In The Jungle Where We Play | 1996 diary

photo Madonna, Michael McKenzie 1981

Monday February 1, 1996

Let’s do this!
After being inspired by photos from 1988, the summer I turned 16, and seeing my body was naturally thin, curvy around the hips like Sharon Stone, and with broad shoulders like an 80s bathing suit model;
I got to work.
There really is no excuse for my current weight, since I had such a good start. And it came entirely natural.
I remember this because I studied my body in the mirror, consciously saying to myself:
“Always remember this came naturally. You never have to do anything for this. This is who you are.”
What I meant was that I don’t have to go on a diet or workout.
But I also interpret it as:
“You never have to do anything else than what you are doing right now.”
Because that gives me a starting point to get back.
So I got to work.
What did I eat when I was 16?
What did my days look like?
How much did I move?
I scheduled out best I could a week planning that would mimic this.
Some things are different now.
My mother was taking care of me, so in 1988 I did not have to spend time on grocery shopping, cooking, housekeeping.
And the life of a 23 year old writer and a 16 year old high school student, will be different;
But I think I got the gist of it.
Here’s what I came up with:
-smaller meals
I ate every 3 hours or so.
Which was not ideal, because at 4 PM I would come home from school and eat the largest bowl with banana, yogurt, raisins, nuts.
After I had satisfied my appetite I realized I would not be hungry for dinner, but I was so starved I just couldn’t help myself.
But it does illustrate I never allowed myself to be hungry and was never shy of eating.
The other two aspects are 1,5 hours of cycling or walking, 5 days a week.
And a 30 minute walk, also 5 days a week. Which I will be replacing with yoga.
Finally, every night between 7 and 10, I would go to my attic room with a cup of coffee (that was the only moment of the day when I was certain I drank coffee) and do my homework.
So night times will become working hours.
I ll let you know how it goes, tomorrow.
And I’ll also tell you about the perhaps not so smart choice I made yesterday night, which has given me a groggy Monday morning start, my 16 year old self would never have approved of.
photo Madonna, Richard Corman 1983

Tuesday February 2, 1996

Is it possible it’s only Tuesday morning and that I already broke my week?
That I already did not do so many things of the things I said I would do? In particular because I had decided to go back to my 1988 schedule of working (studying) at night.
I should have won the week, by looking back on a strong Monday.
I think the positive way to look at it, is that I have changed since I was 16. And also that it may have been the remoteness of the village where we lived, and the humdrum of living at home, that kept me indoors.
Living and working independently, getting up early and saying No to going out, is much harder.
If not impossible.
However, I still remember seeing that photo last Saturday, from when I was 16 years old and so many kilos younger, so many productive hours a week richer, and daily bike rides as a given.
It was entirely ingrained in my daily schedule.
Sunday night, I started the week on the wrong foot, or at least a very entertaining foot, when I went to the weekly Bon Jovi night at the Hard Rock Cafe.
I ve been going there since high school, although then not on a Sunday night obviously!
Throughout college I kept going there and never saw other students. It was one of the sanctuaries, just like Andy’s Room at the back of Warhol’s.
This reminds me of 1994!
When a painter who looked like Slash came to paint my house.
We kept running into each other, and sometimes consciously seemed to be staging a meetup.
One of them was at Andy’s room;
He had casually mentioned he went there every Saturday, but when I went there to see if he was there, he was standoffish and the bar lady was being very possessive.
Even though she was not his wife.
It did straighten out, months later. When he made an effort to see me, talk to me, and we had coffee and oliebollen (Dutch New Year’s treat).
I think that was the last time I saw him and that 1995 went by without him.
Last Sunday at the Hard Rock Cafe (note: This is not A Hard Rock Cafe, the franchise. We don’t have one here) it was good to be just a Bon Jovi fan.
There is something about that music that makes being with people who love it, easier than Guns N Roses fans.
It’s all ages, and at least on Sunday night more men than women, but at concerts it’s 50-50.
Bon Jovi are coming to the Netherlands this Summer, but I didn’t buy tickets. I don’t feel like it.
Sometimes I think I m just not someone who can stand the inconvenience of travel, and waiting in the sun.
Crossing the country in the dead of night.
And sometimes I think it must be something else that just doesn’t click…. So I don’t know why I love hanging out on Sunday night in a bar with other Bon Jovi fans, and I forgot to mention I work for the international fan club too!
I make their bootleg reviews, that’s how I know Nikki, the guy from the UK who trades them.
So there are days when I think I am a Bon Jovi fan, and that I can achieve anything I want, if only I work hard and stay optimistic.
And then there are times like this, when I can’t make myself do anything. And I resist being under command.
Even if it is from a regime that gave me the best body I ever saw, and the fast lane through high school.
I can’t make myself do things. And when everybody goes A I always go B.
If staying home on Sunday nights and going to bed early was frowned upon, I d be rockin’ it.
photo Rosanna Arquette and Madonna on the set of Desperately Seeking Susan 1984

Wednesday February 3, 1996

I’m not saying hanging out in bars (two nights out of three) does not take its toll.
It does.
I slept in this morning and was unsure if I would not get sick, from yet another night in a smoky bar, but now I feel fine, so I guess I m getting away with it.
Besides: On Monday night I was in, and yesterday morning I opened with:
“Is it possible that I already broke my week?”

So statistically speaking the worst day came after a night of staying in. And a worst day it was, emotionally. Little did I know the evening would bring the best most bad ass night of this year, if not this decade, where I totally found my mojo with help from my friend Sara!

So what happened?

Well it was with Sara, and we went to a bar and drank beer, and I complained her pretty little ears off of her head, whining about how I had lost 20 months after graduation already, and still didn’t have a frickin’ clue what I wanted with my life.
That the beginning of this year was marked by removing some toxic people out of my life, and removing myself out of toxic environments;
But it had been the same environments that held career options, money, fame, becoming a well known author and so on and so forth.

In other words: Although I was happy I had gotten myself out of it, I had paid dearly for it.
And I wasn’t my old self again.

I was not just separated by a fuck load of kilos, from the 16 year old self I had seen on the photos mama and me sorted through last Friday;
I lacked that 16 y.o. mental spark more than anything else!

Her confidence, her naturalness. She did not hang out in bars on Sunday nights and Tuesday nights looking for fun and deep conversation, because she lived in a village;
She also did not need those things.
She was fine being her, and comfortable in her own skin.

So I told Sara about finding those photos and how I felt I had deteriorated. How I had become less vibrant, achieved less, didn’t know myself anymore, and whatever my talents had once been, I would not be able to name them if they hit me in the head.
From the moment of graduation/ university, June 1994 to now, February 1996, I had wasted the already mentioned 20 months.

But in all likeliness: From summer 1988, the moments those photos were taken, to now;
I had wasted 6,5 years.

And the only thing I gained was an education and a lot of kilos.

So I was telling her all those things, and being aware we’d been here before, and it was getting repetitive, I was very aware this was going the wrong way.
I could not go on like this.
Even if wallowing had ever been justified, for example because in December 1994 Bear broke up with me, even then it was enough.
I was done.

And I could just feel the power, who I was all those years ago, flow back into me. Like that movie Highlander where you get the power of the one you kill.
I did not kill anyone, but I felt the life force of 16 year old me flowing back into me.

And all the years in between just fell of me like dead weight.

I’m back in the land of the living.

Friday February 5, 1996

photo Axl Rose, who (as someone pointed out to me just recently) was very androgynous in the 80s.

The good news is that I don’t have a hangover from the third night this week, I went out.

Bad news, is that I did spend the first two hours after waking up, worrying sick about how I am going to make it in life.
Analyzing (and in response paralyzing!) all the parts where I had lost my power, and in all honesty did not have a clue how to get it back because I do not know any people who have made it into adulthood with the same aliveness as they had when they were a teen.

The ones who I know who are already working are taking themselves so seriously. If they ever were creative or had dreams, they tell themselves they’ll get back to it one day;
Only to then hang out at the Rock Star Cafe on Thursday night.
Just like me.

Just like them I too need to first touch base with who I am, my own identity, my independence. Thursday night is Guns N Roses night, and it’s like the church of lost souls.
Where Sunday’s Bon Jovi fans, seem to have at least some kind of connection to Tommy and Gina and everyday life;
The Thursday crowd looks as if they’re hurt by it.
With eyes filled with relief, to finally be with their own people and feel human again.

Sunday’s Bon Jovi fans have a We Can Make It mentality, but in a humble, non-NLP way. There is nothing shallow nor overly ambitious about it.

Thursday’s Guns N Roses fans have a I m Unsure If I m Still Alive mentality. I don’t know any of us who are on drugs, or have visible problems, and yet it seems like we’re eaten by life itself, every single day.
Maybe it’s an extrovert introvert thing – Sunday is definitely more outgoing!

I feel at home in both the groups, but I know I am a Guns N Roses fan at heart. Maybe unfortunately, but either way it’s just how it is.
And I too needed to see them, before I could decide on what to do.

I mean I know what I want, but how in God’s name am I going to get there? Still don’t know, but a remark one friend made did stick. It was a really weird one, and you’re probably going to think I m crazy. I bet she didn’t even know herself what it meant, and forgot about it immediately after.
And yet, to me it clicked.

The conversation went something like when I pick up my new life, or have better understanding of how to express my true identity, it will be really good for my sexuality.
“My sexuality?” I asked.
Since I was unaware I had a problem with my sexuality.
Things have been slow since Bear ended our affair, and my aids phobia pretty much preventing me from building a sex life as a single.
But I don’t consider my sex life to be problematic.

She repeated it would be good for my sexuality, and specified: 
“For your masculinity. You have been among women too much, and it’s draining you. You’re male.”

I was absolutely baffled, but I immediately knew she had spoken the truth. It were the words I needed to hear, at the time I needed to hear them.

I’m not talking body stuff (and neither did she), I m not unhappy with the fact that I’m a woman;
But working in a female working environment at the publisher’s, and even my internship before that, has indeed fucked me up good.

In order to feel better, and see where my path leads, I need to man up.

An unexamined life is not worth living

In The Jungle Where We Play | 1996 diary
is the third chapter to
1996 diary 

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