One For The Tattoo On The Forehead Department

young-woman-in-black-hat-with-red-lips-on-black-stock-photograph_csp47739598This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

Do you remember the iconic rectangular image of a woman’s red lips under a black hat, which was definitely not the photo I used for this blog post but it was the closest I could find?
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Or, alternatively, is your mind flooding with an avalanche of 80s imagery where the entire visual art world of both graphic designers as well as photographers seemed to have kind of lost themselves in this thrilling combination, probably creating enough of black-hat red-lips “content” to last us well into the entire 21st century?
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Because just like 80s filmers were obsessed with indoor scenes being lit by sun shining through blinds, the static arts (although also obsessed with lighting through blinds) had a thing for the woman with the hat and the lips.
The best was really a woman with a black hat and red lips AND lighted through blinds.
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My obsession has been where to focus – yoga, Bon Jovi, diary writing or advocating sex.
Which medium to use: writing/blogging, YouTube, publishing books or showing up in the conversation on social media or real life.
What to monetize if any.
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And most importantly, the question of questions and ironically a question that very few of us ever need to answer (rationalizing why it may have taken me 15 years to figure this out):
Who to be?
Which part of my work (which name) and therefor which part of my personality was going to be my professional persona?
Taking the punches but also making the money, and receiving the fame and the glory.
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And which part of me was going to be leisure, socializing, fun, and taking down with it any activities associated with it, because they were now reduced to hobby or side-hustle at the most.
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Like THE hat photo that popped to mind decades after it were en vogue, I could see it very clearly with my mind’s eye. Yet, probably because I never found that one exact image that had stood out for me vibrantly (I should probably check my agendas if it was cut and pasted in there), the vision who I was and what to do always faded.
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I tried to “get” it, I tried to remember it, but because it wasn’t precise, because it wasn’t an absolute exact representation of what it was I was going to do, who I was, with an accuracy that could not be swayed;
The image failed.
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Sometimes within days, but sometimes within hours.
And the past week I ve had the feeling the circles got smaller!
From prioritizing YouTube, to writing, to YouTube.
From going all in on Suzanne (my real name) to all in on LS Harteveld (my alterego)
And so on and so forth.
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Which is why this time, today, as the vision revealed itself so clearly that just like that ONE photo with the hat, I knew all the other photos Google gave me for “big black hat red lipstick 80s” were NOT it?
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That I m going to write that vision out, here, for you!
And I should probably tattoo it on my forehead.
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I’m going to warn you, it may seem like nothing much. You’ve said it last time we spoke, that for yoga (for example) I m looking for ways to “teach” it that are different to the career in teaching I used to have;
I m looking for a different framing, but to the outside world it can easily look like the exact same thing as I taught for 15 years.
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That’s the story of everything I m going to tell you.
It’s ALL framing.
And as life-giving and big and major this is to me, it could very well be the same thing I came up with before.
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But having said all that, this is how I m going to work.
This is who I am.
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WORK/ CALLING/ THE ONE THING I MUST DO 
AND THAT IF I HAD TO CHOOSE, I WOULD

1. Writing And Being LS Harteveld

80775404_2796264213728586_4106800861752066048_oWhite clothes, blonde hair pulled back, makeup with nude beige lips, that’s me when I m LS Harteveld.
Meaning:
That is how I look 99% of the time.
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Reminiscent of Vertigo’s Kim Novak and of course Basic Instinct’s Sharon Stone, the writer Catherine Tramell.
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It has been said by many and one of them is me:
I am more LS Harteveld (Lauren) than I am the real me.
Being her is definitely THE priority, the only right decision to make, because not being her would be a violation of my very existence.
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So, in practice:
Writing/blogging as LS Harteveld is my priority, straight after brushing my teeth I’d say.
I will not just treat it as my day job, meaning seriously, but really step up to being her the proverbial 24/7. 
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LS Harteveld is a writer and speaker, she is not a coach/ service provider and not even an online entrepreneur.
So there is no clear cut monetizable formula, and that is strange. I m so conditioned that if you’re not selling at the end of your blog post or videos, you re basically doing a disservice to your audience.
And not only am I conditioned that way:
I actually, and with my whole heart, believe it.
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The total mf-ing discomfort of NOT having anything to sell…. man, that might have been a major contributor too, to why it took so long.
Now that I have overcome that, or know that despite the discomfort I m going to do what I came here to do regardless, I m going with what I ALSO know to be true!
That the number one thing you’re selling, is always you.
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The purpose of a blog or a video is never to sell an actual thing but to sell people on an idea, and on  – well- to sell them on you! 
And that?
Oh, that I can do!
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So my number one job, hustle, and also the person I will be the most often because it is so automatic,
is being LS Harteveld.
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2. Being Suzanne! 

Okay, maybe I have to eat my words that I am Lauren 99% of the time!

Because I am still the girl from the black leather jacket photo from 1995.
And I have actually found a completely new look, for the work or for being there under my real name Suzanne. I call it the Independence Day look or colors, and it was inspired by a 1990 MTV interview from Jon Bon Jovi with Julie Brown. 
It was shot on Independence Day (well, prerecorded in advance) and Julie was sporting a blue dress, a red bolero and a raging crush on Jon!
All things that are inspiring me to “be” myself and actually enjoy it.
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Ever since we last spoke, I ve been trying to get my head around how I can have fun being me (real me), and how I can create or recreate a social life, how does my love for yoga and Bon Jovi fit in.
And a series of meltdowns and run-into-walls in June taught me just randomly connecting over those topics, was not going to cut it.
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And that the yoga, regardless of how eager I thought I was to return to the mat and start making yoga videos that would combine yoga and Bon Jovi;
That yoga was not going to run itself either.
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I didn’t create any yoga videos and I have been yoga free for weeks now….
Damn.
Just when I thought I was going all in on yoga/ being Suzanne, nothing came from it!
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This is probably the biggest Tattoo To The Head part!
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The biggest takeaway, the one thing I could have, should have learned years ago, but didn’t:
I am an online creator, and I post immediately..
So videos that require me to first have an offline Bon Jovi yoga routine so I can show up properly prepared?
They’re not going to get made.
It will get stranded in those preparation hours.
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I don’t have a daily Bon Jovi yoga routine and months of postponing and start-stopping tell me I’m not going to get one either.
I want to create something, and put it out there the same day. Period. The end.
I do not want to study and practice yoga on my own, before I create videos.
My desire to create and share immediately, also explains why publishing my books is so difficult.
Publishing my books asks me to invest into something that cannot be posted that same day.
There is no short cut there, but just to point out this is not new information.

Gratification on the same day is required.
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My idea of doing my own Bon Jovi yoga on my own mat (off-camera) to then create videos and make blogs to share or teach it made it clear the problem was the yoga.
I no longer enjoy doing yoga;
It’s offline, there is no audience, I m not communicating. It’s not social.
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So the thing I am going to do now, and I am so so happy about this, is that I am going to do all my yoga on-screen, making videos.
Just like the people watching, doing yoga is not my work.
I m just as stressed out and tensed up from being at my desk as they are.
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“I am not your guru” the Tony Robbins documentary on Netflix says.
“I am not your yoga teacher” is what I will say.
I am just someone who creates Bon Jovi inspired yoga videos, and we talk Bon Jovi!
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It’s yoga for Bon Jovi fans, and instead of trying to explain what yoga is, we’re going to use the framework already in everybody’s head, which is the Bon Jovi catalog.
And we simply ATTACH the yoga to that!
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Starting with first album, first song, Runaway.
A song that was recorded years before the band came into being, by Jon Bon Jovi solo.
The song Runaway was done, it was due!
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So in that first 30 minute yoga video Runaway, we re going to explore yoga moves looking for things that were ready years ago.
Poses that feel like home, like you’ve done them a thousand times, even when it is your first time on the mat.
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And for one song on that album that was pushed onto them, not written by Bon Jovi, a song that still gives them the shivers if you as much as mention the title;
For that song we’re going to do yoga poses that we are certain do not belong in yoga and something is seriously wrong with them.* 
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And I m going to wear red lipstick, and really rock it.
And it will be totally fun and lighthearted, and I m not going to do any yoga other than creating those videos.
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I ve changed Sara.
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There was a time when I did like doing yoga by myself.
There was a time when I was a yoga teacher, and toyed with being a coach, an online entrepreneur.
And a time when I did not see that publishing my books is going to ask the impossible of me.
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Publishing is the one area where I m willing to go the extra mile to get the books that I REALLY want out there.
Such as The Mistress Speaks and my book about Catherine Tramell, Basic Instinct, called “The beach. C.”
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I ve changed in now knowing that there is no such thing as having a regular, non-Bon Jovi induced social life as Suzanne, and actually enjoy it.
The only automatic/ group connections I can make are if we can relate over rock music/ Bon Jovi. Other socializing in groups will always be really hard.
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Sometimes I ve literally changed.
Sometimes my insight into who I am and what I can or cannot do has changed.
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But this feels right.
Working as Lauren.
Playing around as Suzanne.
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The 19th of July 2021 feels like my Independence Day.
Maybe I don’t need tattoos for that.
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~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

[ * NB
If you’re reading this, and you think:
I would like to subscribe to that channel!
You can.
I normally don’t share my real name or work here, but in this case I ll make an exception because I ve talked about it in such vivid colors, it would feel wrong to not tell you.

Just remember I m Suzanne there, not Lauren, but then I m happy to give you a chance to sign up and see me there.
Subscribe here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXpNMsIFP2U34A0yBKk8PUQ ]

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