Passive Aggressive Burn

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

Dear Sara,

I m writing you days before our call, in an attempt to at least make some sense of what has happened, and leave it behind me before I start the next week.
My yoga classes used to start on Sundays, which is why I often feel that is when my new week starts, even though I am not a yoga teacher anymore.
Although that is part of the problem I think; Still not having an understanding of what’s next for me.
And every time I think I can commit to the new vision, I end up further behind than I ever was. Even the scent of having suicidal thoughts never seems far away.

Ten days ago, I decided to go all in on practicing yoga, and I gave myself a challenge, including public accountability. It was also the start of having many social events, which would cost me a lot of energy because I m still not grounded in my new profession as a YouTube teacher, writer and performance artist, partially because I only recently found out I would never work as a yoga teacher in real life ever again.

I had discovered that both my short terms plans to start teaching locally, as well as my long-term vision to tour and teach large groups, were both incomplete business models as I like to call them.
Meaning they require a tremendous amount of investment, without any guaranteed outcome, except for a lot of loose ends, new liabilities, and a road paved with shit sandwiches only the most motivated professional (or the most masochistic one) would find acceptable.

Since the last thing I need is more work that does not guaranteed make money, I decided I was going to let it go.
I had a vision for teaching yoga, a big one, but I would stick with the online public part, even if it meant not having any business model.

I think part of why the past 10 days were absolutely horrific professionally, was because I thought I could whip myself into getting on with starting online yoga communities and start building a strong yoga practice, without properly saying goodbye and reconsidering if (after having my dreams shot to pieces) I even wanted anything to do with yoga ever again.

To be honest, I m still not a hundred percent sure.

I THINK I want to continue with the online yoga communities, being part of my business and social life, having a sense of community both for others as well as myself;
But do I really?

Why can I write, blog, daily (if I let myself) and sometimes feel I hate yoga so much.
That there is still that proper yoga teacher-y sticking to it, that I can’t seem to shake, no matter how often I walk away from yoga.
Why do I always come back?

Is it a dysfunctional thing where I am in love with a decades old vision of a practice I once loved?
A me that did NOT write, a me that did NOT spend hours inside her own head, and that actually liked the silence and depth of yoga, when right now I can’t bear myself to show up on the yoga mat.
The accountable yoga challenge I gave myself 10 days ago, fluked 100%

I ve thought about letting the self-practice go completely, and only do yoga as part of teaching it online. If it really is a community thing, then I really do not have to be better than the others.
I should be able to teach it as a member, as someone who needs the comradery and the stretch after a hard day of work, as much as they do.

But then again: Why haven’t I?
Why can I think it, but I don’t film a single yoga video?

Before I finish the story of why I think I completely messed up the last 10 days, let me first share the positive news.
The moments I see flashes of how this new trimmed down version of my yoga career AND self-practice, could absolutely become the best thing since I started writing in 2006, and things taking flight when I became a blogger.

When it turned out that the new medium of blogging, as opposed to years of writing, editing, and finding a real publisher, the slow process of what being a writer had looked like up until then, unleashed within me a productivity that burned away any chance of writer’s block and self-doubt.
When it came to writing, or more specifically when it came to blogging, I was fast, I was relentless, and I was better at it than anybody else.

There are moments where I can see that teaching real life yoga, both locally as well as for bigger tour-like options, are the old world.
That I was never meant to do it that way.

That I am meant to learn to express myself in a yoga video as unapologetically and raw as I have in my writing. That my yoga is meant to be: Record. Post. Share. Repeat! Just like my writing is: Blog. Post. Share. Repeat!
That teaching yoga is my new blogging, and that I am THIS close to getting my head or my fingers around it, and that I will THRIVE!

And then there are moments when I am utterly defeated and think that if it requires so much thinking, it’s tainted by definition.
That if I wanted and desired yoga the way I want and desire writing, it would not be this much work.

That every thought spent on it, is killing its very soul, and that the fact that it has already taken me years to “get” this right, means it is wrong.
That I should burn all yoga books, admit the past 24 years were one big mistake that did not teach me anything, and declare the word yoga forbidden.

Suck it up for one week, delete all yoga channels, domain names, and post a few “Sorry I fucked up” blogs and done!
No more yoga practice, no more yoga communities, and to let the impossibilities, the incomplete business models and the shit sandwiches of teaching real life, be the death verdict of all things yoga.
Even though yoga has been the absolute key element of all my professional expressions under my real name, for the past 3 years.
Kill it and move on.

Okay, that was ranty but I think I got the point across that I m torn between pros and cons.
With on this Saturday night the cons weighing heavier.

But here’s the secret, the reason why I think we should be very careful taking my instinct to destroy my career in yoga seriously:
Because I applied for a job exactly 10 days ago.

It was something I really looked forward to doing! It was very spontaneous, I had not planned on applying for a job at this point.
But I recognize the pattern of wanting to destroy my creative work, in response to having to work in a job.

If I cannot sustain myself, then all activities I have done are useless. In particular because they do make you vulnerable; Doing yoga online, or writing/ blogging.
If you have the choice of working WITH or WITHOUT having all that online stuff out in the world;
Which idiot would choose with?

Not me.

The pattern of wanting to destroy the real work, the creative work, the part that I will look back on on my deathbed and understand that I did what I came here to do;
It’s such a familiar pattern that I want to burn it, when I am at the point of accepting a job.

And it’s also such a familiar pattern that I lose connection with who I am, if I have social events where I attend without having a profession that is “something”.
Like the 10 days I just wrapped up.

It was the perfect storm, and I tried to counteract by setting myself a yoga goal, a challenge to do yoga every day.
I think in an attempt to ground myself, and to feel good about at least one thing I had done every day.

But I didn’t.

I did for 2 days, and then my body was in such deep pain, that I was happy I could still walk.
It still is, even though I haven’t done yoga for 8 days now.

The yoga challenge I had set for myself backfired and made me feel even worse. Because now I had failed at that too.
I didn’t have a catchy profession, I would soon start a job because whatever it is I did was not making me money, I had wasted 24 years on something called yoga.

In ten days the thought of the job turned from something that would support me, and that would give me connection and a sense belonging, into a symbol of what a mess my life was. A symbol of utter failure as a yoga teacher, as a writer, as an independent, but mostly, as a human.

I ve done the ten days of social events, and I ve tried to get excited by the idea of teaching yoga and building my online yoga brand, next to my regular job.
But it s not working.
And the thing that would keep me in touch with my new yoga career, the yoga challenge, didn’t go beyond the first two days.
But do these two setbacks really explain why I think my whole life feels like one big mess and I want to die?

The only thing I am good at is writing. Correction: blogging.

And I used to like doing yoga, but that’s 15 years behind me or more.
Is that valid?

I used to like teaching groups, but I no longer have a studio and bla bla incomplete business models, I m not going down that road again.

The big vision I had to change yoga, teach large venues, revolutionize yoga; It is no longer my vision. Someone else can go do that.

There are moments when I see myself as the new Yoga with Adriene: Someone whose language is in yoga, in her body. And who communicates through teaching yoga.
This is the vision I ve had so often; Dreams even! 
“Yoga is my art”
There have been times when I was absolutely certain I was ready to move from being an isolated writer, to the connection of teaching yoga. Forever.

And then?
There are moments I think it is time to ban yoga forever and start all over again. 
As a writer.

And this Saturday night is one of those.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

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The Resurrection Of LS Harteveld

Madonna October 1982 by Peter Cunningham, source  https://www.rockarchive.com/prints/m/madonna-mn009pcun

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

Dear Sara,

I m right where I ve been so many times in recent years. The place where I recognize snippets, revelations, decisions, understandings and choices I made a dozen times before and apparently didn’t stick to, most likely because I didn’t understand WHY they were the right one.

The past two weeks have been extremely rocky.
And it is easy to say that was because of professional choices, but it wasn’t. It was because of my sex and love life.
I ve said it many times over: 
“Remind me (when things are rough) that it’s always about a man. And if it’s not about a man, then it’s also about a man.”

That is the first part of the truth; There is no such thing as me being invested in work, career or even money.
It is (by principle) all a front, a hoax, a thing I use as the next best thing to control, when my love life is once again taking a toll on me.

When I am recovering from sexual and relational adventures, then aiming for success in business, fame as a professional and fortune in my bank account, seem viable ways to distract myself, attractive alternatives to deal with reality.
Because it gives you something to do, a direction to take, when in reality;
It is about a man, generally speaking, or it is about art and doing what I love, as sort of a spin off to that. 

I once again tried to use my talents to build a future and business, only to burn it ALL DOWN.

Yet, of course my actual, healthy, only-realistic business model, as far as you can call it such, should be what we’ve settled on a million times before!
I create what I create.
I share it.
And if you want to you can pay me.
These alterego LS Harteveld accounts are not suitable for that, and I have more reasons to not let myself be paid here. But for my real/ professional name, that is what it comes down to.

I need the freedom to be like a street artist, and choose my spot to play every day, and even skip days or weeks when I want to.
I m not going to monetize, package up, offer ANY of my skills in programs, services, gigs;
I will only be an online content creator.

But I didn’t know that yet, and fueled by the control I do not have in my love life, I researched and tried out three business models;
Two were real world ones, one (the most profitable one of course) was an online one.

Yet, I felt so clearly how the real world ones, take away your freedom!
The commitments, legal issues, getting VAT registered, opening a business account to allow for debit card payments on your phone, get liability insurance;
The absolute never ending drain on your time and energy for all sorts of things – all time that could have been spent creating something – b
efore you can do your work, or earn one euro.
I honestly think that if you’d be realistic you would have to conclude it no longer pays to do business in the real world unless you trade raw materials or something.

But my business model for the online world had problems of its own.
Although it did not have the professional restrictions of working locally, here “work” meant more solitary computer hours, when I absolutely do not want to spend more hours alone and at my desk.
All my creative activities are already at my desk, as is all the studying I like to do for those projects and special interests.

And next to that, being visible online as a business owner, means you’re not just selling your current hours behind your desk but future ones as well; 
Because almost everything digital you sell, is a maintenance and customer service obligation for your future self.
In a more abstract way too, building an online community or an online client base, related to the term “know-like-and trust”-factor, means you are  capitalizing on your future online availability.
If you do it well, meaning your clients become people who love hearing from you, you are implicitly promising them your future self.

My current self and my future self, are not interested in all the liabilities and restrictions of working in the real world;
They also have way too much creative, soul-aligned computer work, to put in extra desk hours to make money.

And they both, current self and future self, want to be free and do not want to sell their time nor presence.

So for maybe the first time in my life, I stopped looking for ways to monetize my skills, my talents, I quit it all.

I make what I want to make, online, all things I love, and usually directly inspired by my actual love life. 
And I m going to accept Life has not left me time, nor the talent and definitely not the patience, to monetize any of it into a business or a career.

And as soon as I set one foot out the door, I am no longer a professional.
No longer an artist, no longer a yoga teacher, no longer a business coach, no longer a writer.
Those only exist at home, behind my computer.

When I walk out the door, I am me.
And I identify more with being Lauren Harteveld 1997, than with being the real me in 2022, to be honest.
My life becomes a performance project, being Lauren 1997, the moment I walk out the door!

I will go look for a place to work with colleagues, and where I can move around. Preferably weekends and odd hours.
I would really like to work in a restaurant in a kitchen, in a place that is entirely new to me and where I don’t know anybody yet.

Meeting new people and having fun, not building a business and making money, will not just be my priority from now on;
It will be all there is.

And then the irony; I feel that by committing myself to my art in whatever form it wants to come out, and refusing to alter it to the business models I ve either actively applied or toyed with the past decades-
I feel like this Easter is my resurrection. 
An earlier version of me has died, a
nd now my best work starts!

Not a skill, a line of work, a business, something serious, dragging, draining, where I am paid to have an expert status, paid to talk about my books, paid to teach, paid to sell and then deliver a service or program.
I am never going to do any of that ever again.

From now on, my creative work, my soul, can only be found online.

And my body can be found working in a restaurant, meeting new people, living like it is 1997. My work in real life is my performance project.
Or; my real work, is life.

Lauren lives.

.
~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 
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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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Nothin’s For Free (NSFW) | 1997 diary

Lauren writes to her penpal, bootleg trader Nikki. NSFW, so it’s sexual. 

Wednesday 6 April, 1997 

Dear Nikki,

I think I owe you an apology. As I probably owed Bear an apology too, but considering we had such great sex – great but with enough rawness and unfinished endings, to keep it on our mind and come back for more soon to smooth it over and push for a deeper level of satisfaction- I ll consider that score settled.
I don’t have to say to Bear: “I m sorry I wasn’t really there to enjoy in full, because I was so obsessed with my weight”.
My enthusiasm when he came over said it. My willingness to try something we had only did once before, and take that further, was all the “Motherfucking Let’s Forget About All This Shit And Move The Fuck On!” I ever needed to say.
Well, that didn’t really sound like an apology. But you know what I mean. You’re either going to have a serious talk or serious sex, and Bear and me did the latter. Which I prefer, anyway.

But you and me can’t have serious sex, or any sex, because you don’t live in the Netherlands. Yet I did share my insecurity about my weight with you, and that I wanted to lose weight and get my pre-college body back.
The virgin body I had when me and Bear started having sex.

Well: My apologies!
Not just was it an entire waste of my time to worry about it; A waste of dates with Bear that probably could have been even better (although my anxiety about my weight did translate to arousal as well!); But in the case of you and me it was a waste of chances to talk about sex with you.
Because I find everything fascinating about you: That you re an American living in London. That you own a record store. That you trade bootlegs and that I still get the cassettes from you to review for the fan club.
It’s all so exotic.

I like that you re older than I am, and are no longer caught up in that whole trying to figure out what job you re going to do.
In particular since it landed at owning a record store and not at working in an office.

But most of all I like that you have a girlfriend, although we ignore her in our letters don’t we? I do that out of courtesy, as I imagine, so do you.
I imagine you and her living above the record store, in a messy way both in your house as well as in your relationship.
I imagine it as chaos and drama, with plenty of make up sex.
Like True Romance.
Oh now I remember! I once wrote you a whole letter about that movie I think! Damn. You being Californian is setting off a whole string of erotically charged fantasies.

So my apologies you got mingled up in me feeling insecure about my body, and trying to get you on board on the idea that I should be losing the weight.
That was not yours to deal with.
And ultimately, as it turned out, my weight is not mine to deal with either. It’s always exactly as it should be. And the sex Bear and me had, was a celebration of that.

It was the first time in years that I had sex without the idea that this was a temporarily heavy body; That I should be losing weight, but that this was “okay for now”.
Now I know I m not going to change it, and I m also not going to write body complaints-letters to you. 

But all this could be the great sex talking, really.
Our prostitute role playing.
The anal sex.
The orgasms.
The way he filled me up (my pussy) as I requested, without first licking or fingering me, so that it would hurt a bit because it was so tight.

Of course I feel like I m healed of my body issues; I m still as radiant, and satisfied as yesterday.

Bear came in the evening yesterday. He usually comes during the day.
After he had left, I got ready for bed and watched myself in the bathroom mirror.  My face had the intense happy after-sex glow, but now that I had decided I wasn’t going to change my weight, I could also appreciate the fat on my face. Its roundness and fullness. I loved it.
I smiled at her while I thought:
“We’re going to have such a good time.”
And I didn’t even mean Bear. I didn’t mean that I had interpreted the sex as something that had been so smashing he would definitely come back for more, and that we were a solid “mistress and lover” from this day forward.

I meant that I felt so good in my own skin, I knew the future would always look bright.
And the sex had had a difficult part to it – maybe I needed to reassure myself that even if the worst case scenario came true and I would not see Bear again, I would still be okay. That no one could take this newfound happiness away from me.
Not even the man who had brought the smile on my face.

So now the date, and why it was such a turning point.

When I was getting ready in the shower, I knew something was up, because I was totally indecisive about what I wanted.
It went from ideas of keeping it platonic with a little kissing, and giving our affair an exciting “catch me if you can”  “hard to get” phase – which had the added benefit of not having to deal with my body – to catching myself hoping all my holes would be filled. That it would be one of those dates where we would plunge into wildly erotic fantasies, that would make me feel vulnerable and take me days to recover from.
So when he came over I still had not made up my mind.

When he stood in my hallway and I hugged his big strong body, beautifully dressed as always, and when I put my nose into the collar of his winter coat, I knew what I hoped for.
It was of course the second. To be filled up in all my holes and to drift away, together, in intoxicating fantasies that would leave me shaky for days.
I wanted to bite off more than I could chew, experience more than I knew how to deal with.
I wanted to be fucked, poked, entered, held. Melt together, which would be even sweeter because I would know how temporary it was. 
That he would go home, and I would be alone again.

And although at that moment, in our hug, I still had no idea how we were going to get to that point; We did get to that point.
This is where I credit him. This is one of those sequences he just knows how to play, how to setup. He’s like an actor in one of those improvised art house movies. And then of course, so am I.
Pretending you re actors having sex on screen, appeals to voyeurism and exhibitionism. Even though no one else is there of course. It’s a mechanism that is always present on the background, and I credit it for why I like having sex with him so much. 
It’s on the foreground, when we role play.
First we talk about what we would like to do, where we refine the scene we “one day” want to set up (we specifically talk about this in some unnamed future; or non-specifically then obviously).
And then there is that magical moment when he takes it into the now, by taking on the role and talking to me in character.

Yesterday I shared with him the want-you-in-all-my-holes desire.
(In case you re wondering: Do I feel comfortable sharing this with you? No. I don’t! But I think it’s part of savoring it happened.)
And I told him I had liked it so much last year, when we did the prostitute role playing.
It had been a role that had put me in a position of power. He was a longtime client of mine and he wanted anal sex.

It turned out as the best times we ever had it. Absolutely unbelievable, it was that good.
It were those two things – the all my holes thing, as well as the prostitute fantasy – that I brought in yesterday, and that became the building blocks of our new fantasy.

As honest as I like to be, and not just to you but also because these letters will be all that remains, so if I don’t write it down now it will be lost for myself as well, but I cannot tell all of the dimensions.
Not the entire fantasy.
It is too personal, for me.

But what I can share is that it worked. And for the first time, in I think half a year or maybe even longer, we repeated the fantasy and had anal sex.
Until, unfortunately, he slipped out. Still not entirely sure what caused it, all I remember is that I would have wanted to continue, but he chose to finish it differently.
Like an actor doing improv, he really did what was best for the story as a whole. What would have been the most likely ending, the most logical way to make it a well-rounded, satisfying, experience between a prostitute who had trusted her client and a client who did not want to extend his stay.
But I lay in his arms later and cried. Because I was no prostitute, and wasn’t paid, I was just pretending.
And I had wanted him inside of me, longer, but I had no way to ask for it, because it wasn’t in the script.

The prostitute and her client had negotiated a price, and what he would do to her. He had “warned her” about specifics, and since this was all play; Yes of course that made me horny.  
Yet, I was sensible, both in my role as well as myself, that I understood we needed a safe word. Something I would be able to say, at which he would stop.
So for the first time in over seven years, we had sex with a safe word in place. I could tell him to stop.

When I opened this letter I know I tried to describe a sense of rawness, of it not being finished. And because it was so extremely intimate, there is always the chance of it being the last time, I think. That he pulls away.
I know I wrote something about that too: How vulnerable this feels. In bed, but more so afterwards. There is this incredible pain of feeling so lonely, you just think you re gonna die, figuratively speaking.

Or never going to do this again, more literally.
That I m not cut out for this, and should stop being a mistress, or that I should at least stop having this deeply intimate sex that screws with my head, and I have no one to share this with.
And that’s all so true.

But in retrospect, I also think that in addition to a safe word, I need something that says: 
“Don’t stop.”

And maybe the reason it hurt so much, when he didn’t continue the intercourse that way, didn’t try again, is that it felt like I was being rejected. 
That ultimately, I not just wanted it more than he did. But that it was one big metaphor, for the mind fuck that has been the last seven years.
It was the pain of being the one who wants it more.

And knowing there was no word to ever prevent that from happening again.

.
Take care.
XX
Lauren

_________________
Nothin’s For Free (NSFW) | 1997 diary
is the fourth 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, 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:
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The painstaking process of writing off 25 years and 25 kilos

I have the Girlie Show tour book open at this photo of a beautiful Madonna. A reminder that I want my whole life to lift to this level.

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

Dear Sara,

I can’t believe I’m actually adamant to write about this. I mean, why, right? First of all the title already says it all, and it would be better to wait until I have some clarity on how to unstuck myself from this. How to get back some faith in myself, instead of wallowing in everything I did wrongly.

Maybe by using a term like “writing off” I hope to at least be thorough this time. That by admitting I did few things right, and the things I did do right have been undone or I m unable to enjoy anymore, that at least that means I m at rock bottom.
And they always say rock bottom is a solid foundation.

And I m not even at rock bottom because of any causes from outside of myself: Financially, health-wise, socially? I ve had so much luck and so much support. It would be hard to blame this on anyone or anything else, there are no mitigating circumstances. Maybe autism, but since I m self-diagnosed also because after 5 months on a waiting list I didn’t want to lose even more precious time waiting for my life to pick up, that doesn’t really count.
Besides with the amount of help and love I receive, and the talents I have, it should not matter that much that I m autistic. I don’t even have any of the sensatory sensitivities.
So I m not going to give that as a validation.

No, as far as I m concerned, this is my fault and since I m almost 50, I m in a hurry getting back on track and not wasting whatever time remains.

The good news is that I ve developed a model that explains why I ve chosen wrongly. Why those 25 years ended up in the drain and those 25 kilos on my hips. The model will become my signature system under my real name, to explain life, the universe and everything else, although it would have been more timely if I had invented this when turning 42. 
And since I prefer to keep this alterego as separate from my real name as I Google-wise can, I will not be using the same terminology.

So although the definitions and the model, the schedule, is precise in the model which I developed, and I can use it to explain every aspect of life, I will now choose to use the different levels in a more storytelling style.
Not a visual one.
And also, and this is something I CAN do here, and that will be on the background for my other work, I will start by illustrating it with the example of my sex life.

The only area of my life, as far as I am concerned, where I chose correctly and managed to thrive in something that is uniquely me.
And that I would have given priority to keep going, if all the extra weight and probably more importantly the weight of not succeeding and being frustrated, had knocked the unbridled joy out of that as well.

I m like: Why would I have sex, if I can’t even set up a fucking decent career? Why would I rejoice in my physicality, if all I ve done is gaining weight?
This is not the body I want to have sex with, and this is not the life I want to have sex in.

So even that success, of designing a good sex life, is past its due date. But it is still a great illustration of the general model. And why I fucked up my life, big time.
So here we go.
My model that explains life, the universe and everything else, illustrated with my sex life.

I will give them names that have to do with food. Since I m probably not going to have that anymore! 

level 1: room and board
The first level of sex, is the level you end up with if you just put one foot in front of the other, and limit your excesses to your youth and to groups and cultures where such behavior is allowed. At least temporarily.
So you re always staying within the moral code of your social circle.
In the most positive scenario, you end up with a wholesome, reliable, loving sex life. In the most negative case, you end up completely stuck in monogamy or with a relationship you do not want, or you do not have a sex life even though you would want one. 
Level 1 is where you are greatly dependent on your surroundings, and where if you want change you either have to remove yourself from the whole system, throw in all your social skills to win key figures for your agenda, or even turn into an activist and change the whole society you live in.
Level 1 is characterized by a high level of unfreedom.

level 2: home cooked meals
The second level of sex is where you deliberately craft your own sex life. You learn what your options are. You re not afraid to seek out a therapist, read books, study, talk, experiment, and to end relationships when the sex is no longer satisfying.
Even if circumstances are not ideal, you manage to serve something wholesome.
At level 2 you have an understanding of the ingredients that go into cooking, and are able to create a desired outcome.

level 3: your own recipes
The third level of sex is where you have your own sexual, cultural lingo, a narrative of your sexual history; You develop sexual concepts, or adapt existing sexual concepts to make them your own.
Level 3 is where as you age, your cooking improves significantly. You cultivate and expand on your own past recipes and incorporate the old with the new.
By now the way you cook has become uniquely yours, and it is no longer just functional.
Engaging in it, has become equally important. Cooking has become an activity you engage in for its own sake.

level 4: Chef level
The fourth and final level of sex, is where your understanding of what you’re doing, of the dynamics of it, greatly outweighs that of the average participant or consumer. You, as well as others who are at your level, do not even possess the vocabulary to describe what it is that happens at this level. All you know is that you recognize each other, and that ultimately whether you re talking about having sex or cooking or anything else;
That ultimately being at this level, sets you apart from society in both good and bad ways.
It can affect your connection at the first level, since no one dares to cook for you anymore.
Although “Chef” of course indicates that there is a predictable outcome (that of Michelin star worthy food) at level 4,  cooking has really transcended  to something that is no longer cooking.
When you are in the kitchen now, anything can happen.
The kitchen has become a playground, and you could even experiment with moving the kitchen to camping, or to cooking fish under the hood on the motor engine.

Sexually, I have been at level 4.

Creatively, I have been at number 3, yet the coat of being a writer has never fit me.

But professionally?
Professionally, I have wasted my life – or 25 years to be exact – to whining and complaining that it just.did.not.work!
At level 1.
Of course it didn’t work at level 1, anymore than my frickin’ sex life was going to work there!

But I ve also kept toying with the thought of setting up a bonafide level 2 business,  in coaching, elearning, or yoga. 
And yet, it always ended with me NOT doing that, and getting extremely angry and irritated with myself as well. I knew that for me being at level 2 was even a bigger waste than being at level 1.
At level 1, you have friends, family, society at large.
At least there is some social groundedness and love, to balance out the constrictive conservative energy surrounding that whole level.
But level 2?

Why on earth would I turn myself inside out to set up a professional monetary structure one way or the other, when it was absolutely not what I wanted to do?
I need to be able to walk away! And to BURN the entire idea of building a business or career that would basically just stack one limitation, and contractual obligation onto the next.
Yes, I want to be able to see my skills being rewarded with cash.

But not while simultaneously building a prison of liabilities and structures which have to be maintained for decades to come.

I m not going to give my freedom to act in order to become a successful professional, anymore than I have been willing to give my sexual freedom to be an accepted member of society.
But the pull of building a level 2 business model is strong… just this weekend I considered buying a laptop (my current one doesn’t have a camera or microphone) that would allow for me to give coaching calls.
Stopped myself in my tracks reminding myself that if it wasn’t part of my endgame, it wasn’t worth investing in.

That Madonna didn’t become Madonna because she tagged along Patrick Hernandez to Paris.
That it was all lost time, half a year I believe. She flew home disillusioned but also understanding that if she wanted success no one was going to help her.
She was going to have to build it brick by brick herself.

I look back on almost four years of still considering to join Patrick Hernandez in Paris because my own music is not making me any money and “he” (a bonafide level 2 business model, and the exposure that comes with it) can give me the money, the recognition AND a stage!

In hindsight, the moment I set out to develop my sexuality, and 7 years ago established Chef level;
Everything changed.

You can’t have sex at chef level and expect the rest of your life to stay the same. The only level I will ever be satisfied doing anything, is level 4. The rest will not taste even half as good, gastronomically speaking. The clothes at level 1, 2 and 3 will always be too small, fashionably speaking. And that’s not just because I consider myself 25 kg overweight.

Technically it’s not 25 kilos. It’s less. But I have lost weight before and plateaued at a healthy weight that was higher than what I m aiming for now.
I think partially, I aim for 25 kilos gone because then I m at least below that plateau. That I no longer have to be afraid to gain it all back and more, like I ultimately did, because I will no longer stop where I stopped that time.
I will push through to an even lower weight.

As if I m like:
“Well, since that end weight didn’t work, I m going to push through it.”

But you know?
Now that I m writing this to you, I think the problem the last time I lost weight, had nothing to do with not having the right end weight.
But with me doing it, in a very level 2 like fashion.
I lost weight because I ate less and exercised more. It was very outcome focused. Very, very level 2.

So I think the solution is not to lose 25 kilos this time. Although for literary reasons, in the title, 25 is of course the right number in combination with the 25 years, which is 1997, the year my performance project is taking a place.
I want to become a time capsule artist.
I want to live in 1997 as an almost 25 year old, as the series on this blog also indicates.

I started this 25 year ago series in 2019, and it takes time to get my head around it and be consistent in this time capsule, or time travel art.
But I think I understand how it is all related now!

What I need to do, losing the weight, is not focus on how much kg, nor be eager to compare it for good or for bad with the last time I successfully shed the pounds in a conventional, level 2, manner.
What I need to do is get losing weight and recreating my life and career, all the way UP to level 4! 

I need my money making activities and weight loss project to transcend not just the level of society (level 1), transcend the level of measurable results (level 2), transcend the level of having a recognizable system that I designed and that I can talk about (level 3);
I need to go all the way to level 4.

I will not lose weight until I bring losing weight at the level my sex life used to have. Level 4: Transcending it to something that is more than just a lighter body.
Instead I will bring it to being a 25 year old and 25 kilogram lighter version.

Neither will I have a career until I bring it at the level 4, a mastership level where I decide what it is: The career Lauren Harteveld will have in 1997.

The book says the number 42, is the answer to life, the universe and everything else. I remember that birthday. I was emotionally entangled with two men that year, they had both meant a lot to me in the past. I was convinced I would remember the year forever, because of them suddenly being in it.
But that wasn’t the case.

In December I met the man who would become my lover. The lover with whom I now notice I can no longer enjoy the sex the way I used to, because my body, career, and entire life are no longer at the level of our sex life.
Our sex life is still at level 4.
But I am not.

Although that summer of 2014, was so legendary, nurturing, wonderful; I remember 2014 more strongly, because of meeting him.
And I was at level 4 then, exactly at the right place to meet a man of such caliber.

But maybe the answer is indeed that the reason I was entangled with 3 wonderful men that year, was because I turned 42.
And that it really is, the answer to life, the universe and everything else.

I think I ll aim at losing 24 kilos 😉 

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

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Old pictures that I’ll always see | 1997 diary

Madonna by Steven Meisel for Rolling Stone, 1991

Chapter 3 for my vintage diary series. 

Friday 25 March, 1997 

Good news first: Bear and me are still a thing. Last Monday he came by and everything was not “exactly as it has been for the past 7 years”, because “we” are always different.

Not just because 17 year old us and 24 year old us are different people, not just because he is now in a relationship and during our college years he was never very open about his status.
But because it is always different when we see each other. We don’t really have a recipe or something. We have zero routine in what we eat, or drink, or do. We don’t even always have sex.

So when I m about to say it was like it always was, I mean it was in good spirits. Not that we literally did the same thing, because there is no same thing with us.

But the bad news is that I was unable to enjoy it fully and completely like I used to, because of my body.
I ve been getting heavier since my internship and since quitting smoking and no longer have the thin yoga body I used to have in my teens.

But until now I used to feel good in my own skin when having sex. I would get annoyed by pinching pants, and by having to buy new clothes, but in bed I  ve always felt voluptuous. If anything, I felt my body was better equipped to have sex this way.
I certainly wasn’t going to break in half anymore.

But last Monday, that was no longer the case.
He was still the same, “we” were still the same, but I had reached a tipping point where I could still appreciate my body for its beauty and its health, but I no longer enjoyed being in it. It really was too big for me to enjoy the sex.

The weight had not changed. Not yet anyway. My weight in kilos has fluctuated over the past three years, and it was on the higher end, but there was no quantifiable reason why last Monday it would suddenly get in the way of me enjoying sex.
Maybe it’s because I have dropped out of exercising last winter… Either way, when he left, I got myself together and decided to do something about it!
To get back to exercising, like I should have done much earlier.

I remember a project I started last year, or maybe in 1995 already I don’t know…. But I started a project where I was going to live like in 1988, including the extensive bike riding.
But I didn’t…. If only I had stuck to that! Then I wouldn’t be in this mess now.
Or I needed to reach this point of no longer enjoying sex the way I used to, to finally get motivated.

Since then I have exercised every day, and the result is I gained one whole kilo. That’s why I said “The weight had not changed. Not yet anyway.”
Now, I have changed. In the plus.

So my pants still pinch, and I m still somewhere in purgatory between buying new clothes, and realizing I have shelves full to choose from in my own closet, once I lose the weight. I kept all my smaller sizes.

The next time Bear comes to visit me, I want to be able to enjoy it. I want to feel sexual, feminine, and hot.
Exactly like I have for 7 years minus one Monday afternoon, when my extra pounds got the better of me.

I m going to throw my full weight behind this!

.
~Lauren97
An unexamined life is not worth living

Old pictures that I’ll always see| 1997 diary
is the third 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, in one bind (one title)

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

.

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A simple life or Minas Tirith

Ghandalf riding to Minas Tirith

 

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

Dear Sara,

“It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”
Bilbo, Lord of the Rings

I think one of the problems with a terrible war happening on the edges of your continent, is that after a week you no longer register the sound of overflying apaches and jets.
And you no longer associate nightly rumbles and blaring sirens with catastrophe having come your way.
You stop wondering if Putin is really engaging in peace negotiations or if he is just buying time to give the military freighters that have just passed through Japanese waters, a chance to make it to Ukraine, conquer it, and spread his reign of “purification”, I believe the word was, there. 

After four weeks, the atrocities of war, the impunity of Russia’s violence against Ukrainian civilians, the repression of the Russian people by their own despotic government, their inability to effectively combat the dictatorship Russia has lived under more often than not for the past hundreds of years, and finally, the threat of World War III, nuclear weapons, or the Russian made or unintended nuclear accidents in Ukraine’s power plants;
After four weeks they become the backdrop of everyday life.

We had municipal elections, and I still turned out to be living in the Dutch equivalent of Middle Earth’s Bree;
So you become like Bilbo, reluctant to hear the words of the wizard about the big world, and prefer to focus on what’s for dinner.

I realized my “small business” mindset, when I wanted to make business cards for my creative or independent work, for Dutch people I meet.
I had made international business cards a few months ago, and it had really provided me with a solid identity. And although I m still working on  the execution, I have not changed course since then.
My English work under my real name has been coherent for months.

For a moment, I thought I had reached this point as well for my Dutch work. That the time had come to make it official.

I have split my Dutch work in two: One is the yoga side of things. And this is really where the hobbit feeling comes into play, because unlike what I thought about revolutionizing yoga, making a mark and making it marketable and profitable, and so on; I ve realized Dutch yoga is absolutely not meant for that. That it is really meant to be as low-key and cozy as Bree.
That there is no shame in keeping things very, very simple. And that is exactly what I intend to do.
So I ll be building a free online yoga community, also with the possibility that if future natural gas prices and real estate opportunities allow for it, we can turn it into real life yoga and perhaps even into a real yoga studio.

It was for this Dutch yoga branch of my creative work in particular, that I intended this business card to be. 
Until I realized there was nothing to brand.

Not only did the thought of choosing colors for my business card feel too permanent, because I would then also be committing to the colors or style of a yoga website, Facebook page and so on;
I also realized that this, branding my Dutch yoga work, was exactly what I never wanted to do again in my life.

That we’re just a bunch of hobbits doing yoga with their laptops or in their local community center, but that if it’s something a New York studio would do; It was definitely not for us.

I realized  that the biggest mistake I had made during my first yoga career, was thinking that real life in-person classes answered to marketing rules.
They don’t.
They answer to: “Who teaches in the neighborhood where I live?” and if you re competing on price, that neighborhood can be broadened;
And if you ask a higher price, you re in all likeliness not going to serve a city-wide niche as you might have hoped for; But the same people who want to do yoga in their neighborhood, and don’t mind paying more.

And I realized somewhere in the past few years, that was absolutely, totally cool! 
I did my studio audience a disservice, by insufficiently attending to what mattered to them most, and what are the hallmarks of a local studio. Which  are predictability and reliability.
It should have been managed like a bakery, not like Coca-Cola.

And I realized that even more when I was undecisive about my business cards, because duh! Of course I no longer need those, any more than a bakery needs them.
And like I said: That is the charm of it.
That’s why it is lovely to do that work of teaching yoga locally. It’s the work of the heart, and will definitely be looking forward to the day when the dust has settled and it becomes possible for me again to think about building a new, real life, yoga community again.

However, there was also another aspect of my work in Dutch. And I may have created yet another persona which conflicts directly with my desire to be  viewed as an easy going, lovable hobbit;
Because I wrote my first political piece on my main website under my real name.

It was like a 2 year pandemic wrap up of being a side-lined yoga teacher, who honestly thought she had no desire of ever being viewed as a yoga teacher again;
Only to feel the stir of excitement when her former yoga colleagues protested against the Covid regulations.
And them being ruthlessly criticized, and cancelled even, for having different thoughts on vaccinations, the great reset, their immune system.
All things I do not have any thoughts worth mentioning on!
But yet: their activism had moved me.

For the first time, I had felt akin. They had not been a compliantly cooperating bunch. Our government and the Dutch had to come with something better to convince them closing yoga studios and having mandatory vaccinations before entering, was something that benefitted public health. 
They had not just rolled over and waited for the storm to pass: They had stood up.
Providing the first time I had actually started identifying with my peers, and feeling regret for not being one, now that the tides had changed and the gloves had come off.

My people, the yoga teachers that stood up, were like Minas Tirith, the city that had lacked formal ruling and had been under hereditary stewardship for centuries.
The current steward had hostile, estranged ways, but the people in the city had understood he was a marginal problem.
That him being there was a sign of deeper, more disturbing things lurking beneath the surface. Or at one legion’s distance from the city walls. 

And they had been right.
It would be in front of Minas Tirith’s gates where the final battle for Middle Earth took place. It was its courtyard of stone, where the tree came back to life. It was there, where the new king would be crowned.

In the two pandemic years, and by means of those yoga teachers protesting and holding different views, I saw that politics runs through my veins.
There is more to this hobbit than meets the eye.

I just went back onto Canva, with great clarity of who I was, and what I wanted to create. And I succeeded. My business card does mention I am a yoga teacher, but it is embedded in a broader theme of a writer analyzing, thinking, and understanding the grander scope.

I will always be a hobbit, appreciating the simple life. And I will stay true to my craft of teaching easy-going accessible yoga locally and nationally.
But I can’t breathe here…. I need to get out, as soon as class ends.

My main pieces, under my real name, in Dutch, and what I have on my Dutch business cards, needs to have the kind of weight that brings corrupt stewards and dark lords to their knees.

It needs to be the things empires are built on.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
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The Unification Of Europe

The impressive soundtrack as well as the movie Trois Coleur: Bleu (1993) revolve around a composition called “The Unification of Europe”

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

Dear Sara,

“If I speak in the tongues of men
And of angels
But have not love
I am only a resounding gong
Or a clanging cymbal”

Zbigniew Preisner: Song For The Unification Of Europe

I’ve had more confusingly conflicting emotions during the last four days of war in the Ukraine (we’re on day 5) than I had in two years of pandemic.
Conflicting because although war has come to the doorstep of Europe, where it has been since 2014 – a year The Netherlands will remember forever because passenger flight MH17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine by Russian separatists. To say we have skin in the game would be an understatement, although strangely enough no one has brought it up to  illustrate how our fate has been tied to Ukraine – I feel a sense of relief that there is no more talk of Covid.
On Friday, almost all Covid restrictions, measures, and so on, were relieved, so that’s the official side of it. But since I had been bothered almost exclusively by the social dynamics they relied on, or caused, the social etiquette and the polarizing views, to which I myself was no stranger either; Because of that official endings didn’t mean a thing to me.

I could see them drag on their Covid wars on for another year or two, without any backup from official measures. So I wasn’t too excited by Friday’s ending of all the rules and regulations that had started my two years in social exclusion, pretty much.
And then the war started.

By Friday the whole country was so engulfed by fear of WWIII, no one barely even took notice the Covid regulations were lifted that day. It had become completely irrelevant, overnight. 
The context of our first world problems had shifted so dramatically, I think the pandemic should be renamed to Snowflake Gate. All of it. Not just the effort we put in, to protect the vulnerable at any costs (where plenty of awful mistakes were made and unnecessary deaths and damages occurred, don’t get me wrong). In fact, the intention of protection, was the only honest part of the pandemic that was NOT Snowflake Gate.
And at which we failed spectacularly.

If policies for Covid had actually been aimed at protecting the vulnerable, Snowflake Gate would not have happened.
With Snowflake Gate I mean that we didn’t even have a conversation about  what choices we would make, priorities, and our non-negotiables, when fighting the pandemic. Nothing. 

The reason the ones against legislation were so keen on using the word freedom, was because we had not had a conversation with regard to how we would define freedom, or redefine it. And which parts we had to sacrifice for Covid.
All countries as far as I know, avoided the conversation as a whole, leaving the people bickering with each other like a dysfunctional family where the children always quarrel.
Yet the war ended that.
Overnight, we knew what freedom was.

Or most of us did.
The ones who were the most extreme in their ideas of Covid being this big conspiracy the elite profited from, are finding reasons why we should just basically sacrifice Ukraine because it’s none of our business.

But most of us have forgotten about our quarrels.

Covid stopped mattering overnight.

The social dynamic, that I myself had been Snowflaking about for two years, my passive aggressive opting out of wanting anything to do with society, was gone. Everything I had wished for, which was for the majority, the dominant emotion of the society I lived in to change – something which I had not held possible because it was so intangible – had come true.
Before the sun rose on that Friday, the date when the measures were lifted, there wasn’t a trace left of the whole pandemic crisis.
And we were plunged back in cold war times.

Yet still, undeniably, I felt the relief.
My chronic stress was gone. 

That is what made it so confusing: I could feel the dire situation we were in now, and that the pandemic that we had all considered of great import for two years (either out of fear for the virus, suffering economic setback or falling back into a social phobia, like I had) had been Snowflaking first world problems compared to this one;
Yet as horrible as it was, and still is, I emotionally preferred this one.

So far, I have found myself being less intimidated by the threat of war, than the social micromanagement of wearing mouth masks that we all know don’t work; Of washing hands when we all know it’s an airborne virus; And of testing and isolating, when we also all know we’re ultimately all going to get Covid.
I found war in the Ukraine less confusing than that.

And there was something else.

Everybody stands with Ukraine, and the European Union has moved from being an economic treaty to being a political and even military one.

Europeans have united under one banner, something no one has been able to  make happen, or make even the smallest headway – just remember the UK stepping out of the EU recently.
Now the following things are not fact checked, so there may be a few things still pending but the bigger line is:

Sweden has given up its neutrality, and has joined Ukraine and the EU in the conflict.
As has neutral-for-eons Switzerland, which is freezing Russia’s assets.
Germany has given up its pacifism, and is taking the lead supplying  weapons.

For the first time in its history, Europe is living up to its name European UNION.

And in my opinion the absolute best aspect, and I think this is one I am allowed to feel good about and is less tainted than the relief about the Covid stress disappearing (at the expense of threat of war) is that the Russian people are not viewed as bad, or part of this.
There is no anomisity towards the people of Russia, and you can sense that in everything.
There seems to be a deeply rooted understanding, they are not our enemy, and I think that is because we all follow some social media account, for example on YouTube, that we have felt connected to over the past years.

The world has become global, if that even makes sense!
We feel connected to people around the world, and that makes the power of the people stronger, and it limits (I think) the power of undemocratic leaders. It puts a limit on the damage leaders can cause.

We all hope for a peaceful and diplomatic solution that will save Putin’s face, and hopefully empty out his bank account to pay for the damages to Ukraine as well as for a new Russia.
And I think the joined Europe, a real federation, will spread its wings now.

That it is as if we have been shaken awake, to protect what we love. And are finally one, not just in the Netherlands but within Europe.
The bickering has stopped.

I read the longest thread on Twitter, by @kamilkazani, about the war. And it ended brilliantly, on the importance of myth. That Venice had given in to Napoleon, which saved lives but the feeling of union, the feeling of the Venice republic, died.

But about the Ukraine he says:
“The very fact of resistance against so much superior enemy very much empowers the Ukrainian mythology. It’s enormous mythos building we are witnessing. “

He continues: 
“If you submitted without a fight, you saved lives. But you killed your mythos. You’ll be digested by the conqueror. 
But if you lost after the brutal and bloody fight your mythos is alive. The memory of the last battle will live through the ages. It will shape the mythological space your descendants live in and they’ll attempt to restore independence at the first opportunity.”

Ukraine is not just fighting for its sovereignty, but it is building their story. Their identity.

And in its wake, there is a bigger story being built. The story of a unified Europe.

The mythological space our descendants will live in.

.
~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

The full soundtrack of Trois Couleur Blue, with the Song For The Unification of Europe, at the bottom of this post.

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
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My diaries are available at LULU 
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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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You Could Be Mine | 1997 diary

Second chapter for book 3 in my vintage diary series. 

Saturday 19 February, 1997 

If things had not gone sour so quickly, it would have been the perfect Valentines date.
Although perhaps the Guns N Roses  tape playing already gave away our Valentines Day was far from the usual sappy commercial bullshit, and that it would end messier.

Like the band breaking up last year had kind of been foretold by their in my opinion awful album “The Spaghetti Incident”.
After having stellar songwriting albums Use Your Illusion I and II, releasing an album of covers, including punk covers no less (the Illusion albums are heavy on symphonic rock), was a failure in my opinion. At least musically.
And the title “The Spaghetti Incident”, could be seen as an indication the band would end in a banal way that did not do justice to how good they were.

That the world biggest rock n roll band would die a silent death covered in tomato sauce, exactly like the bland cover photo.
That the band, in theory, still exists without Slash who they replaced with a guitarist who used to tour with Nine Inch Nails.
If I had not been writing with Californian (but living in England) bootleg trader Nikki, I would not even have known that.

So yeah.
Maybe in hindsight, Bear and me could have known that by playing the Guns N Roses in Tokyo tape, our Valentines date was actually more a Spaghetti Incident waiting to happen, than it was romance.

But we didn’t know that then. And for all we knew Valentines was the best time we had in months.
I didn’t feel violated, and I m sure Bear was relieved he no longer had to sexually tiptoe around me.
It felt healthy and unbothered, compared to our December date. Playing the Guns N Roses tape sealed the deal; We were back in 1992, when we went to see them in Rotterdam.

To us playing Guns N Roses on Valentines day, was the best we could do to try to get back to who we were, as a couple, if we were even allowed to call ourselves that, now that he was living with girlfriend.
To this day, I have no idea if all the years we had together even fucking count for any fucking thing, given the fact that when push came to shove he started a real relationship, and has been building a life without me.

In December I had felt I was auditioning for my own role as mistress, and that if I was good enough, he would switch to me.
Or I would get a higher status in his life, I m not exactly sure what I had felt but it was something!
It’s difficult to put a name on what happened, but I know that it made me feeling violated worse, although that had not been the only reason for sure. I had had nightmares of abuse before our date, it was more than just him acting out of sync.
But it certainly didn’t help I felt I was put on the spot and had to perform.

So when last Valentines Day we had our lovely low-key, highly saturated in Guns N Roses date, with uncomplicated sex in front of the tv playing the concert, we must both have felt a sigh of relief.
We were still there.
We were not broken as a “couple”, or whatever the fuck you call it when you ve been seeing each other for seven years.

I even thought Valentines Day was going to be my, I don’t know, springboard to a new life or something!
I was finally going to get my act together, lose weight, get back to my yoga mat, put an end to the freelance working which is still causing me to work nights because I can’t seem to plan my work hours;
And instead I was going to go all in on publishing and promoting my books.

Only to have it all being taken away in the same week.

I know it all sounds very me-me-me, and I suspect that’s what Bear picked up on in the next days.
That he felt that although we had a great Valentines, and things emotionally and sexually seemed to have stabilized (although they were of course nowhere near the amazing sex we had last year!!!!! but still. Stable was good. Stable is a start.) that I was no longer hanging around for more.
Whatever it had been, there had been room for in his life in December, it was no longer relevant to me. 

And when he wanted to come again later this week, I said No, because I really wanted to use the momentum I had felt on our date.
I wanted to build the life that I had resisted; A life as an independent woman who does not have a man.
A mistress even, doomed forever to be the second choice. The one who does not matter.

I had come to terms with getting so very little of him, by understanding there was a career and a Life so much bigger than that, waiting to be built by me.
If I was not meant for him, than I was going to run with the conclusion that, apparently, I was meant for bigger things.

So I said he could not come on Wednesday, because I had a ton of work to do.
And he did not accept that.
I could feel by the silence on the line, the irritation, that he thought I should have been thrilled he wanted to come by again within 48 hours.
When all I thought was:
You made your choice.
And it wasn’t me.

Although my choice to not let him come visit me, was a work related one, it was one I made without guilt because I was just responding to the situation he had created.
We have known each other for seven years, but he has chosen to keep me on the side. All I do is put boundaries on what that means. Such as not being available when we’ve already spent one workday, and finally feel inspired to work on my own life.

And the Us that had felt amazing Monday, fell to pieces that same week.
And I can’t shake the feeling he was right not choosing me, because apparently I cannot even keep Us afloat for one single week, before it gets crushed under me finally choosing for myself.

He was right choosing for her and not me, I no longer question that. 
Just as I was right to say I didn’t have time on Wednesday, I do not question that either.

I remember sitting on top him admiring his beautiful body, which always draws feelings out of me somewhere between cuddling my cats and safety. It’s the only time I really feel safe. He’s so peaceful, not so much his personality but his body. I always get all the time to touch him, caress him, admire him, love him.
And I remember trying to find words to express how happy I was he was there with me. In particular after all we had been through on our second date in December, with me dragging sexual confusion and nightmares into what we had. 

I said: 
“You’re so easy to love.” And then I paused, realizing that for someone who causes so much pain and tests the patience of the people who love him, probably on a daily basis, this was too simplistic.
So I rephrased:
“Don’t get me wrong, you’re difficult to deal with,” I laughed.
“But you’re easy to love.”

Looking back I m not sure what this whole week was about. If we’re deeper in the mess that started in December, if we’re in a different phase, or if we’re on a road to…. to something, I guess.
And not the end. I don’t feel that is what this is about, although 1997 has gotten a rocky start when usually January and February are our strongest months.

I played the Tokyo 1992 concert from Guns N Roses in the background, as I am typing this. 
The first act as a whole, is not my favorite although it obviously has some great songs.
But a good hour in, the concert shifts into a whole new gear, and the rest is simply, absolutely, and without fail brilliant.

The song that marks this shift, is “You Could Be Mine”.

.
~Lauren97
An unexamined life is not worth living

You Could Be Mine | 1997 diary
is the second 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, 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/

From news binging to news fasting

Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

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

Dear Sara,

Our last call caught me at the height of my interest in Dutch politics. Something which I have come down from since, for very practical reasons but I have made a hard cut not to visit any news sites anymore.
I do see the occasional thing on Twitter, or a frontpage that automatically opens on your Samsung, or after you close your Outlook on your browser.
In those cases I indulge in headlines.

Yesterday I did follow a weekly livestream on YouTube from a critic of Dutch Covid politics. It’s mostly about data, data analysis, and research on Covid, comparing different countries and strategies. And illustrating how the Dutch have “chosen” to use these data.
I don’t think it surprises anyone that they are not doing well, and are giving new meaning to the words “inconsistent load of bullshit measures that will maneuver soon under the influence of pending municipal elections.”
Paraphrasing here.

But the weekly livestream and seeing the occasional MSN frontpage is marginal compared to how invested I was two weeks ago.
After our call I decided to stop resisting my urge to follow the news, as it only seemed to make matters worse, and also because it had resulted in a piece that I later assumed was probably my best piece ever written on anything, ever.
To dive headfirst, and fully committed, into our 6 to 8 weeks political finale, was the right choice at the time.
And a relief, to finally lean into this interest, that I had tried to moderate and contain.

But then I slept zero hours that night, and turned a 180.
I pulled all the stops on watching any news, and although I am not yet where I want to be, I have not ingrained being a non-news watcher any more than I have ingrained living in 1997 for my art performance project (even though I want and desire both!), so even though it has been flawed at best;
My life did look differently the past two weeks, compared to if I had stuck to my initial plan of going all in on following the news until its political finale.

The choice to change my plan was not really a choice but a necessity after sleep deprivation. It wasn’t because I thought I would get bored or not have enough to write about, if I had stuck to my plan to follow the Dutch Covid news for 6 to 8 weeks.
It also gave me time to reflect and I have wondered:
Why did I have this sudden interest in Dutch politics?

Were Dutch politics always this interesting, but did I need it to come down to civilian virus levels before I could understand how politics impacted my world?

But I concluded I had been right on one thing: This is no ordinary politics. We live in a very turbulent time, and not just because of a virus, but because of everything that went wrong in the decades before 2020.
The cracks in Dutch civilization and the first signs of polarization, go as far back as the early 90s.
Which meant that after decades of marginalizing and excluding a larger and larger part of Dutch society;

Of making the poor poorer.
Of making the procedures and administrative trails for allowances longer.
Of privatizing health care, and then introducing extra cuts, fees and over €350 mandatory own risk  on hospital care, to add insult to injury.
Banning all humanity from public services and treating people like case numbers that had to have problems that neatly fit into a box that qualified for funding before they were helped.

And after a decade of structural financial abuse and institutional racism by our government, brutal attacks where they have wiped out and destroyed entire families because they had a foreign sounding name;

To then land in a pandemic, and see a government that needs all its people to trust them and take care of one another;
When all they have done for decades was create the ideal climate for civil war?

Then no.
This was not just Dutch politics as usual, that happened to catch my eye, just because the topic of Covid was one that impacted us all.

The past two years have uncovered a dark and rotten country that has been capitalizing on the people it should have protected.
Did I tell you the Dutch housing shortage has reached historic heights, and that they have sold our real estate to foreign investors, and have given incentives to housing corporations to sell their houses and tax them per house owned? 
They did.

I guess the only difference between a bombing literally taking down your houses, and a government who sells your real estate to commercial investors, is that when the houses are bombed down, you can actually see they are no longer part of this world.
The Netherlands have ghost real estate and the biggest housing shortage in history.
God, what a fucked up situation.

But again; No.
My past two years were indeed not “just” a “relatable topic-interest” in politics. More is at stake. And I think it was important enough, and I was definitely invested enough, that I “should” have given it my all, and even try to find some sort of supportive, and positive angle. 
Look for something I and other people can do to heal from this let’s call it “political trauma” that has been wreaking havoc since the 90s.
But I can’t.

Not sleeping at all since the moment I decided to give it my all, says I can’t.
So apparently I am NOT prepared to give it my all after all.
That sleepless nights can come from being a secret mistress; They can come from feeling threatened and violated; They can come from being almost 50 and being very aware that if I don’t figure out how to live into my purpose, I m going to die and my life will have meant nothing.

But that I am not prepared to give 6 to 8 weeks of my life to losing sleep over the clusterfuck that Dutch politics has become.

And because of that, because I understood that if I wasn’t part of the solution, I was part of the problem;
I left.

After two years I am no longer following Dutch politics, and am focusing on my own life instead.

And considering the problems we in The Netherlands are facing today, stem from the 90s?
I think going headfirst, and all-in, on me living 25 years ago, as I have been dabbling with since 2019/1994-
I think that is probably the best I can do.

That living in 1997, the decade when it all began, is the best art I have to offer.

That “living” like Lauren 1997, writing her book 3, and publishing book 1 and 2 (1994-1996) what I have been working on this week;
That those are not just the most significant contribution I can make, to a nation in disarray;
But the only one, that I know only I can make.

And that I’m more than happy to lose sleep over. 

 

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

The new chapter to Lauren’s 1997 diary will be written within days.
Subscribe to this blog to receive it.

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/

December 2021:

 
 

 

At the beginning of Big things

Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell, Basic Instinct 2

I usually don’t scroll down to Facebook memories. When I open Facebook on my desktop, which I usually do, I first see stories, which are about 5 cm high or something.
Then a box to post something, and maybe an advertisement.

Even if there is a Facebook memories, which is not always the case, I will only see the top of it. The generic part.

It doesn’t even say from what year the memory will be from, and I rarely scroll down to find out more. I m usually on Facebook just to see what the mentions are, or I m there to post.
Not to browse.

But today I did scroll and I saw a photo from Basic Instinct 2. I wondered when I had posted this.
Although I ve been into Basic Instinct 1 since its release 1992, it has taken me years before I caught up with Basic Instinct 2 (2006), which was only released on DVD and never played in cinemas.
To make it worse I even at some point lost a Basic Instinct 2 DVD! How do you lose that?
It took a while before I gave up on the idea it would resurface and replaced it to have my collection complete again.

When I started working on my collection of blogposts “The Beach, C”, about Basic Instinct’s Catherine Tramell, which is a book I ve been wanting to create and publish for months now (I actually took it down, it was up there for a few weeks until perfectionista-me found a mistake I apparently couldn’t live with, and ended up revising the book);
I recall the oldest posts I collected for that book were from 2017. Not earlier.

So Facebook memories, giving me a photo from Basic Instinct 2, a movie I ignored for a long time and then had trouble holding on to (literally), sparked my curiosity not so much as to why it was posted, but when? 

It turned out to be January 2015; A lot earlier than my earliest Basic Instinct work!
It didn’t contain any explanation about the photo itself. It was merely an illustration.

But the biggest surprise was that it was a post I had made shortly after what I will call the first “real date” with the man who would become my secret lover.
Whenever I would later write about him I would call him Mr.Big or Big.

This is what I wrote, in January 2015:

“We call it a tie” I concluded after my 1st date in the Major League.
“How do you measure that?” my charmingly dangerous opponent asked.
I explained my rules of dating in the Major League:
“The one who suffers the biggest emotional damage afterwards, loses.”
We had both been knocked out for 48 hours, so I had called it quits.
But he warned me the game wasn’t over.
“In the Major League we play best of 7”

The Major League! Of course! 
When I just started dating I knew he was totally different from all the other men I knew, and that the situation with him being married but also his entire style of interacting, was totally different to anyone I had dated so far.
There was a sense of excitement and danger, that I was unable to walk away from. Even though I knew I was risking getting my heart broken, in more ways than I would be able to mend.
By calling it a game, I felt some sort of agency over what we were doing. By naming us players, I took a bigger chunk of the pie than just being a lady whose only jurisdiction was if there was going to be extramarital sex Yes or No.

By calling it a game, The Major League no less, I challenged him.

Have we stayed together since then? Were we like Mr.Big and Carrie, where he ultimately chooses her after 6 seasons, on a bridge in Paris?
Yes and no.

On and off.

And there have been months when we were On yet I did not see him. When he had to break up with me, but couldn’t say it. He couldn’t find the words, and left me in the dark. Or hope.

And what followed was a year when we were Off, not having an affair, yet I saw him occasionally, and we spent wonderful hours together. Knowing, that one day we’d make the same choice.
That one day, I would say Yes again.

The post reminded me it has been 7 years. We’ve been playing in the Major League for 7 long years, and still it is exactly that.
A game.

We have no idea who wins, who loses, or for how long it will go on.
Or even if the other will show up to play.

So I have to be happy with what was, without claiming a future, that will always be uncertain. I would like there to be a story, another 7 years from now, just like Basic Instinct 2 came 14 years after the original.
I would like there to be 2 movies and a spinoff series about Big and me, decades after the first meet-cute, roughly the same like Sex And The City but with a happy course of events. Of course I would like those things.

And I m still writing my real life-, as well as 90s-inspired diaries, on this blog!
I would love for Lauren 1997, as is the year with her now, I would love for her to keep seeing her lover Bear.
But even that is not for me to say. If it ends, it ends.

All I can say is that these past 7 years, ever since that post on Facebook, have been an amazing time. When it comes to my love life, I do not regret one day, one month, one moment. 

I became a different woman.
And that’s a win I cannot lose. 

.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

books inspired by my affair with Big:
1. Big diaries and erotica 
2. The Mistress Speaks 

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/