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/

 

 
 
 

 

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:

 
 

 

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:

 

 

Choose IT | The Covid Diaries (closing Chapter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.
Lauren

An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living.

Books 

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

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

I Couldn’t Look Away For Four Entire Days | The Covid Diaries

qVGpxnjrGlHaSTCqTQI6viBDSfp

INTRODUCTION TO
“I Couldn’t Look Away For Four Entire Days”
July 31, 2021

I’m creating a book The Covid Diaries, from posts I ve written since March 2020.

It’s powerful stuff, but the erratic, unpredictable nature of the pandemic, has reflected in the material.
Some chapters are written as a stand-alone essay.
Some as part of an official series “the C Diaries”.
And some jotted down in a Facebook box, I think because I hoped that way I would keep them short.
Only to find out the majority of them is so long, they deserve their own post.

“I Couldn’t Look Away For Four Entire Days” is one of those posts that were originally on Facebook.

It’s not very long; I could have posted it with other diary entries.
But the one written before this was an entire essay,
2021 04 11  Emphatic* Thoughts On Why You Should Take The Vaccine
– the post you re about to read starts the day after writing that!-
that’s why I have chosen to post this separately.

If you’re lost, you can always check the project page
https://laurenharteveld.com/the-covid-diaries/

That is where all chapters will be posted, after I ve reviewed them.

An interesting thing, is that the “billion dollar sideshow of commercial testing” I write about here, is currently still costing a million euros a day, and it is hardly used.

Illustrated with an image of Pennywise from the movie It, this is what the post from April 17, 2021, said:

.

tenor (35)I COULDN’T LOOK AWAY IN HORROR FOR FOUR ENTIRE DAYS
17 April 2021

I don’t even remember what my mood was Monday, but I assume it was a transition day.
A day where I realized that yes, Sunday’s meaty, passionate piece on why you might want to consider vaccination, had taken more time than I intended, and was definitely not the energy giving weekend activity ones hopes to have;
But that it had all been worth it.

That the fact that I did not do anything creative on Monday, and felt spent, was compensated by knowing I made a valuable contribution to the Covid vaccination discussion.

I really wrote something that acknowledged, and honored, basically every viewpoint on the topic of vaccination, and that came with a narrative that was acceptable if not inspiring, to all.

So Monday was kind of written off, but on Tuesday I started to slide, and for four days I have basically wasted every free hour, hour? minute!, reading my TL on Twitter, and my news feed, in absolute horror.
Every night I went to bed, making the resolution to just disconnect from all media and become in the moment, and in the real world.
There were so much better things to do than to bear witness to the pandemic and financial downfall of the country I was living in!

Because really, either the madness would not be stopped;
Madness meaning government hinting at entirely random dates to open shops and terraces, going from one vaccination cluster f to the next, pausing vaccination programs all.the.time,
setting up a billion dollar sideshow of commercial testing that will determine the fate of us all in our Brave New World to come.

Or it would be stopped.

And I knew that I, personally, was powerless to stop it.

The future of the Netherlands was no longer my business.
Even if we’d all get vaccinated, and who knows maybe the words I had written last Sunday would inspire more people to go if the invitation finally was for them;
Even then the country would go bankrupt on the billion dollar testing organisation for which a law was being built.

A law was, is, being built so that in order to access a restaurant, a cinema or other non-essential place, you would first go through testing in the commercial testing street which was largely funded by the government but still required a €7,50 fee per test;
And then if you tested negative, your result cleared you for 24-40 hours.
The time window had not been decided on.

It was for everybody, whether you had been vaccinated or not, and supposedly it was a temporary measure that only applied to times when it otherwise would not have been possible to have these facilities open to the public.
Read between lines: official, preventative testing to do normal things, is never going to leave.

Especially not because now there will be a monstrous testing organization that sucks the government dry for billions.
It will demand to be fed.
And the law will provide for its needs.

One minister can spend 1.6 billion dollars on commercial testing streets and organizing exclusive, highly dangerous, uncontrolled parties for a few thousand people, before there even is a law.

These events have been going on for days, and will be going on for the upcomings days, weeks.
It’s absolute maddening to even think about it.
Some are festivals with 10.000 people!!!!
AT THE HEIGHT OF THIS PANDEMIC!
They have been tested beforehand, but the test afterwards is voluntary;
No research or measurable results will come from these fieldlab experiments, as they are called.

Maybe it is forgivable that I spent 4 days to watch the destruction of the country I live in, but it feels like I ve been watching a horror movie, with an uncontrollable train with 18 million peoples railing into a ravine.

In last Sunday’s piece I said that it was up to you, not to make individual choices, but to stay connected with what the people around you needed from you.
Stand by your people, whatever that means for you.
And however big or small your tribe might be.

But with the absolute madness I ve seen since the vision-less press conference last Tuesday, the financial destruction of 1.6 billion and contagion mayhem of the fieldlab pilot events that are happening daily;
I have little hope something as simplistic as love and loyalty is going to save us.

I feel, that evil is among us.

 ~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

I Couldn’t Look Away For Four Entire Days
is part of The Covid Diaries

You can follow The Covid Diaries coming to life
on Facebook
& Twitter: @LSHarteveld

.

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/

April this year: the official reboot | The Covid Diaries

hug-guns-n39-roses-axl-rose-Favim.com-7192065INTRODUCTION TO
“April this year: the official reboot “

July 30, 2021

In April 2021, 13 months after the pandemic started, I started writing both Facebook posts as well as entire blog posts.
At that point I had written about Covid for a year, but it were these diary like entries, that set the tone for what is now becoming The Covid Diaries.
The full blogposts, were posted on this blog. But those shorter Facebook posts in between, stayed dormant. I never posted them to this blog.

Tying in the first of the two missing Facebook diary entries, to their next official blog post,
this is what it said:

tenor (33)NEW SERIES
The Covid Diaries – Countdown to free hugs

| report on the final months of social distancing
8 April 2021
post 1

Today was the FIRST time I accidentally, thoughtlessly, removed my face mask, when I was packing my groceries.
A fellow shopper reminded me to put one on, as I started to happily make my way out of the grocery store.
Which I did, but I also wondered:
What happened?
Why NOW?
Only to then immediately remember “why now”!

Because my post-Covid life has started ever since Guns N Roses has announced a 2022 concert here in the Netherlands.

And although technically I know we’re not there yet, especially in The Netherlands since our vaccination “strategy” is breaking in to a whole new level of the word cluster fuck;
Yet, at the same time I know that ultimately, we are there.
There is no way back.

The German Guns N Roses concert has already been postponed twice, which proves that planned concerts do not mean a concert will actually happen.
But just like the poor Dutch vaccination strategy is no reason for me to think the concert will be cancelled delayed, neither are these facts.
This is the one.
No turning back.

We really ARE there.

For the Netherlands this means that I think that in 1 year and 75 days, when Guns N Roses play The Netherlands, we’ll be there, breathing right next to each other. In each other’s hair.
We won’t wash our hands all day.

And everything will be as if we went straight from 2019 to 2021:
Without a trace of Covid or social distancing.
This new series will be a report of that.

170725972_4085352978153030_5544184134015770382_nWHAT I READ TO STAY HUMAN
9 April
post 2

I’m not much of a fiction reader. In fact: I would not even call myself a reader at all.
Not anymore.
The moment I started writing, I stopped reading. Something I seem to be quite alone at.
Most writers are also readers, or if they are not readers they were never readers.

But I used to be a reader, it’s just that the urge and the need to write is so much stronger.
And the urge and the need to read is weak.
I have accepted this, and from the point of “choosing ones battles wisely” I never tried to make myself read.

There are exceptions in the form of the occasional novel, which I get as a gift and then like it so much I am temporary enchanted by the idea of reading.
But those episodes are short lived.

My only reason I currently have, to read, is because my lust for life and sex is just as feeble as my urge to read books.
And with the entire society under the spell of Covid, there has been little to no inspiration from there either.
No one is setting a positive example.
Even the word positive has taken on a whole different meaning!

So that is why I have turned to reading erotica from Anais Nin.
As a remedial therapy.
Something to remind me that there is more to life than Covid.

That underneath the loneliness, and the failing Dutch Covid policies, and behind the promise of “One day things will go back to normal”;
Things will go back to normal.
And it’s our duty to keep our minds open to mystery, sexuality, and our view on the world and life broader than our travel bans permit.

While things are being sorted out, it is our job to stay alive.
Not just not die.

.

EMPATHIC THOUGHTS ON WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE THE VACCINE
12 April
real blog post

I used the word emphatic thinking it meant empathetic.
But it means:
Emphatic: done or said in a strong way and without any doubt

I did not change the title.
It is indeed, emphatic.

You can read this blog post here:
Emphatic* Thoughts On Why You Should Take The Vaccine

 ~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

April this year: the official reboot
is part of The Covid Diaries

You can follow The Covid Diaries coming to life
on Facebook
& Twitter: @LSHarteveld

.

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/

Month 11 | The Covid Diaries

rx6gsutbpk731INTRODUCTION TO “MONTH 11”
July 25, 2021

In January 2021, 11 months after the pandemic started, I briefly wrote Facebook posts, a series I called “Creator’s Diary”.
It ended after 4 entries, and I never posted them to this blog.

But in particular because of the last entry, I can now see they are part of my Covid Diaries. 
And that the reason they stopped, was most likely because I felt that disconnect with the world again.
The feeling that I was unsure for whom I was writing, how to view the world, or my own existence. 

“Month 11”, counting in months, is something that was used in “A Quiet Place” to indicate how much time had past since the monsters appeared and took over the earth.
I gladly borrow the time signature, partially for dramatic effect, but I am grateful we’re not facing the monsters they do!

Although references to a world ruled by monsters were made.
This is what the posts said:

DIGITAL MINIMALISM
21 January
post 1

To support my project of writing a diary as if I m living in 1996, I m reading a book about sensible/ functional use of social media.
“Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport

Just like other forms of minimalism, it’s about recalibrating your life so that what you spend your time AND undivided attention on, reflects your values.
Although I m definitely not a purist in implementing this book, I highly recommend reading it.
The vibe of it has already freed up so much time usually spent on social media/ email/ scrolling;
The book has created its own time to read it! 

.

HOW ONLINE (YOUTH) CULTURE BEGAN
22 January
post 2

A topic I m currently investigating, is how our minds got hacked by online media.
And how to get them back.
We are currently losing time, daily, checking our likes, reading new shiny things.
By now, it’s just not social media:
All sites have been engineered to reward staying and reading more.

Where we put our awareness and our time seldom reflects our values.
The things we really find important.
The things we would really like to spend our leisure time on.

Many of us do not even have leisure time/offline time anymore;
We are always behind on what we want to do, what we want to achieve, and when we do fun things we want to document them.
As if they do not exist unless we make it public.

Today I discussed this with a friend, and he pointed out that at the turn of the century, the youth in Finland were already communicating with each other in SMS “bubbles”.
They had a culture where they “hung out” on SMS, and then met each other in real life/ a certain place in the city.
The youth of Finland was the iGen generation (born after 1995) avant la lettre.
Before any other culture, they lived in an online community with its own rules, its own risks of being thrown out or excluded.
A culture not understood by their parents.

When I got home I investigated this culture further and it brought me to the history of texting.
It is very ironic that texting was seen as a way to communicate, to not bother other people.
A call was intrusive, especially at out of office hours.
But by texting two people could communicate with each other at different times.
“I didn’t see your message.”
or
“I only just read your message.”
Were perfectly viable explanations.
Aside from maybe the Finnish youth, immediate answers were never expected.
Let alone residing next to your phone, and being addicted to your notifications as we are today.

Twenty years after the avant-la-lettre iGen generation in Finland, most of us are acting as if we are in such a highly-pressured peer group as 15-25 years olds usually are.
(And always have been)
There are few fixed rules, and in order to be a part of such a group, you need to be constantly tuned in and watch group dynamics like a hawk.

In the book I m reading, Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport, he gives a number about which percentage of the mental brain-width goes to social interactions.
I think it was somewhere along the lines of 80%
And that was not counting SMS and online culture, I think this percentage might even come straight from the chimpanzees.

I think in the upcoming decade, we’re going to see an enormous shift in our presence on internet.
That just like with smoking that went from something everybody did everywhere, and was marginalized, using your smartphone will no longer be normal, but become functional again.
And this will happen within a decade.

I found many studies about the negative effect of online culture, both in Finland as well as globally namely on generation iGen (born after 1995)
But although a youth that was (in my opinion) unprepared and not properly guided in the exposure their phones would cause, is no doubt the saddest of all effects;
I think we only have to look at our own lives, and if we’re born before 1985 we very well remember it without technology;
If we look at that, we can see what we’ve lost.

And maybe it is our responsibility to do our part, and bring offline culture back.
So that at least the youth has a choice, where they want to live.

.

REALITY CHECK
23 January
post 3

A few minutes ago, the Netherlands got their first Covid curfew, which will last two weeks minimum.
I ve just deleted an entire paragraph about how long I think this is going to take.
Or why Covid has been very unfair to everybody under 25.
And just like climate change, no more houses being available and phone and media addictions that are altering their brains and creating anxiety, we were unable to stop it from happening.
We have not protected our youngest generation the way I think we all wished we had, or maybe a better way of saying it is that we are not giving them the world we wanted them to have.

The following is not addressed to those under 25, but those older and in particular those born before 1985:
Being addicted to refreshing your newsfeed, checking your mail, your likes and so on, is addictive behavior that means you do not FEEL what reality is.
It’s like the movie Ready Player One where the reality is so bad, people are in the virtual reality, The Oasis, as much as they can
Even at the end of the movie, when the government becomes more humane, they close the Oasis for one day a week.
But they keep using it as an escape for 6.

In in another movie The Matrix, something similar happens when the human bodies are used as batteries, and their minds are entertained in The Matrix.
If in this virtual reality The Matrix, you meet someone from the resistance you can choose between The Red Pill, which will awaken you, or The Blue Pill, which will leave you in your state of blissful ignorance.
Few want the red pill.
Many choose ignorance.

I feel that because my generation and the ones before have failed to create a sustainable future, a sustainable now, AND we have raised an entire generation addicted to The Oasis, asleep in the Matrix,
the least we should be able to do, is to be present and aware in the world we created.
Offline and online.

.

24 January     
CURFEW NIGHT 1
final diary entry

Last night Covid curfew started in The Netherlands, and it was dead quiet.
I was in bed at least an hour earlier than usual, and it was after having this eerie desolate feeling for hours already.
As if, especially for a Saturday night, something was very very wrong.

And most will agree it was:
Whether you’re mourning the Covid tragedy or the loss of freedom, I think few will disagree that in a country with a curfew something is seriously wrong.

Going to bed in a silence that could have meant I was the only living creature within miles, I wondered;
“How many people will love this silence so much, this measure wins by popular demand? ”
And when I woke up, as if I had spent money on a holiday in the mountains that serene, that sensation was even stronger.
We have to be weary to not get used to this.

It was dark.
Since the sun doesn’t get up before 8.15 or something that didn’t mean much so I checked and to my surprise it was already 7.30.
If the clock had said 4 I would have believed it, because it was so quiet.

I went about my day.
At 10 AM I had to leave, and by this time, it was still so quiet I got an I Am Legend like feeling.
From the movie where Will Smith plays the only survivor, in a world taken over by zombies and wildlife.
Since I had not checked any news, could I even be SURE the rest of the world had not been (quietly) eaten by zombies?
So I checked.

According to our news sites, the world was not overtaken by zombies.
The silence really was the silence of curfew and a country that didn’t have a good reason to get out of bed.

Today there were Covid protests, and they got out of hand.
For the first time since, I don’t know, the eighties? , there were/are riots, clashes with the police, property destroyed.

Turns out what I was hearing last night was the quiet before the storm.
.

 ~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Month 11
is part of The Covid Diaries

You can follow The Covid Diaries coming to life
on Facebook
& Twitter: @LSHarteveld

.

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/

It’s Chapter 2 | introduction | The Covid Diaries

tenor (35)I read Everybody started a diary during Covid.
And Everybody thought they were very original, and that it was so unoriginal that in fact you were more original when you did not have a blog or a journal or a book documenting your life during the pandemic.

So suffice to say that I’m aware that I have to win you over on this one, and why mine is worth reading.

Firstly, and I m writing this July 22 2021; my Covid Diaries are a bona fide mess.
Just like the way the pandemic has been managed in many countries and in the Netherlands for sure, the pandemic on this blog has been managed without a clear ending point in mind.
Without a clear vision of where it is, that I am heading.

But, unlike the pandemic, it is a rounded story. It’s done.
Just that I have to dive into this blog and collect the stories that were written, and line them up for you.

I will blog/ post new additions, and ultimately everything can be found on the project page, in their neat and chronological order.

However, the most unique selling point I have to offer you is not the flying by the seat of my pants like fashion in which these diaries have come into being the past 16 months, but the unique perspective they’re written from.

Because I would know few, if any, diary writers, who would have the let’s call it the “horrific” baggage as I do, to watch the pandemic through a lens that may have been a tragedy on a personal level,
but that is of course artistic gold.

I started this alterego LS Harteveld in 2006, and wrote many erotic stories, which brought me inside the community of people who wrote them.
What struck me was that although many could have blamed me for being archaic in my writing and my stories of lacking contemporary value because they were leaning on the style of Anais Nin’s early 20th century erotica;
I liked them that way.

If I read erotic stories that are set in this time, I pretty much choke immediately, and not in a good way, on words like texting, dating sites, Tinder if I d read stories the past few years which I haven’t.
And I m also thoroughly unhappy with contemporary writing styles.
Giving.
Me.
Pleasure.

*exclamation mark*

I ADORE (those capitals were intentionally) contemporary writing styles and my work exists predominantly on and through social media, but for erotica?
Mother of God, can we please keep it civil?
Leave the cell phones out?
Not mention leather or latex, but dress in white linen shirts that gently caress our skin? 

I thought modern day erotica was a far cry from Anais Nin’s work, and that the craft had actually deteriorated.
If you’re Dutch you can buy my Dutch erotica book here, and see for yourself.
Or browse the bookshop incl English books

And that comparison between my erotica and what I found was mainstream erotica, is about the same expectations I have for the ample Covid Diaries not written by me.

They will all be very relatable, and about face masks, hospital tragedies, the consequences for families and individuals.
They will be about the struggles between groups who are pro and those who are against vaccination, the Covid measures, and there will be analysis of Covid from economic, sociological, psychological and political perspective.

But will there be anyone who writes about the Steven King worthy Evil?
A force like the entity from It, whose physical form was a simple clown, but who drew out the most malignant side of every adult living in Derry, Main.

Will Everybody’s Covid diary acknowledge that just like in the town of Derry, Main, the missing children were  just a sign of a deeply festered evil?
That Covid has shown us the It of our times?

Because it has.

Covid has tapped straight into the previous pandemic of aids in the 80s, which was the era of the novel It, released in 1986.
A raging, distorted fear of aids, raising a generation of coming-of-age gay boys but also heterosexual teens, to whom sex would always be tied to sickness, death, and social exclusion.

The book It (1986) as well as the movie It (2017), both use this paralyzing and toxic fear of aids.

“It’s” (the movie, LH) open-faced engagement with adolescent fear
provides a perfect setting for reminding audiences
of the lived experiences of those coming of age during an epidemic.

AIDS, It, and the Horror of the 1980s by Aaron Lecklider 

The consequences for “Those coming of age during an epidemic”
were indeed dramatic.
As they will be for the ones growing up now.

So if you want to know how the Covid pandemic looked for someone who has lived through that experience of coming to age in the Derry, Main era of the 80s?

Where adults and government organisations were poisoned by something, that only appeared on the surface to be a deadly disease, only appeared to be a clown who abducted kids.
But that in fact was Evil itself.

If you want to know how the Covid pandemic has been for us?
Those children of the 80s who see it happening all over again?
Then this is my story.
.

 ~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

It’s Chapter 2
is the introduction of The Covid Diaries

You can follow The Covid Diaries coming to life
on Facebook
& Twitter: @LSHarteveld

.

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/

My first response to a Covid vaccination is to destroy all my work

8233726551_c9cbaa325d_b

Before I begin let me get one thing straight:
I am pro vaccinations.
Just like with anesthetics my response to vaccination is a confident:
“Give me everything you’ve got!”
Although living exclusively in the Netherlands for over 20 years that has been restricted to Hepatitis  (2 shots) and Tetanus.
Vaccinations which were in all likeliness given under the skin, and vaccinations which were indeed:
*dramatic silence*
Pinpricks.

Not:
Rusty staplers

Not:
Being stabbed in the upper arm with a potato peeler

I could setup equally sarcastic remarks for the location I received my Covid vaccination (a tent internationally referred to as “UN-like style”, setup on the country side between live stock);
The cue routing (a zigzag of textile rope that I expect could be electrified when called for);
And the effect of having to be without your face mask for 15 minutes, sitting on a chair with dozens of people, in a tent. After 15 months of being drenched in the dangers of aerosols and how it, I don’t know, kind of mattered that you tried your best to not get Covid!

Call me stupid but I thought being with dozens of people in a tent was the kind of situation where for the past 15 months, you were strongly advised to self-quarantine yourself for ten days.
Not a government funded MANDATORY bonus chance to get infected with Covid on your way out after vaccination.

But less is more!
Even if all those secondary things had unexpectedly been to my liking, I would probably have been disappointed in my ability to be even remotely okay with this vaccination.

Now to again simplify the different responsibilities and what-the-fuck-went-wrongs here, I would like focus on  one thing. 
False expectations.

Because in the Netherlands, as soon as testing for Covid started, reports on people experiencing pain when they got tested came out. Phrases like “horrible”, “never again”, and even people with a high tolerance for pain said they found it disturbing.
So the fact that after vaccination, everybody’s heart was overflowing with joy and gratitude for their vaccination, could therefor in my opinion only mean it was less painful and less intrusive than their test.

And the information from the government too, was tailored to screening for physical contra-indications for the Covid shot.
As far as mental conditions went, it asked if you ever fainted during vaccination.

Which was of course, “No”.
But in hindsight this could have been because those vaccinations had indeed been pinpricks and had not been given in the apocalyptic setting of a red cross war zone tent. I could just see the imaginary trenches, and one pony in front of the tent was constantly on his side and had visible difficulty getting up.
But war is equally hard, on humans and animals alike!

So the questionnaire in no way suggested that you would suffer any psychological damage,
nor that there were any mental health issues to take into account before setting foot on the set of Contagion.

Then why do I want to destroy all my work?
All my social media accounts (I work under two names, and two languages), websites, YouTube channels?
Why do I want to die, and because I know that is self-destructive and people will feel the need to save me and help me;
Why do I feel so blessed that I am an artist, and that I can just destroy my work and no one will be able to stop me because blogging is without value and cannot count as self-destruction?

Why is there not in the brochure that five weeks from now after the second vaccination I have an over 50% chance (from what I ve seen abroad where younger people have received their second) of ending in bed for days with a high fever?
And how that fucks with your mind, when no one discusses this with you if IT IS NOT IN THE BROCHURE?

That five weeks from now you should stock up on yoghurt drinks and biscuit and food for your cats because it has a 50% chance of being your worst flu in over a decade?

How come no one seems to suffer from this nauseous feeling of having been injected with something experimental?
And that you need to block/ close yourself off from the idea that you now have an experimental vaccine in your body where no one knows how it will prove to be linked to the fate of humanity in the future, or even how it will prove to be linked to your own individual fate?

How do you deal with that insecurity of being part of a vaccination program we know very little about and how in the flying fuck does that round off to:
“Have you ever fainted during a vaccination?”

When you feel like you’ve ended up in the bee hive finale of the X Files?

Why would anyone faint DURING vaccination when you have the entire rest of your life to worry about what you put in your body?

I think part of me, taking this so personal and no longer wanting to live, which in my case means I can suffice with destroying my work because if I no longer live creatively I am already dead;
Part of that is because if no one is experiencing this, it means my point of view is ultimately not valid.

If everyone is happy and in full gratitude over how amazing it is that science saved us, and we made it through this pandemic together;
Then why on earth would I ruin everybody’s party by admitting that I don’t have the feeling I’m ever going to get over the fact that I feel so violated in everything that makes me, me;
That I see no point at all of carrying on.
No point of speaking.
No point in being.

It was a bit like when the nurse asked if I wanted to stay seated for a bit longer, and I looked at her and I m pretty sure I rolled my eyes when I said:
“Wrap it up, it no longer matters.”

As if staying in the chair would make any difference now.

As if anything, would ever, make a difference now.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

My first response to a Covid vaccination is to destroy all my work
is part of The Covid Diaries

You can follow The Covid Diaries coming to life
on Facebook
& Twitter: @LSHarteveld

.

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/

 

Emphatic* Thoughts On Why You Should Take The Vaccine

tenor (34)Let’s first acknowledge that I’m not writing this for those who believe in the science backing up that mRNA Covid19 vaccination is a good thing.
The people who are choosing based on numbers and science, do not need convincing.
And even more so today, when information leaked from China, that their traditional method of extracting a vaccine has supposedly led to a (traditional) vaccine that is less effective.

I am also not writing this for the ones who identify with a certain religion, a certain spiritual lineage or leader, or who deeply align with certain principles, such as freedom of choice or a desire to keep things close to how mother nature intended them.
They will not need extra information or input on their decision.

They have their faith to guide them.
And we should respect that because ultimately, no one knows the answer for certain.

What I will say, and I may risk getting my message removed from the socials, so I will speak about this in the most careful terms, is that from the perspective of risk spreading I m actually surprised all governments seem to be aiming at vaccinating as many people as possible.
Where I think keeping part of your population non-vaccinated is always a good idea, and although you cannot and should not withhold vaccines: If part of your population does not want it, I think that comes up with a perfect mix of 10-20% staying unprotected.

It’s like with those bananas you can get in the supermarket since the 50’s: They’re all Cavendish bananas, they’re “clones”, infertile, and were selected because they were resistant to the Panama disease that wiped out their predecessor Gros Michel.

But in 2008 the race 4 mutation of the same Panama disease started affecting Cavendish, and to this day no one knows what bananas we’ll be eating in the future.
Gen-mo bananas (which might be resistant to Panama race 4) are not allowed to be shipped worldwide.

All trade and research and development has been focused on planting and trading one sterile, cloned banana, for 70 years.

Whereas if they had kept 20% of production Gros Michel – which was also the best tasting banana!-
or if they had immediately started developing new seedless banana types, for some variety, chances to beat Panama race 4, would have been much better.

So I think that it should never be the aim to get everybody vaccinated, if 70 years from now you want to be prepared for your version of the Panama race 4 mutation.
Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket.

There are stories about the black plague wiping out entire villages, but the people who survived, have brought forth offspring with DNA that protects them to hiv/AIDS.
Here’s an article/research that states 10% of Europeans being hiv resistant because of it:
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-03/uol-bdw031005.php

So translating to today’s standards, where not wanting to be vaccinated is a personal choice and you will, or should, be able to get vaccinated;
Never underestimate the tremendous value of people who don’t and are willing to risk getting sick.
It might prove to be extremely valuable one day.

But I m getting sidetracked, because this post is really not about to vaccinate or not to vaccinate from a medical or scientific perspective!
It is about why you may consider doing it from a social perspective.

I feel all discussion has polarized to:
People who see their health as something personal, are against vaccination.
And people who feel a collective HEALTH responsibility are pro.

I think the space to have more people choose vaccination, appears when we step away from the medical model of:
vaccination = immunity = protecting people
to
vaccination = REASSURING PEOPLE

The anger people who are pro-vaccination feel towards people who are not, exists because they’re using very limited reasoning.
There is a certain laziness in their plea… as much as I hate to use this word:
Assuming everybody will get vaccinated because it’s the “good” thing to do,
“because” you protect other people?
There is a certain entitlement in that…..

A certain:
“I m not sharing my real fear and vulnerability. I m not asking you to put yourself on the line for me so I can sleep sound.
I want you to do it because it’s RIGHT!”

Well I don’t know about you, but I get extreme allergic reactions to assumptions made on me doing something because
I have to
because it is right
because it is a sign I am a good person
because it gives me the right to even exist
Or whatever!

I immediately throw myself in antagonist mode, because I WILL SHOW AND I WILL PROVE!
That I bow to no one.

That no one can make me do ANYTHING!

That I will rather DIE, than comply with your wishes.
Because I feel that if I start doing this for you?
It will never end.

First it’s social distance.
Then it’s test and trace.
Then it’s vaccinate
And 70 years from now you will still be ringing my doorbell with new things you want from me.

I know how totally annoying it is when you (and me) are expected to just roll over and comply.
Rebelling against that is as appealing to me as it is to you.
And probably even more to me.

But what I am offering is this:
What if we forgive people for not asking nicely?

What if we forgive people for not knowing how to ask, in an honest, disarming way:
“Covid really scares me. And it would make me feel so much better if you were vaccinated,
because then I don’t have to worry.
Will you do that for me?”

What if we made vaccination not something we do to physically protect each other,
but to mentally protect each other?
Vaccination as a sign of courtesy that you understand the fear, and that you are happy to take the vaccine,
including running any risks. That it is not your or my job to fully understand what is best for us INDIVIDUALLY;
Because unless you re prepared to be the sole survivor of this pandemic, by making the right choice every step of the way, you have chosen to be part of society.

Behaving in a way most people need to be comfortable around you,
is the price of living in a community.
Just like we don’t run around naked, but cover up and wear clothes instead.
Being naked is much healthier but we accept that wearing clothes is a price for being part of society.

And you could even take it one step further;
What if people looked up to you?
What if your position in society means that people are influenced by how you think about it,
by the choice you make?

How do you think Jesus, or Buddha, or contemporary spiritual leaders, or world leaders,
view the vaccine or would have viewed the vaccine?
Do you think these people would have made their choice based on what THEIR body needed?
I think not.

I think they would say what Aragorn says, when Legolas the Elf points out the dangers of the approaching armies at Helm’s Deep.
And how the warriors of Helm’s Deep are either too young, or too old. Their armor poor.
Legolas predicts, speaking in Elvish, that the people of Helm’s Deep will die in battle.
And then Aragorn, their future king, says to Legolas in common speech:
“Then I shall die as one of them.”

It is not up to you to avoid death.
Nor to avoid battle.
It is not up to you to judge the armor, or the condition of the warriors.

It is up to you to take your place in battle.
Side by side, with your people.

It is up to you, who shall be made King.


~Lauren

An unexamined life is not worth living

[*] Probably because I am not a native English speaker, I used the word emphatic (thoughts) , when it should have been “empathetic”.
Emphatic:  done or said in a strong way and without any doubt
Empathetic: having the ability to imagine how someone else feels
But since this piece came out so outspoken, and with great clarity, I did not change the title when I discovered my mistake.
It is indeed, emphatic.

Emphatic* Thoughts On Why You Should Take The Vaccine
is one of the 2021 chapters of 
The Covid Diaries

You can follow the (re-)creation of The Covid Diaries [summer 2021]
on Facebook
& Twitter: @LSHarteveld

.

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/