I can’t allow myself to care about you (NSFW) | 1997 diary

Basic Instinct 1992, Catherine Tramell breaks up with Nick Curran, after she is done writing about him. A decision she later reverses with the words “I can’t allow myself to care about you.”

disclaimer 2022:
This opening chapter for book 3 in my vintage diary series, has a trigger warning for having bad experiences with non-consensual sex. 

Thursday January 13, 1997 

I’m thirteen days into the new year and the sickening feeling something went wrong last December, has not left.
I’m not talking about all things I wanted to accomplish last year, among which publishing my diaries 1994-1995 and 1995-1996. I m not talking about starting my career as an independent self-published author in many other ways either.
I wish it was that!
That looking back on how I did not build a career for a whole year made me so sick, it would automatically become the sole thing on my mind this year.
But no.

As always when I feel badly, this is about Bear.

We saw each other twice in December. Which is a lot, because he’s living with his girlfriend and I assume there is more guilt associated with having an affair, or still seeing the mistress from your college days. But I seemed to be in luck, which was and still is a happy surprise.
But 13 days into the new year, I am still processing it.

It is as if I missed very important clues, or worse: That I understood them, but did not act on them. I did not respond to something I felt was going on, and although rationally I understood my choice, and still stand by it;
Emotionally, I wished I had done otherwise.
I wish I had said: “I have the feeling something is going on. What is it?”
But I didn’t and I was left with the feeling I had disappointed him. That I had failed an audition or a test. A situation where I could have proven myself a worthy partner, so that he could have chosen for me.

But again: I did it for a reason. Although this is all putting words to something I felt on an emotional level, so it’s guess work at best, I felt that if I would reach out to him, I would be reaching out for the rest of my life.
I would set myself up for decades of reaching out, whenever he was grumpy, disappointed, hurt, and could not express himself, and there I would go again opening conversation with my boyfriend or husband:
“What is it? Is something wrong?”
And as fickle and intangible the moment was, where I must have decided on instinct not to go that route, it still seems to haunt me.

We could be moving his stuff out either into an apartment of his own or perhaps we’d live together for a while in my house. If only I had acted differently.
And by not doing that I probably made his decision to choose for his girlfriend final.

Maybe final as in trying for a baby or marrying her.
Maybe final as in no longer fooling around with other women, including me.
All this is guessing, maybe there is even another woman at play. But regardless of what was at stake for his girlfriend or other women, I think what I felt mostly, was what was at stake for me.
That I was the one who was weighed, or who was on audition, for being the girlfriend he sees in the good times. A part I’ve played for 7 years. 

And it’s not that I m restless because I think I made the wrong decision, but because I feel uncertain about where we’re at now. Did I lose him? Should I be mourning? Are we still on, and can I start working on some other very disturbing things that I have been carrying into our relationship from the start, and seem to be roaring their ugly head?
Can I reflect on those, or am I thereby ruining the chance of fixing this in the way I think thinks can always be fixed, which is:
Nothing is final.
There is always room to play.

Final is when you start fighting it, acting angry, and throwing accusations. Final is when you amplify what was just a meagerest of attempts, a moment of doubt or a desire for simplicity, by the other person.
And then you take that on and wear it around like your personal cloak of sorrow.
That, is when things get final.

And sometimes that is a good thing. I mean when you’re done with someone, using their lack of interest, their vices, as well as their lazy attempts to break up, and to interpret them as them breaking up with you.
But I am not done with Bear. How could I be? How could the man who has been my lover for so long, and with whom we’ve always kept the spark, the physical attraction, and with whom every time we’re naked and have sex feels like a first time, how could I possibly ever have enough of him?

If I would see him again, would I make a leap forward, so that he knows I am serious?
Or do I explain why I didn’t last time?
Do I leave the playing board wide open, and wait for him to make the first move? Which I m going to do anyway, because since he has a girlfriend I never initiate contact unless I have to, and then I keep it business like.

But what is my strategy, if I see how we left off?

And there are two things worth mentioning.
One was how good we were doing, on the first date.
The other is all the old fears and issues, my mental bagage, that shitstormed into our second date in December.
I think they might even have been related: That because the first date went so well, he was keeping his eye out on the second, to see if we should not become more. If he had made the right choice.
And that, in turn, may have triggered old fears in me, that I had not seen in years.  

So. The first date of December. The thing I remember was an intense love for him physically. A deep desire to appreciate his body, and appreciate him, and to express it in all non-verbal ways I could think of. I don’t think I ve ever felt a deeper urge to let every move I made be one of unconditional love. I wanted to drown him in love, as far as such a thing is ethical.
And not just physically.
I wanted to express that I loved him now, being the other woman, and not having a clue of how long we’d still have or how important I was to him;
That I loved him now, as I would love him always.
I also remembered the date was light, and we laughed a lot. Even the painful or awkward things, or worries that shot to mind; They were all met with lightheartedness and a sense of humor.

The second date was intense, deep, intoxicating, dangerous. Both physical, but in particular mentally. So the sex we had was not physically dangerous, for instance we did not have anal sex, but the way we did it was rough. And for the first time ever it didn’t “work”.
Instead of the excitement I have been feeling for 7 years, for example I am always the one who puts his hands on my head when I am giving head – I initiate and ask – instead of that I felt fear.

It was as if we had missed something infinitely small, that came at the price of ruining a dynamic we thought we had mastered. I still could not tell you what it was.
And the fear was not so much that I was afraid of Bear, but a deeply rooted fear of men washed over me. All the occasions where I had feared being with  a man alone, even when I assume it should have been safe; They all washed over me.
I think I will never find out if on those occasions my response was justified in terms of other women who have had bad experiences with those men, or if my choices to stay outside, to not invite someone to my room or now my flat, or to not sleep over with someone who was a platonic friend, if those choices were “only” justified by my fear.
But that they had been subjective.

All I knew was that they were suddenly there, in my bed with us. And that they were ruining it all. Because Bear of course, was afraid he had done something wrong. That I was having a response to him. He wanted to know what he had done wrong so that he could make it right.
But there was nothing to say.

It left me alone with my fears, and him alone with his, as he is very sensitive to only doing the things I want. By including the rougher part of sex, he also had to trust me. Right from the get go, first months of 1990.
When after all my first times, I started sharing my fantasies, and he responded, it required trust from him as much as it did from me.
And now, on our final date of 1996, it was as if it was broken. But broken not by a person, but broken like someone had dropped it like a vase.

I had been having nightmares about friends violating me. The journalist guy from the hardrock cafe, who never contacted me even though we would be going on a date. And a man I used to run into when I still worked at the publisher’s with whom I never flirted. Although I had never paid much attention to it, the dream made me see I had felt threatened by him.
I had been suffering from nightmares about being violated, and in that same bed the sex me and Bear had on that intense, dark, but also fascinatingly intimate last date of the year, turned into something neither one of us could handle.
It was too much, and I think we were both overwhelmed by it.

I remember being in each other’s arms, looking in each other’s eyes. I was crying. This was before our date had turned to something I could not handle sexually. I was crying because I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotions, because I felt so close to him. He was really there. We had a whole afternoon and night together, which has been rare this year. But it seemed to pay off in him being more relaxed, and more accepting to sinking into those moments together.
Tears were streaming down my face, and all I said was:
“You’re so close.”

I didn’t say: “Will you be mine?”. Not: “Don’t you want this forever?” And definitely not: “Why can’t you stay?”

Not because I was afraid that I would have to play that role forever. Not because I feared our love would ever turn sour, and he would hold me accountable because I had lured him in. I didn’t keep myself from asking those questions because they would make me Chief Romance, if he would have said yes to me.

I didn’t ask them, because I didn’t want him to say no.

.
~Lauren97
An unexamined life is not worth living

I can’t allow myself to care about you (NSFW) | 1997 diary
is the first chapter to book 3, diary 1997

Book 1, A Letter From A Stranger and book 2 Dear Nikki, in this series will be published in 2022, probably in one bind (one title)

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

.

Books 

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

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
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Button on this page, probably on the top right.

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Out with the altruism and in with the hatred

photo https://www.deviantart.com/babak/art/Written-in-Blood-7959470

 

(lengthy)disclaimer:
this post is a personal coping post, and it has a trigger warning for making you feel bad. Although it helped me get clarity and find meaning – 
it could end up making you feel sad or threatened.
Furthermore the post is not aimed against a person, nor an organization. I hope this post is clear I do not hold any individuals responsible, it is a system that is causing me stress.
But in particular because the Netherlands are going through a turbulent time, you may choose to not read.
If you are not from the Netherlands, I suspect it will be a way lighter read.

 

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned”

William Congreve
The Mourning Bride (1697)

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara (new website!)
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

I took the wrong turn somewhere, because I am right back in the same hatred, the same destructive mood, the same all-consuming desire to speak in such destructive terms about my third vaccination experience, that I will go for a maximum impact of people who will now not get vaccinated, are halted in their compliance, or who will suddenly feel the vile of their cooperation as my words ruthlessly purge them of any positive emotions.

This post is in English, the experience described is in The Netherlands.
Maybe that is my compromise?
That I will not weaponize my own language, but will allow my destructive message that will rob you of your peace of mind, to be softened by a different tongue.
One slightly milder to your ears.

Isn’t it ironic that the word compromise means both a deal, a halfway agreement, as well as out of integrity?
And that maybe I should have thought of that before I made the decision to get my third vaccination, as “merely” a compromise with The Dutch who feel safer around me if I take this vaccination.
That I should have considered that compromising with them, with public opinion, cutting a deal with “them”, this fictional crowd of people I do not know, that I was at the same time compromising in the second meaning of the word, meaning I was compromising me?

My action, taking the booster, which until this afternoon I would have labeled as
1. Altruism
A desire to do something to help those who feel threatened by the new mutation and help us get Dutch healthcare through the January wave.
and
2. Loyalty with the majority
“Their sins will be my sins, and their fate will be mine.” is my adage for this pandemic.

But my decision to get a booster vaccination was in hindsight absolutely NOT in integrity, and it was compromising, and has compromised, everything I stand for.

Because when altruism means having your name shouted at high volume by a military, twice, when you are standing next to them – again twice, both occasions;
When you are already WELL AWARE that you paid for being part of the vaccination program by your classified home address ending up in the leaky as fuck computer system of national health services (a situation that has caused scandals in 2021 but which has since then been largely ignored. One imagines in order to not dampen the vaccination spirit);

Then altruism has crossed a motherfucking line.

And from now on they can stuff their altruism and me giving a fuck about anybody else but me, right where the sun does not shine.
We have an expression in Dutch when you refuse to cooperate and it’s that someone can “fall dead”.
They can fall dead.

Before I make my final cut, do you know what the biggest frustration is? That it is ALL MY OWN FAULT!
In November, when news of the booster came, I didn’t want to take it and easily calculated that my vaccinations were valid until April. And that I wasn’t getting vaccinated before that.

You see, we in the Netherlands have a polarizing, constitutional-rights -violating system in place, where only the vaccinated can get access to theatres, restaurants and so on. This was before the December lockdown, so now no one gets access. Which makes the lockdown kind of freeing and soothing. At least we’re all equal again.

Anyway, that system, the QR code, was not in place for the largest part of 2021. So it was no factor in deciding if you did or did not wanted to get vaccinated.
When in summer I got my jabs, it was not because I got those kind of perks.

So when in autumn they introduced this discriminatory system, that makes restaurants and theatres feel like ethically unsavory places where the more daring among us have not shied away from making 2nd world war comparisons, I changed my game play too.
From “vaccinating what feels right” to “vaccinating the minimal requirement”.
Because b
y taking my vaccinations in summer, I had wasted QR-free months. If I had not been such a complaint eager beaver pussy, and had waited for them to make their move forcing the population to get vaccinated, I would have won 3, 4 months!
Clearly I would not be making such a beginner mistake again.

Because I thought this was about solidatiry.
But if we’re playing QR code? Then the gloves are off, and I m upping my game.

So like I said; When in November news of the booster came?
I did not want it. 
At that time all European countries had agreed a double vax was 9 months valid.
It was clear as day to me, my QR would last me until April 2022, and I was not going to go for a booster which would not amount to any extra points in the QR game which the government had turned this into, the moment they introduced the pass.

But I must have watched a few too many press conferences, and I definitely browsed way too often on our Dutch news sites (just to illustrate: NONE of them have talked of the phenomenon of choosing your vaccination based on QR code validity. That’s how pro-government they are) and the propaganda did their evil work of brainwashing me into a fucking marter who thought whose job it was to become a human wave-breaker for the Omicron variant.

Fuck, Sara.
Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.
I KNEW IT!!!! And I let it go, and let my mind be highjacked by government propaganda ending up in a crowded hall with mandatory 15 minute sitting after your vaccination.
Super spreader event, that’s what it is.
One with your name called out, your classified address in a leaky as fuck system, and they had separate entrances (entrances? Drafty doors without windows) for 45 year plus and minus.

The background story for the split was that the people over 45 get a different vaccine than those under 45. But both groups get a designated entrance and designated line outside
They do this by means of A4 prints stapled or stuck with sticky tape, on these doors.

Let me repeat this:
A government funded campaign that is supposed to draw in, and cater and satisfy (one assumes), as many people as possible, because we are dealing with a global health crisis, and you have A4 pRIntS sTapleD tO ThE dOOr.

So based on age, you either enter the building through drafty door 1, or through drafty door 2.
And I will get to the role the guards play here, but I assume you do not need me mentioning guards to understand the historic imagery that comes to mind when in front of a large intimidating building without windows, the people arriving there are separated without understanding what for.

Before I continue, I want to stress that this location in particular and the experience of going for a third vaccination in general, have been reviewed on my Twitter timeline as 100% positive.
And these praise, laughs, compliments, and solidarity those tweets conveyed, have convinced me that either
I am an absolute diva in my concerns for digital,  audible and visible privacy (did I tell you they literally cut privacy since last time? The booths are a quarter of the size and the screens half the size as what I had last summer), with an over-sensitivity to human or animal mass murder associations. The zig zag cattle trail was also back.

Or, alternatively; 

My fellow citizens are people with whom I have absolutely zero in common, and who, more importantly- will be absolutely fine without my help.

Because if you’re okay getting vaccinated by a military who finished his vaccination course last week, with your privacy violated, your younger family members brutally separated from you, at a location you visit with thousands of others, making it your Covid hot-spot for the month of January?
Then you definitely do not need me, to save you from this pandemic.

This place was clearly designed for people who were very happy to get vaccinated, and definitely not for people like me who did it out of concern for others.
And the place has effectively cured me out of any concern for others for the rest of my life.

So let’s wrap this up, moving back up.

About the guards to the line.
In front of me two people of mixed age approached the door, where the guard, loudly, interrogated them on their age.
When one of them said she was under 45, he told her off for being in the wrong line, or at least that is how I interpreted his demeaning tone of voice, and told her to go to the other line, where she would then of course had to start all queuing again.

I want to stress that we’re talking about a situation where the different entrances based on age was instructed on printed A4s, without any explanation of why the line only was for a certain age group. And without any instruction on what to do if you were a mixed party.
It was without hosts patrolling the line and keeping an eye on who started queuing so they could be quickly escorted to the other line and would not waste precious time, only to then be bullied and shamed before being sent away to the other door.
I thought it was important to stress that, and write an entire paragraph because this illustrates how little effort was being made to make the vaccination a pleasant or at least not totally degrading experience.

The same experience, like I said, Twitter was full of praise of how great it all was. 
So this is clearly just me, being sensitive.
And maybe just me, but who knows others, being turned from cooperative to ones who will speak ill behind your back until their dying breath.
Which could be tonight.
I would not be surprised if this one kills me. If it does I hope it helps people from ever taking one for the team ever again.
That is why I write tonight; So that if I die it’s not in vain.

The blogpost, I must say, contains even more hatred than even I thought I had in me. That my anger is stronger than I thought I could muster.
I thought I was just beaten, intensely sad, and that the endless crying meant I was defeated.
Now I realize it means that hell has been unleashed.

And that like the devil, who was once an angel, a demon of pure evil has unleashed itself within me.

My loyalty with the majority, is gone.
Your sins will no longer be mine.
Your fate will no longer be mine.

You re on your own.

And, thankfully, gratefully, and perhaps in a diabolical way even gracefully;
So am I.

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

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And just like that, I am traumatized

This post has a trigger warning for sexual assault and  contains spoilers for And Just Like That.

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara (new website!)
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

In my last post I told you I had decided to pick up teaching yoga to friends and find a venue to do this – which was supposed to benefit my social life, maintain or restore my teaching skills, have work that is meaningful and important to others, and it would be the minimal professional requirement to be able to pick up teaching an entirely new yoga to an international community post pandemic.
But then lockdown happened, and the future of the studio of my choice has become uncertain. As did my willingness to pay rent for a venue I will not be able to use every time we go into lockdown.

I also said I wanted to start doing yoga again, which I have not done.
I can’t decide which yoga to choose from (my own yoga schedules/ system? Yoga with Adriene? A memberships site? Study already acquired yoga courses?)
When I had finally decided on Ashtanga yoga, I found a very inspiring teacher who had also founded the yoga studios as we know them today, so I could see how her perfect understanding of all the moving pieces of a yoga business would be just the type of yoga teacher I would be able to relate to;

Only to find out she unexpectedly died age 55.

And she’s not the only Ashtanga practitioner to die so young, because the first ashtanga manual I had was also from someone who was praised for being a blessing to the teachings of Ashtanga, and he had developed his own style of it;
Yet he didn’t live to be 60 either.

So right now I feel committing to Ashtanga yoga is basically setting one foot in your coffin. Needless to say this kept me from starting.

The other two things I said I would do I also didn’t do; Restore my yoga database, with my recorded yoga videos, and to start practicing those.
The work did inspire me for a while, but perhaps because of the underlying buildup of my trauma, and a need for stronger medicine, the practicing never took off.
Also, the reposting/unlocking of the videos turned out more difficult because content that had never been on “public” got reposted with the current date.
So they lost their correct place in the archive, and cluttered the 2021 uploads.

Last time I wrote you, I also explained how I had fully nailed, and understood, the work and image that would be my international work under my real name.
Even though it would have an incredibly tough start because of Covid hardly allowing for any human interaction, I was grateful to understand what my endgame under my real name was.
What I could say “I was” or “I did” and even, ultimately, “what I do”, where do stands for what pays the bills.

So all those plans went down the drain, and something else, or so it seems, came out of the drain. Like a demon clawing its way up in opposite direction, and jumping through the sliding doors.

The first time I noticed its presence, was when I had a nightmare about friends who wanted to sexually assault me. The two friends do not know each other, and in my dream they were not in the same scene. But one had an unhealthy, passive aggressive poor-me, “mask” (I believe he definitely considered himself to be a poor-me in those moments), which flicked between that and a monstrous sexual clinginess and demandingness, at which times he laughed hysterically and his teeth were deformed.
The other was behaving like a classic pedophile, full of understanding for how difficult my life was right now, yet I knew he could not be trusted and that he would violate me.
I knew I had to avoid being alone with either one of them.

This nightmare was from around the time of our last letter, and that was also the time when the Sex And The City follow up And Just Like That started.
I was shocked that they killed Mr.Big because that was the character I had used to describe my secret lover, from 2015 and up.
I even have a book out Big, diaries and erotica, and I have many work still waiting to be published, that features him.

Fortunately, in 2019, I started a series taking place 25 years ago, and ever since then I m almost exclusively writing about him under the name Bear, and only in the fiction of my 1994-1996 life.
This series has made it possible for me to keep writing about my personal life, and, as it turned out, it has also provided a welcome separation of “my Big” with the Mr.Big from the series.
Because his death was not the only thing that gave me a blow.

The actor who plays Mr.Big is being accused of sexual misconduct (I m not sure if that is the correct term) by two women.
This is not just sad and disturbing because of the fact that this happened to these women, but to me personally this is also as if they have accused my Mr.Big, of such behavior.

As if the man I thought I knew, is an offender.

I think that is what caused the dreams about my friends, but I can’t be sure because I didn’t note down when it was, nor did I note down when I heard the allegations or about the death of Mr.Big.
I do know that I felt the relationship to my lover change, without him being in it.
I started to feel unsafe and exposed, having been his secret lover for almost 7 years now, even though I have not seen him recently.

And memories of the last time with my lover, which had been good, as well as the account of our entire relationship, which has always been complicated and has always involved emotional pain;
Those were mixed with Mr. Big dying in the series, my friends being sexually threatening, and the actor of Mr.Big being accused of sexual misconduct.

But all that was a walk in the park with what happened yesterday.

I visited a friend, and we watched a movie that had sexual assault in it. We knew we were taking a risk, and I think that if it had not been for the other things happening earlier this month, I would have been fine.
But this time I am not.

I feel very uncomfortable about having been in his house, us watching that movie, and I feel triggered by all the other friends I visit, or that come over to my place. And I feel threatened by the hugs I have been letting back into my life the last few months.

Since the beginning of December I ve opened up my life and arms (hugs), because if I don’t start doing that I am going to die of loneliness this winter.
But now it’s the end of December and I feel sexually assaulted by things that are not even there. By things that have not happened. And I cannot appreciate the memories of the things that did happen.

Even when masturbating, in my sexual fantasies, for the first time ever I feel assaulted. This started this month too. And this too, was something I had not considered a liability, just like I had failed to see my nightmares were a sign of my mental health collapsing and me no longer being able to distinguish friend from foe.

I should never have chosen that movie with the friend yesterday. But we did.

I tweeted about this feeling, yesterday. Trying to put it to words. And although they were inadequate, I think this blogpost, this more extensive story, is not necessarily better. So because I don’t have any answers, and because I do not intend to end this post with a punchline, the way I usually do, I will close by repeating the Tweet-length version of what it is that happened in December:

Tomorrow I m going to blog about my meltdown, which I attribute to Covid s loneliness and 2 year shortage or absence of real life interaction. Ever since I ve started seeing people in real life again, and have even touched and hugged, I m having nightmares and worse 1/

Consensual social interaction triggers a trauma response later when the moment is over. I no longer know my own desires, boundaries. After 2 y of covid I ve started creating abuse/ trauma internally, out of healthy situations Is there literature on this/a name for this? 2/2

I think the reason I have developed a sexual trauma response to social interaction is because of social isolation. I ve lost not just my capacity to enjoy social interaction (without feeling sick after) but also my sexuality. https://publichealth.tulane.edu/blog/effects-of-social-isolation-on-mental-health/

My sexuality was the only thing I knew how to handle, during the crisis. It was something I deliberately prioritized, protected, and nurtured.

And now it got contaminated, and its filth has been spreading throughout all my social interactions, hugs, my humanness, and my humaneness.

I feel like that demon, has already won.

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 

All in and all down. And then all in again.

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara (new website!)
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

I m writing this from an offline computer, waiting for a mechanic to come. My internet connection is being changed today. I was supposed to stay online with my old provider, until they got a message from the new one the transfer and installation had been successful but that was all theory it seems.
So I woke up in a disconnected world, or the modern day equivalent of that, I woke up without wifi.

Last time we spoke about my assignment for these two weeks to see how I could develop my skill and build a new brand and career in yoga, and -more importantly- how to build the international community I think it’s for.

My estimate had been that it could take up to 5 years before the pre-Covid structures of yoga studios had been rebuilt.
Which would mean I would have to teach online for years, before a real life opportunity would come to see each other.

Before we can have as many people in a room as we want.
Before we can travel without restrictions.
Before we stop seeing the person next to us on the yoga mat as a friend, instead of needing confirmation first that person is vaccinated, tested, or require a medical explanation for every cough or sneeze.

Now that I had finally seen my vision and received my calling to bring yoga to an international community I was already bonding with, but also knew (or had concluded from dropping the activity like a hot potato) that I did not want to make public yoga videos to build up a community in anticipation of the post-Covid world;
Now that I knew I was dying of loneliness and craved for a larger circle of social interactions, and that this needed to be attended to before I could even think of investing in an online one;
Then what?

I recognized that after 20 months of Covid, my intimate connections had started to suffer from the unnatural vacuum they had been forced to exist.
Meaningful interaction can only be freely enjoyed by the grace of friendships and encounters that are more casual and less deep.

If I wanted my deeper friendships and family ties to survive, I needed to invest in creating a circle, locally, revolving around doing something lighthearted and fun.

Just thinking about these questions, and going over the scenarios in my head, was helpful.
This letter has clarity around the specifics of for whom etcetera, that I we did  not know when we talked.
And then I had two really big wins. Two wins in which everything I had always said I did, and wanted to do, came together.

The first was that I decided to start teaching yoga for friends again.
That I was not going to teach yoga as an official yoga teacher, and wasn’t offering courses or multiple series of classes because I never want to give money back, or reschedule when we have new Covid legislation.
For example, we’re currently on a 5PM lockdown.
All yoga teachers had to take their evening classes online or reschedule.

My focus for teaching will be real life connection.
Being a writer I spend so much time online and behind my computer, I crave real life human connection. My writing has suffered from real life interaction marginalizing due to Covid.

I need more than just the inner-inner circle I have kept contact with the past 1.5 years. And this real life connection will be to teach yoga to friends now, and once Covid regulations are released and we can have a bigger group and I can invite former students.
After that comes the building of the new yoga community; new people I do not know yet.
This is when strangers, or people with a common interest which does provide some familiarity, can be in a room together, without feeling uncomfortable.

So the first big win was seeing that I could start teaching the smallest of groups of friends, real life yoga, and I m looking for a yoga studio to teach it in.
This will probably be first week 2022 before it’s final, but it still feels like progress.  

* one groggy night and a full day later *

Copied and pasted this from Word to WordPress. 

I went to bed on time but had such a bad night the Wednesday is going down the drain again. And I feel restless. Less sure that I had the two wins, or less sure that they are enough….
Second win have not told you about. But I will!

There’s two things missing:
1. The new type of yoga, Rock Star Yoga, for the new community I want to teach post-Covid
There is no development, no yoga lab, there is no sharing of what I know, there is no teaching.
I get that being on YouTube in spandex, especially now that I am overweight and middle-aged, is making me uncomfortable.
But not sharing Rock Star Yoga in any form and leaving it not just on the back burner until post Covid, leaving it non-existent for years….. That’s not good either.
This needs to improve.
and
2. Any yoga for myself, is also dearly missing.
And my nights are haunted by hot flashes, anxiety disorders, and possibly a heart condition that cardiologists write hefty books about warning menopausal women that they need to go on meds.
I started getting the complaints in 2018 or 2019, but they disappeared entirely, until about 6 weeks ago they returned (although much milder than a few years back), making their comeback together with this year’s four month fallout of losing the first half of my day, compensating for horrible nights.

Damn.
And that was me thinking I had gotten over the first (the heart complaints) and that the Lost-Half-Days syndrome had ended in September.

So.
Honoring my resistance to showing up in spandex at this stage, yet also acknowledging my desire to not wait out the pandemic before I start my new international yoga career, I ve decided to get back to restoring my old yoga video database.

And honoring my own health which is in dire need of an upgrade, I m not just going to update and share those old videos, but also do them.

So that will result in posting something like:
“Today I practiced these 3 videos from 2017 and added them to the database.”

The plan of teaching online, which I abandoned around the time of our previous letter, was definitely rightfully abandoned.
Real life, local interaction teaching to friends and former students, will be my number one priority and I m not going to torture myself recording new yoga videos at this stage.

But starting by practicing yoga with my own videos and sharing them online, will suffice as the grassroots of my international yoga community.
And prevent an early heart attack.

And I still had to share the second win! 
It’s how I ve tied my yoga, business coaching, free agency, and my writing ALL together into a smoking hot international brand. Under my real name, the extrovert side of me.
I ll send you the business card in an email.

Trust me Sara, when I say that the setup of my new life, my new profession, my exterior to the world as people who know me real life see me;
That is all done.
And it’s exciting, I m going to rock it, and I have no regrets it took me so long, because now it is exactly what I need it to be.

Except we both know of course, that I am more this person here, LS Harteveld, than I am the real me.
The real me, is the stage persona.

And Lauren Harteveld, the introvert, private diarist, is the real me.

The past weeks I have not given Lauren anything to do or to write. The last thing was writing you, two weeks ago.
I have deprived her….

Let’s hope that just like the past two weeks were successful in getting my worldly life back on track, that the final two weeks of this year, I find her back.
Lauren.

Do you know what Harteveld means?
Field of hearts.

Saving my physical heart is one thing.
But there used to be a whole field of them, and I have no idea how they’re doing.

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 

I did not use these months well, Sara

2dffd19c179e100ab129c3e07073551eThis is a letter to my creativity coach Sara (new website!)
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

I really thought this was going to be a different letter.
And that it mattered to get this out right.
To be exact in the layers, the systems, the vision, the manifesto, that I had created over the course of the last month, and that felt as if it was somehow making up for having wasted so much time.
So much career.

My second career in yoga was coming to life, and has come to life, and I am still excited by that. For this letter I looked forward to showing you that I had not let these past months where I would study and we only spoke to each other once, that i had not let them go to waste.
Except I have let them go to waste.

They were spent creating the thing I will be known for and that will allow fun and games (and money!) under my real name, without losing energy on explaining what my sexuality is, without complicated conversations about Covid cluster fucks.
It will be exactly the grounding new business I had looked forward to having.
And yet I am not excited at all to share it. It does not feel like an accomplishment, and that’s because I m realizing more than ever that Covid has taken both my careers.

Yoga. It is not preventing me from starting my second career in yoga, but it will limit how I can develop it as the free agent, entertaining, performing yoga teacher that I now am. Yoga classes 2021 are either digital (which does nothing for me), they’re forbidden, or they’re covered in imprecise rules or discriminatory laws, that make being together so stressful, I m not going there within a 10 mile radius.
I only want to BE there (teaching) when I AM there, and never again want work where I am obliged to pick up the phone afterwards. Not even if it’s health services reporting an outbreak. Especially not then.

In all likeliness I will never have an official business again.
If Covid taught me anything, in particular in the Netherlands where they have developed using small businesses as henchmen into an art form, it is that being a business gives you responsibilities that are not imposed upon citizens.
They let entrepreneurs police their own clients, which is cheaper and does not cost as much votes.

But I m getting side-tracked.
Because my big conclusion is that my two paths, the two sides of me, teaching yoga under my real name, and writing as my alter-ego LS Harteveld, worked in conjunction. But with teaching yoga, with real-life human interaction, taken off the table, my introvert writing as LS Harteveld no longer has the compensation it needs.
After a day of writing I needed to go out and teach.
You can’t have one, writing, without the other, teaching real-life yoga.

And I have doubled my writing, because I m now also writing under my real name, and I took on more desk work because I published a lot of books in the past few months.
For LS Harteveld I took one book down, since last time I wrote you.
I took the book about Basic Instinct down, because I discovered something wrong with it, and got just too much stress knowing that. I have it here on my desk and have been editing it for about two months but I just can’t.
I m going nowhere with publishing under LS Harteveld, nor with editing under LS Harteveld, nor with writing under this name.
I have not written one post as Lauren 1996, and that diary was supposed to start late October. My time-travel project seems dead.

The only thing I did do is come up with my entire new business model under my real name, the vision for it and three accompanying books, but for what?
To live in a world where Covid will prevent me from building a real-life business for months if not years, and until then it will only give me digital interaction. Which I know does not do the trick of satisfying what I need in conjunction with writing, and in particular writing as LS Harteveld.

I have not written Nikki in ages.
The last time sex with my lover, which was great sex, did not get written about either.
It’s like everything I build under my real name, has made me shut off “over here”.

The studying too, I ve started many programs, started so many books, and I finished none. If it was a six week program, I got to week 3. If it was a book I got to page 20. If it is an 18 day course, I got to day 3.
And I have realized that this was no coincidence;
It’s as if studying, like writing, is toxic.

The last thing I need is more knowledge, more thinking, more reflection, more time with my journal.

I need to start my new life as a yoga teacher, performer and public figure under my real name, but instead I m stuck between everything I wrote, need to edit, want to clean up, if only to ensure I do not have to do that when the world opens!

But I don’t want to. I can’t.

The Dutch were told that vaccination would get us out of the pandemic, and instead we’re in a 5 PM lockdown again. With a bunch of other ineffective measures.

It’s the second Covid winter, I m so lonely I want to burn all my work so that I can at least warm myself by its fire. Remove the websites, quit being a writer.
Kill my spirit by destroying all my work.

So no.
The months were not spent well.

I not just wasted them, but also managed to create my personal version of hell on earth, where life consists of rotten politicians, a dystopian technocrat state and all creativity and art are “safely” contained behind Zoom cameras or buried in legislation that polarizes, discriminates and knocks the fun right out of whatever it was you wanted to teach, give or do.

I think I need a mourning ceremony for throwing September, October and November away. Everything I was so proud of, and dying to share with you, feels like an illusion like the girl with the matchsticks.
It wasn’t real.

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

In Bed With | #2 BTS

Truth or Dare was internationally released as In Bed With Madonna

This is the 2021 behind the scenes (BTS) diary, of my third time travel year 1996-1997.
I describe the choices for my 1996 life and its diary posts.
Subscribe to this blog to receive both series in your Inbox.


Thursday 18 November 2021      

posted on Facebook

It s 2.45 AM here, and this may or may not be the appropriate time to type a small update about why I’ve had my Lauren 1996 project, where I live and write as if it is 1996;
As well as its twin real time project, or log “Behind The Scenes” (BTS),
bottom out before they had any momentum, or even before they had one word on record- as was the case with Lauren 1996.

Publishing book 1 and 2 1994-1996 also; entirely bottomed out.
I m glad the files/ work was saved, as far as I know.

Because the past week I’ve had an avalanche of major and minor very 21st century (not 1996) technical problems.
And that s not counting a change in internet cable providers, which is scheduled for December and buying a new mobile phone, I m typing this on my to-be-replaced one which is old and will soon start getting technical hiccups, incompatibility in apps etc

Yet that same geriatric phone is currently the only fully functional, connected computer in my house.
Although the number was changed a few days ago, but otherwise it s the same familiar, has-no-secrets-from-me, love-you-at-3 AM when I can t sleep, companion.

Now I did see how my forced time off from my normal/desktop 21th century computer could benefit my Lauren 1996 project, and it did for the first days.
But now the stress of all the things I can t do, have to postpone or remember to pick up when I have a computer that s online;
That stress is starting to accumulate.

I m now LESS in 1996 head space than before phone and computer problems started.

So that s it in a midnight nutshell.
I think in order to play-pretend it s 1996, I need my 2021 tech to be stable.
But things that need fixing, tweaking or learning, because I have new software/systems, those things take time.
Combined with not having a computer to blog with meant I d only be able to write on my phone anyway.

Which is great for 3.25 AM at night!

Because so far that has been the biggest cost;
Not the missed blog posts, not the delay in all the admin or correspondence, not the book publishing that didn’t get done.

The biggest cost is not sleeping, knowing you have to get up early.
And hoping tomorrow 2021 will be up and running, so you can go back to 1996 and forget it existed.

.
Saturday 20 November 2021      

1990 Madonna-DancersThe good news is my internet is working to the point that I can use WordPress, and have more options than making midnight Facebook posts.
The bad news that it still throws me off often enough to cause problems because the connection is frequently lost and I need it even more often than I did with the previous laptop because I need to personalize settings, download software, type full urls and enter my full usernames the first time I visit all my regular sites.

I just spent half an hour going back and fro to get an English spelling check here on this blog.
But regardless what I tried it kept being stuck in Dutch, underlining the entire post.

It turned out that downloading the English dictionary had failed which was why it was still in Dutch and kept underlining every English word.

And I m afraid the assignment of a mechanic has gotten lost with the provider, because it’s been 48 hours and they were going to call for an appointment.
So we’re on our own here!
With a glass fiber cable that is most likely hanging by a thread, or a modem that has a loose connection. But I’m here, and the hard earned spelling check is working, so I’m not complaining!

And there was more news, on the Lauren 1996-1997 front.

I’ve fallen prey again to not being able to sleep, feeling overwhelmed and suffering from anxiety.
I don’t wake up sick like I did for four months this year, nor have the 2020 migraines returned, yet I fear that if I get this wrong, they will soon be here to join the party.
It is key that I pick wisely;
What is worth getting upset over, losing sleep over?

In the final entries from my time travel project, dating from October, Lauren 1996 even more strongly, taps into being well-dressed, friendly and cool.
She does this by remembering a room mate who was an escort, and how she had always wanted to be so “together”, and she recommits to this vision.
But something else has happened, in 2021. An inspiration came by that I cannot pass on, which was the documentary In Bed With Madonna (1991).

It was the first movie I ever went to see multiple times, only to be matched shortly after by Basic Instinct. 
Even Fight Club and Lord of the Rings, many years later- I can’t remember seeing them more often than once in cinemas…

I read an analysis for the 30th anniversary of In Bed With Madonna, that how boldly she expresses her sexuality and her stardom, are unprecedented. 
Modern day music documentaries may attempt to portray their stars in the same authentic manner- but that it revolves much more about relatability and being vulnerable;
Not about being a super star and owning that!

In Bed With Madonna has got balls.
And so do I, which is why that movie appealed to me from the very beginning.

To give you a bit of background story: Although I AM a writer (meaning I need it like others need to breathe), my chosen profession for a long time was to be a yoga teacher.
In recent years I quit group classes, and I was still in the process of reinventing it when Covid happened.

If it wasn’t for Covid I would definitely have picked up teaching group classes again, but instead I quit my business and ended the lease of my yoga space.
But the quest for how to revive my old profession stayed.

The broad strokes of what it is I will be doing (and have started on and off) is to build a badass online yoga community through free YouTube classes, and then start teaching to that particular community in a one-off event style, locally as well as internationally, when Covid regulations have been lifted.

Watching In Bed With Madonna, gave me the missing piece both to framing my yoga, as well as to the identity or the energy to teach it with.
I saw with great clarity that what I like in her, and which has actually been the thing that turned me to yoga in 1998- was that she is a performer.
When I turned to yoga in 1998 after she had spoken about practicing yoga, it had never been yoga that had lured me in. 

I had bought into the idea of doing yoga because Madonna did yoga (1) 
And the reason I had bought into this was because she was a performer (2)

In other words the entire concept of teaching yoga, having a yoga teacher or being a yoga teacher, had never been part of why I started yoga.
I had yoga teachers, and I became a yoga teacher too, yet that was all unrelated to why I had felt drawn to yoga.

It stayed unrelated for two decades, until being in the yoga world became unbearable.
As far as I can pinpoint it, should being two decades off purpose and off path need pinpointing, then what I have felt happening on entering the yoga world, is that I lost my power.
I lost my authenticity, my sexuality, my joy.
I lost everything I stood for and what pulled me through was the Madonna / yoga connection that kept enchanting me, just thinking about it….

In 2000 Madonna made a movie The Next Best Thing where she plays a yoga teacher, and that movie too was imprinted in me.
It feels the closest to the real yoga, that I feel inside of me and that wants to be expressed, created, still desires to be brought into this world like a book or a story wants to be written!

The mistake I made was thinking the way “to bring it” was by following regular teacher trainings. Or, since I did learn good things there, the mistake I made was not realizing how much work and correcting I would need to do AFTER taking those trainings.
How many miles I would be OFF path, after the diplomas, and that my journey should have been to first go back, unlearn and restart in 2000, the last year when I knew I was still ON path!

In Bed With Madonna made me realize that it was HER energy, that had drawn me not just to yoga but to the entire concept of adult life.

I recall having five visions of being an adult, or being a professional, that I found powerful and alluring. They are in chronological order:

1. being Madonna (1985)
This started in 1985 when she played Desperately Seeking Susan.

2. being an escort (late 80s, early 90s)
I ve always felt attracted to this line of work because the women I knew who did this took excellent care of themselves and were far more sophisticated than other women my age.
As well as smart and independent.

3. being a writer/ Catherine Tramell (Basic Instinct 1992)
Even more so than just wanting to do yoga because of Madonna, it was clear that my desire to become a writer was preceded (and is defined) by wanting to be Catherine Tramell.
In my eyes the cool blonde was someone who knew how the game was played and did not waste time trying to be liked.
Catherine Tramell is a fictional character, just like Madonna’s yoga teacher was a fictional character,  yet she is the only writer I aspire to be, and she is the only reason I became a writer.

4. being a photographer (90s)
Although I started photographing in the 80s, it wasn’t until the 90s that I started toying with the idea of becoming a professional. I was inspired by female photographers Patricia Steur and Annie Leibovitz, and started an education I dropped out of. I just wasn’t that into it.
And I never felt any desire to go back to photography again. 

5. being a yoga teacher (Madonna in The Next Best Thing, 2000)
More or less discussed already.
Madonna turned me to yoga, and then this movie took that up a level by making teaching yoga the coolest job in the world!

What I recognized in In Bed With Madonna, was that I too am a performer.

That the reason only fictional characters inspire me, is because like an actor I play a role. My work, my profession, is to perform.
The reason I dropped out of BEING a yoga teacher, the reason I never was a photographer, a proper normal writer, nor an escort, is that I put those identities on like a coat.

And that what I had done by redesigning my yoga work to teaching for free online, as to lay the foundation to later go on tour and give one-off shows (really!);
Was me turning yoga into the performance art that had appealed to me from the start.
Just like performance art had pulled me to writing, to photography, to escorting, to being Madonna in 1985.

My work, my craft, is to be a performer.
That is what I am drawn to, can get better at, and will be known for.

However, there was a problem with fully adopting early 90s Madonna performance power to teaching yoga;
First of all because I am suffering from anxiety again, making it not very appealing to drop fully into madness and mayhem Blonde Ambition identity.
And secondly, because I had Lauren’s 1996 diaries identifying with Catherine Tramell and a resolution to add the cool and self-care level of escorts. Not to be Madonna.

And with the anxiety having returned, I d also rather commit to their cool.

But fortunately I have found that the two are actually quite alike, in other ways.
That In Bed With Madonna (1991) and Basic Instinct (1992) both portray powerful women with strong sexualities. 

But Madonna is “yang”, energetic, extroverted.
She is the performer of the two, which is why I will be in that energy when I “teach” yoga (as we know now I am actually giving a performance), under my real name.

The character of the writer Catherine Tramell, in Basic Instinct 1992, is poised, introverted, cool. She is “yin”.
Which is why, when I do yoga to ease stress and anxiety, and when I’m living my Lauren1996 life,
I will be in the energy of Catherine Tramell, and I keep my promise to “Lauren” to become more stylish and contained like the elegant sex workers she recalled in her last October chapters.

With that decision – and internet or no internet 😉 – I think we’re all set to travel time!

I therefor expect this post to be the last BTS, Behind The Scenes, for a while!

So the next post will be the first chapter of the new book from Lauren, 1996 – 1997.

Showtime.

~Lauren
An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
.
.

Subscribe to this blog to receive the new episodes of
– Behind The Scenes, about living offline (whether with help from my internet provider or not ;)),
– and its juicy 90s companion Lauren 1996-1997
in your Inbox

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added, including the time travel project books Letter from a stranger and Dear Nikki.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

We have every right to be powerful, in whatever form of sexuality we choose to have. | #1 BTS

gettyimages-1186181988 klein
GQ Men of the Year 2019 – “Woman of the Year”: Sharon Stone. Full video at the bottom of this post.

We have every right to be powerful, in whatever form of sexuality we choose to have.
And no one is allowed to take that away from you.”

Sharon Stone GQ Awards 2019

This is the behind the scenes (BTS) diary, of my third time travel year 1996-1997.
Subscribe to this blog to receive them in your Inbox.

This first post starts a month ago, because BTS was originally intended to be an offline diary. 

OCTOBER – IT HURTS

Friday 15 October 2021           

For quite a few times today, a day spent only behind my computer because I had one blogpost { one of the final chapters to 1995-1996 } to take down and save, because its sexual explicit content had given me a panic attack, and I also wrote a closing chapter/ final blogpost to a series called The Covid Diaries, and I had an online workshop; 
During that day where I only sat, and worked, and was totally absorbed in basically setting up the basics to transfer my work from blogging, to writing, from online to offline;   
On that day I thought, “That new thing, BTS, is not really necessary. It will only make things more complicated. I will delete it tonight.”           

When now that it’s nighttime I know how crucial this new series is. BTS, Behind The Scenes.     
I need this for my own sanity.

So what happened to writing about my sex life that suddenly bit me in the butt?            
Why didn’t I coach myself to being comfortable with my sexually explicit blog post, called “Promotion”, a chapter to my fictionalized 1996 diary?      
Why didn’t I work through the resistance?         

First of all because the anxiety attack I experienced this morning, was particularly violent.       
I had clearly hit a nerve somewhere, and I felt that taking the post down was a solution that had a limited time window to being effective.         
If I wanted to stabilize with a quick fix, I had to act fast.

The second reason I decided quickly was because I am developing my work and media personality, under my real name.               
My alter ego Lauren Harteveld, now more than ever, needs to be a place of solace. A place of feeling nurtured.                
Not a place where I get stressed out over having sex blogposts.

I’ve known for a while that the nature of my work here would have to change, in order to step into this new role under my real name.  
I just had not thought it through yet.    

Waking up with a panic attack over the sex post was my cue the time had come to scale down on LS Harteveld, and transfer the intimate parts to offline.    
That was the price I was willing to pay for peace of mind, working under my real name and be the real me.

My future was not one where I would wake up suffering from a panic attack from a blog post for my alter ego I had posted the night before.

But thirdly, and this is why it was actually good news and I did not look further for reasons to keep the sex post up, because the final reason I decided I would go underground, was that I want to write so much more about sex!
More explicitly than the post that was already giving me panic attacks.

The post I took down was a 1996 fictionalization of a 2021 email I had sent to a man I correspond with. 
Now it had become a letter Lauren 1996 wrote to an English bootleg trader called Nikki. A blog post. And one that scared me so much, I changed my mind.

The real problem had been that the taken down blogpost was still just a fraction of the honesty and the intimacy I had shared in my email. The contrast had been stark. And confronting.            
Every time I reread my blogpost, I realized it lacked the level of truth and intimacy my email to the real life Nikki had.               
It felt like such a betrayal of something pure. I had censored myself.

Originally, meaning before taking it down, I had planned on writing a second blogpost this weekend.
A second fictional letter to the character of Nikki, but now including details I had left out. And to frame it as being a second letter Lauren in 1996 would write to her friend Nikki, because she had not been ready to share.             

But the panic attack showed me there was no way I would take it up a notch.
New professional-me under my real name, would not be able to write such scary blogposts under my alter ego.      

If I really desired the same level of intimacy in my 1996 diary, as I had displayed in my email to real life Nikki, and I also wanted to become a professional under my real name; 
Then after more than 10 years of being a blogger, the whole online thing had to go.

It’s 10.30 PM now. I feel totally raw, unhappy, overwhelmed, maybe even disappointed.           
If there ever comes a day my work life under my real name starts to make me unhappy, or if I see a way of doing it without feeling threatened by the sexuality of my work here, then I will return to being a blogger.

But for now, this is what it is.

I am no longer a blogger.            
And that hurts…

.
Saturday 16 October 2021      

It got worse before it got much better!  
Going to bed I checked my phone and found a browser open that offered access to yesterday’s Zoom call. It was a url that I had copy pasted manually because the link in the email had not been clickable.          
I usually attend calls both on my laptop to type, and on my telephone for a good camera angle.   
But yesterday, I only remembered being successful at logging in via laptop. As far as I recalled, the phone browser and link had not worked.
Yet here it was, a clear sign that at least the url had worked.

Had I used it, and clicked on an “Okay” to enter the call, without remembering doing it?
Had I been online thinking I was invisible and excusing myself for not being on screen, when all the time I was recorded?

The call was with a group I had not known, and the communication was not entirely in flow. But I had dismissed that, thinking it was because I was communicating through chat only, and that it were all people who did not know each other.           
Had it been because I was visible, in totally unpresentable fashion, and no one told me?

I got the absolute worst panic attack. That morning’s panic attack, triggered by the sex blogpost, was nothing compare to The Biggie that hit me around midnight.          
I was trembling all over my body, I felt sick and I wrote an email to the friend who had organized the call.           
I explained I was unsure if I had opened the Zoom app on my phone.   
“Was I visible?” I asked. “I’ve been crippled with anxiety all day, and thought is daunting! I hope you can help.”

For an hour I tried a variety of tactics from rationalizing the social fear, to projecting it, to ultimately befriending it and accepting its presence. Which was for this crisis situation the best option, although no miracle trick.    
An hour later I was still wide awake and had been checking my email at regular intervals, even though I thought I “should” be able to do without her reassurance.              
But boy, was I happy to read her reply that everything had been more than fine!            
I had not been online with my phone camera.  

Immediately the anxiety subsided and ever since then the return of my generic anxiety has looked like a walk in the park compared to the panic I felt for that hour.      
I can do that!

I slept exceptionally well, and I’m doing great today.

.
NOVEMBER – LET’S DO THIS!! 

Friday 12 November 2021           

In 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, I’ve half-in-half out participated in a performance project, living my life and keeping an online diary as if it is 25 years ago.
These two diaries A Letter From A Stranger (1994-1995) and Dear Nikki (1995-1996), are in their publishing stage, and it has been time to start writing book three for a while now.
Except I didn’t.

After the final chapters for Dear Nikki, which I never published online because it gave me too much anxiety, I did try to start the new book 1996-1997 offline, meaning safer and far less likely to push me over the edge, but to no avail.
I don’t write when it’s offline, I make the wrong choices, avoid adventures.
I am no longer inspired to live a full life, if I keep myself from blogging diary style, about its most meaningful, sexual parts (for one);
And I m also not inspired to live real-time, real pandemic 2021.

I need that extra layer of historical context of analogue (yes I do see the irony here) life, and the performance art based challenge of pretending I’m living my life from being a 20-something living in the 90s.
Not just for my sex life, sex posts, diary of the 90s as Lauren Harteveld;
But I need it for my work under my real name as well.

If I am not online “here” as my alter ego, and if I don’t have that secretive private life which I then share by blogging (and get freaked out about);
Well then I don’t live, write or work in the real world under my real name either!

My two personas really are like a Siamese twin, and if I m committing to creating massive impact, to having big results, and worldly success in every way for the real me?
Then it means I have to amp it up living as Lauren Harteveld too.

And I admit; The time travel projects 1 and 2 have been sloppy in their execution, the first two books have not been all in.
They were more a translation of real time events, to a fictional 90s past, but I wasn’t living it in the moment.
I never did business as if it was the 90s, never made love as if I was in my twenties, I was using the fictionalization of my past as a construct instead of as the performance art it was always intended to be!

For book 3 no more sloppy time travelling allowed.

So last night, I made a list. And I made it short. I left EVERYTHING out, that I knew was critical to feeling good, everything I knew that would frustrate me if I didn’t do it, and everything that would have to be in place before I could get to my core activities for which I wanted to be known.
Because for what has been somewhere between a week and a few years, I have tried to schedule my daily routine so that all the things that matter to me get done. And instead the only thing that got done – and very consistently! – was whatever I felt like doing! What inspired me. And the things that had to get done got done too, and if frustrations reached peak level or deadlines closed in, then all the other things got done as well.

In other words, both my personal preferences, my sexuality for sure (2021 was the best sexual year of my life!), my financial obligations, my social life, and everything else;
It had a way of getting done.
It took care of itself not because I had scheduled it, but despite of it.

However, what did not get done, was what I really want to be known for;
To be a world famous rock star writer, who does yoga.
Well technically the writing did get done, it always gets done because it’s what comes natural. Yoga didn’t get done at all, but that’s not my biggest worry to be honest.
But the part of rock star writer that didn’t get done, or not consistently, was the business side of it. Meaning publishing, selling, and speaking about my work, the being of the rock star writer did not happen.

There has not been a visible rock star writer, not under any of the two names, to relate to.

I have been invisible.

Which is why, I kept this list of what Lauren 1996 would be committing to every day, short.
Very short.

  1. do yoga or teach yoga
  2. publish books

I fell asleep thinking of myself as Lauren 1996. And as I type this, again, I can feel her living in me.

For the first time since 2019, the summer I started my time travel project, I can feel it is working.

This morning I worked on publishing my books. I took the book on Basic Instinct/ Catherine Tramell, which I pulled from publishing, and that has been on my desk for weeks now to get improved and republished.
I found a reference to the 2019 GQ speech Sharon Stone made, which was about how she dealt with feeling exposed after Basic Instinct came out, and although I had made up my mind and had decided to write the new time travel diary 1996-1997 online just like its predecessors;
This speech was exactly what I needed to hear at this time.

It was about making a conscious decision about what to do with that part that you fear, sometimes correctly obviously, others will use to shame you and try to destroy you.

“Time to decide what you do with the tender, important, beautiful, savage, passionate, most important part of yourself. 
What are you gonna do with it?
I ll tell you what I did with mine.

I respected it.”

.
Lauren

An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
.

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– Behind The Scenes, about living offline,
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Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added, including the time travel project books Letter from a stranger and Dear Nikki.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
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So far SO not good. So Lauren1996 will return!

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Madonna earliest of 80s

A few weeks ago I quit blogging here, because the anxiety of writing my 1996 diary, which is my life now translated to 25 years ago, was getting in the way of what I must also do.
Of what is also, my life and destiny.
But, as is already implied in that sentence, naturally, I also have an obligation here.

I have not forgotten my art here, the time travel project and the diary.
Although at times I wished I could have forgotten it.

The whole writing offline and working in silence on publishing my books, fell to pieces when a few weeks ago I discovered mistakes in one of my books, which I had already tried to correct. When the “improved” test copy came in and I discovered I had actually made it worse, I decided to pull the book from publishing, and give it a proper review.
To not just correct the layout mistakes that had gotten in there (blank pages etc) when I made my corrections and added another chapter as well;
But to do a page-by-page review, really getting into the details and be sure I wanted them that way.

I wanted to make absolutely certain that when I received the next test copy, I would not find  any mistakes. 

Ever since I’ve started to publish my books last year, I ve been consumed with perfectionism. But it’s perfectionism with a vengeance, because in the initial printing process I can bypass it!
I KNOW done is better than perfect.
Not just because if I have the choice between doing 20 books with some minor errors or 4 books perfectly?
I have to choose the 20 good-enough ones.
I simply write way, way too much to do it otherwise.

So there is that practicality, that logic behind being a superfluous writer that anyone can understand, but there’s also a more primal emotion to it.
Because I like my work to be a bit raw and bloody, and have some errors.

If I regret anything then it’s reviewing my older books too often, because I felt it cost me both too much time as well as in some cases possibly the very soul of the book. 
I recall one in particular, and I never actively sold that book ever in the four years it’s been for sale.
So I knew very well not to go overboard with the editing.

Yet with the books I published afterwards and even (now) pulled from publishing, the opposite happened.
I don’t actively sell those either, because I’m afraid that there are mistakes in there!
So I ve learned from the past – I now do publish them without overdoing the editing. I do not make the same mistake twice and “Done is better than perfect” is my badge of honor really.
But then it bites me in the ass:
I read them and find mistakes, and feel uncomfortable selling them because of one little tiny mistake I saw.
Or I don’t dare to read them and then I don’t sell them because I didn’t read them out of fear.

Even though, and now you’re really going to see how badly I m doing in this area, way more often I read them and think:
“This is so good! How funny! How well written! I m so proud.”
Yet perfectionism just blocks it.
Not in the first editing and publishing round, like it does with other writers.
But afterwards.

I can’t get into the swing of selling.

And now, November 2021 or November 1996 as it is in my time travel project, I am no longer blogging a diary because it gives me anxiety;
Which has resulted in my love life and sexuality dying on me.
It has resulted in not writing.
And ultimately, I think you guessed it, in not living.

As desirable or even nessecary, a smoothed out life without any secrets and any reason for anxiety, seems at times (I ve taken Lauren 1994-1996 offline half a dozen times and counting!);
Ultimately it is not for me.

I will have to learn with my chaotic, fear-filled double life, like I have to live with books having rough edges.

My attempts at proper, worthy, perfect books are blocking my life’s force, just like my attempts at a proper worthy life is blocking it.

Yes, I am messy. 
Irresponsible.
Imperfect.
Loud.
And so are my books.

But for the past couple of weeks I ve been dead, and I can only hope it’s not too late for any of the things I lost to be saved.
To put my pulled book back online.
To slam those diaries into a cover and hit publish.
Pull myself up by my bootstraps and get back into the saddle of everything.
I hope my sex life is not dead for good.

I hope that underneath the cleaned up properness, something, is still breathing.

.
Lauren

An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
.

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Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added, including the time travel project books Letter from a stranger and Dear Nikki.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

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/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

I’m on it! (and it’s my best work) | diaries 1994-1996

 

photo from “1994 Was a Prison of My Own Making” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/14/style/enjoy-the-silence.html 

I quit blogging this weekend, and simultaneously found out that publishing what I consider my Magnum Opus – or Magnum “Opi” as the first installment is already going to be two books, not one! – that publishing this most significant work is probably not going to be the “muscle through it”- sprint I hoped it would be.

The reason I want it done is so I can start curating and solidifying my websites, my online work.

But publishing those two diaries 1994-1995 and 1995-1996,  including the very sexually explicit final chapters, seems to be more accurately categorized as;
Things that are going to massively freak me out.

Things I’m going to lose sleep over.

Things that are going to impact and delay the more easy-going, less-intense career I want to establish under my real name.

Something that is going to bear the characteristics of a marathon and not a sprint.

And I am not an endurance athlete, endurance writer, endurance anything. I m only good at things that forcefully push themselves out of me, despite me not making an effort, despite me not setting time aside.
My projects need to take over my life, if they want to get done.

Instead of having my life taken over a few days, publishing my Magnum Opi could take over my life for weeks or even months.
Which is definitely more than I am willing to invest.

I want them done this week, order them on Friday, and then within two weeks I will have them ready for sale and can start curating the website. With those two books successfully published, my most important work has been converted to print.
If anything happens to my content or I don’t store it right or something, then at least they were saved.

How to go about this?
This little twin monster of my most important work, two books, at the verge of taking over my life? (I feel they’re negotiating who gets to sink their teeth in which part of me!)
I don’t know.
Maybe praying to a higher power, would be my best option.

Anyway, as I was preparing to write you this quick update, I started looking for a New York Times article about a time travel project of one week, to 1994.
But instead I found a music scene documentary of the beginning of this 90s era.

It’s available on YouTube.

1991 – The Year Punk Broke

And Generation X in a Time Capsule
a New York Times long read about this documentary and its context.

But the article I was looking for, before I found the 1991 music scene documentary, was this article.
It is about a journalist who lives for one week as if she’s in 1994:

1994 Was a Prison of My Own Making
25 years ago was yesterday and a million years ago.
By Caity Weaver | May 14, 2019

So with the extra documentary I found some pretty intense and grungy stuff about the time period I was investigating.
Which has only made me more adamant  that ultimately writing about 25 years ago, or writing about the 90s, is my jam.

Last weekend I stopped blogging, online writing for The Diary Project, or the time travel project, but only so I can give it more,  and be even more candid in my writing offline.

That first diary I am about to publish – the one I decided with 99% certainty needs to be two books, not one – that is only the beginning.
It is the first diary, or they are the first two diaries of my Magnum Opus.

I will keep writing.

The diary project, or the time travel project, is my deepest work as a writer, and ultimately all my work here will somehow be tied to that. 

The reason I consider my time travel diaries my most important work, is because it is my most layered project, consisting of all the aspects that is me or my work or interests.

They are at heart a performance project, or time capsule project.
I cultivate the mindset and experience of being 25 years younger and live as if it is 25 years ago.

The second reason is, they are done as diary writing and letter writing, which are my most developed forms of writing.

The third is because I get to play with elements that reflect my development, choices,  and difficulties, in being a writer, and/OR a yoga teacher.
My real life career choices are in the books.

But most importantly of course, I like the books because they are rooted in my sexual life.
I don’t think I would be able to fully express my  sexuality if it wasn’t for the fact that I can write about my experiences.

Since I was a teenager I’ve known I need high levels of tension and excitement, to get aroused. From a wider perspective I would say my sexuality was more comparable to those of boys, than those of girls.
I needed to feel safe with someone, and was aware being a girl made me vulnerable, but I was less inclined to pushing or looking for relational security. I didn’t need a relationship to feel sexually explorative.

Although I was often very much in love, when it came to sexual experimenting I needed friendly comradery, more than romance.

Ever since then the road has been rocky, and at times I have given in to fears that made the road flat. I have been in long-term relationships that were ultimately not just sexually unsatisfying because they didn’t carry enough tension and excitement;
They were detrimental for my personal growth.

To me monogamy, defined as both me but in particular my partner only having me/each other to be physically and emotionally intimate with, that monogamy is damaging.
It’s the quickest way to create a life of stability and perhaps even physical health, because the stress levels remain low.
But I don’t grow in monogamous relationships the way I do when I get challenged b
y the unpredictability of other, non-specified and more playful, relationship styles.
They bring me more pleasure, more satisfaction but in particular because of their counter parts of jealousy, fear, and uncertainty;
They bring me more growth.

Sure all those aspects of my life give me panic attacks, and more often than not I think I am NOT cut out for this.
That it’s too much and all the stress of never being in a normal boy meets girl, princess and prince charming relationship or marriage, is eating me alive.
That I can’t take it anymore.

But then I know:
Of course I can.

This is what I am here for.

My Time Travel Project, and its first two upcoming books
A letter from a stranger 1994-1995
and
Dear Nikki 1995-1996
are about capturing that life, in between lovers, in between careers, in between immobilizing fear and insatiable fascination.
All set to a backdrop of the 90s.

And not just for a week.

.
Lauren

An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added, including the time travel project books Letter from a stranger and Dear Nikki.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Choose IT | The Covid Diaries (closing Chapter)

MV5BZDVkZmI0YzAtNzdjYi00ZjhhLWE1ODEtMWMzMWMzNDA0NmQ4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzYzODM3Mzg@._V1_FMjpg_UX1000_“It” is a sex positive antidote, a way for King to tell kids that sex, even unplanned sex, even sex that’s kind of weird, even sex where a girl loses her virginity in the sewer, can be powerful and beautiful if the people having it truly respect and like each other.

That’s a braver message than some other authors have been willing to deliver.

Grady Henrix on Tor.com about the book It (1986) by Stephen King

Yesterday I wrote a blogpost, a sexual explicit one and the first one of its kind in two months.
But this morning I deleted it, and it will never be back online.
It will go straight to paper, and although I will keep writing on at least one sexually explicit series of books;
I don’t expect to blog anything sexual, ever again.

The reason for my decision was that I woke up with the worst anxiety attack since the 90s.
My phobia for hiv and aids, and the social stigma surrounding that, was back full force.
It is a social phobia, not a hypochondriac one.
But in a way that nuance is beside the point. In particular to the potential danger it holds to call it “social phobia” instead of “aids phobia”.
It’s like saying Pennywise is an extraterrestrial force and not a clown; It’s true, but is it relevant?
No.
Pennywise, It is evil, It is dangerous, and if you wake up with It in your bed, calling it by its correct name should be the least of your concerns.

So after I had decided I was not going to stay here, writing as LS Harteveld like I have for the past 16 years, I started wondering what had happened?
What had caused this fear that I had last seen in the 90s, to return? It was almost like It’s 27 year cycle to return, in the book and the movies It 1 and 2.

A fear so big I could feel the strength leaving my body and knowing with absolute certainty this would have the power to traumatize, immobilize, and to seal my fate of ending up in a coffin filled with regrets.

But how come now? After 27 years?
And what was it really about?
Because IT, your fear, is never what you think it is about.

And while fear of spiders and heights, will be met with an understanding that of course, you have some kind of mental projection short-circuit going on;
And of course, the solution can never be to lock yourself up in a spider sanitized box planted firmly on the floor and anchored with extra weights to make sure it doesn’t accidentally fly away and take you up;

That of course-ness is right out the window if the object of your fear is closer to home than dreading spiders and heights.

Fear, a shape-shifting force that is rarely beneficial, and in 99.9% of the cases tied to incorrect causes, becomes a lot more difficult to identify as the soul and life crushing monster that it is, once that fear is not tied to spiders or an irrational fear of heights, but to something everybody is allowed to worry about.
Like Aids in the 80s, Covid today, and cancer is timeless. You re always allowed, if not encouraged, to worry sick over that one. But let’s skip that for now, for clarity’s sake, an
d focus on Covid, because that is the Unlimited Fear of our days.
There is no such thing as worrying too much over Covid.

Of all the people who have expressed how they are giving fear of Covid a place in their lives – and it is of course never called out as “fear of Covid” but responsibility towards, et cetera – of all of those people none, a percentage of zero, have been met with:
“This fear is crippling you.You should start living your life.”

Everybody either has this fear of Covid, or they do not, but then they are aware that they are a minority and that it is inappropriate to ignore these fears in others.
If nothing else, we have reached consensus that although nothing has changed for the people who have uncommon fears, like the one for spiders, everything has changed for the ones who have attached their fear to Covid.
No one is questioning the nature of their fear, when it comes to this global pandemic.

And it gets worse!
Because Covid is an ideal host, the fear can spread in two opposite directions.
To pro- measures but against the virus or to the other end of the pole, against the measures and fearing conspiracies or unknown health risks of vaccination.
Fear can go both ways.

Both sides of this spectrum are afraid of different things, but they are both alike because neither one questions fear itself. They both project their fear onto aspects of life they have little to no control over.

I think this is the right time to take this characteristic by the horns and elaborate on it.
Because it is this aspect, to be afraid of something you cannot control (either a virus, and how badly people follow rules, or danger lurking from governments and big pharma) that brings out the sick, destructive nature of fear in all its disgusting glory.

It is once you give into THAT fear, of something you cannot control, that you are in deep trouble.

When we can all see that even dangerous spiders are relatively innocent and not worth turning your whole life around for; When it comes to intangible enemies most people cannot do that.

My social phobia or Aids phobia of the 80s, is why I started this diary about Covid. I was curious what the mass panic of this pandemic would do to me, and how fear, IT, would show itself.
Was the 2020-2021 fear of Covid identical to the fear of Aids?

Because I knew fear of Aids had had very little to do with an honest conversation about sexual risks, and all about not wanting to be confronted with sexuality at large and the sexuality of those at risk in particular.

So I was curious if fear of Covid was in fact also not fear of Covid at all, but of something far less tangible.

At least outside of the gay community and the sex workers community, fear of Aids in the 80s was an unhealthy one that served an entirely different purpose than to protect anyone from getting infected.
In the 80s, the discussion and even education, about Aids was never focused and definitely not limited (as it should have been) to things you could control.

Instead, it was heavy with moral judgement and inconsistent, imprecise and non-supportive with regard to the specifics of sex.

These are two topics I think a genuine education on safe sex should have covered;
-straight, homo, and bisexuality, and the sexual acts for each and every one of them indicating how to do them safer.
-dating styles, monogamy versus non-monogamy, and what types of people (and their sexual styles) you are attracted to
The nature of this conversation should be to illustrate that since your sexual orientation is largely a given, and even a fluid or adventurous style could be seen as a specific orientation, that we therefor all start out with a different base level of risks.
The word “Safe” sex implies something singular, a binary nature of safe sex=1, or not having safe sex=0
That is a lie. 

If we agree that suppressing who you are, and what your sexuality is, is unhealthy, then we also agree that for example I, a girl who felt attracted to sexually active, worldly men, and not to inexperienced boys, was more at risk than one who goes steady and they’re both each other’s first partner.
Generalizing what safe sex is, is harmful to anyone not going for a heterosexual monogamous relationship, and even for them it is less than ideal.

The base level of risk and your margin to play with, are already determined by your sexuality and can only be changed by suppressing, altering, and harming your sexual identity.

Now, why do you think conversations like this were not part of sex education in the 80s, nor will they every be?

Because the moment you acknowledge that the majority of risks are beyond your control, fear becomes manageable because it becomes specific. Suddenly the factors that you do get to choose are known.
This sounds great in theory, but the moment fear becomes known, specific, and manageable, you can no longer attach this huge chunk of unnamed lower-belly fear to it.

The desire to connect the primal sense of fear, that we all carry around inside of us, the desire and perhaps even THE NEED to project that onto something outside of us?
And preferably onto something other people agree on, and that you can bond over?
That urge is uncontrollable.

The desire to have some topic, group of people, some disease, to project this fear onto, will always be greater, and definitely easier, than to deal with this fear in healthier ways and resist demonizing something far less dangerous than what you are making it.

The desire for evil clowns in the sewer we can blame for everything, will always be bigger than our desire to investigate why we are so obsessed with finding things that scare us or could potentially harm us.

The reason 80s sex education was not about accepting the differences in base level risks, and then supporting teens on their journey of developing a healthy sexuality within their personal parameters, is because then parents, school, church, government, sex education centers, would all need to find something else to project that primal IT-sized fear onto, that was eating them from the inside.

When they could also just act as if they were educating, or act as if they were responsible because they told you to “be safe”, and you could just hear the “told you sos” that would be yours if you got hiv – or got pregnant for that matter, this style of sex education was definitely not reserved to Aids-
They could also do that, and then flock together as grown-ups and respectable institutions, all sailing in union under the same righteous moral flag of “Safe Sex”, which was code for Silent Sex, Don’t Bother Us Sex, Your Own Fault Sex.

They could pretend that the monster they were warning you for could be fought with a condom just like they pretend Covid can be fought with simplified rhetoric of either mouth masks and vaccinations as the holy grail on one side, and an array of concerns and conspiracy theories on the other.
The simplification is wrong.
The simplification then, just like the simplifications now, are what make it evil.

Today’s simplifications look practical, just like a condom advice in the eighties looked practical, but there is a disturbingly large element where that practical approach, is all just one big cover up of conversations we don’t want to have.

Under that simplified solution, under choosing a polarized or simplified perspective, we are able to hide our biggest fear.
We are able to hide IT.

My fear of Aids was able to hide my fear of being rejected by society.
Society’s fear of Aids, was able to hide their fear of sexuality.
Today’s fear of Covid, or the fear of the vaccination strategies, is able to hide unnamed, uncomfortable fears and truths, that we don’t want to face.

Covid is the biggest, global container of underbelly angst, the world has ever seen.
It holds all of our unnamed fears, and it is functional, in its own sick way. Because speaking of Covid, disagreeing on Covid, and arguing over Covid, is way easier and definitely more welcomed, than having a conversation about who does the real work in this world.
Who earns the money.
Who we pay.
Who we ignore.
Who has chances.
And who hasn’t.

There is financial violence, at least in The Netherlands, of a government that eats its poorest alive by ripping support systems out of still breathing families.
The housing market has been thrown to the wolves. Directors have left years ago, their pockets filled with money that was supposed to house the poor, leaving their organizations bankrupt.
The coops and the housing market at large, both intended for people who actually go live in the house they rent or own, both are taken over by private investing firms. 

In The Netherlands no one can get a new house anymore.

Just like the town of Derry, Main, in the movie It, the society where I live in, is rotten to its core. Evil has taken over.
I imagine everyone can judge if that is true for where you live, but that is The Netherlands.
And evil has a head start because for the past 18 months we’ve been bickering over Covid.
Oh sure, every now and then a politician is sent home, and our entire government is theoretically demissionairy. Seven months later and they re still all there. And based on the elections we had, they will probably rise from their ashes and become the exact same government.

Sometimes there are big reveals, national or European reports of exactly how ill-functioning our systems are, but they are as obsolete as the newspaper articles about the big fire in a bar, a historic event of Derry Main’s violent past. 
Papers that turned yellow and will be forgotten.
Or they are like Derry’s flyers with missing kids on them; No one reads them, even when the topic is so important.

The reason I am quitting blogging as LS Harteveld, the parallel universe where I could share myself, my thoughts and fears in their purest form, is because I am leaving this place. 
I have to move out of this town, just like they did.

In a way I was like the one boy from the gang of children that fought It, that I was the one boy who stayed in Derry, Main. All the others left, and lived their adult lives in different cities, and they forgot what happened to them. Until this boy called them back. 
His name was Mike Hanlon, he stayed in Derry and became a police officer and spent the rest of his time in the library, studying the history of Derry, and anything he could find on It.
He was the one who made sure that if It returned, they could fight it.

Just like I studied the Aids pandemic, as the root cause of my social phobia or Aids phobia. I have overcome those fears, they no longer haunt me. Or they didn’t until this morning.
Which is why it is time for me to leave.

This blog post is the final one to a book I will be publishing, called The Covid Diaries.
I expect to have it ready late this year.

This post is the only one that will stay up, as the rest of my work for this site is like the scrapbooks of Mike Dolan; They served a purpose, but it’s time to wrap up.

Was I successful in fighting It? 
No, not as clear cut as the adults in It, returning to their childhood hometown. 

But I hope that by having documented It, the fear of Covid and the fear of Aids, I have at least pointed out that fear is the real enemy.
That you must be very strict with yourself.

You carry that It sized fear monster inside of you. One that feels far less scary if you tie it to a simplified perception of what our common enemy is, tie it to the accepted root of all evil.
But you are feeding a monster.

I was feeding a monster when I was afraid of Aids in the 80s, and I have been feeding it the past days, in the form of social phobia.
I was afraid certain people would reject me, and this morning the fear had shape-shifted back to its classic 80s and 90s form, of a painful Aids phobic panic attack.
Others are feeding their fears directly into the fangs of Covid but I will never feed my fear to anything ever again.
I will resist with the mightiest of might.

In my kitchen I have a note, and if I had done what it said, I would not have been trembling with fear this morning.
It says: “Only one fear allowed.”
I am allowed to worry, I am allowed to have fear, but only about one thing, and I have chosen to worry about dying with my life still inside of me.
With a sex life, toned down, altered or even incomplete with experiences missing, because of fear of Aids.
Career,under my real name, toned down or kept safe, because of fear of social exclusion. 

I am going to choose life, choose sex, choose faith.
And if I feel fear, panic, anxiety, if my phobias get the better of me, I will be saying to myself:

“Remember you’re only allowed to have one fear. One.
Choose.”

It will not be Covid, and it will not be Aids.

My fear will be to die with my life still inside of me.
And nothing, nothing else.

.
Lauren

An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added, including The Covid Diaries.

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