Defining Moments | It Took Me A Very Long Time To Get Here – The Full Season 1

Almost two weeks ago I started a modest, definitely non -diary series on Twitter and Facebook, using quotes from Sex and the City. 
Two hours ago, my dvd player made a management decision, that enough was enough! 
I was writing hours every day, never slept before 2 A.M., and I ve neglected my time-travel project 1995.

In fact I had gotten so involved in It Took Me A Very Long Time To Get Here – it wasn’t until this morning that I remembered I was supposed to be in 1995!
But before I could plot how to eloquently merge Big & Carrie’s series “It Took Me A Long Time To Get Here” with 1995, Mr DVD stepped in, and cancelled it for me.

So here it is!
13 Episodes long; The entire first season of “It Took Me  A Long Time To Get Here”
Starting modestly, ending wildly, and closing it reviewing, reflecting and enjoying on what happened.

Just like sex, really.

I’d love to see you again some day.

~Lauren 

1. The beginning

“I’m looking for love. Real love.
Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming,
can’t-live-without-each-other love.”
.
Carrie, Sex and the City
An American Girl in Paris
(part deux), S6E20
.
No, no; This was not supposed to be a Facebook and Twitter series.
That would have saved me hours of writing and a week of frustration, until ultimately I blocked the project out of my head entirely.
Too bad I had reminders everywhere, to confirm my commitment to this new project;
My new daily schedule.
The Sex and the City dvd box set next to my couch.
A notebook that had a schedule of all the episodes I was going to cover.
And even in my agenda, I had marked the 82 days this project was going to take.
If it had actually taken place, that is..

Because it didn’t.

After starting this project last Monday, June 1st – hitting the ground running!- , I tripped and fell deep and hard.
Within two hours two really bad things happened, and I was lost.
I couldn’t write about them, because they were too private. Either for myself, or for other people. So my entire idea of the diary based on Sex and the City episodes, lost its appeal.
And there it went:
Sinking slowly but steadily to the bottom of my list of Projects That Inspire Me.
The only thing that reminded me of it, were those reminders.

So then why, on this Monday when I am making a NEW fresh start- and a WAY better one than last week – did I feel compelled to dust this off and give it a reboot in a slimmed down social media version?

Maybe because it was just too much fun?
Maybe because my new plans for the future, about which I will be writing here in this blog very very soon – maybe those plans scared me SO much, that I needed the soothing effect of counting my summer through Sex and the City?
Maybe.

So here’s what I m going to do:
For this series I have selected Sex and the City episodes with Mr.Big, and I will start sharing the episodes starting at the end.
It’s one of my guilty pleasures for reading books, or (re)watching series:
To start at the end and make my way back.
One of the things I ll be doing this summer (although not the thing that excites me and also scares me), is pick up harvesting all my blog posts (still/ again), and creating new books (still/ again).
In order to not have this end in super heavy files with thousands of pages – which I then abandon (again) – is by taking baby steps AND by harvesting and curating my work starting at the end of every blog, with the most recent work.
It’s so much lighter than to start with posts that are up to 10 years old.
Starting at the end is my preferred way of working, and it’s what I ll be doing with this series as well.
So we start at the end, season 6 episode 20, An American Girl In Paris (part deux).
And I will select a quote from Carrie.
.
“I’m looking for love. Real love.
Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.”
.
Carrie,
An American Girl in Paris (part deux)

.

I will post this to social media.
Then we work our way back, only the episodes with Mr. Big (41 total) and always with a quote from Carrie.
So that’s 41 quotes ending with Season 1, episode 1.
Then we switch to Mr.Big;
The next is a quote from Mr.Big, from episode one, and from there we move up. From the first episode all the way to where we start today, season 6, episode 20, An American Girl in Paris part deux.
Where Mr.Big’s final quote, closing this series, will be:
.
“It took me a very long time to get here.”
.
.Mr.Big,
An American Girl in Paris (part deux)
.
Maybe I do know why this series still appeals to me because something important happened, in the past week;
I stopped seeing myself as a service provider (yoga teacher, coach, entrepreneur).
I stopped seeing myself as a marketeer and sales consultant, or a content manager or anything along those lines.
My new profession (that excites me and frightens me!) is not going to have to do anything with “selling myself” nor with selling others.
It’s only about measurable, nessecary, and specialized work, based on skill.
And with that, my personality or who I am, and what I do in my free time, has become completely irrelevant for my daytime job.
To be valued exclusively and solely for my skill, and not for who I am, gives me the artistic freedom I have been looking for, for over a decade.
.
It took me a very long time to get here, indeed.
.

~Lauren/LS Harteveld

.

2. A Zero and 3 hours of sleep

“Can I tell you something and you won’t use it against me when I feel better and everything is great?”
 
Carrie, Sex and the City
An American Girl in Paris (part une), S6E19
.
Tuesday June 9
If I say I had a bad night, it would be an understatement.
On a scale from 1 to 10, I would give it a 0 and 3 hours of sleep
But I had an amazing day with a friend! 👍
.

3. Cold

“Without sharing your worlds
can even the hottest relationship stop cold?”

Carrie, Sex and the City
The Cold War, S6E17

Wednesday June 10

An upbeat, fun day with almost a festive feel to it.
It took me until Carrie’s quote today to realize why.
Because the answer is No.
Nothing can cause the hottest relationship to stop cold.

.

4. Heart

“Big’s heart had closed again.
Maybe it would reopen in another five years,
maybe not.”

Carrie, Sex and the City
The Domino Effect, S6E11


Thursday June 11

Technically I m still in my workday, but I don’t feel like writing after my yoga class at 10 P.M.
So here I am.
I thought I would get clarity on which of the two quotes I should pick for this series.
The one where Big opens his heart, or where it closes?
Until I realized the answer was in the video I found on YouTube, which had glued the two separate scenes together:
The answer was both.

The story of the little glimpse of his heart, Mr.Big gave to Carrie, once every five years;
That is how often Mr.Big allowed me to see his.

And just like Carrie, at the end of the episode The Domino Effect, it was ultimately something I learned to live without.

~Lauren

.

5. Distance

“Do we need distance, to get close?”

Carrie, Sex and the City
Hop, Skip and a Week, S6E06

Friday June 12

I ve been thinking a lot lately.
It started a few weeks ago with a friend who was in a new relationship. It was interesting to see how that was working out, and what came up.
And noticing that I could tick off many of the boxes, new couples kind of have to figure out on their own.
Traps almost, everybody falls into.

I realized: “Yes, I do know how I d go about that now.”
I may be single, but I’m far from uneducated or naive. You could even say it’s the reason I am single, instead of struggling to making a relationship work.
When I m in it’s great, and it stays great, even when that other person breaks up with me –
that last bit was the hardest part.

When lover Big broke up with me, we stayed connected and it didn’t feel like a break-up.
We had never talked about the shape/ status of our relationship, it didn’t seem to matter that much that we could not even have an affair anymore.

Our dates had never been defined by whether or not we had sex, it was always a dance between two people.

That he was taking one beloved dance off our menu, which might even result in not having any dancing routine, drifting away and never seeing each other again.
Well…
It still didn’t have the drama of a normal breakup.

Maybe our time together had been too cherished by both of us, to ever been taken for granted.

Either way, seeing this new relationship from this friend developing, brought out a new image of why I liked Mr.Big so much.

There’s two sides, the negative and the positive.

From a negative perspective, I knew he (we) had really good emotional hygiene. This did not mean that we would not be there for each other in times of need, although neither one of us ever used our affair for support.
But emotional hygiene meant that there was a sort of hyper-awareness, that it doesn’t benefit the relationship to bring your emotions into it.
That it comes at an enormous cost.
One neither of us was obviously ever willing to pay.

But this time I also got an positive imagery of what it is we did, and – to my own surprise – still do.
An image that explained to me why the relationship had not felt over in December.
Far, far from it.
Although of course the fact that we would hardly see each other anymore and not have sex, did make me sad.

I call this The Theory of The Two Candy Jars.

Normal couples come together and they get into this “Are we a couple?” phase.
Often, this translates to:
“Are we going to have one jar of candy?”

One jar of candy means that instead of the individual responsibility to keep your own jar filled, it is now the couple’s responsibility.

Suddenly it is no longer clear where the candy is going, if you’re allowed to share the candy with others, and if the candy jar is empty it is unclear whose responsibility it was to fill it.

When they say a relationship is work, what they mean is:
Work to figure out how to go about the candy jar.

Whereas all that could be prevented, if becoming a couple never meant the merging of the jars, in the first place.

If each individual kept their own jar, the entire relationship would work like magic.

Mr.Big and me had a perfect Two Jar Relationship.
He filled his by doing the things that were important to him.
And I filled mine with alone time in which I thought, I wrote, I created.

Every time we saw each other we were excited to share our jars, and see what the other had collected and have a little bite.

I could actually be happy for him, that he had such a rich life. So many things that made him happy. And that he shared it with me.

And I think for him my jar was an interesting novelty. He didn’t know that many people who were so introspective, and who created their own candy.

The distance between us provided both him and me, with an opportunity to keep our jars filled.
And this explains why I didn’t feel sad that much – in December:
Although the circumstances had been less than ideal, basically all he had asked me was more distance.

Even if we don’t come back together again, I must have understood – at a deeper level – that he did what he had to do, to make sure his jar would stay filled.
And to no longer share himself, when he was running low on candy.

He had ended our affair but he was still taking care of himself, he was looking after his jar.

And with that he had done his part, in taking care of us.


~Lauren

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6. Past Present

“Can you get a perfect future,
if your past is present?”

Carrie, Sex and the City
The Perfect Present, S6E03


Saturday June 13

I think I ve found the litmus test to determine if it’s real love;
Or if you’re wishing your way into a relationship.
It doesn’t matter if you’re wishing your way into a sexual relationship or a more traditional relationship, where you hope to move in together.

Ask yourself:
“If he broke up with me, would I still want to have sex with him after?”

If the answer is no, it’s all in your head.

Sex has a bad reputation.
If the air is electric between you, and you have sparks moving up until the ceiling, it’s downplayed to “just lust”.
Am I right, or am I right?

Whereas even if you’re the most flammable of men or women, would you not agree that even you can immediately feel the difference between a 6 and a 10?
I m ranking your feelings of desire, not the object of your affection.

The great thing about sexual desire is that it cannot be faked.
The appearance of desire can be faked; Yes!
But the feeling of it, cannot.

Your sexual desire for someone is the litmus test for how true your love is.
And in the hands of the inexperienced, it can be destroyed (although only if you let it be).
But if you learn to cherish it, it can be eternal.

The “Big” difference between how I handle my love life now, although technically it’s non-existent sexually, right? – but the difference between now and in the past,
is that I have decided to do cherish it.
Whatever I do, it must respect and nourish the tension that is there.

One of the things Mr.Big used to “reason” his way out of breaking up with me, was that if I would find a man for myself, someone who did not have a significant other already, that I would stop seeing him anyway.
But I denied that, and explained why.

Any new man in my life, or bed is the more appropriate term right now I believe, any man in my bed must encourage me to have the experiences and live the life, that I find meaningful and joyful.
I said to Big:
“I would not break things off with you for a new man.
I would only have someone in my life who would want me to have beautiful experiences.
You would have been one of them.”

I think seeing relationships as ending when other desires or circumstances direct your life (or his/her life) in another direction, is a deep and tragic waste.
The relationships did not end.
They just shape-shifted.

But all the good bits should be curated. You should save them.
They’re too precious to throw them out, just because the form or exclusivity of the relationship, turned out to be different from what you hoped it would be.

You can’t have the perfect future, if you don’t keep the good bits of the past.

~Lauren

 

7.To love or not to love

“You were unavailable and very clear about that.
Now please kiss me.
Or at least, lie on top of me.”

Carrie, Sex and the City
The Big Journey, S5E07

Sunday June 14

Sometimes I feel the more the C. regulations are loosened, the more the walls are closing in.
When no one could go out, no one could go out.
Although The Netherlands never had a full lock down situation.
There has always been room to move.

But how we apply the rules is changing.
So it’s not so much that certain rules, with regard to how two people are supposed to interact, have changed;
It’s more that in the slipstream of certain businesses and so on, opening up again, we start interpreting the rules for citizens differently as well.

And there is the added pitfall, which is a personal one, that I interpret sex as being impossible, because of social distancing, where I have discovered that EVERY SINGLE I KNOW, and the people in LAT relationships,
ALL automatically view sex as having a Status Aparte.

No one saw having sex with a lover, or starting a new relationship, as being subjected to C regulations.
It was just the dating/ meeting new people in real life, that was considered to be subjected to C rules.
But probably more because cafes and bars were closed so you had nowhere to meet.

I already saw that the views of the majority of people, although they appeared to have been made unconsciously, were right.
Because you should not let social distancing determine your love life.
And I knew that the right thing to do, should I get the opportunity to reboot my love life, was to go for it.

However, very, very much to my own surprise- and I can’t stress this enough I really had not seen this coming- on an emotional level, this turned out to be a lot harder.

I ve been going over this for weeks now.
And it’s almost like the more rules and regulations are lifted, the more it freaks me out.

YES!
On one hand I want nothing more than to have a lover again.
But with my taste in men, in all likeliness he will be “taken” and it will be a secret affair.
In theory it could be someone who is single, or who ends his relationship to not burden our affair with secrecy –
But in practice, it’s way more likely that either he’ll stick with his partner, OR that he’ll “come running to me”.
There is nothing as fragile as a man who has just broken up his relationship, especially if it has been a long one and (in his view) I am the reason it shipwrecked.

But from the two, the secret affair still appeals to me.
Again; In theory.

Oh, I just noticed a new option;
He breaks up the relationship and finishes strong.
Or I start dating a seasoned bachelor.
So I date an independent man.

This scenario has two scripts:

One is I become one of his dates, one of his lovers.
Which is cool, but you know what?
Maybe even that scares me.
I m going to get back to that – but first;

I did not know what was bothering me, and keeping me from committing to my sex life, even though I thought I had given myself all the permission I needed.
But I am not okay anymore/again being a secret mistress.

The C crisis is already causing havoc in my social relationships.
My social phobias, being anxious in the hours or days after seeing someone and having meltdowns, are back.
When you see so few people and socializing is so rare, you (I) feel so much pressure every time.
Like I have to “perform”.
Even on the phone or Zoom.

Under these circumstances I really cannot risk triggering anyone.

We’ve become like this rural village where everybody knows everybody, and the urban culture of individualism has been replaced with the social norms that serve the community.

I’m not saying I will never be a mistress again,
I m just saying now is not the time.
That is what has been holding me back, unconsciously.
Which is the first epiphany I got from typing this.

But the second epiphany – and this is something I have been thinking about for a long time, but I never saw it so clearly! – the second epiphany is that I AM ready for the next level.
I DO know what I want!

No, not the man who “chooses for me” and I then have to repair the damage of his previous relationship or his time as a single, before we can have some air between us.

No, not the man who stays in the relationship and offers me a position as a secret mistress.
It’s not a moral thing, but C. has changed our culture, and has made the costs of being a mistress too high.

I ll have a “This could work!” Yes for the man who stays single, and keeps me on as a mistress, but one who is less secret because he has no partners he’s cheating on.
This is the point, I promised to get back to;
Why I find even dating a bachelor not ideal.
My biggest regret with this, him being single, is that I would always be weary he would choose for a traditional relationship with another woman.
To lose him because he doesn’t value being lovers, or because he doesn’t value it enough to fight for it.
There are a lot of women out there who want traditional monogamous relationships, and they’re very good at selling it.
Unless as a man, you have clear non-monogamous relationship goals, you’re going to be hit on as a potential spouse all the time.
And like I said: They re selling it, it will be appealing.

But the biggest Hell Yess, No Brainer! of a relationship, and the one I can see clearly now that I m picking apart the impact of this C crisis on my love life, is not to date a single but to have a man who will choose for me.
But in a completely free way.

I wrote yesterday about the candy jars:
We ll each keep our own jar of candy.
We ll each do the things that make us happy, so that we have a lot of love to share.

I want a man who will support me in whatever it is I want to do, as I will support him.
I want a relationship so fresh, so new, so all encompassing and at same the time so airy, ethereal and volatile that no one can pinpoint it.

I want a love that shape-shifts according to our needs, according to who we are; And that interacts with its surroundings in a natural way.

No wonder I did not say: “Lay on top of me.”
No wonder I did not say: “Kiss me.”

Until I knew what I wanted, it was impossible to say yes to anything.

~Lauren

 

8. A New Season

“It was official; A new season had begun.”

Carrie, Sex and the City
I heart NY, S4E18

Monday June 15

It was as if I was reborn, and a new life awaited me.

For the outside world this has demonstrated in me dying my hair back to blonde, and I know my switch in careers.
Actually, I even considered sharing my process and thoughts with regard to that.

Because if after 20 years, you switch gears from being a yoga teacher and a writer, all slash marketeer/ sales enthusiast, and then radically switch to something you have to learn from scratch, should that occasion not somehow be marked?

Especially since it cost me three weeks of feeling downright awful. The first week because I was still in the process of finding out I do not, not ever, want to work in marketing in sales.
Nor ever again have clients, or client relationships.
Delivering a service or being paid for soft skills, was taken off the menu, in violent fashion.
Along with task or skill-based jobs where you constantly have to prove your worth over the intern.
Let them have it.
I m out.

It took me 5 days.

On day 6 somebody offered me a way out, that I immediately recognized as the right one.
Yet, instead of great happiness two weeks of mourning followed.
Mourning that my days spent behind my desk writing, were over.
That they would have been over regardless of the type of job or line of work I would have chosen, didn’t matter.
The mourning didn’t come until I saw this new line of work, and knew:
This is it.
This is what can sustain me through any crisis, through any recession; I will be able to do it until the end of my days.
It’s brainy, it’s abstract, and I m entirely neutral towards it.
I don’t have to love it.
All I need to do is not hate it.
And I don’t.

Yet, I wasn’t prepared for the two weeks of mourning, feeling like I was bringing my creativity to the grave.

But this morning I woke up knowing it was over.
I dyed my hair, looked at the world with a fresh pair of eyes, and knew I was going to rock my new life.
Even I, at that moment, thought it was “work” I felt.
The pieces of the puzzle coming together.

Until I sat down just now, and had to decide what this post should be about, and realized:
BS.
Me feeling good, doesn’t have anything to do with work, or how I m going to make my money. Those are things that have never inspired me.
This is about love.

This is about me solving the riddle yesterday’s diary post, on if I want to be a secret mistress again.
It would make sense that I would say yes to it.
I mean- I KNOW I am a mistress.
To be a lover with whom he feels great about himself and who has great faith in him.
To be in a relationship that finds meaning in the good times – not in over-talking or dealing with the bad ones.
A relationship that is based on a mutual understanding that “You can’t get there from there”;
You can’t get high, by plowing through the dirt, and wondering why you’re not getting anywhere.

A relationship that is based on curating your emotions, your experiences, until only the most beautiful ones remain.

Until I had a better word for it, I chose to call that a mistress.

But yesterday, was different.

First off I noticed that C crisis had changed something: My social phobias are back, and human interaction has become straining.
I ve always feared public scrutiny, but in C. times it’s social suicide.

But secondly, I realized that being a mistress, or calling it a mistress, was a working title all along.
I knew it was incomplete.
And I created an image in my head of a relationship that was free, and built around love and support for each other.
S
upport, not to overcome the rolling in the dirt level but to explore the world, and create ones own happiness.

On second thought: Good times versus rolling in the dirt, is the wrong analogy.
What I mean is:
The relationship itself, should only bring forth the good. The relationship itself should not be the issue, or the cause of stress.
But a place bringing out the best in every moment still. Every moment is welcomed exactly the way it is.

A relationship where two people get energy from living in their own world, but then come together to share it, and create even more beautiful and unique experiences by merging them.

It doesn’t have a name yet, this new thing.

But judging from how absolutely brilliant I feel today, it has been created in my mind already.
Far stronger than recognizing my new line of work, 2,5 weeks ago – I recognized this love, this relationship style, as mine.

This is who I am.

It was never knowing my new line of work, that changed me or healed me.
It was knowing that love will come.

~Lauren

9. Value

“How do you retain a sense of value when you have nothing concrete to show for it?”

Carrie, Sex and the City
Ring a Ding Ding, S4E16

Tuesday June 16

I had a very business-like feeling about today. In fact, I had a business like feeling about the rest of my life!
I was completely unemotional about the fact that I would have to change my life of unlimited creative time, to one that was built on something I had not cared for, for my entire life.

It was how I saw adulthood:
You have a choice between monetizing something you love, which when it comes to creativity usually includes selling your soul to a certain S. Atan.
Or you keep your creative work clean and your chances of going to heaven open; But turn in your earthly life by spending your workweek in a line of work that isn’t your hobby.

Today I moved away further from my former profession as a yoga teacher, and sunk deeper into my role as a writer about yoga.
I even got a big RT on the diary post I wrote after my first yoga session.

So I m one day in, to dividing my life into the 100% YES! of writing about yoga only;
One day into culling all my projects, including yoga, so that it can fit into the few hours I will have left every day after work time –
one day in, and I get a RT from an account with 50K followers!!!

Technically I don’t have anything to show for. Sure, in theory I have 10 books out under this name-
but under my real name?
My professional name?
25 years of not making the money nor building the financially sustainable life I could have had.
(I have a degree in business)
And now, in my 40s, I have to rebuild my life from the ground up.

Cut down on the creative projects, so that they can be done in the limited free time I have.
And develop a new career, one that will never have me shy for work.

I m ending years of being able to write freely during the day, because I was making a living from teaching yoga.

I may not have something to show for, but I have my soul, I have my art, and I just got my love for yoga back and a 50K RT

That’s not just good.
That’s great.

~Lauren

10. The Good, The Bad and The Big

“In matters of love, how do you know if it’s right?”

Carrie, Sex and the City

Just Say Yes, S4E12

Wednesday June 17

I know that during the time Sex and the City was broadcast, I couldn’t really pinpoint why all those other guys, other than Mr.Big, looked so off, compared to him.
It wasn’t that I didn’t see what was “wrong” with Mr.Big, although in that respect too, I became milder.
It was actually after a friend instinctively said, when we were talking about Mr.Big;
“She always tried to get something from him, but he was elusive.”
I don’t know if elusive is the correct English word. What I mean is that he was “untouchable”, a word which also doesn’t quite ring me as the correct one.
But either way, the creators of Sex and the City too, assessed Mr.Big the wrong way!
Because he was written in, as being emotionally unavailable. While my friend’s first response basically conveyed that she, Carrie, was unreasonable and pushy.
A view that was shared by the fans from Sex and the City: It was their “back by popular demand” that brought back Mr.Big, and made him her primary love interest.

The writers had aimed to create a character that was an undesirable partner, Mr.Big, and had no intention of bringing him back as her true love.
So this can only mean, that Aidan WAS meant to be The One, right?
We were supposed to love Aidan.
Or at least, that’s what I assume.
He even makes a come-back, he gets an entire second season with her, in which he moves in with her and they get engaged.

In every season Mr.Big returns at least once. Usually as a patronizing but irresistible flirt, mocking Carrie every time she tries to be serious and thinks she has her life figured out.
Mr.Big’s smirk, with the big cigar in his hand or mouth.
His casual: “Hi Kid.”
Everything in me screams:
“Carrie! That’s the guy!! What the f are you doing with Aidan (who Big calls something that has to do with chopping wood, if I remember correctly), Berger (who Big calls “Hot Dog”)?”
With his immature mocking of her relationships, Big makes it very difficult for her to come back to him.
He’s not exactly plotting how to seduce her back in, when she’s taken.
And her defensive attitude should have told her, her own insecurities about those “good” guys in her life.

In the final episodes, when Mr.Big flies to Paris and really chooses her, of course they do make a beautiful pairing.
And you are happy for her, she finally got her dream man and he acts all grown up and mature.

But the question is:
Why did he need to act reliable like Aidan had, before she could choose for him?
Why did he need to behave just like the guys, I had immediately dismissed as being “off” although I could not pinpoint what was wrong with them?

Why couldn’t Carrie love Mr.Big, as a man so elusive and untouchable, that I craved for new adjectives to describe how special he was?

~Lauren

 

11. WOMen with balls

“Are men just women with balls?”

Carrie, Sex and the City
The Belles of the Balls, S4E10

Thursday June 18

A few weeks ago I took a test. You could score both a 100% on female and on male.
https://www.idrlabs.com/gender/test.php
I ended up 97% male and 37% female.
The time I took the test in the middle of the night, and in Dutch instead of English, I had a few percent less on masculinity and a few more on femininity.

Even though as a bèta*, the test results should not have surprised me, they (of course) still surprised me.
I don’t know, but 97% percent male?
You d somehow expect it to show on the outside.

Today I had an extremely busy day, and tonight I will not be home. I m going to have a mini-vacation you could say.
A little adventure.
But I also feel anxious!
This is C. crisis; I often feel so taxed by social interaction. Both with friends as well as with strangers.
It’s been weeks since my last video call or chat: Those freak me out too. So it’s not just the uncomfortable dynamics of physical proximity/ contagion danger.
It’s more like our entire social structure, has gone off wack. Nothing functions as it should, and it’s like we’re operating in a bubble of constant anxiety and uncertainty.

So maybe saying tonight is a little adventure, is the understatement of 2020.
Tonight is thrilling as it is frighting.
Tonight is much needed, for my mental health and well-being, and at the same time, it could be the death of it.
It could be something that stresses me out, and that tomorrow I feel worse.

But there is a Dutch saying, one my father used to say:
“A man at night, a man in the morning.”

Maybe my remaining 3% can sleep in.

~Lauren

* in “Dutch” (technically ancient Greek) alpha means languages and bèta means math/physics

12. sacrifice 

“How much of ourselves should we be willing to sacrifice
for the other person?”

Carrie, Sex and the City
Sex and the Country, S4E09

Friday June 19

Today the true extend to which I had overextended myself socially, not just yesterday but the past weeks really – hit me hard.
It really was “that” bad.
Because I had not exactly lived outrageously. My social life could be a healthy example of a minimal daily requirement of social and family activities, one might want to set for themselves.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
And yet?
Holy Mary mother of God, save me from my anxiety.
Or at least compensate for hours lost, staring at my dvd box set series.
I m watching Sex and the City – an episode a day, only the ones with Mr.Big.
And I choose a quote from that.
And I m also watching the Sopranos.

My cats like it when I sit on the couch and they can easily come onto my lap, should the mood strike. At days I m “efficient”, writing my ass off sitting behind my computer all day, there is definitely less feline bonding going on.
So you could say my cats like the Sopranos too.
It makes me sit still in a place where they have easy access to me.

But it is in those minutes becoming hours, where I process everything that happens.
Unfinished conversations. Problems I still have to deal with, or might have to deal with. Or problems I have dealt with, but “it”, the situation, still feels off regardless.
Should I fix it again, or fix it more?

And I hit Play on another episode to give myself extra time to think. And next to Tony Soprano’s problems mine don’t look so bad.

So I wish I had behaved outrageously!
At least then I could cut the habit of spreading myself thin, and contain my energy more.
But this is a principle.
This is the choice between:
A. Do I keep up a minimum daily requirement of being engaged with this world?
Or B.
Do I limit in person interaction to my inner circle and stay within my comfort zone, both socially and medically?

In my mind, I extend every social interaction two weeks into the future, wondering if this person or activity was worth getting busted by health services and being passively aggressively forced into preventative quarantine.

The answer to that is almost always No aside from, like I said, my immediate inner circle of family and close friends.
With all other people and relationships it feels totally off to run the risk of having future conversations that used to be reserved for people you had wild and unprotected jungle sex with.

This choice how much your social life is worth to you, is not just relevant for acquaintances but also for visiting movie theaters, hairdresser, cafes; all institutions that now have your address before you are seated, and that can contact you up to two weeks after you had beer und schnapps, or whatever it was how you spent your time together.

I was never fond of group activities, but with Covid it becomes both a medical as well as a social minefield.
The dynamics of who interprets the regulations which way, comes on top of an already complex interpersonal language I have to do my very best for to understand.

So today I got my act together, and manned up as best as I could, and decided that I was not going to lock myself up in my social comfort zone until the end of the C crisis.
I was going to interact.
And I made an important decision: I was only going to do the things that were (medically) nessecary or that are (volunteer) work related.
I don’t want to do things that are supposed to be fun – unless they are fun. Unless it is my inner circle.
And all other interaction is me ensuring I take my Minimum Daily Social Requirement on a therapeutic basis, and don’t turn into a total hermit.

The comparison that you now have to judge your contacts at the level of
“Would I have wild unprotected jungle sex with you?”
was not just an exaggeration for story telling’s sake.
Because it does imply when I AM ready to lift restrictions.
When the answer to that question is:
“Yes I would.”
“Maybe.”
“That depends.”
or when you’re so engaged in the play between man and woman, that you forget to even ask the question.
And a man kisses you before you know it.

“Or was that not allowed?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I frowned. “You’re the married one.”

“I meant Covid wise.”

And you realize that when you are with him, it simply doesn’t exist.

When I started writing in 2006, I was a newborn single. The quote that started both my writing career as well as my quest for love and sexually deep relationships, was from Anais Nin:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

~Lauren

13. Defining Moments

Someone once said that when one door shuts,
a window opens.
Big and I had shut our door, but our window was open and blowing a great breeze.
.
Carrie, Sex and the City
Defining Moments, S4E03
.
I just had a quick browse on Google, what today’s episode of Sex and the City, called “Defining Moments” would actually have been about.
And when I saw the topic – Carrie rejects Mr.Big – I wasn’t sorry I could not stick around because my dvd player had broken down on day 13 of my new series.
.
The series was called “It took me a very long time to get here” and it was created (/would be created) by watching all episodes from SatC that had Mr.Big in it.
I had started with the final one, An American Girl in Paris part deux, and would work my way back to the pilot, episode 1, all opening my post with a quote from Carrie.
And then I would go from episode 1 all the way up to the end, but using quotes from Mr.Big.
The final episode would be called “It took me a very long time to get here”, because that’s what Mr.Big says to Carrie in that final episode.
When they are finally together!
Whether that quote about getting somewhere, would ultimately be about me achieving something for myself, or about a happy ending with me and my Mr.Big –  the man who was my lover for five years – I didn’t know.
There were developments between and Mr.Big, but nothing was decided yet.
We had not crossed the line of things becoming sexual in a physical sense, but maybe that is how we always operated.
The creation and nurturing of our affair in the mind, had always been the key ingredient to what we had. You could even say that our affair only existed there.
And that it’s debatable if it ever stopped being present there, even in the months we did not see together at all.
Even then….
.
Maybe whether Mr.Big and me had a physical, sexual affair, had always been an arbitrary choice. Maybe it had never defined the nature of what we had.
.
This morning I woke up knowing it was time to go back to 1995. That this SatC series – although after almost two weeks of writing daily I still loved doing it! – was no longer my main priority.
I had to get back to my performance art project: My project to live as if it is 1995, and build my life from there.
Mr.Big too, has been present in those series. His name is Bear, and he’s a 22 year old character, main love interest from the 22 year old Lauren.
She’s also in love with a man who looks like Slash, but there’s no reason she could not end up having relationships with both.
Or with neither one of course.
The overview of this series, which started last year so it’s called 1994, can be found here:
1994: A Performance Art Project
So as much as I had liked the idea of going back to 1995 (again), it did take me some time this morning to figure out how I was going to fit my Sex and the City series in.

But ultimately, I did find a solution.
One that would allow me to weave in SatC series, with my 1995 diary.
Until my dvd player broke down, and after an hour of reading the manual and trying out all buttons on my remote and on the player, I gave up:
It was broken for good.
.
And this was the way it was meant to me.
My Sex and the City series, called It Took Me A Very Long Time To Get Here, ended on the morning of day 13.
.
For twelve days, I wrote posts about my life, my opinions, ending my business, love in times of Covid, and the decisions I think I need to be making with regard to Mr.Big.
Do I want to be a secret mistress yet again? Had it ever been a conscious choice to begin with? Or was it, like Mr.Big said in an episode called “the Big Journey”:
“Carrie, I think it’s very clear from this book that when it comes to me, you do not have good judgment. Now, look at Chapter 3.”
.
My entire body of work for the last 5,5 years consists for at least 25% of Chapter Threes which proved I did not have good judgement, when it came to my Mr.Big.
.
I really like the idea of no longer having access to dvd’s, I hope it means I will start reading more.
I never had tv, nor download, and with Covid rules I don’t go to movies: Dvd’s have really been my sole form of entertainment for a while now.
They had a nice 90s ring to them, although technically it was still VHS at the time.
But I’m not going to lie: I m excited my dvd player made this decision for me.
Because it would not have been an ideal situation to weave the two series – my 1995 diary and the remaining 70 days of my SatC blog- together.
It is better this way.
The posts were never blogged – I just wrote them on Facebook.
But always with the intention to ultimately publish them in a book.
.
I loved the idea of a little book, with 82 chapters written in 82 days, about me and Mr.Big in times of Covid.
It would have required a rewrite: Using 82 quotes from Sex and the City, can get you into trouble if you put it to paper..
Maybe in the future, when I have a new dvd player, I will pick up writing this series which, at first sight, failed.
Or:
.
Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate.
Without them, what would shape our lives?

.
Carrie, Sex and the City

from “I Heart NY”, the final episode season 4
.

.

~Lauren/LS Harteveld
An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

FacebookTwitter @LSHarteveld

The End

“Definining Moments ” was the final chapter I wrote before my DVD player broke down.

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

coming soon: new books

 

1. Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2020
2. I M NOT CHANGING MY FUCKING SHOW
3. Big Mistress – confessions, columns and sex advice from the other woman
4.
Blote Kont- (Dutch)
5. ALL THE THINGS – unpublished work 2010 – 202

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready is to follow this blog. The subscription button to this blog is on this page, probably on the right.

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