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

Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
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Books 

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

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

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Nederlands blog:
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A 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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Nederlands blog:
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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:
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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:

 
 

 

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/

 

 

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/

 

 

And just like that, I am traumatized

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

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

Dear Sara,

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

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

Only to find out she unexpectedly died age 55.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I feel like that demon, has already won.

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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

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

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 

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

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

Dear Sara,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* one groggy night and a full day later *

Copied and pasted this from Word to WordPress. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you know what Harteveld means?
Field of hearts.

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

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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

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

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

 

I did not use these months well, Sara

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

Dear Sara,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I don’t want to. I can’t.

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

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

So no.
The months were not spent well.

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

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

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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

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

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

 

Good for one thing | & 3 new juicy books available

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

Dear Sara,

“I m only good for one thing in life. That’s teaching.”
Michael Douglas in The Kominsky Method

Let’s be clear that I consider myself to be good at more things in life than just teaching yoga.
I am for example, if maybe not a good writer in the traditional sense of the word?
A prolific writer.
A not stopping at anything writer.
A not ever having had a writer’s block in her entire life writer.
So yes, there is that.

And also let’s be clear that I am writing this in a week where I am not doing any of those things. Not writing, not teaching yoga and not even publishing my books, even when I did manage to unlock three new books last Friday*, what in hindsight was the last day I didn’t know how badly I was thrown off track.

The Friday when I thought I was on a roll, and that nothing would stop me from going on publishing my books, writing my blogs, and rebooting my yoga career.

Except I had already stopped.
I was already taken out by an unexpected responsibility that considers multiple parties, and a desired outcome that I have no idea how to accomplish or what the costs would be if I did know it.
I have no idea how to fix this, or get the best outcome, and last Friday I had not realized yet, that I am in way over my head.

Oh, and it’s not just my problem of course, it’s something that will hurt a friend if I mess this up. 
And that’s also why I am not going to explain it, but either way:
I didn’t know all that Friday.

If you’d asked me last Friday what the things were I thought I was good at, I would have answered writing, publishing and teaching yoga, but I was also still actually DOING those things.
Or close to be doing them/ picking them up.

As opposed to now, when I m only writing you because I always do so before our call.
I have not written for what seems ages, I m off social media, and I would not have written this, if it had not been because that is what I do before our call.

And yet.
Even though this will go down as what others would call a holiday week, and what I call a “I can’t see myself doing any work” week, still the dialogue from an acting coach/ teacher/mentor played by Michael Douglas in the Netflix series The Kominsky Method, rung a bell.
A big one.

Because in season 1 he sees the reality that although he is a good teacher, who establishes great breakthroughs with his students; He is bad at everything else that has to do with running an acting studio.
Which is why he has hired his daughter Mindy, to take care of that a long time ago.

At the end of season 1 he realizes that she deserves to be in charge. Not him.
That the one who deals with the daily grind is the one who deserves the credit. Not the one who shines for a brief moment between 7 and 8.30 PM, teaching an acting class.

In the past few weeks, I have established a freedom-based format for any work I want to be doing for an extended period of time.
It came down to not wanting to commit to obligations that are going to limit my options.
So for example (and I m going to nuance this, but this is what I came up with last time I wrote you) I didn’t intend to ever commit to weekly classes, scheduled appointments/ calls and so on.

So my preliminary conclusion was that work that was gonna last, was work that could be chosen, time and time again.
Work that I was never obliged to deliver because it had already been paid for.

Now it’s not that there was necessarily anything wrong with that; It is definitely true.
But the scene with Michael Douglas and his daughter made me realize that the reason I feel trapped if I commit to scheduled appointments/ work, is not because I mind the REAL work to being scheduled!

The reason I seem so allergic to commitments is because it means the grey area of daily grind, is in the commitment.

But if I had someone else running my yoga studio, doing the marketing, answering calls and emails;
And me just showing up?
Oh, I could handle just absolutely anything!

So in this strange in-between week, where like I said I am offline and don’t write and have not picked up teaching yoga, and all I focus on is the situation that arose that is asking so much of my attention and that I do not know how to handle properly, it was great to find out that I have way more options than just doing one-off gigs.
I can do reliable, dependable, and I can do it consistently.

But ONLY of the things I am good at.
Writing.
Publishing.
Teaching yoga.
In their absolute purest, stand-alone form.

That it was never the work I did not want to commit to.
It was everything else.

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

* Yes! 3 New Books Added To The STORE !!! 

1. The Mistress Speaks
channeling a lost archetype

2. The Beach, C.
Diary, letters and essays inspired by Basic Instinct’s Catherine Tramell

3. Star Wars is finally telling women *cross out* everybody to start enjoying The Thing
And other deeply personal blogposts about the sequel trilogy that did not age well

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/