windowless building where parents and their teen children were separated, without hearing why, was enough – no, it was GOOD?
Then I had nothing.
Then I was bonafide done trying to contribute anything, ever.

That was the “me in the pandemic” story, that I ve told in different ways over the past two years.

But now I got a similar response to my own birthday, but the setup was of course entirely different!
You don’t celebrate your birthday because you re taking one for the team, because it’s expected, or because it makes communication easier.

And although initially, I did it because people around me started asking and making suggestions;
Ultimately, when I sent that email invite?
Man, it rocked!

It was a hundred percent personal, and it was a birthday celebration I looked forward to. 

Now between sending that invite and the birthday, a lot happened of course.
There were the problems I told you about, that made me cancel our last call.
Not reschedule.
Not ask: “Can you squeeze me in next week?”
No: Cancel. And then you followed up with some great emails, so I ended up getting coaching after all, but my initial plan was simply to cancel and cut my losses.
In the light of events, that money was not among the main things to worry about. In fact: I was so in distress I would not even feel the financial loss of one coaching session.
All I knew was that I didn’t want to lose you.
And that I was in such a bad mental place, I didn’t want to put myself in front of you, being such a mess.

So naturally those, here unnamed, events left their mark. At the time I even considered cancelling my birthday celebrations.
But after making peace with the fact that it was just going to be a toned down one, a not-letting-this-moment-drop one, and that it didn’t have to be perfect, since it was obviously never going to be perfect anymore, I got it back on track, and decided to continue as planned.

To hold the course of having a birthday party.

So there was that.
I know.
But that did not explain for what happened.
Something I can only describe as an experience that mimicked the vaccination tent one, as different as the situations obviously are.

Because I am feeling so disempowered by the interaction surrounding my birthday. Not all of course – but everybody matters equally.
I picked up a distinct Single Ride To Pension vibe.

As if the only thing I had achieved was my age, and I was never going to achieve anything.
And realizing that: They could be right. 
Which means I need to hurry as fuck to make even the slightest bit of the time that’s left of me count, now that even people who know me are starting to lose faith.
But also:
That to many, maybe even to most, even when I have achieved more, they may not understand.

That after a year of hardly writing anything here as LS Harteveld, to focus on working under my real name; My impact is zero.
Not just in terms of people not understanding what I HAVE done, but also in me still being in the dark about so many godforsaken things.

To then have this reminder that the people you love, and your next of kin, will in all probability NEVER see you in your power;
NEVER acknowledge your work;
NEVER understand who you were and will only remember you as the woman who once turned a certain age, and maybe died after a long life or died after a short one.

That, is disheartening.

Which is why I have decided to start writing everyday for LS Harteveld, and have another look at how I want to divide my time and resources.
If I really want to put all my eggs in one basket under my real name, and choose creative work that gives me an identity to the real world and to the people who are close to me.
Something they can relate to.

Or if I take all those sweet baby eggs back over here;
To LS Harteveld.
Where they motherfuckin’ belong.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
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New books will be added.

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The Shortest Mail

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara 
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

Today was a bad day.

Where I have been in my zone of genius  for weeks, uncovering layer after layer of my purpose work, yet it has become clear to me that I have been working two jobs:
The one of doing my purpose work, and dealing with the financial insecure future that it brings.
And the one of managing the emotions of others.

In my love life, I have known for a while, that my demands are high with regard to a lover’s emotional self-regulation, to his ability to let go of the outcome, and to be with me in a potentially never ending dance.
And that I will never blame a man for choosing another over me, a woman who does help him and invest in the relationship in a more traditional way.
I would do the same thing if I were him.

But I am clear that I will never be that woman.
I demand of you, that you are your best and highest self, and will block access if you are looking for someone to blame, or play some other totally understandable yet totally unacceptable “game”.
And not even because I am worth more, but because we, are.

I cannot allow you to shit where we eat.
If you act out, it is my responsibility to keep the relationship safe. Just like it would be his responsibility to keep it safe when I act out.
To protect it from the damage from one of us touching it, with the wrong vibe, the wrong energy.

However, and I should have known this since 2019 when I ended two friendships, I have never had that standard in my friendships or with family.
Nor anything that came close to that dynamic, although I have become more mindful.
The past few months this has been causing problems, I have not told you about, but they could have been prevented, if I had just refused to show up even just energetically;
When someone was not being tuned in with their highest self, and could therefor also not see my highest self, or highest work.

I have absolutely been lazy, in the sense that if the mood was not one of highest of vibes on TWO sides, mine included, I have let that moment continue.

I have not been as dedicated to attend to the right vibes of these more low-profile relationships.
Relationships where safety, and being yourself, and being there for each other, go without saying.
I have let myself go.
I ve gotten better but I have talked with friends and family about my work, and also shared my enthusiasm for what I do! 
Only to have their worries come back.

Today was a very tough day, where both parties will have a lot of work to do, getting ourselves in check;
We need to stop showing up, unless we can hold the vision of both our highest self as well as the highest, most capable, vision we have of the other.
We must cancel, if we fail at either one.
And if one of us shows up, in a state of worry, the other one needs walk away or find another way to guard themselves and the relationship.
To stop that negativity from spreading.

And in my case, I need to never talk to people about my work and in particular about money, ever, and I mean ever, again.
Because it only results in bumping into their stress about money.
Just like I must stop talking to them about my relationship style with my lover (which will be the only style ever available) because people are so afraid of being cheated on, and are worried for me, that I get hurt. I never get across the excitement, of finally knowing what I want.

But it sucks letting go of the three areas where you know you have the best ideas and it is your most unique work (ideas on sexual relationships, ideas on money, and doing business).
To not be able to fucking share that with the people close to you.

That hurts.

And yet at the same time?
I would never talk about money or business with my lover, so apparently my best relationship can go without!!

If I want all my relationships to become as pure and high-value as the one I have with him (when we’re together, which is never certain, as is always the case in never ending dances!).
I must wall off, my work life.

Finance and career need to be cut from the conversation, for now and evermore, and in return I will show up with the same dedication to the moment, that I have when I am with my lover.

But it also means that bar one friend, who is also an entrepreneur which is no coincidence at all – bar her;
I will be alone in this.

And that is as sad as it is empowering.
And looking back;
Inevitable.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

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Nederlands blog:
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In Bed With Lauren

Madonna 1990

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara 
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

I title this letter “In Bed With Lauren”, because I believe having the best sex of your life, should count as a pretty solid indicator of success.
In particular when you once created an alterego, “Lauren Harteveld”, with the sole purpose of being able to explore and develop your sexuality and to write freely about it.
Without anyone being allowed to bother you with whatever unsettling, stunning or arousing it was you wrote because if you wanted to explain yourself, you would have written about it under your real name.

If you have been protecting the personal and artistic space of your alterego Lauren Harteveld, for over 15 years;
If you have been validating her mission, to create the sex life of her dreams, if you have been validating that over anything you could possibly do under your real name.
And you have kept your professional self alive as a decoy, as a front, a diversion of who you really were (you made people believe you were the person who had your real name), so that you could dedicate every minute off to being Lauren Harteveld, to being the part of yourself most people didn’t know;

In that case, having the best sex of your life, and not having written anything as Lauren Harteveld because you were totally absorbed in the work under your real name;
That, is huge.

I m not going to get into the specifics of the work I m doing under my real name, because what difference does it make?
Our work together has always been about me desiring deeply, to be able to be creative, and have a profession I actually liked.
And I have that now.

I m an artist, would be the shortest way to explain it.
And it comes with the money challenges of being an artist, since I do not want to have a service provider “front”, do not want to offer something tangible for sale since my art is mostly immaterial;
But an artist none the less.

And an incredibly, over-the-moon, beyond-belief, happy one.

Every day I get up, and I spend up to ten hours behind my desk.
Social life, leisure time; I gladly sacrifice it all, to keep up with the work that is structured. It has a daily rhythm.
But also, to keep up with this work that more than anything else, just flows out of me.

I know my work so intimately, that I know exactly what needs to be done. I do not have any to-do lists, because I do not need them.
I work day after day after day, and when I do other things that inspire me, that nurture me, such as the sex, then I am completely IN IT, as well.
And it just flows as natural as my work does.

In June and July, and maybe August but I hope to have made some progress by then, I m taking the time to really let this artistic flow ingrain.
Learning to understand what my work is about, and how I can make it as efficient as possible. 
Not just so that I can free up time, to work for an hourly pay; But also because this is not even half of what I ultimately want to do.
I haven’t made any YouTube videos, although the three weeks of solid work have brought clarity of what it is I m going to do, so that’s great.
I also haven’t written even a word as Lauren Harteveld, which is such a shame. I like being Lauren, I like writing here, as her. 
I ve also not written my pen pal Nikki nor my other friend, whom I also feel is a friend of Lauren.
And not so much a friend associated with me under my real name.
I ve also done nothing for the book I ve written as Lauren 1994-1996, nor wrote for her current diary (Lauren 1997).

Even if I manage to stay an artist, and do not get a job; I want all that work, all those other aspects of myself, to fit in there.
Ultimately, I don’t want to be just a writer under my real name, as has been my dominant art form the past three weeks.
Regardless of how great these past three weeks have been.

So the first time I really understood how well I was doing, was when pretty much out of the blue, I had the best sex of my life.
Sure I can pinpoint what he did, and what I did, in advance, to set it up right. We’re both “good at sex”, we know that. And then if we both have a good day, and even more importantly, both are mentally in a good state of mind and take the time to really play out the date (no rush);
Of course there are new heights to be reached.

But it seemed like there was more.

The sex was so out-of-this-world good, we were so insatiable, and physically we could do things which rarely, if ever, go by unpunished!
It was pure magic.
It was something you would want to think about and analyze, so you’d be able to recreate it a next time.

Except of course, I didn’t.
Because I had my work waiting and that made me so happy, I didn’t do anything with all those great memories.
Not even write Nikki, and I ALWAYS write Nikki soon afterwards.

If you would ask me now: 
“Lauren, what was the reason you had the best sex ever? How did you get there?”
I would answer:
“I loved doing what I was doing as an artist so much, that the sex just came with it. It was a natural expansion of the state of pure bliss, I have been in for weeks now.”

I have never been happier in my life.
And yet when I think of all those things I still want:
– writing as Lauren
– making YouTube videos
– doing yoga
– writing Nikki
– writing the other friend
– and I want to clear out and reinvent my whole apartment in the upcoming month. Two events have caused me to store things in my apartment that do not belong here, and it no longer feels like mine.

When I think of all those things, I really have no idea where to put them. No idea where they fit in. And it stresses me out, because I can see where I can stretch things a bit;
But this is going to require a lot more space than that.

As opposed to my sex life, I have no idea how to make all that go in smoothly.
And unpunished.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 
 
 

 

Blond Ambition

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara 
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

I started writing this letter yesterday, and it seems like a lifetime ago. The Netherlands celebrates two days of Pentecost, the descent of the holy spirit onto the people, and maybe that counts for a sleepless night from Sunday to Monday.
I fell asleep at 6.15 AM and slept until 10.15, in a life that felt totally different than it had yesterday.

And yesterday’s draft of this blogpost totally irrelevant.
Or at least dramatically incomplete.

I think I needed the Fuck-that-shit! draft, where I concluded I was going to work as an online creative but;
Not talk about it.
Not explain it.
Not show up for any conversation.
Not set aside any resources, let alone on an ongoing basis, to figure out how to manage comments, mentions, correspondence or requests.
Instead from now on I was giving myself permission to not read any of it.

Not having to show up for any conversation, and that included not engaging with any man wanting to romantically obsess over me, was the big fat perk of having given myself full creative freedom, over being a business.

And from this position of being a writer, content creator, and artist -and definitely sticking to my guns that this time around my income was going to be generated by my work and not through a personal relationship with me, under cover of my work -this meant that my only justified involvements were:
A. With people who inspired me and my work! 
And avoid situations that drained me of my sexual or creative power, threatened my autonomy, or objectified me because I was a woman and that was the only part of me they could relate to.
And
B. With clear cut business proposals
Along the line of:
“Can you do this and this for us/ me? And how much do you charge for that?” 

After years of stripping away all the things that had once made me a “neatly fitting into a box” professional, I had come dangerously close to loading the shit sandwich of micromanaging unwanted attention, yet again.
It would have limited and tied me down in the same way my proper-professional business once had.

Saying “No” in acceptable ways that worked around egos and financial budgets, that did not setoff bullies and that were clearly understood and respected by potential stalkers, had not worked for the past 20 years, and it sure as hell was not going to suddenly work because I was now no longer an official business.

In my 20 year plus understanding of how unsafe you are as a woman service provider or a woman that is being visible online, I had been on the frickin’ verge of making it my (or an assistant’s) job to keep my side of the conversation professional, and also to keep an eye on the trolls. 

A blogpost even longer than the paragraphs I just typed, explained that was not going to happen.
I was going to ignore them instead and never waste another minute trying to find the right way to deal with them.

Women had lost enough momentum being sexualized as it was. We would have been better off if we had charged for just being in the same room as us, instead of getting entangled in delivering anything according to any professional standards, since that was obviously not what we were hired for in the first fucking place.

After no longer being in business, I finally understood that unless connections give you inspiration, energy, money, or all of the above? 
You should not give it even an iota of your presence, nor care, nor attention.

I had slayed the whole stalker, bullying, pretend-customer and obsessive follower monster, and was excited I had finally learned my lesson.
But, as it turned out after one night of having the holy spirit descend upon me, that turned out to be only half of the message.

It is difficult to say what sparked it exactly.
Maybe it was one flawless week of content creation and living my dream life as an artist.
Maybe it was realizing I didn’t like sex the way I used to, because this body  didn’t feel like mine anymore.
Maybe it was the passing of Alec John Such, the OG bass player of Bon Jovi who left the band after the Keep The Faith album.
Exactly the last album that I considered “my” Bon Jovi. After that I dropped out of fandom for 25 years.

He was only 70 years old, and maybe it added the gasoline of mortality to my already burning fire of having created this new creative life.
And in the blazing flames I saw what would happen if I would only do that creative work; The writing, the creating, the teaching, the working.
I would perish.

That I had a different thing to create, before anything else could be created.
Me.
Maybe “create” meant recreate: To bring my body back to the toned yet feminine body I had until a few years back really…. It went away so quickly.
Or maybe “create” meant, to finally create Madonna’s Blond Ambition body.

1990 Was the year I started fitness and it was her body I had in mind back then.
At the time, I only considered myself to be moderately successful at sculpting myself as her mirror image, but that was probably more because I never felt I had given it my absolute all. 
To this day, I feel her 1990s body was my aspirational, and achievable, ideal.

And when I realized that present day, I would rather miss out on:
-earning a fortune
-on being an artist, writer, creative
-on have my lover, or a lover, in my life
Than missing out on having my old body back, and on the possibility of getting in an even better shape than I had been my entire life;
That moment of clarity, changed everything.

I don’t regret having said in the past that I was going all in on my new business, I don’t regret having made my peace with my voluptuous body as it is, but it was impermanent.

No career, no art, no money or no lovers in the world, can ever make up this feeling of deep sadness that I have lost Me, somewhere along the line.
That in my quest to find myself creatively and sexually, and having been successful at that too, but by Gods!  
At what price?
My quest, just like Frodo’s quest coming home from Mordor after having saved the world, has come at the cost of losing myself.

And like Frodo knew he could no longer be happy in the Shire,
I now finally understand that I cannot exist in this body I now have.
That maybe even, to an extend, my Life, all those things I wanted and found out, cannot exist in this body I now have.

A body I love dearly, but it has suffered greatly, in my persuasion to figure things out in the real world. Grownup things, important things. Things I do not want to not have figured out, if I would die at 70.

But I need my body back.
I need me, back.

And not a good enough for my age version, either.

I want my body to be a mirror image to Madonna’s 1990 body.

Like I always meant to.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 
 
 

 

Showtime | 1997 diary

Sixth chapter for book 3 in my vintage diary series. 

Monday 30 May, 1997 

I don’t really know what to do with myself! Or even what my emotions are. I feel overwhelmed, relieved, in disbelief that it took so long, and also a nagging worry that “What if I m wrong? What if it doesn’t work?”

But I think it will.
Because I can’t remember ever feeling like this. It’s like I have ants on my insides!

Last weekend Bear came over and we had such a great time. It was one hundred percent like old times. We talked about how we met, and where he  had lived, and where I had lived, and the quirks of those buildings, housemates and going out and the bars we both knew.
How life really was, one big party, in many, many ways.

Maybe our lives would have changed and our dates would have toned down, regardless. I mean regardless if Bear would have chosen his now girlfriend over me (or is he rethinking it? I wonder if he is on the verge of moving out..)
With all the lightheartedness and banter, when we thought of all the crazy shit that happened in our college years, I really felt something coming back to life within me that has been dead or at least knocked out since 1994.
Something I lost in my internship, or writing my thesis, or I lost it because Bear and me didn’t live together in the same city anymore.
We were both abroad.
Sometimes I still think the separation of our internships was what broke us, but either way, water under the bridge.

What I mean is that I felt something coming back to life that was more than just him and me. More than the inevitable joy and value that came from being his lover all those years, more than that bit of me that he was always holding in the palm of his hand.

I felt the joy, banter and lightheartedness that had been mine to keep, forever, and that I had lost.

Our sex was simple and satisfying.
I hadn’t been sure if I wanted sex, but got in the mood when we were talking about the past, and we watched a VHS of Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, that I had bought a good while back.

A sentimental purchase, too. Because we had attended the show in Amsterdam. So when I saw it at the record store, at one of the moments when I had felt particularly disheartened by feeling sidelined by Bear all the time;
I bought this VHS.

The irony of me buying a VHS with “sideshow” in the title, and filled with painful hard to watch moments, to overcome being painfully sidelined by Bear, was not lost on me. Unfortunately. Maybe that’s why I never actually watched it. But we did now, and because we were together and it sparked some great memories, it no longer held that sting for me.

When he left, I felt unburdened. Carefree. And on Sunday, there was no backlash either. So it wasn’t just the date itself that had the vibe of uncomplicated times, but it had stuck. I was spared from the backlashes as well.

So I already had a great weekend, but I was up for a breakthrough and ants crawling on the inside, apparently! Today.
Via Nikki’s letter.

Nikki sent me a funny, five page letter, with enough sexual innuendo to make a nice dessert to Saturday’s sex. He didn’t include a Bon Jovi bootleg for me to review for the fan club, which I didn’t regret because I am behind as it is. Maybe he knew that. But he gifted me an original copy of Madonna’s Girlie Show, Live Down Under.
He knew I had liked her a lot in her Bed with Madonna years, and even more  so in the Erotica Sex years.

Those were the best! 

But it all seemed a long time ago, and although Bedtime Stories was more than palpable, I dropped out when she took on the role of Evita.
It reminded me too much of her Live to Tell cleanup in the 80s.
Choosing 50s clothing and feminine hairdos when you could be rolling around on stage in your garter belt, was as lame to me now as it was then.

The Girlie Show was a really small tour, I remember that. Jim Rose Circus Sideshow probably saw more people in 1993 than Madonna’s Girlie Show, but if she had toured The Netherlands, I would have been hellbent to go! 
Typical, that when the world speaks badly of her, and perhaps because of that, she only does this tiny tour, it is exactly the time I would have love to come.

So it wasn’t that I didn’t know The Girlie Show, it’s just that with her “retreating” to soft curls, bedtime stories and the whole Evita saga, I had not hunted that tour video down or something.
My interest in her had faded.

Until Nikki sent me this VHS, and I watched it, and it was like I found that joyful part of me, the girlie part of me. The part that had been mine to keep and that I somewhere along the road started tying to Bear either being there, or not being there.
And I found my sense of body too. The body I had when I was a teen, and that started getting heavier with age, with quitting smoking, with desk hours , and with coming to terms being Bear’s sideshow.

I have had multiple times when I knew I was going to lose the pounds, and failed. So that’s the part of me that is in disbelief right now. It feels dangerous to have faith in something I have failed at so often.

But I know this feeling inside of me.
And seeing Madonna’s lean body was like a reminder that was my body. That body, the performer body. Not this body, the sedentary one.
It was a reminder that if I wanted my old life back, my laughter, my confidence, the way to go about that was not by changing Bear, but by changing me.

The way out was to stop being a sideshow, and owning who I was.
The fucking main act.

.
~Lauren97

Showtime | 1997 diary
is the sixth chapter of book 3, diary 1997

Book 1, A Letter From A Stranger and book 2 Dear Nikki, in this series will be published in 2022, in one bind (one title)

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

How to build a business as a woman without getting killed

Madonna 1983. I originally included a photo from Rhythm 0 but I changed it for various reasons.

 

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara 
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

“Abramović placed on a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use in any way that they chose; a sign informed them that they held no responsibility for any of their actions.
[…]

This tested how vulnerable and aggressive human subjects could be when actions have no social consequences.”

Wikipedia on “Rhythm 0”, 1974, by Marina Abramovic

Dear Sara,

This letter was originally meant to be privately  by email, just like my previous one. Something I don’t think I ve done since our first emails in 2018, when I wasn’t turning my letters to you, into a blog post.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and keeping my last letter to you off the grid, was one of them.
Although I do think only a fellow blogger will understand how it feels to not use what could very well be one of your best blogposts. The rawness and realness give it an aura of urgency that isn’t present when things are just eloquently rising and falling, within the most civil of boundaries.

The works of art you don’t want to make public, and the ideas that you don’t want to execute, are without exception the ones that you definitely should be sharing with the world. I learned that from Marina Abramović.
Which reminds me of a performance of her, Rhythm 0 (1974), that is very relevant to this post. Where she stands next to a table, with objects that can inflict pleasure or pain, and allows the audience to use them.

Revealing of course the monstrosity of Man.

After 6 hours the performance ended and no one dared to look her in the eye. They had been able to rationalize their behavior by objectifying her, and couldn’t handle her becoming “human” again.
Marina returned to her hotel alone, and with her first string of grey hair.
She has been dyeing it ever since.

Since our last, off-the-grid call, my fear of being objectified on the job, in therefor in danger, has hit me hard. And really for the first time ever.
I can see how much it has influenced my inability to grow as a yoga business and ultimately made me give up.

I had been well aware there had been something about having real life yoga classes that was just so absolutely impossible to move forward, at least by me.
I was aware of the heaviness of it. The obligations, the demands, the investments.

But until this week I thought they were all administrative, or financial. That with the right knowledge of how to run a business, knowledge I have since developed, I would have been to do it.

That it had been the government-regulated nature of  having a/any real life business, combined with a market that in ten years time had acquired many new yoga teachers with a four month diploma or even 4 week ones, instead of a 4 year one;
That it had been those things, combined with hysterical real estate prices and energy markets that had made successfully exploiting a commercial property, heated to a comfortable 22 degrees Celcius, an impossible task.   

And I m not saying I was wrong.
Just that I had overlooked one major issue, that I have not thought of for absolutely years and years…
Which is: How to do business as a woman without getting killed.

I knew the hesitance I had as a local yoga teacher to really start playing big and become visible in the media, didn’t have anything to do with feeling I wasn’t good enough, or because I believed yoga teachers were supposed to be modest and not blow their own horn.
And now I know it was something far more primal; 
The reason I stopped having a healthy yoga studio because the classes stopped growing and eventually declined, was not because I didn’t know how to get it back up.

But because I was afraid it would get me killed.

As a woman and as a girl, I have always felt that men fell in love with me and that for a considerable portion of them, it was intolerable that I would not feel the same way.
That the feelings I had stirred up by talking to them, by writing with them, by working in a place they could see me (I will get back to why this doesn’t say “working with them”) and ultimately the emotions they felt because I was a yoga teacher, had to be answered by me, or bypassed in a way that still made them feel good about themselves.
Either way, somehow, I had to take responsibility for the mental strain my female presence caused them, and make it all alright.

There is so much to “unpack here”, as you would say it! 
But as far as memories of the past go, I will  stick to two things:
How I dealt with it in my business, at the time.
And how this fear of men has influenced my dating life. 

So looking back at my career in yoga, I can say that I was never really able to deal with it, in a structured fashion.
Ideally, I longed for a protocol in place. Some guidelines that I would be able to follow, that would prevent men who I considered a liability, from coming to my classes.
But I never got my head around that one, so it stayed messy and ad hoc.
I managed, and I do think that understanding that they could not be in my classes made it easier for me, than if I would not have had that so clear.
But it was uncomfortable for all parties, regardless of how neutral, private, and early I communicated it.

I absolutely never said: “You re in love with me, and need to go.”
Not just because it would have been extremely hurtful, but also because I think that was beside the point.
The problem was never that someone was in love with me.
But that they were unable to handle some, any, all feelings I was stirring up. And yes I think that is usually interpreted as being in love but it could be so much broader and wider than that.
I m the first to admit that if you have any issues with anything from your past, I ll probably trigger them!

So the problem was that whatever it was, they were desperate to, and I use that word in the most empathic way possible because I did feel their pain, but they really longed for a connection to ease their pain.
And that’s why I couldn’t teach them.
And messy or not, at the ideal moment or too late; Ultimately, I never taught them.

By the time I ended my business my groups were stable and my students were an absolute great bunch of people!
And fifty/fifty, many of them were men.
So yeah, it was sad that I didn’t know how to make that business grow. But it was because I knew that if I would grow my normal, weekly classes yoga business, I would have to go through the whole ordeal of men who start feeling all kinds of things in my presence.
And I still didn’t have a protocol.
And I still didn’t know how to select.
And ultimately, I also think I was growing impatient that I had to put so much energy in it, and worry about this when no male yoga teacher would ever feel he had the same problem. 

Male yoga teachers attract enough attention, but their position is an entirely different one.
And now I know why.
Because contrary to women, they do not associate the opposite sex falling in love with them with danger.

With being just a few steps away from becoming a victim of stalking, threats, abuse and ultimately death.
And women do.

Not just me; We all do.
All women have an understanding they cannot just say No to a man, without risking him turning on her.
Which is why they avoid his hints and non-verbal signs, and only say No when he asks specifically.

This is of course the root of men killing the girls and women that broke up with them, and it relates to the Me Too movement about abuse of power, but the problem lies much deeper;
Women cannot work as a professional, without constantly having to deal with men inappropriately projecting their sexual feelings onto them.
Instead of concentrating on the work, we lose focus delicately coaching our male clients through their emotions.

Maybe that is why I am such a big fan of the escort Avery Moore who charged $1000 an hour (in 2014!) and of coaches who ask similarly high end prices.
Because I believe we women are victim of having to do all that emotional labor for free, and at the risk of being bullied and stalked if we don’t do that work.

But I feel I digress.
Let me get back to how I feel these things go, I was talking about female professionals having to say No, or just in general women having to say No to a man;
It really is a situation we’d all rather avoid!

But we never can, can we?
Avoid it, I mean.
Because these men seem convinced our non-responsiveness is just one great misunderstanding. That as soon as we know how much he is into us, we will succumb.
It is only then, we will say No.

It took me a very long time to understand, what lay at the root of me understanding certain men had to go. And others, regardless of their feelings for me (feelings which are none of my business anyway!), could stay.
And it is so simple, yet a 100% rate of what is okay and what isn’t.

And it is the perfect bridge to my love life as well.

This simple rule is:
Am I free to say No?

When I had students that I felt were not giving me space, not giving me a choice, I felt cornered.
I know they were probably in denial about their own worth, and their own strength, but it translated to robbing us from an equal relationship based on our humanity.

Based on connection.

And instead, and for the fee of one class, I felt all their problems being dumped on my table of professional responsibility, and on top of that came their personal affection for me.
To make it bearable of course.
I get it.
How else would it be okay to do yoga with me, if the interest and therefor the vulnerability is not reciprocal? 

But by the Gods, how on earth could any female professional build a business in the service industry, having to encounter those top heavy sociological complex situations?
You re basically dealing with decades of psychological and sexual neglect, that you are supposed to save them from… 

And this is how it leads into my love life.
That the love life I ultimately settled on, which is being a long-term mistress but also still; as a single!  With no one holding a claim over me, and freedom to go out or have sex with other men, if I would want that;
Is not just because I like the game, and steady relationships are not exciting enough.

It is because being single, being alone, and not having anyone in my personal space, not in my finances, nor in my agenda at fixed times;
Not having anyone who holds me accountable for his emotions;
It is because all of those things, make me feel safe.

Way more than a wildly successful yoga business or a marriage, ever would.

So the past week, what surfaced is a variation of my deep distrust of other people. I know it surfaced in Covid, when I considered the weird, unclear dynamic between people and the inability to articulate exactly what your Covid boundaries were, and instead it was more that a general interest in the other person was required, and a willingness to coach them through their fears and worries, was an impossible dynamic to work with.

It has surfaced and ruined my yoga career where the same unspoken dynamic caused me to not see how I could successfully run a business, without feeling the emotional demand of those who were touched, moved or triggered by my presence. 

And now it is surfacing when setting up my online career, where I am suddenly reminded of how you are treated as a public persona.
That people feel free to project on you all their needs and wishes, and that you (I!) have to find a way to deal with that.

And that for now, the closest thing I have come to understand it, is that if you are a public figure, if you choose to work in the public, the online realm, instead of doing your work in the seclusion of a local brick and mortar business;
Then you (I!) need a whole different set of boundaries.

Now that I am laying the groundwork for my very public, online work;
I am beginning to understand that there is no answer for this.
That what women are dealing with, is a society where the objectification of women is so normalized, that even I have failed to see how it has been holding us back!

And that to a degree, the answer to how to run a business as a woman without getting killed is;
You don’t.
That our entrepreneurial risk, begins with the risk of wanting to give our life for this, and our privacy. And probably even dragging all those threats into the lives of our families and loved ones as well.

Our businesses start under siege, because our autonomy, independence and right to focus on our own lives, is constantly under siege.

The first law of womenhood is that you have to somehow work around the egos of rejected men. And unless you’re Avery Moore, you’re going to do it for free. And unlike a work of art, it will not be limited to 6 hours either.

If I setup my online presence in the wrong way, I am going to end up in an online 24/7 Rhythm 0, where just staying passive, just ignoring it, is probably not going to prevent much.
As the art performance Rhythm 0 already effectively illustrated.
Being passive, only makes it worse.

So this brings me to the only thing I have been able to excavate from this whole fucked up situation, about what it means to be a woman and how I have effectively neutralized the dangers of sexualization and objectification.
Because I have analyzed why I have felt so unsafe being a yoga teacher, and unsafe being visible (with yoga videos) online as well;
Yet I have at the same time, felt absolutely completely safe making videos for a specific “mutual interest” community, that has also been my target audience for years.
And I have also studied with men, I have been in male circles of friends both in high school as well as university;
I have worked WITH men (do you remember? How I excluded that from describing the situation earlier?) in the past and I still work in a team that is dominated by men, and of course I feel completely safe there.
I also have many male friends, I have more male friends than female friends.

So, I knew there was more to the story than just some version of men are impossible, or something.
I ve always known I am not inherently, scared of men.
That it is situation dependent.
But it took me a while to figure out what exactly, that situation was.

Why had I felt safe online speaking to the mutual interest community, but not making yoga videos?
And then I knew!
I saw it!

It is because in order to be objectified, you need to be separate. The reason female professionals are so easily sexualized and objectified, is they are not part of the same group as the man or men.

The whole old boys network thing, glass ceiling thing, is not just holding us back from better pay, it is also keeping us in a position where we can be objectified and no one needs to take responsibility for sexualizing us.

And if we present ourselves as independent professionals, in particular in female dominated service industries such as yoga, but this runs rampant in graphic design, photography, all professions where a client gets the privilege of being in the same room as you, either for you to do your work or to make arrangements and setup the project.
This professional space, that the female independent holds, much like the passivity from Marina, it becomes a space where the man can get feelings for her.

And if you go the other way, and be active, take the lead and be very clear on your arrangement, charge a high fee, and so on, which is definitely the better and the safest of the two, then men falling in love with you will get even worse.
In my experience, the stronger you are meeting new men, and you are NOT part of the same group – the stronger you are, the more they will become obsessed with you.

So even if you’re 100% the professional in charge, you’re still doing double the work of what a man would have to do. 
And at the risk of getting stalked, not paid or badly reviewed on Google, if you fail to settle the manner in the most beautifully pleasant way.

So, they key is, and I ve dropped it a few times already;
To be safe as a female professional, you need to be part of the group.
Not stand above it.

The “communities” marketing had us creating, starting 5 or 10 years ago, and some of them were total hoaxes because how would someone feel part of a supermarket community or something-
but those communities, actually serve a bigger purpose, when you start using them in the right ways.
Which is: By offering your services to already existing communities. 

Where women who present themselves as group leaders, have to juggle trying to galvanize and straighten out all kinds of dynamics, that are a direct result of individuals not naturally having chosen for each other AND the added threat of men falling in love with them;
Existing communities, have none of that.

My group of male friends in high school (6 boys, 2 girls) was the best group of friends I ve had in my life.
At university, it was not as close and our group was less strictly defined, but I was in a group with 5 male friends, and they “energetically protected me”, when other male students would join for dinner or something.

At my current workplace too; I am one of them. It is absolutely 100% safe.

So that’s how I uncovered how to do business as a woman without getting killed. It is great news on one hand; Because it IS possible.
Either by doing fucking heavy lifting of being a professional in charge, and taking the lead. And if I was opting for a brick and mortar business, that would be my approach now.

Or the second option is that you work for existing groups, or work within groups you already belong to, or become part of a group and share more than just the work you were hired to do. 

Or the third option is that you go full objectification and take the celebrity route, and not interact with anyone. That you give up all sense of humanity in your work, and say: “Want to objectify me? Fine! But then you will not have anything from me that matters. I will withhold it from you.”
And as tempting as that one is, I do not believe that is truly my best work.
I don’t desire that kind of distance.
Yet?

So the bad news is, that really, for myself, I have not figured the entire thing out yet. I will definitely work with the niche thing, the group thing, and picking the types of work where I know people will feel loyalty towards each other and avoid the anonymity and objectification and otherness, that makes online bullying so common.

But neither of all of those things are miracle cures.
There is absolutely no way a woman can make building her business a priority in the same outcome driven way, a man can.
Or at least, I couldn’t think of one.

And coming from a place of understanding how important my purpose work is, and how absolutely unsatisfied I am going to be if I die with my life still inside of me;
Coming from that place of utter understanding how important this all is, there is one thing I am not sure of;

If an art work is not 6 hours but a life time;
Is it worth dying for?

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

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