Causing a Commotion | a meta on Bohemian Rhapsody

left Freddie Mercury, right Rami Malek

It wasn’t until the fourth screening of Bohemian Rhapsody, before Lauren understood why this 80’s bio-pic really hit home for her.
And it was something she never thought she’d share.

Maybe I failed to recognize the deeper layer because Bohemian Rhapsody is a feelgood movie.
Or maybe because Freddie Mercury’s sexuality was supposedly “downplayed”. As critics claimed who seemed to be looking for a posthumous outing of the star who never wanted to be seen as gay, or sick, during his life.
Or maybe because I simply saw my aids phobia as a thing from the past.
It had been rooted in a stay in Africa but I was basically talked into it by overly protective parents, and government funded sex education.
Although I hung in there for a couple of years, I broke at the age of 17 and hid in long-term relationships until I was way over thirty.
I worked through all these fears in my first book, the Dutch novel Mango.
Mango featured both the aids phobia, as well as making out with gay or bisexual boys in my mid-teens.
As if I had been magnetically drawn to the risks that scared me most.
Until at seventeen, and still a virgin, I gave up experimenting and turned away from exciting heterosexual or gay men. I had two long-term relationships with reliable, straight men.

For 17 long years.
So maybe it was because of all those things, that I didn’t see the reason I kept coming back to the theater for another dose of Bohemian Rhapsody.
But I had been deluded on all of those accounts.

First of all Bohemian Rhapsody is not merely a feelgood movie. It is the triumph of passion in the broadest sense of the word. And it shows it coming at the ultimate price.
Secondly Freddie Mercury’s sexuality is not “downplayed”.
There are two male-male kisses that moved me to my core. And we all know what core means in this sentence.
But most of all I was wrong about my lack of emotional baggage.
In fact, I now consider myself absolutely ignorant, on how two decades of fear and sexual hiding have turned me into the person I am today.

My anxiety, my phobia for aids, was never “one story” that could be neatly written up in one book. And that after that I became a liberated heterosexual single woman.
My lover Mr.Big pointed out a long time ago, how my aids phobia had put my sexuality under tremendous pressure, in my developing years. That it was the most logical explanation for my need for sex to be exciting and adventurous.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t enjoy normal sex. For the untrained eye at least.
I had that within the two long-term relationships.
But it was just NORMAL.
I always call my body beginner-friendly. It responds pretty easily. I m good at turning myself on (by thinking of a more exciting setting) and I have orgasms easily. 
But having said all that none of those long-term relationships, nor most of the shorter ones, came close to what I really wanted.
What I thought about when I masturbated.
What fascinated me.
Moved me to my core.
And we still know what core means in this sentence.
Someone once told me his mother taught him:
“When a woman says she’s okay, she never is.”
I was “okay” in the sense that I wasn’t having panic attacks.
But it wasn’t having the type of sex I really wanted. Which was dangerously close to being gang banged in a dark room, as far as I knew.
I had no idea because I never had the chance to explore.
After twelve years of being single, I am aware my sexuality is actually quite the opposite to having sex with strangers.
The key for me is that I want my partner or partners to be sexually audacious. I still don’t think I could handle my partner being exposed to risks the way gay men were in the eighties.
But I would definitely try, if that was the situation at hand.
I ve always admired gay men for their zest for life. It is that entrepreneurial approach to sex that I require a partner to have. And I also need a partner to weave power play into sex, and role play with me.
That was the kink my lover was referring to.
“You’re so used to sex being this high-voltage thing; you simply don’t respond to normal sex.”
He was right.
Yet a monogamous, master-submissive like relationship would never satisfy me either.
I need a man to move freely in and out of my life.
Aside from the fact that I loved seeing male-male kissing, my fascination with gay men had also been fueled by the fact that they were usually promiscuous. When it could cost them their life.
In my opinion, then and now, it made gay men and gay relationships the absolute pinnacle of sexuality. They were like Gods.
And in the eighties there was another element that added to the status of gay men:
They had been unaware of the risks.
As Paul Gambaccini counts back, in the documentary Mercury Rising, there was a more than fair chance Freddie had already been infected long before anybody knew anything about the virus.
Which could explain why he seemed to take so many risks later in life.
I had been in my early teens when aids became known. So warnings for aids fit seamlessly into my sex education.
For better or worse.
But Freddie had been my parent’s age. He had been part of the gay scene since the late seventies. Freddie Mercury was never given a choice if he was willing to risk contracting hiv. It was too late for that.
However, my high voltage association with sex, which was rooted in a phobia for aids and my fascination for gay men, was still not the whole picture.
Although Bohemian Rhapsody did give me a shiver of excitement, to see that fear played out by one of those Gods of the eighties (Mercury!).
There was another aspect of myself, my personality, which I had never before connected to what happened in the eighties.
I could see it now.
And also: Why no one would ever agree with me on this.
I usually don’t talk about it because I don’t want to upset people, and also because I get tired of them talking back at me.
Like I m some kind of moron.
I talk and write about everything… down to the most intimate thing.
But not about this. Here it comes:
It doesn’t matter how long you live.
Nor what you die of.
The ONLY thing that matters in life, is that you wake up, find your passion, and work it as if your life is depending on it.
Because it is.
If I had it my way, there would be government funded check-ins if you’re on track with living a life on purpose.
But routine pap smears, prostate checks, breast cancer checks would be discouraged.
I can see there would be families where hereditary illness would make it more urgent to do a screening. Or at least where the worry about getting your hereditary disease is already omnipresent, and where screening could bring some relief.
But in most cases we’re talking about, and “they” are offering screening to, perfectly healthy people. Or at least they’re blissfully unaware they’re ill, which to me is basically the same thing. And now they are suddenly pressed into thinking they’re running some kind of risk.
That they might…
And if they’re early, then they could do something about it.
And in a flash! The HOLY MOTHER OF FUCKING CHRIST FLASH BEFORE MY EYES – I realized why I am so against this.
Why I find it an outrage screening is allowed and even government funded;
Because I believe it is destroying lives.
Let me fucking rephrase it.
Because I KNOW it is destroying lives.
And the reason I know government funded “education” about the health risks is destroying lives, is because my life was destroyed.
They leaped at me and sunk their teeth into me when I was still a girl, and shook me until three years later I didn’t move anymore.
I played dead for 17 years and sneaked out when I was already thirty-four. No one thought I would get up and they were no longer actively holding me down.
Not with aids. Not with hiv cautionary tales.
I got out.
And before they found something in my pap smears. Thank God for that.
But I m never going to give them anything, ever again. Least of all my trust.
The entire medical world, and everybody related to it, cannot be trusted. And not just when there is sexual morale involved, it’s much broader than that.
The reason I think everybody should find their passion and stop listening to health warnings is because I knew from experience doctors, parents, and educators, cannot be trusted with fear of death.
They’re all stunningly incapable of making risk assessments, the pros, the life, the lust, the passion versus the cons in the form of risks.
And they don’t have to.
Because we, their patients, children or citizens of their nation, are more than happy to turn our lives in, in order to be safe.
Well go ahead.
Do it.
Let yourself be turned inside and out, and be checked for cancer. They will literally cut little pieces out of you.
And then bigger ones.
They will remove entire parts, physically or mentally as was the case with me.
But the strategy is always the same:
They will convince you that it’s better to live without your current habits, your organs, your infected bits – than it is to die.
I can see the pattern, and call them out on their bullshit because they successfully immobilized me for seventeen years.
Don’t get me wrong, I m very happy with the excellent medication that’s currently available for hiv.
That’s great work.
And I do use condoms, and also take an std test when I switch partners to protect the next person that I m with.
So I’m not saying that the medical world has not brought me anything. They have contributed to making the risks manageable even for someone as phobic as me.
So good work was done, eventually.
But in my case it came at the price of two decades of mental abuse disguised as concern for my health.
Freddie died in 1991, but he lived sexually free.
I didn’t live until 2006, when I slowly began the work of restoring my sexuality.
The reason I kept coming back to Bohemian Rhapsody, was because Freddie’s disease was what they had used to frighten me with, to manipulate me.
And now it was Freddie who showed me that I was right. Fear of death was indeed no basis for a life well lived.
The only thing that matters is how you live and then you can be anything you want to be.
Even Freddie fucking Mercury.

An unexamined life is not worth living

Causing a commotion is the thirty-first chapter from Project M. 

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Een meisje vrijt met een jongen en een homoseksuele man. Naast het overweldigende verlangen, is ze zich hyperbewust van de risico’s. Zal haar lust het winnen van de angst?
Zo opent het magnum opus van LS Harteveld.
Na de coming of age novelle Mango, duik je in het dagboek van een yoga docent. En hier blijken de fictieve karakters uit Mango bestaande personen.
Benjamin keert zelfs boek na boek weer terug. Maar wat is de waarheid?
En wie is Benjamin?
Het laatste boek gaat over haar affaire met een getrouwde man die ze Mr. Big noemt.
Waardoor de vraag rijst; Is hij Benjamin?
Heeft LS Harteveld haar muze in bescherming genomen en zijn identiteit veranderd? Of heeft ze een nieuwe liefde gevonden? Een vrouw leunt over een tafel. Ze is naakt, op haar blinddoek na.
Haar minnaar rekt haar grenzen op tot het uiterste van wat nog passend is, in dit spel der geesten. Misschien gaat hij eroverheen, dat blijft in het midden. Maar 25 jaar na de eerste scene, is één ding duidelijk;
de lust heeft gewonnen.

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Het Boek Benjamin €45
Verzameld werk boek 1 t/m 8
Beschrijving boven, losse boeken beneden. 

1. Mango, een novelle  €15
Seksuele safari, van de jaren 80 tot de zero’s.
Een stoer, technisch meisje groeit op met alleen een moeder, in de roerige jaren 80. Roken is nog van alle leeftijden, drinken idem, en seks ook zolang je bestand bent tegen voorlichtingsfolders over aids waarbij het woord AIDS in bloedspatten is geschreven.

Dat blijkt helaas teveel van ‘t goede.
Vermengd met een verleden in Afrika, en een overleden vader, ontwikkelt deze arrogante tiener een angststoornis waar geen psycholoog haar bij kan helpen. Maar ze blijft aangetrokken tot mooie jongens en homoseksuele mannen.

2. Dutch American Diary (2008-2009) €15
Yoga teacher Lauren is in love with two men; One cunning wizard and one half her age.
 The affair was secret so Lauren called him; He Who Must Not Be Named. After the dark wizard in the Harry Potter series. She tried to get over this American but after a year she only has her mistakes to show for. Including dating an Israeli spy and a Buddhist photographer.

Now her wizard obsession is back full throttle and the next disaster has already emerged;  an attractive yoga student. Young enough to be her son.
Faced with nothing but diabolic choices, Lauren confides in her best friend; the warm and friendly Lara. Despite having the same nationality as He Who Must Not Be Named, and working at the same office coven, Lara seems to lack his foul nature.
Or does she?
Once you’ve read Dutch American Diary? You’ll never ever in your life make the mistake of messing with a yoga teacher. 
~Dutch American Diary part 1

3. 22 Erotische Verhalen €15
Literaire pornografie in de geest van Anais Nin en Isabel Allende.
Ze komen en gaan; de kleurrijke personages in deze dromerige erotische wereld, waar ze je één verhaal lang deelgenoot maken van hun diepste verlangen en hun ergste pijn. Die vaker wel dan niet op magische wijze met elkaar verbonden blijken.

Grenzen worden genegeerd, lusten gebotvierd, wonden geheeld.
Sinds Anais Nin heeft geen schrijver zo onbevreesd het grijze gebied durven te betreden tussen het verbodene, het gruwelijke en het goddelijke. De lezer krijgt naast onversneden liefde en zinderende ontknopingen, ook een spiegel voorgehouden die je laat zien wat er zich afspeelt in de donkerste delen van je ziel. 

 4. LS Diary (2012-2013) €10
About three dark men and Lauren getting naked on stage. Not necessarily together.
 Being dark, smart, and handsome, a Dutch writer bears the characteristics Lauren only knows  too well. He looks exactly like her male muse and unwanted protagonist in the majority of her writing.

A published writer and sought-after talk show guest, the Dutch writer has succeeded where blogger Lauren is failing year after year. After year. She feels the weight of her unpublished manuscripts, and her failed attempts to become a writer. To make matters worse she already has one ill-natured stalker. As if the liabilities of being famous have preceded its benefits.
Lauren gets her shit together prioritizing her work, ignoring men, sex and stalkers. But will it work?  Star struck Lauren meets the celebrity in real life, and soon enough her supposedly highly efficient sex-free life includes a naked guest appearance on stage, a blow-job in a parking garage and a seven month relationship.
~LS Diary can be read as standalone or as Dutch American Diary part 2

5. De Candystop (2013) €10
Waar de Nederlandse literatuur tot stilstand komt door een Marokkaanse lekkernij.
Getergd door een rits onduidelijke medische klachten, besluit Lauren geen suiker meer te eten, geen Chardonnay meer te nemen, en geen latte macchiato’s meer te drinken.

Na een paar weken is ze zo apathisch dat ze zelfs vergeet te masturberen.
Tot een jonge Marokkaanse god op tv verschijnt die tegen Lauren zegt;
“LauRRRen! WakkeRRR woRRRden! Ik ben ook schRRRijveRRR en ik heb ook een leuk leven!”
Dat is zo. Sam doet de vier s’en. Hij schrijft, hij sport, hij sekst en hij slaapt.
Ineens weet Lauren nog steeds niet waar het naartoe moet met haar leven, maar ze is wel klaarwakker. Zeker als ze erachter komt, dat Sam binnen een week een optreden geeft bij haar om de hoek.
Sam doet haar denken aan een verboden relatie met haar leerling, iets waar ze gemengde gevoelens over heeft. Sam wil die best met haar onderzoeken, maar hij vraag een prijs…

6. Bedtime Stories (2014) €15
Facing her demons and her muse, Lauren’s sexual history gets its worthy finale.
Lauren is corresponding with Elliot, but somewhere between The Netherlands and Vegas, things have stranded. To get their project back on track Lauren resorts to strong measures: making the whole damn thing public.

Sharing eight months of her life, Lauren’s third diary reintroduces all popular characters, such as writer Rafael and his legendary mythical counterpart Benjamin. Young writer Sam and his ghost twin Valentino.
Closing the Dutch American Diary trilogy, the 1991 story lines are finally tied together. With an extremely satisfying ending. Although not in a way anyone saw coming.
 ~LS Diary can be read as standalone or as Dutch American Diary part 3

7. Mirage (2014) €5
Giving you a little dessert, with all gorgeous writers from previous books.
Lauren, the former hedonistic cougar, is home bound, mothering her little ones, sick with worry and about to get dumped by her lover. Together with autumn setting in, Lauren needs her annual Cute Writer Fix more than ever. And this year there’s five of them.
Including a lunch date with the most famous author of the Netherlands; her youth love Henry.
~Mirage can be read as standalone or as the epilogue to the Dutch American Diary trilogy.

8. Big, diaries & erotica (2015-2016)  €20
The crown to Lauren’s life; a secret affair with her Biggie.
Ten years and ten lovers have taught Lauren two things.

One: single life is a disaster.
And two: men suck at anal sex.
So when Mr.Big comes along and succeeds where all the others have failed, Lauren is euphoric. She immediately picks up her pen to write about it, and her first story is indeed called “The Biggie”, about his flawless performance.  
For two years Lauren documents her secret affair with the married business man. She writes about their explosive encounters, her unwavering love, and her powerful insights. Gradually, Lauren changes. From an scarred single, to a woman totally owning her worth and her true nature. Ten years after ending her relationship in order to explore love and sex in all their forms, Lauren Harteveld becomes the ultimate mistress.

los verkrijgbaar, niet in Het Boek Benjamin:

Witte Tijgerin €5
Gids voor solitaire vrouwen die een geweldig seksleven willen en plenty energie.
Een Witte Tijgerin is een alleenstaande, onafhankelijke vrouw. Haar contact met mannen is erop gericht dat ze er energie van krijgt. Stel je voor! Nooit meer gehannes met beginnende relaties die het toch nét niet zijn. Nooit meer die morning-after backlash. Geïnspireerd op het klassieke Taoïstische werk De Witte Tijgerin van Hsi Lai, onthult deze gids;
– hoe je de touwtjes in handen houdt
– hoe je je liefdesleven gebruikt voor je plezier
– hoe je met seks je jeugdigheid herstelt.
Hij zal niet kunnen wachten om weer met je af te spreken! 


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