This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara (new website!)
Before our call I always give her a headsup.
Our last call caught me at the height of my interest in Dutch politics. Something which I have come down from since, for very practical reasons but I have made a hard cut not to visit any news sites anymore.
I do see the occasional thing on Twitter, or a frontpage that automatically opens on your Samsung, or after you close your Outlook on your browser.
In those cases I indulge in headlines.
Yesterday I did follow a weekly livestream on YouTube from a critic of Dutch Covid politics. It’s mostly about data, data analysis, and research on Covid, comparing different countries and strategies. And illustrating how the Dutch have “chosen” to use these data.
I don’t think it surprises anyone that they are not doing well, and are giving new meaning to the words “inconsistent load of bullshit measures that will maneuver soon under the influence of pending municipal elections.”
But the weekly livestream and seeing the occasional MSN frontpage is marginal compared to how invested I was two weeks ago.
After our call I decided to stop resisting my urge to follow the news, as it only seemed to make matters worse, and also because it had resulted in a piece that I later assumed was probably my best piece ever written on anything, ever.
To dive headfirst, and fully committed, into our 6 to 8 weeks political finale, was the right choice at the time.
And a relief, to finally lean into this interest, that I had tried to moderate and contain.
But then I slept zero hours that night, and turned a 180.
I pulled all the stops on watching any news, and although I am not yet where I want to be, I have not ingrained being a non-news watcher any more than I have ingrained living in 1997 for my art performance project (even though I want and desire both!), so even though it has been flawed at best;
My life did look differently the past two weeks, compared to if I had stuck to my initial plan of going all in on following the news until its political finale.
The choice to change my plan was not really a choice but a necessity after sleep deprivation. It wasn’t because I thought I would get bored or not have enough to write about, if I had stuck to my plan to follow the Dutch Covid news for 6 to 8 weeks.
It also gave me time to reflect and I have wondered:
Why did I have this sudden interest in Dutch politics?
Were Dutch politics always this interesting, but did I need it to come down to civilian virus levels before I could understand how politics impacted my world?
But I concluded I had been right on one thing: This is no ordinary politics. We live in a very turbulent time, and not just because of a virus, but because of everything that went wrong in the decades before 2020.
The cracks in Dutch civilization and the first signs of polarization, go as far back as the early 90s.
Which meant that after decades of marginalizing and excluding a larger and larger part of Dutch society;
Of making the poor poorer.
Of making the procedures and administrative trails for allowances longer.
Of privatizing health care, and then introducing extra cuts, fees and over €350 mandatory own risk on hospital care, to add insult to injury.
Banning all humanity from public services and treating people like case numbers that had to have problems that neatly fit into a box that qualified for funding before they were helped.
And after a decade of structural financial abuse and institutional racism by our government, brutal attacks where they have wiped out and destroyed entire families because they had a foreign sounding name;
To then land in a pandemic, and see a government that needs all its people to trust them and take care of one another;
When all they have done for decades was create the ideal climate for civil war?
This was not just Dutch politics as usual, that happened to catch my eye, just because the topic of Covid was one that impacted us all.
The past two years have uncovered a dark and rotten country that has been capitalizing on the people it should have protected.
Did I tell you the Dutch housing shortage has reached historic heights, and that they have sold our real estate to foreign investors, and have given incentives to housing corporations to sell their houses and tax them per house owned?
I guess the only difference between a bombing literally taking down your houses, and a government who sells your real estate to commercial investors, is that when the houses are bombed down, you can actually see they are no longer part of this world.
The Netherlands have ghost real estate and the biggest housing shortage in history.
God, what a fucked up situation.
But again; No.
My past two years were indeed not “just” a “relatable topic-interest” in politics. More is at stake. And I think it was important enough, and I was definitely invested enough, that I “should” have given it my all, and even try to find some sort of supportive, and positive angle.
Look for something I and other people can do to heal from this let’s call it “political trauma” that has been wreaking havoc since the 90s.
But I can’t.
Not sleeping at all since the moment I decided to give it my all, says I can’t.
So apparently I am NOT prepared to give it my all after all.
That sleepless nights can come from being a secret mistress; They can come from feeling threatened and violated; They can come from being almost 50 and being very aware that if I don’t figure out how to live into my purpose, I m going to die and my life will have meant nothing.
But that I am not prepared to give 6 to 8 weeks of my life to losing sleep over the clusterfuck that Dutch politics has become.
And because of that, because I understood that if I wasn’t part of the solution, I was part of the problem;
After two years I am no longer following Dutch politics, and am focusing on my own life instead.
And considering the problems we in The Netherlands are facing today, stem from the 90s?
I think going headfirst, and all-in, on me living 25 years ago, as I have been dabbling with since 2019/1994-
I think that is probably the best I can do.
That living in 1997, the decade when it all began, is the best art I have to offer.
That “living” like Lauren 1997, writing her book 3, and publishing book 1 and 2 (1994-1996) what I have been working on this week;
That those are not just the most significant contribution I can make, to a nation in disarray;
But the only one, that I know only I can make.
And that I’m more than happy to lose sleep over.
An unexamined life is not worth living
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