The Last Letter of LS Harteveld

source BuzzFeed, click photo: “This is what the aids crisis looked like in the 80s”

It’s noon on a Thursday, and the past 24 hours I spent how many of them on content I ultimately did not post?
Five hours?
My most recent accomplishment is deleting a 20 minute video for a YouTube channel under my real name, after editing it and writing out the description in the box.

The only thing I have been confidently sharing is my Dutch work under my real name. That is either “just” yoga or it is really loving and safe.
No feathers are ruffled.
Which is a very small part of me, the part that actually moves through life offering real yoga or soothing art.
Rock Star Yoga, my English work under my real name, is bigger.
And LS Harteveld?
Ooohh… LS Harteveld is definitely the largest part of me.
The raw message that comes out exactly the way it comes out, and that answers to no one.
That? I have in spades.
Or had until the Corona crisis.
Because I really don’t have anything to say, until there is a vaccine and we can talk about sexuality in a normal way.
Until that time, LS Harteveld doesn’t have a place in this world.
This is not her world.
LS Harteveld, the pen name I have been using since 2006, came into being the year I became single.
Her specific goal was to conquer her fears of STD’s/ STI’s/aids, and go beyond to find out what her true sexuality was.

Who was hiding under all that fear?
Not fear of death, but of being banished from society for being sexual.
It is only until recently that I realized that I had been suffering from a social phobia, and had been the victim of mental abuse, similar to pregnancy being the stick to beat Christian girls with.
Just like it is a thin line between “Don’t get pregnant.” and “Don’t have sex at all.”, it was a thin line between “Have safe sex.” and “Don’t have sex at all.”.
And the irony is:
I had hacked this.
I came to understand what ambient abuse is, what taking your own responsibility is. And I became a master at tackling every conversation that contained unspecified expectations, and ruthlessly forced the sender of such things to specify EXACTLY what they were suggesting would happen if I did not behave according to their standards.
Or even what their standards were.
I no longer accepted any responsibility for other people projecting their fears of being socially judged, onto me.
That is, until Corona.
Because as trained as I am to confront people who pretend to be on the look out for my safety, when it’s their ego I m supposed to protect;
I have no answer to anything, if you threaten me with being responsible for the death of the elderly and the sick.
If me leaving the house equals sick people dying, I don’t just not want to leave the house;
I don’t want to live.
My entire life (as LS Harteveld) is based on freedom, and in creating the space to live free.
I remember when I was still deep into my phobia, and the few friends I had confided in didn’t understand why me and my boyfriend didn’t just get tested so the fear would be over.
Because the fear would not be over.
I would have created a situation where I would no longer have to deal with the fear, because I had created a contained environment.
I wanted more.
And one night, when I was in my late twenties, I suffered from an extremely violent panic attack, fueled by an infection of a tooth. And it was in that moment, trembling and suffering from diarrhea, seated on the toilet, that I decided:
“No more.
Give me your best shot, and show me everything you’ve got while you can, Fear, because I don’t know where you thought this was going but I am Not.Backing.Down.”
It was in that night that the real me was born. The one who would never bow to fear ever again. Who would look everything right in the eye.
Social exclusion.
Sorry, not sorry, but No! None of those things will ever be a good enough reason to dance to the beat of what society wants me to do.
And I began to understand that the sex education based on “Do it safe” had missed a very important aspect: Risk assessment.
That it’s not about “staying safe”;
It’s about understanding what you are risking (pregnancy, death, stigma, social exclusion) as a result of any encounter you have.
The revenues have to outweigh the risks.
It’s not rocket science, it’s not difficult, anyone can do the math and establish for themselves what their risk assessment is.
But Corona brought something into the equation that makes this different:
The lives of others.
Doing your own risk versus benefit assessment for Corona is relatively easy. Even if you do it to flatten the curve, you have some sense of what you are willing to risk.
But making an assessment on whether you are willing to infect others, that is impossible and unbearable.
To me “Stay safe”, the Corona mantra, doesn’t imply a concern for my well-being;
It triggers the mental abuse of the eighties and I feel the pressure of having to behave in a way that doesn’t confront you with whatever it is you are not willing to face.
At the very minimum “Stay safe” means:
“Please behave in a way that my loved ones and people with poor health are safe.”.
Already something VASTLY different from what you are saying, but okay. I ll keep them safe by living like a hermit and being called out on any social interaction I have.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel we are not addressing the real underlying topic at hand.
Just like in the fifties and the eighties, the threat of social exclusion was not based on a risk assessment with pregnancy or aids being the cons, but on “underbelly emotions” of being punished for having sex;
“Stay safe” doesn’t have anything to do with my well-being;
and very little with the well-being of other people either.
I would be very surprised if “Stay safe” would not be code for everything we have not come to terms with..
If it wasn’t an expression of a process of risk assessment that was halted in its steps.
And that couldn’t be finished because the thoughts of loved ones dying or of our own mortality – stepped in and took over.
And maybe “Stay safe” also doesn’t need to be improved.
The thought process doesn’t need to be completed.
As long as the majority of people is okay with it, why bother digging deeper into your fears?
But to me “Stay safe”, and all the uncomfortable unfinished thoughts that surround it, all the choices that we’re not making, all the things we’re not saying and the responsibility for banning human touch and interaction that nobody seems to process as to how this affects our humanity;
That is what “Stay safe” means to me.
“Stay safe” means
“Mommy is busy and doesn’t want to be bothered with your difficult questions.”
It means, do as you’re told, stay indoor, don’t fuck, don’t kiss, don’t hug, don’t hold somebody’s hand on their fucking death bed or you are responsible for the death of others.
LS Harteveld means:
I don’t want to live in that world.
Maybe others can live, because I stay indoors for days on end. And because my purpose is apparently to be a good citizen, protect, serve and become a human shield for the innocent. And until my redemption, my body and my touch have become weapons of mass destruction.
If we are sinners for having a body than Corona is the 2020 version of the original sin.
I feel the only way out is to destroy t
he part of myself that is physical, sexual and free.
The part that is LS Harteveld
The LS Harteveld that was born in 2006, does not want to live in this world. Doesn’t want the 2020 version of “Why don’t you just both get tested and get it over with.”
She wants to look fear in the eye, yell at it that it better give me its best shot now that it still can because starting tomorrow we take matters into our own hands and Not.Back.Down.
And that is what makes me a mass murderer.
It is exactly the kind of mentality that we don’t need.
Mommy really, REALLY, cannot be bothered with people asking difficult questions, which is why I have decided my time has come.
And yes, maybe LS Harteveld will be reborn after a vaccine for Corona has been found.
And then you could say that me pulling her out of all this is my way of keeping her alive.
Of keeping her safe.
She’s been through enough in the eighties, and she’s not going through it again.
Because that’s the biggest lesson for me, in the eighties.
It all starts with being present.
People can’t abuse you, nor project their fears onto you, if you are not there.
The first choice, in any relationship, is whether you show up.
By cancelling my alias, the truest part of who I am, leaving an empty, dutiful shell that will become a successful model citizen, where no one will die because I wasn’t careful enough,
I have done everything within my power to save a world I do not want to live in.
the writer formerly known as
~Lauren/LS Harteveld

New Post Added:

This post received an unofficial part 2, shortly after it was posted.
It was written on Facebook, but now that I am collecting all posts for The Covid Diaries, I ve decided to include it here.
This is what it said:

March 19, 2020
written on Facebook

“By cancelling my alias, the truest part of who I am,
leaving an empty, dutiful shell that will become a successful model citizen,
where no one will die because I wasn’t careful enough,
I have done everything within my power to save a world I do not want to live in.”

from The Last Letter of LS Harteveld

I think I will write more about LS Harteveld, how she came to life 2006, the excitement of my first website (since 2010!), and everything that happened, but not today.
For now I feel so incredibly tired, as if I have completed something big.
And I have.

But also:
The real work is just beginning.
So many things to review, and books to print.
Writing everything, channeling LS Harteveld, was only the beginning.
And after death comes life.

I believe it is time for me/Lauren, to dive head first into my performance project 1994.
Or March 1995 as it is already.
And I can’t do that living in 2020 at the same time.

Although Project 1994 has started summer 2019, the Corona crisis has finally given me a reason to mentally leave 2020, and bury myself in 1995.
You can read more about Project 1994 HERE

So we will meet again.
Either you’ll see me as curator and moderator, and publisher of LS Harteveld books.
Or you’ll one day see me publish Lauren’s secret 1995 diary, and know it started today.
Maybe after the Corona crisis Lauren will come back to whatever year it is then.
Maybe she’ll stay in the 90s and keep communicating with us through books, published never as blogposts.
But as complete diaries, books that transcend us to a different time.

For now I like to think she is a 22 year old graduate, trying to figure out life.
Because that is exactly how I feel.

the writer formerly known as
~Lauren/LS Harteveld

The Last Letter of LS Harteveld
is one of the earliest chapters of 
The Covid Diaries

You can follow The Covid Diaries coming to life
on Facebook
& Twitter: @LSHarteveld



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

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