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

.

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
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Nederlands blog:
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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.
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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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.
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/

 

 
 
 

 

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,
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Nederlands blog:
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And now for something completely different

Kristen Steward Backstage magazine. This is how I imagine 1997 me would look

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

Dear Sara,

I wrote my letter to you yesterday.
Except it wasn’t a letter; It was an analysis of the most recent Dutch Covid developments.
A drama in x parts that seems to be getting its season’s finale this week.
Man, so compelling!
By now I m ready to admit I’m absolutely hooked on this adventure with Games of Thrones sized betrayal.
Like this series that you don’t want to get hooked on, but then you watch one show, in this case last Tuesday’s press conference, and: Bam!
Hooked again!

This has happened several times since the start of the pandemic. When I watch the press conference this derails my entire week. I always lose two to three days glued to the screen, ending by writing a blogpost.

But yesterday the blog post came when I wanted to sit down and write you. So at the end I had this meta on Dutch Westeros, only to realize I had written a standalone piece and not a letter to you.
And although my seasonal obsession with the Dutch politics surrounding Covid has been a part of our correspondence before, this time it really was not what I wanted you to read before our call.

The piece was so heavy and thorough. It felt like an endgame and not like something I wanted to discuss.
I will admit I wasn’t happy with it, when I finally went to bed at 2 A.M.
I considered what was then 1.5 day, lost in the Covid rabbit hole, as wasted time and a disgrace for the creative and professional ambitions I had set for myself!
When I went to sleep with the feeling the blogpost was proof of my sins against time, God, and my purpose here on this earth, since I obviously should not have spent that time on the subject and become so emotionally invested in it.
My biggest aim when writing it, was hoping it would cleanse me and give me a fresh start.

That the piece would bring an end to another wildly irresponsible Covid news, discussion, and social media binge on a topic I did not consider one of my core interests. 

Except of course, I ve now realized that Dutch Covid politics are a core interest after all.
And unsurprisingly really, because my highest value is freedom. Freedom of expectations, and freedom to choose.

The past four years, ever since I slowly and gradually let go of my yoga business, have been all about understanding I needed to get out of every situation that tried to claim and chain my time and loyalty. Every bind that was structured, that was a given, everything that created unfreedom, had to be cut.
So of course Covid policies are and have been a genuine interest.
In hindsight it is not strange at all, that I fell down the Covid rabbit hole time and time again. I felt the measures were a threat to my freedom. 
And now that I believe they will hold on to the QR code, the digital pass that proves vaccination and gives you access to public life – It makes total sense that I m upset.

So that was one aspect I didn’t totally understand when I wrote the piece; That I was on topic, after all.

But another thing I was unable to predict, is that when I woke up this morning and reread it?
I absolutely loved it.
It’s the best thing I wrote during the pandemic, and it might be the best thing I wrote my whole life. About Covid politics! How dry can it be! It’s not even about sex!

So now I am even more confused. 
I hate politics and I don’t want to write about them. I want to write about sex, and then more sex, and then as dessert I want to write more about sex.
Yet rereading my meta on what promises to be the Grande Finale of Dutch Covid politics, I was compelled by my own writing.

In case you want to read it, it’s this one:
Ich Rieche Blut. And it’s not German. 

And an hour ago, the preview dropped of footage of official vaccination centers where they vaccinate teens without parental consent, incorrectly inform them, and teach them to lie to their parents. Filmed with hidden camera.
So the moment I thought I could let it go, this plot twist pops up.
I m not sure if I will be able to sleep tonight, and sleeping has been a big problem for weeks now.

Last night, after writing for 6 hours, I got to bed at 2 AM and got up at 10. But that was way more efficient as all the nights prior, when I went to bed at 11 PM, and ALSO got up at 10, because I couldn’t catch my sleep or it was interrupted and I lay awake for hours on end.

One of the most recent nights, I remember what the reason was I had been unable to sleep. I was just too excited, because I finally had my life figured out!
I finally knew what it was I wanted to do, and it was so clean, crispy, healthy. It was almost minimalist! I ll tell you what it was in a moment, but the irony of course, is that before I could get this show on the road, before I could get to work on the Plan of Plans for my life, I derailed completely and got lost in Covid land, and wrote the best piece of work and on a topic that was NOT part of my mission statement.

So I am terribly confused, and have no idea how valid my vision it. It seems like a bad omen that I fell off the wagon and got myself dirty rolling around in Covid politics instead.
That is a disclaimer, but nevertheless, I still like this idea.
Here it is:

I m going to work creating two yoga communities on YouTube, under my real name, one Dutch and one English – both tied to initiatives, blogs and channels that I ve been toying with the past few years. The yoga concepts are based on everything I ve thought about, developed, and decided on the past few years as well.
A book, schedules, themes; It’s all ready, and has been in the starting blocks for a long time.

When I received that part of the vision, I immediately understood what this meant in terms of self-care, daily yoga, daily exercise, diet, but also keeping my apartment clean to do yoga and to record yoga and other videos.
I felt myself transform into the Marie Kondo of yoga, so clean and pristine.

The two yoga businesses are tied in with the writing I do under my own name, but the way I “see” myself is as a yoga teacher because this is the part I want to take offline ultimately, although not in the form of going back to teaching weekly classes.
But teaching yoga really is one of the few ways I can interact with people, feeling we’re in an equal relationship. Talking about my books or my thoughts, will never have that fulfilment.
That’s why these two branches of yoga, the international one and a Dutch yoga channel, inspire me.

Next to that, I am going to build a, what I would call, publishing house, where I focus on publishing my LS Harteveld work, but I also see myself as Lauren Harteveld here.
This alterego Lauren Harteveld is not just a name on the cover of my books, but it really is a different me.
And this role as publisher, so the job I have as Lauren Harteveld, is also related to strategy and management of the entire business, including finance, sales and business development on the yoga side of things.
In a way, I (Lauren) will be my own agent.

On a side note: I still do not see Lauren Harteveld, or my work here, as something I want to speak about in the world.
I like the Lauren Harteveld project where I go back in time 25 years. I actually wrote the first chapter of the new year, 1997.
I can’t allow myself to care about you (NSFW) | 1997 diary

I feel by giving all, in my writing as Lauren Harteveld, I do something that discharges me from having to interact over it. It’s not like Covid policies, where I stay glued to my timeline. Pieces like Lauren 1997, are entirely solitary.
I write them in my own world, being in 1997, being offline.

I like pretending I am in 1997, and days I manage to pull that off, and I am only briefly online to efficiently do my business work as Lauren Harteveld headquarters;
Those days are the happiest.

So I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I knew what I would write you this week. About having the vision, about understanding how my two identities, and my two professions (yoga and writing) would go together, and that I was losing sleep over it because it was all so exciting, and that my house was still a mess, and my yoga routine non-existent;
But that it would all come.
Victory was near.

And then this week happened, and I got sucked into Covid politics mayhem. And even worse- before I could judge myself for having wasted so much precious time, I realized that the thing I had written was the best I had written since the start of the pandemic.
And quite possibly the best, or perhaps “the most authentic” thing, I had written in my entire  life.

And I checked the parts of my business: Yoga English, Dutch Yoga, Publishing house, Headquarters.

And sadly realized writing emotional, soul-searching longreads about current day events, were not my business.

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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

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

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 

Ich Rieche Blut. And it’s not German.

Basic Instinct 2. The psychiatrist on the right has a drawing on his wall with the title “Ich Rieche Blut” (I smell blood)

 

The title of this post was not supposed to be the title of an art work on the wall of the psychiatrist in Basic Instinct 2.

The story from that movie revolves around an American writer, Catherine Tramell, who now lives in London.
She writes a book about a psychiatrist, “The Analyst”. He has this drawing on his wall, that is called Ich Rieche Blut.
Because the movie is in English, and because it is located in London, the title Ich Rieche Blut is translated for the viewer, almost casually, as part of a conversation.
Ich Rieche Blut means:
I smell blood.

That was not my initial idea for the title of this blogpost.
I thought it would be:
The people murmur, or The people grumble.
Because that’s what the Dutch are doing.

The dissatisfaction is almost audible, even though we cannot hear each other, obviously. But like a low humming whale sound, the pushback from a majority of the Dutch is becoming louder every week, every day, with every press conference, every change in measures, every relief of restrictions and maybe the murmur or the grumble are just a force that has been created by two years of gaslighting your own population by saying it depends on their individual behavior how the pandemic will unfold (and thereby clearing the measures as “good”, effective and beyond discussion).

So maybe it is no longer any of those identifiable events.
Maybe the murmur and grumble of the people have picked up momentum that have made it impossible to control it.
Like an avalanche or a big rock rolling down the mountain;
It can no longer be stopped.

Where the avalanche or the rock breaking loose, could have been prevented;
That ship has now sailed.
The cat is out of the bag.

The reason I did not choose “The people murmur” as title, is not just because “Ich rieche Blut” is from Basic Instinct 2, and therefor ties in better with the Basic Instinct theme that has been present in my work for a long time.
It is also because I actually, literally, and for the first time this clearly, I detected my desire for blood with regard to Covid measures.

I watched a critical roast of the statistical numbers used in yesterday’s Dutch press conference, and I found the ruthless slaying satisfying

It was like my thirst for blood to have this bullshit press conference where booster vaccination and the once installed as ->TEMPORARY<- measure QR code (a proof of vaccination, that you need to enter cafes, theatres and theme parks – which reopened today after a month of lockdown, where no one could get into those places, with or without code) were defended by numbers everyone in their right mind understood were professional guess work at best;
I longed for that bullshit to be statistically dissected and its remains spread over five different continents. The last part didn’t really happen, but serves as illustration how angry I was feeling.

And I watched a two hour show, an analysis, and it was satisfactory, but only mildly. But I could complement it with an understanding that our government is going to fail spectacularly. Either in a calculated, ego-saving way that will damage-control their election results for the upcoming local elections in March;
Or perhaps I did see things they did not see yet.

Maybe me understanding their QR code will fail, and that they’re probably working towards when it can be cancelled without losing face; Maybe that is a personal observation.
Maybe they don’t see it will fail and they are not preparing an exit strategy behind the scenes.

But even if they choose to keep the QR code, of which they ve capped validity at 9 months after initial vaccination, meaning as of April all those without booster can no longer visit the cafes;
Even then no one is going to buy it.
The Dutch people are not going to get a new vaccination every few months, just to visit a café!

Maybe government manages to keep the once installed as ->TEMPORARY<- measure of QR code [ yes I know I am repeating myself, but this is worth repeating ] thereby effectively continuing their bullying campaign against their own people, into taking vaccinations just to have a social life.
Yes, really, maybe they will find a way to go through with it politically, but the people will just refuse to update their vaccinations.

I m sure of it.

This first booster percentage in The Netherlands is already lower than they expected and although I took my booster, because I was suffering from a martyr complex where I actually thought I had to sacrifice my own body to protect the vulnerable, I love seeing those meager numbers.

I love seeing how the people are saying No to being bullied into vaccination – even the ones who took the vaccination last summer, when it was still a voluntary choice.
Making vaccination practically mandatory with the QR code, has worked against the government.
But the longer they hold on to using the QR code, and the more they cap the duration your vaccination is valid, the stronger the pushback will be.
The louder the mongering will be.

Yet the press conference was full of incorrect statistics but most of all it did not acknowledge that the people are murmuring.
That something has changed.

The press conference and parliamentary debate today, did not acknowledge, that the time has come for change.

Not change because it is safe, not change because it is sensible. Not change because better data are available;
But change as an acknowledgement that change has already begun.

Change, because the rock was set loose and is now rolling downhill.
Change, because the avalanche has already begun.
Change, because the people murmur, the people grumble and monger.
And change because:
The Dutch are not Germans.
The Dutch are not French.
And CHANGE because THAT is information you should keep in mind, somewhere in the front, if you want to do anything EVER again involving rules and regulations in The Netherlands.

Anybody who wants anything done, either in Dutch organizations, or from Dutch citizens, should immediately and preferably thoroughly, cleanse themselves of any megalomaniac ideas about becoming the Napoleon or Der Fuhrer of the Lowlands.

Yes, we can be conquered.
Yes, our defenses suck.
But Dutch passive aggressiveness where we do exactly what you ask, but nothing more?
Do not underestimate how effective that can be.

A population who no longer attends theaters, cafes, and events, and starts an underground economy in people’s living rooms and private spaces?
Or who takes their shots exactly on the margin of their QR code, but abandon all not legally enforced measures, such as testing, quarantine, social distancing?

Good luck fighting your pandemic with that.

There is a lot to do about people who do not take their vaccinations, or who protest, and about the threat of real violence;
But in my opinion that visible and sometimes scary side of resistance are not the threat to public health, or the undermining force to Covid measures.
These people bother to show up and speak up, and that is a very important difference to murmuring and grumbling; because those people are not, nor have they ever, showed up for the conversation.
Myself included.

In the press conference and the parliamentary debate, government frequently pointed to France and Germany, as examples on rules, regulations, but also QR code.
But it wasn’t until today, that I realized how absolutely CRUCIAL this is, in understanding why they keep missing the mark in communication with the Dutch people.

Because in France and Germany?
Yes! 
Then keeping your eye on the extremes is enough to measure public compliance.
Keeping your eye on the visible, let’s say “official”  resistance in France and Germany, the part that officially rallies against the rules, is enough to indicate the chances of success of your policies.
And Germany has a history of having a population that is way too compliant, ending up with the whole country having to take the fall for both 1st and 2nd WW; And France on the other hand has a history of the people overturning their government.

But The Netherlands?
The Netherlands have neither.
And in our history, and this is really common knowledge for anyone who has studied our political and cultural background, our allies and our foes, which apparently our government has not –
In our history we have never sided with Germany nor with France.

We side with England.
Always.

With: No-more-Covid-measures, Brexit-mayhem, Boris-Johnson-party gate, England.

Our Dutch minister of health, pointing to France and Germany as examples, illustrations, or countries to learn from in any way, on how a country should measure a pandemic, goes against common sense and it goes against history. And it’s a vast overestimation of how important the Dutch anti-vax movement is, and a glorious underestimation of normal people no longer feeling part of the problem nor the solution.

It is a glorious underestimation of the people murmuring and by now taking pleasure in the statistics of your national press conference being roasted.

Thinking you can get away with QR codes in The Netherlands, because we don’t have the French resistance and assuming we have the German compliance, is underestimating the people who will do nothing and watch you meet your political doom.

In the Netherlands, we have stopped caring about our government. We don’t even care enough to resist, because we know it will fall apart from passive aggressiveness way faster than it will by resisting it.

There is a saying in Dutch:
“If it doesn’t go the way it must, it must go the way it does.” 

The QR code marked the moment when all those Dutch who had taken their vaccination out of solidarity, felt betrayed.
The government overplayed their hand, when from a situation where over 80% of the population had taken a vaccine without asking anything in return, they tried to “make” the remaining part take it, by making vaccination mandatory to get a QR code to attend cafes, theatres, cinemas.
I think that move lost more ground in fighting the pandemic, than it gained.

I think that move, making vaccination almost mandatory, by QR code, as well as holding on to that measure even when the pandemic situations are January 2022 entirely different than October last year-
that’s the biggest mistake our government has made.

We’re no longer complying, because we are not German.
We are not openly rebelling because we are not French.
Murmuring Dutch are not a sign a revolution is at hand.
The smell of blood I sense, is metaphorical; It is not literal.

The avalanche, the rock that is rolling down the hill, the murmuring of the people, the grumbling, the mongering;
They are a sign that
if things don’t go the way they must?
Then they must go the way they do.

In England murmuring plays a crucial role in parliamentary debates.
The country of Churchill, the only European country who successfully resisted Nazi Germany, and they have relieved all Covid measures.
On a side note: The other European country that did not resist Germany but was very effective in protecting their citizens and gave their Jewish population an opportunity to escape to Sweden, was Denmark: Also, a country where they have relieved all Covid measures.

England and Denmark had the best tactics in the second word war, and from the two The Netherlands has the strongest ties to England.  

So if the Dutch want to come out of the pandemic stronger, bolder, and with their head held high?
It must run away at the smell of blood, unless we want to risk a second Bastille Day.
We must stop looking to Germany, unless…. unless you want to risk making their mistakes.

The Netherlands must do what it has always done:
We must side with
England.

.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

post-script 28 January 2022:
After this post, for the first time ever, I ve decided to start following Dutch Covid politics.
I will Tweet about this from January 2022 to March after our local elections, describing political choices and how they impact the dynamics between people and government.

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/

movie about England in the second WW:

 

 

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

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

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

Thursday January 13, 1997 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.
~Lauren97
An unexamined life is not worth living

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

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

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

.

Books 

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

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

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Out with the altruism and in with the hatred

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

 

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

 

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

William Congreve
The Mourning Bride (1697)

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

Dear Sara,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then altruism has crossed a motherfucking line.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or, alternatively; 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You re on your own.

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

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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

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

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/