The nights are nice but the days are deviant | 1998 diary

Madonna 1990 by Jean-Baptiste Mondino

Thursday 26 January, 1998

Okay, I paid attention now, to not let another date with Bear fall into what appears to be a Bermuda triangle in my memory, where all the sex stuff disappears.
Or maybe other memories too, who knows. I find other areas of my life far less interesting and my expectations are much lower.
But sex, I expect to remember.

In December I even blamed alcohol for not remembering it although I knew it was good, because it is always good.
It is always fun.
Even when the second half of 1997, we did have some problems. I would not get that wet or things hurt, or honestly I cannot even remember the specifics. But I do know that both Bear and me saw it as a challenge. That we almost found it hilarious, that we had to deal with these common sexual hiccups, and we made it work.
Like I said; Always good. Always fun.
But the December date did not have that either. There were no problems. For lack of a better word, I suspected the sex had been normal

So this year I made the resolution to pay attention, so that at least I knew if it had indeed been normal, or if I was suffering from amnesia and missing out on things that were worth writing down.
Things that befitted my ambition to become a serious diary and erotica writer, in the spirit of Anais Nin.
So I did pay close attention, and the date had the same format as in December because it was a dinner date. Something we do not have a habit around, because it is harder for him to see me. Or at least it was, when he still had a girlfriend. Something I still don’t know or understand if that is still the case. Maybe the fact that for the second time in a row he could come over at night time proves he’s available or things have flatlined for now.

But either way I felt lucky, very lucky. There is something so erotic, so mysterious, about having him come over for dinner. Especially in winter, when it’s already dark when the doorbell rings and I embrace him, cold face,  thick coat, warm gloves, and bottle of red in his backpack.
And my house is warm, I have candles burning, and I’ve already started preparing dinner. Use Your Illusion album playing, which is not romantic to others but it is to us, because we saw them in 1992 in Rotterdam.

There is something tantalizing and special about night time dating, that lunch or even coffee dates will never be able to top.
I really think that after being sidelined for years, when he had the girlfriend and he even broke up with me, which was painful and awful, that after all that we are back to where we started.
We found back what we had.
Just that instead of our noisy student rooms, I now have an apartment, and we are more deliberate in our dates.
It’s not as casual as it was, when we were still students.
We’ve grown up and after the meager years of having to accept however little came my way, even when it was a coffee date on Monday morning with not as much as a cookie or cake because I didn’t know he would come, we are now finally back at the level we had in our college years;
And more.

On paper, we got it made and we are on our way to recover from whatever dent his relationship made in our reckless and restless, young heart’s love.
Except of course, we don’t.
Because now I forget the sex.
And I did not suffer from amnesia, I had been right: Sex was good and fun, and normal! Because this time I did pay attention, and it was exactly the nothing-out-of-the-ordinary sex as I suspected.

And this time, I know why.

The time of the day and the dinner dates are no longer working for us. I am not going to claim we would have earthshattering sex on a Monday morning coffee date now, but a warm lazy Sunday afternoon?
Or closing the curtains for us after a Wednesday lunch, to the sounds of a neighborhood already coming to life outside? 
A date in a coffeeshop, or drinks in a bar? A movie and then after those things stalling if we’re going to my place or not?
Or to his, when he still had his own place…. Oh the memories. The possibilities! The already so much better atmosphere these scenarios have to me, just thinking about it.
Not in terms of love and coziness.
Not in terms of feeling good and safe.
But those casual situations do open up a feeling of excitement, adventure  and sex, simply because it is never a given that we will even have it.

And then there is the role playing!
The first half of 1997 we had the best sex ever, in all the seven years (as it was then) we had been doing it. It was like we had discovered sex allover together. Like we had reinvented it.
And then the second half of the year hit, and I slipped into a very dark place.
When I saw Bear I was feeling great, there was never a question about that; But his presence went from being that little something extra, to the only days I truly felt alive.

Yes…. in retrospect, our good instead of great sex is more than just a matter of planning more strategically. I am not the same person as I was at the beginning of 1997.
So many bad things happened, things that really got to me, and that can still make me cry just thinking about it. Which I rarely do because I don’t want to.

One of the things I did, was completely shut off my heart. I was so deeply hurt, I still keep everybody at arm’s length, emotionally.
And I do that to this day.

I’ve become quite the ice queen, that crappy second half of 1997. In response to all those who hurt me, I ve shut myself off entirely.

In order to get my sex life back to the level it was one year ago, I do need to opt for days, not dinners, at least for now. But I also need to start breaking down that very effective wall I built around myself. A wall that has has kept me safe, and that has become my refuge.
A wall that has become my home.

To return to the deviant sex of early 1997, will require more than retrieving the dating style we used to have.
It will require to retrieve myself.

.
~Lauren98

The nights are nice but the days are deviant | 1998 diary
is the third chapter of book 4, diary 1997-1998

Book 1, A Letter From A Stranger and book 2 Dear Nikki, in this series will be published in 2023, 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,
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/

A new year, a new Nin | 1998 diary

12 photos from Madonna for what I always call the “Justify my Love” photoshoot, because it was the cover of this 1990 single. But it is actually part of a diptych, where she explores the masculine, and the feminine, which are photos where she has Marilyn Monroe like curls.

Sunday 15 January, 1998

I was very surprised to see I had written in this diary just so very recently, when I was convinced I had been neglecting my own work for months.

Judging from the date of my last entry, I was still Lauren the aspiring writer, and not just Lauren the freelance copywriter, last November. It indicates I was less off-track than I suspected.
I am still nowhere near where I want to be, but still! I should give myself more credit for being far less often lost than I claim to be.
And also, that I stray away from the path because the other path really looks like the way to go. That it is more a matter of taking the wrong road, but to an unchanged dream, than a matter of forgetting what it is I want.

What I want is to live a life worth writing about, and be the Anais Nin of my time. But what I realize today, something I definitely did not know until now, is that I also want to- and should!- write about music and rock bands, movies and pop culture.
It will bring me in interesting places, and will allow me to meet interesting people.

Limiting myself to my diary, as I have done so far, would limit my working life as an author- if I even become successful- to an all-female audience. Unless a publisher decides to market the sex side of it and starts promoting it as literature.
I don’t plan on waiting for that, before I get to meet the first men.

Writing about music and art gives me a way better start than being a novelist or a diarist, and things will get more interesting a lot sooner!
I want my work to feel like the Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi nights at the hardrock cafe; Not like a book club.

What I have been doing wrong these last few years, is that I have been focusing too much on the diarist aspect of it, and have been combining it with my existing freelance work. I have let that work finance my Anais Nin-like writing, just like Hugo, her banker husband, financed hers.
All I had initially planned for this year, was to focus on a limited number of 4 to 5 bigger clients, and build a more solid financial foundation.

But I was wrong.
Not financially, but in terms of the life it would have be living. The life copy-writing and other freelance deskwork, had and has me living!
Because with the exception of sex with Bear, this is not a life worth writing about. This is not the life a diarist with the ambition to be the new Anais Nin, can afford to live.  

Regardless of how great a life that is. If I wasn’t that ambitious, I really could be living on his love alone.
The last time we had sex was the evening before Christmas, so Christmas Eve. In other countries that really is the real Christmas, but in the Netherlands it is a night a man can still not be with his girlfriend, apparently. Although I’m still not sure what is up with him and his girlfriend, he made a very uninvolved impression.
He was very dedicated and fun to be around, and I didn’t ask for details.

Sometimes I wonder if he minds that I don’t, but I just think it would ruin the night. And after all it really is none of my business.
So Christmas night it was, and he brought wine and I made us dinner, and there was something incredibly cheeky, fun and lighthearted about our date.
Usually we are really not that sexual. We don’t flirt that openly, we act a bit mysterious, just to make it more exciting I think. But if that would be a routine, then it wouldn’t be exciting anymore of course!
And this time, he flirted more openly.

So I was flipping our rosemary potatoes and he was leaning in the doorpost drinking his wine, making jokes and asking questions like if I was looking forward to “it”! 
We never do that! It was so hilarious, but also arousing.
If he had been behind me and feeling me up, it would have been far less erotic. But to have him standing there, at a distance, just asking me these bold questions; Oh I loved it!

Maybe the not-touching makes him mysterious after all. He seduces me to come over to him, which I did of course. 
He seduces me with his body and his teasing, I love that in a man. It’s so rare. I’ve met men who have intellectually seduced me, but he doesn’t do that. Sometimes he tells me something about his thoughts and I am wildly fascinated! 
There is so much going on in his head!
But he never engages into intellectual conversation with me, it’s like he knows it will take away a part of the magic, if I would really know who he is.
And perhaps he’s right.

So he spent Christmas’ Eve here,  and now comes the worrying part: I totally forgot the sex. I can’t remember what we did, and that amnesia was almost immediately.
Maybe it was because Christmas days were filled with social gatherings, and I just thought back to our night together, warming myself by the glow of the memory of being in his arms so recently.
I blamed not remembering the details on having drunk too much, both at the night we were together where we drank more than just that one bottle he brought, as well as drinking on the Christmas days themselves when I tried to remember- or I blamed it on being in company of people I did not discuss my sex life with. Or on the general busyness of the holidays.
But I do remember it was immediate.
And the memories did not return.

This sexual encounter going by undocumented, and me knowing there have been so many like that in recent years even when the sex in 1997 was absolutely spectacular, for lack of better words.
I know I lost so much gold. So much good stuff. And although the wine must have played a part in it, I don’t believe that’s it.
It’s my own carelessness around those amazing times, with my lover, the great Bear. I should write about it immediately, after he leaves, just like I did in the first year together. Although then the experiences carved into my mind so brutally, I could safely wait until the next day, when the agony around not knowing how to deal with it left me no other option but to pick up the pen.
I couldn’t have lost those memories even if I wanted to.

But me not making an effort to preserve 1997’s sex memories, with the Christmas one as the final one – I do remember it was really great, and fun, and satisfying, and that (or “even though”) we didn’t do anything even remotely deviant or out of the ordinary – has been cause of concern.
In hindsight, it was already a sign that my approach to being a diarist was not working. And that I was not so much losing my touch, not losing my skill to write or the dream to become a diarist, but I was losing my fire.
As a diarist, 1997’s lost sex memories symbolize a loss of gold, a throwing away or underuse of the most precious thing I had.
I wasn’t wasting my talent to write, but I was wasting the most valuable thing I could write about. 

And I think that was because the rest of my life, was already dying. It was drying up, and it had all the sex sucked out of it.
The reason I could not remember the details of the encounters was because I was starting to use sex as a way to keep myself alive. Just like the wine.
I used it to numb the pain of dullness, of throwing away my life, and to indulge in a feeling of being alive through sex.

Sex moved from the best, and most exquisite thing life had to offer, to being a lifeline. 

Ever since we got back together in 1995 / 1996 when we started what was now an affair, sex with Bear has kept me alive.
When I’m with him, I am the most Anais Nin version of myself. I really am Lauren Harteveld, the diarist.

The reason I made such a mess of 1997, was because I tried to give that work, the being a diarist, a place in my life.
But I did it the wrong way.

I thought that in order to “be” a diarist, to give that a chance to develop,  I would have to put up a wall, a financial wall.
Within those financial walls, I could have Anais Nin worthy adventures. With Bear, but also with other men I might meet because
I don’t see myself as being exclusive. It would be crazy if I did because my sexual adventures feed straight into my writing.
And once the walls are standing, better make use of them!

But it’s not just a greed for stories that makes me think I will ultimately have other men too. Because I also just hate the idea of being dependent on one man. Not just for my physical needs, which are probably the least important part of it, but I don’t want to be dependent on one man for my romantic and emotional needs.
I need to love, and I need to be loved, and when a new opportunity for another deep relationship or affair presents itself, I will embrace that.

To love and to be loved, there is never enough of that. It is okay, to be insatiable in those areas. In particular if you want to live like Anais Nin. 

But what I failed to see is that I have everything I need to build that financial wall in a far better way. That I don’t need to do the dry freelance work of copy writing, but that I have all it takes to succeed in the wet and wild world of art and rock n’ roll!
The world of other artists, just like me.

What I failed to see in the past couple of years, where my life slipped through my fingers and I washed up on a dry, professional shore where I held on to my freelance copy-writing for dear life, was that I can write about better topics.
I don’t know everything, and would not consider myself a music or art expert, but I know a little about a lot of things. I’m a generalist when it comes to art, but mostly, I am a lover of it.
I appreciate other artists regardless of the way they express themselves.

More than understanding art, I have a deep appreciation, understanding and love, for the artist who created it.

I am a lover of artists and of the way they live and breathe.
Just like Anais was, all those years ago.

.
~Lauren98

A new year, a new Nin. | 1998 diary
is the second chapter of book 4, diary 1997-1998

Book 1, A Letter From A Stranger and book 2 Dear Nikki, in this series will be published in 2023, 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,
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/

The day I freed myself.

Rock Star Madonna

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.
.
Which I already did two days ago, but I was wrong.
And I need another message to correct.
A big one.

Dear Sara,

This is a hard email for me, because I know I switched courses over the last few weeks on multiple occasions.  I feel I may be disappointing you or that you may be uncomfortable with my choice to become a coach.
So I write this proudly owning my choices, and looking forward to my future for the first time in full confidence of who I am.
The recent switches, although messy, are the result of everything I learned working with you as a coach.
They’re not a sign the coaching didn’t work, or that I’m still lost.

This second message to you is a messy one, and I would rather have spared you and myself the past two months.
But in hindsight I see these last two months as the high-pressure cooker, that was necessary to make the changes and finalize a decision, I have been reversing for years.

Which is my decision to not be a professional yoga teacher anymore. Just do yoga for myself, and teach yoga to friends when I can.

My decision to quit is final this time, and marks the end of two months of misery. Or two and a half months, because there were two weeks before the turmoil in my personal relationships became visible, when the new truth could already be felt.
This decision means this period has now come to a conclusion.

There is a broader picture here, a direction where my writing has become more serious in recent years not because of the writing intensifying (which it hasn’t) but because under both my names as a writer, you can see me leaning into other forms of visual art and performance art.
You can see me incorporating the passing of time, documenting my life.

I see my decision to never be a yoga teacher again, at least not professionally, as making space to be an artist.
To let what started as mere writing in 2006, develop.

But the final three weeks have been unbelievably hectic.
I have changed a lot, before it came down to this. 

The first switch I made, three weeks ago, was my decision to quit my plans to start coaching. In fact I was a 100% sure I would not do it.
This was also the day I embraced being a writer and a yoga teacher.

But then I came back on my decision to not be a coach, and saw myself being a coach for Rock Stars, in full color and firing on all cylinders!
It was crystal clear.

It was a calling, a knowing, just like the yoga vision in 1998 which ultimately ended up tainted and I have not been able to hold true to that vision at all.
But this vision was also just like writing, which I did develop independently, and beautifully. All by itself. This particular vision to “coach” (will never use that word) was one I felt I had been preparing for my whole life.
It made me intensely happy.

And it was a heart felt business, but it was also a monetizable business. 
I knew I had struck gold, but soul gold, more than money gold.

So there was that first turn, from not wanting to be a coach to knowing I will. 

And then there was an addition of marketing, messaging and selling.
Basically the addition of wanting to monetize my writing and yoga, as the third pillar to my art.
At that point, I still saw myself as a writer and a yoga teacher, but I understood that doing my own marketing and having my fingers in the communication pie, the business side of those things, was equally important.
That writing was my art form of self-expression, yoga was my art form of self-expression, but building a business too, was an indispensable part of my art. I would never stop doing that.

And now I’ve come back on the yoga part;
I am not a yoga teacher. 
Teaching yoga could be a form of self-expression, but it isn’t yet. If I compare it to music I’d say that yoga-wise, I’m a skilled classical pianist. But if I would like to become Guns N’ Roses new keyboard player, I would have to start learning all over again.

Before yoga would be a form of self-expression, I would have to start all over again. 
Which in itself, is good enough reason to take yoga out of my mix of art forms, because all the schedules I made since late last year, they had zero time for writing.
My entire schedule consisted of:
writing for blogs that were marketing
making yoga videos
doing yoga
marketing/ social media, I had a couple of series I would post
And then I had to squeeze and timeblock to have hours I could bill.

I was getting increasingly jealous of artists who had a real craft. And the first thought when I had ditched the yoga teaching, was to think:
“I now have a real craft! I am a writer!”
And a speaker, and a coach- but I sell my time with the mindset of it being performance art, not like a service provider. Although I do know how I am going to coach, I have my “system” – but that is beside the point of this blogpost.
But taking yoga teaching, making yoga videos, sharing my yoga practice on social media, and the whole yoga mentor aspect of it, out of my future business was a huge relief. 

But I didn’t get to the decision because of my calendar and that it didn’t fit, and something had to give.
I got to finally being able to let yoga go, because of what happened in my personal relationships late last year. And that being a yoga teacher and feeling that I need to be “good”  and not take up too much room as an artist, were intrinsically tied to it.

In a way the reason the drama occured late last year was because I had limited myself to being a yoga teacher.
Because if I had stepped into my power sooner, maybe our fate would have been different.
But also: If I had become who I really was, then even if the relationship had failed, and I had lost the person, at least I would still have had myself.
Whereas now I lost the relationship but I also lost myself.

Feeling trapped being a yoga teacher, is the reason last year’s turmoil hit me so hard.

Because I kept myself small for them.
I wanted to be accepted, and not rock the boat, for them.
I stayed a yoga teacher, decade after decade, because I felt that was the only little stamp-sized space I was entitled to, if I wanted them in my life.

Late 2016 I met a business coach online, and I have been following her work ever since. And for a long time I thought she represented my dream to start making money with my yoga, but now I realize she represented financial freedom to me.
Financial freedom which, on my list, is second in my list of priorities.

  1. Love 2. Freedom. 3. Sex. 4. Self-expression 5. Body 6. Fun 7. Status

Sexual freedom and creative freedom are reinforced at 3 and 4, but financial freedom is only “mentioned” under 2.
My top 7 does not have a separate number for money or business. They are intrinsically implied in 2.

The dream I received in 2016, was not to have a successful yoga business, but to express myself through my business and to be financially free.
Value or priority 2: Freedom.
Which is only topped by “1”, Love, and not by
writing (self-expression 4).
And not by teaching yoga which was then (I thought) also still under (self-expression  4).

You could even say that my top 7, illustrates that I only have a top 2:
1. Love 2. Freedom

And that the only conflict is within “2”.
“Do I want financial freedom, more than freedom to self-express?”
And so on.
The answer is of course all forms of freedom are equally important to me. Financial freedom, sexual freedom, and creative freedom.

But again, I’m rationalizing. Because when I pulled the plug on yoga, it wasn’t because I saw that teaching yoga wasn’t an authentic artistic self-expression tool to me. 
The reason I could now suddenly part, after years, was because I realized that the personal relationship turmoil from late last year, has changed everything.

It has really proven to me, that holding back for family and for all those friends who liked me as a yoga teacher;
That it is all in vain.
They have all left me, or will ultimately leave me.
Or perhaps I left them, who is to say.

But the only choice I have, is if I want to die alone being the person I have pretended to be for 25 years;
Or die as who I really am.

A writer, an artist.

A rock star.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

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/

 

 
 
 

 

Lauren, the writer, has joined my real-life business.

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Detective Nick Curran;
“I love it. She’s got a hundred million bucks, she fucks fighters and rock n’ roll stars and she’s got a degree in screwing people’s heads”

Luitenant Walker:
“You forgot about her degree in literature. She’s a writer. She published a novel last year under a pen name. “

Dear Sara,

When I concluded on my last call that I AM a yoga teacher, and I AM a writer, I knew I was wrong in the sense that just focusing on these two skills, would not bring me the life I wanted.
After all, in the list of 7 values that I wrote you last time, self-expression is at number 4;
Both yoga and writing are tools of self-expression to me.
Using yoga as a tool of self-expression probably deserves a whole separate blog post, but I will now just accept that that is what it is to me.

The list of priorities is serving me greatly, in making decisions or explaining things which I feel I got wrong.
The list was a boiled down version from 12 values I initially had, to 7. And by heart, they were;
1. Love 
The most intimate circle including my pets.
2. Freedom
Including financial freedom. Sexual freedom and creative freedom, are reinforced at 3 and 4.
3. Sex
Full sexual expression.
4. Self-expression
Including writing and yoga.
5. Body
My health and using my body as part of my performance/ art. 
6. Fun
Including going to concerts and movies, rock music, studying history. I guess this is more the consumer side of it, whereas self-expression is the creator side of my art.
7. Status
This is the part of my career that is visible to the outside world.

So like I said, yoga is part of 4;
Self-expression.

Yoga was brought to me by Madonna which in retrospect only appealed to me because she is a performer.
Madonna expresses herself through her body, through how she moves. and how she speaks.
In 1998 she told she had started doing yoga. And I understood that just like dance, yoga was a path to start using my body as a way to express myself.

It didn’t work that out right away, because nobody uses yoga that way so how could I know that aspect had been what had appealed to me? And I did end up losing 25 years.
But now that I am rebuilding my yoga career?
Then yes.
I need to get back to the understanding I had that yoga is a tool for self-expression to me.
And that I will be a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, as a way to express yourself through your body.

This is also a good place to side-note that the insight that I am a yoga teacher and a writer, was also not complete because there was a third component missing;
The business side of it.

During our call I entertained the thought that having a business and making money as an entrepreneur was something that came after teaching yoga and writing, but this is not the case.
Just like I had a calling to become a writer, and a calling to become a yoga teacher, I had a calling late 2016, an understanding, that I was meant to have my own business.

But as I understand now, just like with yoga, I failed to see that I felt drawn to having a business as a tool for self-expression. In particular the marketing of it!
And just like yoga, businesses are rarely used or seen as a tool of self-expression. And again I lost valuable years here trying to “build” a business, the way others do.
Where now I can see that writing AND yoga AND running a business all serve the same purpose;
To express myself.

And that all three are necessary and vital to my well-being.
They’re all essential and n
one of them have to make me money, not having a business either. They serve a higher purpose.

Writing and teaching yoga are to me, what painting and sculpting are to visual artists who exercise two skills.
And having a business, meaning in particular communicating through marketing, selling and social media posts;
That is also part of my art.

I will never stop my marketing, anymore than I will stop teaching yoga or writing.
In fact, that I did stop marketing and daily messaging for my Lauren Harteveld account, because I “merely”  write here, and how that resulted in my writing decimating in 2021 and 2022, proves that there can be no creativity without the marketing, the messaging, and the very public part of being on social media.

Social media and marketing are what a fix spray is to a painting.
Or the oven in a pottery.
Social media and marketing, and also selling and making money, are part of the art.
They are the outer layer, the bringing it into the world.
Without it, the art of writing and teaching yoga, are not completely expressed. The third skill, the business meaning the marketing, connecting, and the very act of selling, is a required one.

So those were already important insights.
But the title of this post is:
“Lauren, the writer, has joined my real-life business.”
So that is my biggest breakthrough.

The last time we talked I was already on the path of starting a coaching business, although I worded it differently (and I will continue to do so) that is what it came down to.
From there, I moved away to being a coach but in the field of yoga, which felt really good. For a few days, I really thought that coaching people through their yoga was going to be what I do.
But then I concluded that ultimately I do not want that. That for my yoga I want it to be all public via YouTube (I will be a YouTube yoga teacher);
I want it to be real-life yoga mentoring or private classes, not Zoom or online coaching;
And I want it to be public events where I am booked to teach yoga.

So the online and international yoga coaching dropped from the radar, because it just didn’t fit with the real-life work I ultimately want to do.
The real-life expression, I want my yoga to have.
Online yoga coaching would just have me isolated behind my computer and I’ve definitely had enough of that.

With yoga coaching out, I took another look at my coaching company, the framework I had already created, although not finalized yet, and I saw both that any form of regular coaching would keep me occupied behind the screen and buried in an endless list of appointments to book and rebook and coaching packages to keep up with, refund and reschedule;
As well as that I saw a HUGE opportunity!

I saw exactly the type of coaching company I want to build.

A high end coaching business, for rock stars only, or those who wish to become one. In the music business, or in any other industry where they want their skill to be one of self-expression.
To be a performance.

Anyone who knows that whatever it is they “do”, is meant to be more, mean more, and to express ALL!
It is for anyone, meaning the very few, who understand that they are here to let it all out and let their work, their art, be a full creative expression of who it is they are.

My coaching (although I will not use that word) is a 100% private, life-changing relationship (and you know I offer those to few!) that you can fall back on, when you know you’re forgetting who you came here to be, and what you’re all about.

I’m in the process of having a contract drawn up, that ensures the client confidentiality and that creates clarity and boundaries.
A contract that creates a safe space where we can meet.

This way of doing business is inspired by my love life;
Where we are lovers, who only meet when we both feel like it.
Which could end any month or year, without notice even.
He can stop asking me, and of course I will check in with him, because he’s my lover. But I will not demand a date or a continuation of what we have.

With a client I will offer the same;
A friendly check-in, but I’m not going to hard-sell them on another booking, that would feel totally inappropriate.

I need a client to take the initiative to ask for a booking.
Exactly like my lover does.

With these two interventions – focusing on creating the safe space and letting the client buy, not me sell – I feel I m setting up a coaching business that is 100% suitable for me.
And I am very confident I can meet these rock stars at the level that they are, and inspire them to rock their art even more than what they do already.

But a bonus is that it is not yoga-me, not YouTube yoga teacher me, not real life me, nor event bookings me, who offers this coaching.
It is, Lauren Harteveld.

That the person these clients will benefit the most from, is not to talk to the “real me”;
But to Lauren Harteveld, the writer, instead.
Even when I do not call myself that way over there, I will know it is her. And I do that because my writing as Lauren Harteveld is more free, and because I found my voice and true expression as a writer, 15 years before I found my true voice as a yoga teacher.
I do it because Lauren Harteveld is way more sexual, than my expression under my own name will ever be.
But there is another reason.

Because the writer Lauren Harteveld, is inspired by Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct. I wrote a whole book about how I see her, what archetype she is and what she symbolizes, but for this blog I will focus on two aspects:
She is known to hang out with rock stars.
And she’s so wealthy she will not be impressed by anyone’s fame or wealth.

The writer Lauren Harteveld, the part of myself which I have identified as “my real self” on more than one occasion, will absolutely not show up to teach yoga. Not for any price, she just won’t come.

But to be with the rock stars of the world, and not tell a soul?
You’d be lucky, to have her. 

.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

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/

 

 
 
 

 

7 Values, 7 Deadly Sins.

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,

When I copied my former letter to you into a draft – a process only allowed in block editor, after which I then have to return to my draft section and open the copied post in Classical Editor, click some variation of “Are you sure you want this?!” because WordPress wants you to use Block editor and THEN I can write my post in classical editor –
I stumbled upon a new feature:

Below the Block Editor box to write a new title for my copied post, there was a writing prompt.

Now ironically, this totally useless addition to the Block Editor I have already been dodging like the Covid virus for three years, happened exactly in the three weeks I tried to start my new website for my new 2023 company;
A process in which I encountered and needed to dodge and work around the new WordPress update many, many times.
Because Block Editor is just one of the seven heads of Gutenberg, as the update is officially called. There is mayhem waiting beneath every feature, not just editing.

These other hard-to-do-without features of the old WordPress have also disappeared, or need to be reinstalled with a plugin or a piece of code;
Two things I’m not going to come near!

My new WordPress site still has a few things that I either have to solve, give up on, or settle for, and I haven’t made up my mind.
For the first time ever however, I am very happy that I have so many websites!
Under my real name, as well as under this name LS Harteveld.
I have so many blogs, all built in the era when WordPress was still easy!
And in particular because they have zero plugins, which are the achilles heel of any website, they all still work great.

So hooray for that, but the new website does require more effort in things that should have been just minutes work.
The Gutenberg update has become increasingly hard to move around.
But one of the things I did encounter on my quest to find the older features, was an option to click (or, more likely “unclick”) suggested writing prompts.

So I had an “Aha!” experience when I saw it popping up here!

When making my website, I had still assumed the writing prompt feature had been installed somewhere in the past year, because that’s when I last made a new website.
But seeing this writing prompt popping up here, and I know it wasn’t there three weeks ago, means it was apparently installed in the past 3 weeks, and it’s default setting is:
“Yes please! I want to receive writing prompts because when I open a new draft I’m always totally clueless what the fuck I should be writing about.”

Who does that?
Who would open a file, not knowing what to write?
Who would EVER, not know what to write?
To me having a writer’s block is not just unimaginable;
It would be preferable.

I can dream of a future where I have nothing to write, and nothing to say.
The businesses I could build!
The money I could make!
The fame I could have!
And all the fun stuff I would be able to do, all the adventures I would be able to have, without needing 5000 words and eight hour long writing sessions to process it all.

Oh writer’s block…. * dreamy eyes *
If they sold writer’s block in a bottle I would treasure that thing, and guard it with my life. 

I definitely need to find and unclick that option for writing prompts, and on all my blogs.
Because I came here knowing perfectly well what I would write about, and just spent all those paragraphs writing extra, on some random prompt that was forced on me by WordPress Gutenberg.

Distraction, making a WordPress blogger forget what they came here to write about, is the work of the devil.
I knew Gutenberg was evil.

So, what I came here to write about was: I found my values!

This was always high on my wishlist. The only reassurance I did have, stumbling around without knowing my values, was that it is impossible to go against them.
I will never drift off that much.

I will freeze, block or blow something up when something against my values happens, so in practice they’re pretty hard to miss.

But I didn’t want practice: I wanted theory.
I wanted concept.
I wanted to know what my values were, in their most abstract and general form! 
Not in their most manifest, practical, worldly form, because that shit is ever changing.
You can’t build a life on that.

And you certainly cannot build your 2023 company on responding to the devil in it’s infinite number of appearances.
Particularly not when you are really a writer and would like to write stuff all day and NOT have a company at all!
But be taken care off by an agent and a publisher.

In particular then, you do not have time to deal with everything that is against your value, in its shape-of-the-day.
You need to be crystal clear on your values and spot the things going against them, from afar.

 So, I found them, my values.
Initially there were 12, but I managed to bring them down to 7.
But after writing this blogpost, I realize that I was really only halfway…. that the list of values is not complete, without a list of sins.
And also, that some of my values were actually still way too specific.

It is very practical for the day-to-day use of these values, to make them specific.
For example “writing”.
Because then I know WHAT, which activity, matters to me and should be chosen over a different one.

However, the moment you want to reverse the values to find its antithesis, this no longer works.
There is no opposite to writing.

You can only find the opposite to writing if you first make it into an abstraction which is;
To think, and to send my thoughts into the world.
I could do without writing, but I cannot do without being allowed to think for myself and let my voice be heard.

So having said that I am tweaking the list, in order to be more abstract, and be able to find my personal opposing forces.
And I can already see why that WordPress writing prompt was indeed the opposite from what I am all about.
It was imposing their thoughts upon me, when I write to bring my thoughts out into the world.
Not haul them in.

7 Values, 7 Deadly Sins.

Number 1 is the top priority on the left, leading into the top nemesis situation, or sin, on the right.

1. 👼🏻LOVE
daily shape: love for my mother, pets, drawing cute cartoons, making photo collages of my teddy bear.

This is love in its most uncomplicated form, where you trust each other completely. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how small this category really is.
And that it should be, because this is the unbreakable bond category.

It is inherently unfree (point 2 on the list), and that means that I can only use this category for those of whom I know I, can live up to that.
And that they welcome it.

This is where I give not just unconditional love, but also an unconditional relationship.

Based on my top value, the anti-thesis to love, the first deadly sin, are relationships.
Because they can exist without love being there.

1.👹RELATIONSHIPS

2. 👼🏻FREEDOM
daily shape: Financial freedom and sexual freedom

For years I’ve known that the rules to what’s acceptable, allowed or even encouraged, are dependent on your financial independence. That men have always been sexually more free, BECAUSE they were financially more free.
And vice versa, that the sexual repression of women and minority groups can only be enforced as long as they are financially dependent on men, their employer, or even their clients.

That capitalism is both the weapon of the patriarchy as well as its achilles heel.
The moment you have attained financial freedom, not just free from your spouse but also free from employers or clients, then you’re free as a bird.

This explains why building a new business is so important for me. Not because I don’t see I am a writer, and secretly entertain fantasies about being kept by my publisher and agent;
But because I have a deep understanding that being an entrepreneur and having different income streams, coming from different markets (globally/ online, nationally and locally) is not just a nice to have;
It is a must.

The antithesis to Freedom is dependency, in particular financial dependency.

2.👹FINANCIAL DEPENDENCY

3. 👼🏻SEX
daily shape: I’ve had a lover for multiple years now, and I am open to meet a new lover too.

To me great sex means having sex with someone I am crazy about, but with whom I share no ties, that can point to the aforementioned relationships.
Of course I have a relationship with him; Just like I have a relationship with all my friends.

But it is a relationship of equality.
A relationship that can be broken by either party, even without explanation. Not wanting to be with the other person, is enough reason to stop showing up.

3.👹LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH FINANCIAL DEPENDENCY

4. 👼🏻SELF-EXPRESSION
daily shape: Writing and Publishing

I was very surprised to have writing, and publishing in particular, so high up my list.
But it is inspiring me to keep the pressure on working on publishing my books. On looking for ways to systemize making books from collections of blogposts and to see the writing of blogposts as writing on my books, which ultimately, it is.
When the past few years I had started to view writing as a marketing tool.

So writing wasn’t “actually” a real thing, in my opinion. It was only as good as the monetizable product or service I would be able to sell on the back of it.
But I no longer think that.

I am a writer and my blogs are my treasure trove to make books from, and to build my legacy.
To let my voice, my expression, be heard further and wider.

4.👹EXPRESSING SOMEBODY ELSE’S TRUTH/ LYING

5. 👼🏻BODY
daily shape: Yoga and walking/ cycling

This one is such a great one!
I have said it before, but I can really SEE my new body, in my mind’s eye! I know it’s there, I know what it’s going to look like.
It’s not Madonna’s 1990-ish body, as I originally thought.
But it’s her 2012 MDNA promo-shoots, that have the energy, the feel, of what it is I want.

Which means I’m actually going to put two of the OG original sins on my list!

5.👹GLUTTONY & SLOTH

6. 👼🏻FUN
daily shape: studying the topics I love (incl movies, days out, art) and blogging or posting about it.

When this came out at number 6, I thought:
“This is why you don’t have a man, Lauren!” 
Ha ha ha. Well, in my defense, we now know I don’t “have” a man because I think it kills the sex which was in my top 3.
But I think having fun at 6 doesn’t help.
In particular when my day-to-day idea of fun are actually solo activities.

These are the times when I study marketing and business;
Start sorting through my notebooks, play with my laminator, or start making playlists on YouTube, or collages on my phone, and forget the time.
For finding the antithesis, I m going to focus on their spontaneous and time-consuming nature;
It is the being able to spend ample time on these things, that makes them fun.

6.👹 HAVING A RIGID SCHEDULE

7. 👼🏻STATUS
daily shape: Receiving recognition online, nationally or internationally.

Again, a case of “No wonder this isn’t happening; Having it at 7!”
But I think it is exactly where it should be.

To me, being known is way more something that makes monetizing to achieve the #2 of financial freedom easier, and sustainable into the future, than something I aspire for personal reasons.
Whether or not I am known as the writer LS Harteveld, or as a specialist under my real name, or under my real name as a writer even;
It doesn’t matter.
But I will go for all of them.

I have identified four different markets, two of which I have a pretty good idea of how to achieve the status that will make people want to work with me.
So that is two markets where I expect to achieve status.
But I’m very enthusiastic to figuring the other two out 😉 

7.👹 RESTRICTIONS TO MY PUBLIC PERSONA

That was it!

7 Values, 7 sins.

Or, as the tagline of the movie Seven goes:
Seven deadly sins.
Seven ways to die.

Ain’t that the truth.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

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’ve lost the Lauren that gave me life

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.
.

Dear Sara,

I almost got a heart attack when I saw the list with previous blogposts. A list I always start with, because I copy the old post into a new one. 
But the titles and dates of publication were unfamiliar, they did not support the story of what I thought the past three weeks had been…

The good news was that I saw I had already written a Lauren 1997 diary post “Write a book, Lauren.” A sentence that has been haunting me for so long, I had already made my peace with the fact that I was not going to write a post about it, and in all probability, also not write a, or more accurately another, book.
That the calling or the inspiration, the angel whispering in my ear “Write a book, Lauren.” had caught me at a bad time, and their message got lost in all of November’s drama.
But no!
I had actually written that post “Write a book, Lauren.“, and in my favorite series, Lauren 1997! 
AND it was a #NSFW post.

So that was the good news, I had totally forgotten I had done that. But that title didn’t give me the proverbial heart attack.
No, what startled me is that I did not see any post that was the “mid-term” update, which I clearly remembered sending you.
Because of all the turmoil in my life, you offered I could write you an extra email in-between our coaching calls which are currently at a three week interval.

I wrote the post, and intended to use that one as a “copy” post.
But didn’t see anything that matched the description….
I immediately thought I had published it on one of the blogs under my real name, and I also linked this faux pas somehow to the #NSFW tag of the Lauren 1997 diary post! 

Emotionally, it felt as if I had already posted a #NSFW under my real name.
😱

Either way; I checked the link in my email to you, and saw it was a laurenharteveld.com link. So no harm done.
https://laurenharteveld.com/2022/11/16/dust-yourself-off-and-try-again/
When I got back to the dashboard, I saw it was indeed there. Just that the date and title were no longer familiar to me.

I do remember the topic: loneliness. And thank you for your reply which was lovely! 

So this Sunday night, I get ready to write you this update, thinking I am just SO organized, and the week will be so smooth and relaxed!
And that I’ll be in bed at 10 PM, calm and collected, because I know that I got  this letter out!
Only to get a heart attack, slash panic attack, because I thought I had mixed my accounts up.

I even briefly checked for a Carrie Bradshaw photo with her face in shock.
But the one I liked was a gif, and my blog often doesn’t display those correctly as a thumbnail.
So I did not choose a startled/ shocked Carrie Bradshaw with this post.
But I probably should have.

But the whole wrong blog – horror scenario, did shed some light on the real issue at hand here.
That I have lost myself over the past three weeks. 
Something dramatic happened in my personal life, that will probably leave its mark in years to come. I feel like I m walking around with a hole in my identity.
A hole I have effectively plastered over, when it comes to my real name and real life. A hole that has not prevented me from picking up the new business plans I had, and carrying on like nothing happened, to the best of my ability.

But that for the Lauren Harteveld work, it doesn’t work that way.
That the real damage, is HERE. Even though the blow, the event, was on the “other” side.
My alterego Lauren Harteveld and my work (and life) under my real name, are like one life being lived in two different dimensions that influence each other.

At the same time I started picking up my life under my real name -seeing friends, having appointments, welcoming developments around my new business, LIFE!, -the core of the problem slowly migrated…..
To here.

I could write you my new business plan, and all the aspects which I now understand, need attending to in order to rebuild my life;
Financially as well as socially.
I could tell you that my yoga will be at the heart of my local, or national, offerings, and that writing in English under both of my names, will remain untouched and not function as a business model whatsoever.
I could tell you that.

But what I realize now is that the scar, the sorrow, the inertia, the gif of Carrie Bradshaw clasping her face with both hands;
The shock of what happened and the not knowing what ripple effect it will have for decades to come-
That the shock was here.

And that even if I write an NSFW post, for my favorite series Lauren 1997, even then my attention and presence here is so fleeting, that 10 days later I totally forgot I wrote it.

Lauren Harteveld, or Lauren 1997, is not interested in becoming a yoga professional under my real name.
She misses her lover.
She misses going to concerts, she misses all the friends I have said goodbye to the last 5 years.
She misses hanging out in the city late at night, on a Sunday.

The only positive thing is that I got the message from the universe, the angel or Inspiration, long before the hammer fell.
Long before fate struck.
I was told, weeks before I would know why, what it is I needed to do.

“Write a book, Lauren.” 

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

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/

 

 
 
 

 

Write a book, Lauren. | 1997 diary NSFW

Madonna appr 1983

Thursday 17 November, 1997

Just as I was ready to throw in the towel, wrap up my freelance work and let myself be handcuffed by corporate life, I found my strength.
I once heard a story and I have no idea if it was metaphorical, taking place in the spiritual realm, or if it was literal.
But it was a shaman story about someone who had lost the will to live, due to getting wounded in a war and because of the atrocities he had witnessed there.

The story is that the shaman and the tribe saw no other way of bringing him back, than to throw him in a lake.
It would either spark his will to live, or he would drown.
And indeed, the man who thought he wanted to die and didn’t have anything to live for, was brought back from the other side to the land of the living.

For me a career in corporate life is that lake I consider throwing myself into, not because a shaman says so, but because after struggling to create a life post-college, I think I have lost the will to live.
That I may as well throw myself in a career that will eat me alive. It’s like I have a perverted desire to be creatively and spiritually dead.
But instead, just like with the native American veteran, instead of drowning and dying, I find my will to live.

So here we are, November already.
I’ve ignored the handful of diary entries I wrote since May, because they seem pointless. None of their plans came to fruition, and this fall had a special surprise for me that really knocked me down.
1997 has been a weird year; The first half of it brought me the best sex of my life, with Bear. Still clueless where that came from!
But I know it felt like an accomplishment, I do know that.
A more than welcome, accomplishment.

And then when summer hit, our sex life got rocky. Fortunately not  rocky for him and me; We’re still in the same place!
He has a girlfriend about whom we never speak, and sometimes I think they’re separating because he’s staying at a friend’s place and I know there have been difficulties at home.
But the constant is that I am his mistress.
And we’re good.

For our arrangement it is irrelevant if he is taken or not, something we both seem to understand. I don’t ask, and he doesn’t tell.
But the sex changed in the second half of 1997, it got rocky.
I am no longer that horny, and my pussy often hurts while fucking. At the beginning of this year, the physical difficulties were more like startup problems and it lead to absolute mind blowing sex, with more anal sex than I ever thought myself capable of having!
I felt like a bonafide sex goddess.

But the sex we had second half of this year, was the result of him and me really using every trick in the book. Maybe, in hindsight, it is a good idea to check those handful of diary entries I made in the past few months.
To see what I wrote.

With all the drama going on in my life, that almost threw me into corporate life, (and no, not going to tell what happened), I could use a little help remembering how life was “before”.
Who I was, “before”.

On Tuesday 22 September 1997 I wrote;

“We make love frequently. And it’s always different, challenging, surprising, hopeful, satisfying..
He brings so much every time. Not things, like food or drinks, but he brings himself.
In a good mood, carrying adventures he doesn’t share, or a relationship we don’t talk about, or maybe both.”

On Saturday 24 September 1997 I wrote;

“Write about the fuck of the century tomorrow. I feel so disturbed, excited, afraid, all at the same time”

I have NO idea what this entry was about!
“the fuck of the century” refers to  the movie Basic Instinct, but I have no idea otherwise.
Did Bear and me have a fuck of the century and I forgot?!

On Sunday 9 October 1997 I wrote;

“both the sex with Bear and writing with (bootlegger trader) Nikki entered rough waters, although both for different reasons, but still.
With my love life being the only area I have been successful at, it got under my skin losing my grip there. To no longer being able to count on flawless  sex performances and hot letters, as the foundation of my life.”

On Tuesday 1 November 1997 I wrote;

“This was an agonizing, dramatically taxing day and it made me realize I need to cut ties with things I thought I could hold onto, for comfort and safety.
I need to understand this diary, this sex life, this random, erratic diary writing, is the best if not the only thing of value I have to offer.

That at the end of the day – but preferably at the start of every day! – this diary writing is all that matters.
When I die I will remember what I wrote here, I will regret the things I didn’t do that would have made great stories, and I will have forgotten the days spent in mediocracy.
I will have forgotten the work I did for money, and I will remember the work I did because I wanted to.
I will remember only, what I lived for.”

I had no idea I wrote this…. wow.
So apparently on November 1st, I already knew I needed to let go and rebuild my life around writing. That my sex life, dates with Bear and writing with Nikki, would ultimately be the only thing that mattered.
That writing and sex, are who I am.

Although I forgot that diary entry immediately, knowing how it all panned out, it is like I knew it would go that way.
It is like I predicted the most painful November of my life, as well as its solution.
To write.

Which brings me to a message that I keep getting, a phrase Anaïs Nin writes about in one of her books. She hears a voice, or receives an internal message:
“Write a book, Anaïs.”
Similarly, I’ve been getting the same message;
“Write a book, Lauren.”

So no more handful-of-diary-entries in five months.
No more forgotten encounters with Bear, among which even the fuck of the century could get lost.
And no more perverted fantasies of letting myself be incarcerated by corporate life.

Sex first, writing second, and may all the perversions be for Bear and me instead.
I’ll be waiting.

.
~Lauren97

Write a book, Lauren. | 1997 diary
is the first chapter of book 4, diary 1997

Book 1, A Letter From A Stranger and book 2 Dear Nikki, in this series will be published in 2022, 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,
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/

Dust yourself off and try again

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

The fact is, sometimes it’s really hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes.
That’s why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun.”

Carrie Bradshaw

Dear Sara,

Thank you for offering me an option to write an extra email, in between our calls. I appreciate it and to an extend I need it, in order to consolidate the results so far and not let it wash away at the first setback.

The good news is I am finding my feet again.
Although I do not expect to find anything remotely resembling stability after what happened.
The past few weeks have changed the perception about who I am, and how poorly understood my relationship with the world has been.
And in particular with my family.

There is a French novel which was made into a television series in the 80s: Sans Famille (Without Family), translated in Dutch to Alone in this World
And although thankfully I have not lost my family, and if all goes well the future looks brighter for all of us than if the line of the past two decades had been continued, I did lose the part of having a family that was natural and unquestioned.

I will no doubt have good relationships with individual family members, but I no longer feel part of any family as a group and I never again will.
And in that sense I did lose my family, and it has shed light on another aspect of my life that I managed to overlook.
And which all those giving me well-meant advice of how to create a career out of my talents, or how to build a new career in yoga from the ashes of the old, seem to have overlooked as well.

Nobody talks about this when in my case, and in the case of millions of singles out there, it should be the first thing we take into consideration when speaking / thinking/ analyzing/ planning anything!

The thing I managed to overlook in my whole writing/ yoga/ academic credentials/ entrepreneurship journey, is this;
I am single.

I don’t live with a partner nor do I have children and I don’t have a boyfriend or partner with whom I can interact with on a day-to-day basis, and talk with about work.
I used to have a really great friend but she migrated to the US in 2017, and although I love our weekly calls, it does not compare to eating muffins on the couch together and watching television series on Sunday morning.

This means that the first thing I need to “acquire”, in the outside world, is a social life, or more generally speaking:
Social context.
Because I am not someone’s mother, nor someone’s wife or girlfriend.

I have realized before that my social life is largely dependent on friends; 
But now recent events proved that the social belonging of a family too, was not as unchangable as I presumed it was.

Yet aside from all those painful truths, something bigger seems to be at stake.
Bigger than having or not having regular dinner dates or muffin moments with people who know you well and who are, or who feel like, family.

And that bigger picture is that as a single, you need to BE somebody.
And that somebody needs to be somebody people can relate to!
My realization (from 2020? 2021?) that my work under this alter-ego LS Harteveld/ Lauren Harteveld, would never give me social context, was correct.
My choice to put this account on the backburner and focus on my work under my real name, was/is the right one.

But what I didn’t understand was WHY no longer writing as LS Harteveld was the right choice.
Not fully!
I didn’t realize that being single is a defining and in many ways limiting factor, in any career and working life. And definitely in mine because it comes on top of all the other already conflicting factors:
My desire to work as an independent/entrepreneur versus my desire to work with peers, colleagues, and not be in charge as an expert.
And not wanting to put in hours a day in marketing and acquisition, building systems, and other aspects of working as an independent which are all lonely desk-sitting hours that are bad for your physical and mental health.

They say loneliness is as bad for you as 14 cigarettes a day.
As a single, working as an independent and thereby spending the majority of my time working alone would literally kill me.
I can already feel how the past 4 years have aged me, for no other reason than no longer having the social context of being a (fulltime) yoga teacher.
From being an entrepreneur in transition in 2018 to ultimately quitting being an entrepreneur full-stop in December 2020.

It is extremely frustrating that I feel I cannot do my highest work as a writer nor as a yoga teacher, because my first thought apparently needs to be-
Does this work provide social interaction and/or a social context?
Or does it isolate me even further, just like writing as LS Harteveld isolated me over the years?

Or if all this is true, should I just risk it?
Should I just accept that the work I really want to do will probably isolate and kill me like 14 cigarettes a day will kill me?

Is it time to realize that being an artist, having a purpose, being an entrepreneur AND being single and not sharing your life with someone, are isolating callings that determine what your life will look like?
But that they are callings none the less?

Should I attempt to re-create a sense of stability and belonging, now that the little I had has fallen apart?
And risk missing out on the life I know I am here to live?

Should I risk dying with my life inside of me, in order to attain the day-to-day sense of belonging, that is at the heart of almost everyone’s life?
And at what cost?

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

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A Loss Like No Other

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

The incident happened the night before our call. All day long, I was sure it would come up in our conversation, because it was so overwhelming, and so knocked me off my feet.
But during our call it was surprisingly easy to not mention it. And it felt good. It felt good because although I had lost a day to worry, I had not lost a day AND a coaching call with you, to this incident.
Because that’s what I thought it was. An incident.
It had the markings of the same reckless hurt I had experienced before, when there had been just enough outer circumstances to excuse the behavior.
Except the behavior didn’t want to be excused, it wanted to be accepted as part of the deal.
I should have known this time was different, but I chose to ignore it. And managed to use our call what it is for:
Creativity coaching.
And boy did I feel mature for not hurrying in every aspect of my personal life, bleeding on a stretcher.
It was just a scratch, it would heal by itself.

Until it didn’t and I am in no contact with them, now.
The scratch was a poisoned wound that should have been attended to, for all those involved, many moons ago.
If they can heal, and if I can heal, from what this toxin has ravaged, then that is the best we can hope for. In fact it would be great.
We’re in a temporary no contact, but I do not see how our relationship will ever be …. anything.

Today was like the blow of all my heartbreaking moments all wrapped into one.

Speaking of heart: There was also a strange omen, the night before our conversation in which (I thought) we would be able to make amends soon.
I suffered heart ache.
I remember because I made a mental note, that I should not overextend myself in my work, should take plenty of rest, should take good care of myself;
Because at my age a heart attack is no longer a fictional thing. A few years ago, I was very aware of my heart being a weak spot.
Yet this felt different.
Sharper.
Unusual.
“Mental note, don’t work too heart.” I thought.

When it should have said:
“Mental note, your heart will be broken, beyond anything you have ever experienced.”

I never knew there was such a thing as hysterical crying. Nor did I ever consider myself a particular hysterical person. It sounds so 19th century.
And if you saw all the things I accomplished today, after a very long conversation with someone close to me who I absolutely cannot ask of to bear that load ever again;
Yes, if you saw all the things I managed to do, you would not have known I had learned new levels of hysterical crying heart break, that you would not wish upon your worst enemy.

But I did.

 .
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

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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Nederlands blog:
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A U-turn of Y passion!

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

I’m writing you almost high on some of those natural chemicals the body makes, when it’s happy. And I didn’t see my lover the past few weeks, so it’s not from sex or other physical affection. And actually, if you had asked me ten days ago, I would have said you caught me at the worst time of my life.
I would have shown you the aggressive red marker my agenda, my notebook AND my diary, crossing out entire pages and using the biggest capitals imaginable:
NO MORE YOGA!!
NO MORE BUSINESS!!

As I was wondering how the hell I had let it come to this, again. Why had I stuck my hand out to reach for yoga, only to be burned again?
And the burn seemed to get worse every time, but apparently I needed yet another round of getting burned!

The only thing I knew for sure, as I symbolically crossed out the days and yoga plans from my journals – because I wanted an external representation of this “thing” stealing time from my life, over and over. I wanted to destroy something because “it” (identifying as being a yoga teacher) was destroying my life!- the only thing I was sure of, was that I was never going to get burned again.

Yet here I am! 
Glowing like a newborn mom, and it would be impossible to knock me from cloud nine! 
I have a perfect understanding of how I will become a yoga professional again, and that business coaching and yoga will be part of what I do forever and always. 

Although I m keeping most of it under the wraps for now, also because I can feel it is still changing and I don’t want other people to interfere with its development, I would like to analyze what makes this time different.
And how small mistakes led to big problems!

Regardless of how dramatic it felt at the time and regardless of how SURE I was of myself that the problem with teaching yoga was coded into the dna of the yoga-industry, that it was a sociocultural flaw, or – this was my favorite one- it was a sexual thing.
That it was just impossible to teach yoga in a society where people were so reluctant to give into (or unable to organize) what their body craved at the most visceral level.
But I no longer believe any of that matters, not to the extend I thought it did.

Sure, I can see how those things heavily influenced my first yoga career getting stuck, and my inability to grow as a studio. I can see how it always resulted in feeling exposed making yoga videos.
But those aspects of the world we are living in, are merely indicators of where to put up some healthy boundaries.
And absolutely not a reason to quit teaching yoga.

And then there were the high costs of having a Dutch business. In particular if you do not want to use your home address for registration, you need to rent a place where your business is registered.
Even when that is a flexible working spot, and you’re never there, you re still looking at € 150 a month, just for an address.
Plus costs of insurance, and a mandatory business bank account because the Netherlands has made it practically impossible to do business without a business bank account. This easily adds up to € 200 a month for a business that only exists on paper.

So it’s not like I think I was wrong, after going through various cycles of frustration for five years. 
It’s just that I see how it never meant I was not meant to be a yoga teacher. And it surely was never a reason to get emotional about any of it, and take it out on stationary!

All it ever meant, was that I needed to see being a yoga teacher as a business. And not as an extension of me being a yoga practitioner.
Nor should I see being a yoga teacher as having anything to do with being a writer, a YouTuber, or even with me being * insert my real name* .

I got burned when I started thinking about yoga as a way to make my living, because I wasn’t seeing it professionally.

A mix up that was totally understandable since yoga was/is also something I liked to teach low-key. To friends, for example.
And despite the pages with the red markers, and deciding I was never going to make yoga videos again; I do like/ liked the idea of making YouTube yoga videos.
Now that I’ve calmed down, I can see that of course yoga will be be a part of my already existing YouTube channels.
When I got hurt, was when I thought those YouTube videos, were part of a bigger yoga-plan, or bigger yoga business.
Now I see those yoga videos as hobby. As something I like to do.
That has absolutely nothing to do with having a business as a yoga teacher.

After five years of frustration and three pages with red markers, I can see  teaching yoga is absolutely perfect as a purely professional career.
Providing it is setup in a clean way.
And that this yoga business has the potential to support my writing, and my other art.

In the past three weeks, I have claimed my identity as an artist, writer and a speaker – and this includes being on YouTube.
But I have rejected all the business models I came across to monetize your blog and so on.
I knew I would never be happy making money like that. In such an artificial, add-on way.
And even making money publishing my own books, or finding a publisher to work with, ultimately didn’t appeal to me the way it should have.
Before I committed to decades of desk-work.

All in all, the organic, authentic and real business models that I saw myself having access to as an artist and writer, were uncertain, time-consuming,  strenuous, and not particularly profitable!

One week after Red Marker Gate, where I vowed to throw out yoga and having a business, I saw light at the end of the tunnel.
And the path of a professional career teaching yoga, miraculously unfolded as if it had always been there.

It was so clear that it was strange I had missed it, all that time.
But I still thought that for my creative expressions, yoga and business were cancelled as topics. That I would never write or speak of it again, as a creative. Only when I had my professional hat on.

But yesterday, that changed.
Now that I understood how to separate my professional yoga teaching from what I did as a creative;
Yoga could return in my creative work as well.

Just that I was never going to sell in-person work, through my existing YouTube channels or through the blogs I have as a writer.

The biggest lesson, the most important characteristic of this new blueprint, is that because I am a writer and a creative first, I need to setup a service business as a separate entity.
My public, artistic self, will never have professional offerings. Professional offerings will be reserved to my business outlets, and only be visible and accessible, for that audience. 

What I learned is that internet at large, but YouTube and social media in particular, have made the consumer market for services a rocky road.
If you are a service provider that uses them, you are getting in front of people who in another day and age, would have to have been inside of a new age shop or an organic supermarket, browse through the flyers, and then select yours.
If you’re very visible on the internet at large, but in particular when you’re on YouTube or social media, you need to setup your yoga business in a new way.
And I have chosen mine.

The mistake I made as a yoga teacher was to combine social media and YouTube with the intimacy of fixed weekly group classes.
I had used modern media to be visible publicly, but my classes were still taught as if it was 1999. Except now everyone could come through that door.

My 20th century business model, had collapsed under the force of 21th century media.
Or
more importantly;
I had.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.

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/