Project 88 | 1996 diary

Sunday March 7, 1996.
Madonna by Marcus Leatherdale 1983

I could have settled this weeks ago!
Mom and me have been going through old photos. Ordering new prints, completing our albums, laughing our socks off, those sorts of things.

And early January or maybe even late 1995, I came across a series of holiday photos from 1988, that showed my beautiful 16 year old body.
I have always known I have been fortunate. Even now, the weight I put on doesn’t bother me aesthetically.
But the moment I saw that size 6, 16 year old girl, that could eat all she want?
I longed to be so thin again.
Or, if that was no longer an option biochemically or for other reasons;
then at least I tried.
But it was as if the simplicity of that body, stood for a simplicity in life that got lost afterwards.
Because I didn’t just long for the body;
I also wanted to live her life, and be as productive as in 1988.
I had made full schooldays, five days a week, low on social interaction if any.
At nighttime I studied.
And yet I was not unhappy. Not at all.
I had a hobby, I was a photographer and I knew people outside of school from that. And I also had friends where I lived and at school, although those ties were not intensive at the time.
I was mostly by myself, and at school.
The only thing I did that could explain my Sports Illustrated physique, was 45 minutes on my bicycle twice I day.
Early this year or late last year, I already realized having this routine to fall back on, was gold.
“All” I have to do to lose the kilos and get the work done publishing my books, is to copy 1988.
And if that doesn’t work, then that doesn’t work.
But it was 100% worth trying.
Except back then, I didn’t.
Partially because I was enjoying myself too much in bars and cafes to put myself on a social diet.
And I was also doing really well if I went out.
Both creatively because I was feeling more alive, as well as doing well productively, in terms of working on my books,
So there was no immediate reason to act on those “size 6, and the grades to match” photos. Even though for a moment there, I thought I would.
But things have changed.
The Hard Rock Cafe where I used go Thursdays and Sundays, is closed.
Officially they are on a holiday. But there is no end date on the sign when they will be back and rumors say it was closed by the authorities because of lack of hygiene.  
It has given me time to find out how badly I want to sacrifice my Fridays and Mondays, to having a good time the night before.
I m guessing not that badly.
And sexually, Bear and me are in a difficult place, that also makes me long for simpler times.
There is of course still the matter of him living together with his girlfriend now. And even though I know it doesn’t make that much of a difference if we have sex as in oral sex, or sex as in intercourse;
Emotionally, they are a world apart.
So when he comes over we always kiss and cuddle but we rarely have sex. And if we do, it is oral sex. I have received, let him touch me, only once. And I had to mentally recover from that for weeks.
It was a full-on, emotional meltdown that was productivity wise the equivalent of a fortnight at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Which makes that I have two reasons to long back to the time of that photo, to 1988
If I decide to go with “her” schedule and the place she was in her sexual development, both things fall into place.
So I have decided to make a project out of it;
Project 88
Five days a week, I m going to exercise preferably by cycling;
And as much as possible, I m going to keep school hours and homework hours at my desk.
Go to bed on time, and get up at 6.30
And since it’s March 8th tomorrow, and the year I m going back to is 1988 (and it’s called Project 88), I m going to keep it going for 88 days.
Start date (day 1): Monday March 8, 1996

Get up at 6.30 Monday – Friday
Exercise preferably cycling, Monday – Friday
To bed around 10.30 P.M.
Last day (day 88): Thursday June 3, 1996

Work on publishing my books, school hours and homework hours.
Have fun sexually, but keep it light.
It brought me a good life then;
And it will bring me a good life now.

An unexamined life is not worth living

Project 88| 1996 diary
is the sixth chapter to
1996 diary 

New diary entries are posted on my Facebook page ;
And will be published together, here on this blog.

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1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project



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Through The Looking Glass | 1996 diary


It’s been over two weeks since what became the final post for now, in my 1996 Diary.
Ever since the breakup with my lover (late 2019) and Covid, this time travel diary has become quite the ordeal to fill with interesting stories.
My body is stuck in 2021, and can’t give Lauren96 the life she deserves.
Yet I do love this project, and hope to pick up writing/ living (!), soon.
You can follow this blog, and receive these stories bundled up in your Inbox.
Or follow on Facebook.
Where I made this single entry, 2,5 weeks ago.
Wednesday February 17, 1996
When I looked at the clock, I honestly had no idea what time it was going to be.
That’s how far in I was, editing my books. A project I have not worked on since last year!
I had been procrastinating and tonight I managed to finally get on with it, by telling myself I did not have to make headway or accomplish anything.
That it was just to become friends with my manuscripts again.
The first one is about the final two years with Bear.
It’s like a diary/ novella, because it’s only 8 chapters, or diary entries, about our affair.
And it sucked me in so deeply, that when I tore myself away from my computer I felt like I had been in another world, and was spat back out violently.
My body and my consciousness still don’t seem to be reunited.
My living is cold, the balcony door has been open since I made myself sit down and pick up this work tonight.
Just for an hour.
And then the hour turned into God knows how long.
I feel I should be happy, that I did this work. Finally. My real work, my future as an author.
But I feel I went somewhere I did not belong.
Somewhere I was in way over my head.
Somewhere I barely escaped from and found my way home.
I still have that eerie feeling I m in serious danger, because I really do not know where I am going.
Or I do;
But it’s a place no one I know of, has ever gone before.
They say it is impossible.

An unexamined life is not worth living

Through The Looking Glass | 1996 diary
is the fifth chapter to
1996 diary 

New diary entries are posted on my Facebook page ;
And will be published together, here on this blog.

Find the subscription button on this page.

1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project



My diaries are available at LULU
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There is no doubt you re in my heart now | 1996 diary

Saturday February 6, 1996
I m starting to get restless. What if Nikki doesn’t write again?
Or what if he just sends me the Bon Jovi bootleg, but nothing in response to my letter?
Maybe he will stop writing me letters, with the bootlegs or the separate ones (just letters) that never needed the alibi of a package with cassettes.
Maybe our correspondence has come to an end and maybe it’s because I wrote about sex.
Not “let me turn you on” sex, but “I slept with my ex lover Bear who now has a girlfriend, and I feel so awful and have no one to talk to” sex.
The type of sex you would roll your eyes at thinking how could I have let it come this far?
A question I would not know how to answer.
I don’t want to deny Bear his future. He seems to want to start a family, and his girlfriend already has a child.
And I don’t want to deny myself a sex life either;
I didn’t have sex with other men in the years he was my lover, and there is no one else in my life right now either.
So although I can understand Nikki’s silence, and dread the day I get a business like small note, excusing himself for not writing properly or something;
What options does he think I have?
I wasn’t angry with Bear, and I didn’t feel guilty or dirty afterwards. It was way worse than that.
I felt jealous.
Nikki and me have been writing for four months now I think. Maybe longer. But it has never taken him so long to write, and from all the moments he could have dropped out of conversation this has been the absolute worst timing.
Next to losing my boyfriend or lover, or whatever you want to call Bear, I now seem to have lost the anonymous friend who gave me a feeling that I too, had someone special.

Monday February 8, 1996

When will I unlearn?
Or learn?
Unlearn to beat myself up over going out three to four nights a week, and learn that in the bar, at night, is where I live.
Where my adventures lay, my lust for life. My getting over Bear, because finally I flirted with another man again.
Possibly multiple.

I don’t know what it was, but the atmosphere seemed to be filled with anticipation and sexual innuendo!
It was as if everybody was in a flirtatious mood, and the same people that were there last Sunday, had suddenly all taken a Sexy Pill (including me) and we were all different people.

I didn’t go home with him, and technically, we didn’t even kiss. But I can’t remember the last time I was so openly sexual, openly interested, stood so close, pushed my hips back, brushed his hard-on, smiled over my shoulder, and thought:
“I can do this.”

Today was the most productive Monday in months, and I m going to hit my yoga mat and get back to my practice.
And I want to lose the weight, now more than ever.
The thought these clothes might come off soon, with a new man, was the incentive I needed to finally get my act together and make it happen.

I came by a sign from the fitness studio on my walk:
“Don’t wish for it, work for it”

I will.


Tuesday February 9, 1996

Bad news first!
I did not magically snap into actually doing yoga, after Sunday night’s nearly-encounter.

I knew chances I d run in him again were close to a hundred percent.
And I also knew that I wanted my old body back, before having sex with a new man.
It didn’t feel right to have the weight I gained during my time with Bear, still on me when I would start a new relationship.
It wasn’t right.
Even though Bear probably didn’t have anything to do with why I gained weight.

I still can’t figure out exactly when the weight gaining started, but before college I was thin that much is certain.
And I ve been doing, correction “did”, yoga since I was 15. Although not that much, that was later, when I was around 19 or 20.
I had a real dancer’s body, and it came mainly from cycling to school.
But nevertheless, when last Sunday the sparks between me and the new man (who I have not yet renamed to write about, because I don’t know how serious this will be) flew over, I did feel inspired to pick up yoga again.

But yesterday night, despite my good resolutions, I did not do yoga.
However, today I got an unexpected visitor!
He had tried to call me, but because I am so focused since Sunday, and work so very hard, I had not picked up the phone.
I was actually very proud of myself for being so mature to not pick it up during my productive hours!
Then about an hour later the doorbell rang, and it was the photographer who had filmed me when I was around 20.

It was a professional gig, because I was one of the very few models who could do yoga. It had been the only thing I was asked for regularly.
The biggest job I ever had was filming instructional videos. Just the video, the audio was a voice over by someone else.
They were filmed for a teacher training, and had been extremely valuable and not available on the market.
I never received copies for myself.

But the photographer, who had shot the videos, had received a copy, but he was clearing out his stock and didn’t want them anymore.
So he thought of me.
He had tried to call, and when I didn’t pick up he decided to drop them by.
It are 19 VHS tapes!
I knew it had been a large gig, but I had no idea it had been this big.
19 VHS tapes of me, at my peak:

I just got saved by my younger self that’s for sure.


Valentine’s Day
Sunday February 14, 1996

My entire love life got fixed on Valentine’s Day!

Yesterday, the mail man brought mail from Nikki;
The envelope clearly had cassettes in it, but from the soft thick feeling of the package it was also clear there were papers in it. A letter.
I m so tuned in with these packages, I can estimate how long the letter is, just from feeling the envelop.
I can’t remember the last time I got a letter that was this long!
Eight A4-ish papers, written on one side only, torn from a notepad.

He thanked me for my honest letter and wrote that he felt for me. That he was sorry that my lover was now living with someone else, and although his first response had been one of anger and frustration that I was still sleeping with my former lover (he said “your ex” but I have never called Bear that), it was none of his business.
And he had gotten me something special.
That’s why his reply had taken so long.

Wrapped in gift paper, he had arranged a bootleg from the 1988 Netherlands show of Bon Jovi.
Even though it came out of his own pocket; This was not a bootleg that would be reviewed since it had been released for a long time.
There was no reason to give me a copy.
Except that he knew I had gone to that show, and that it had special meaning to me.

The two cassettes felt like a true treasure. 
And I have been listening to them all weekend.

And then this afternoon, when I came home from an afternoon with a friend, I found a postcard from Bear.
I don’t know if he had rung my doorbell, but apparently he had managed to get away from home on a Sunday, and brought me a card.

It was pretty neutral. As if, if his girlfriend found out, he could get away with just making a nice gesture to his ex.
But he used my pet name, and said he hoped I was doing alright, which could refer to anything, but because we had sex the last time we saw each other and I had not heard from his since, I took it as an apology.  

I still don’t know if I m cut out to be the other woman. It was such a hard landing, being all by myself the last time he was here and we went further/ had done more than we had in the dates prior. 
There have definitely been moments when I have sworn to not go down this road, and take my chances as a single.
That nothing is worth, feeling this miserable.

Nothing, but a Valentine’s card with your pet name on it.

An unexamined life is not worth living

There is no doubt you re in my heart now | 1996 diary
is the fourth chapter to
1996 diary 

New diary entries are posted on my Facebook page ;
And will be published together, once or twice a week, here on this blog.

Find the subscription button on this page.

1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project



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:

In The Jungle Where We Play | 1996 diary

photo Madonna, Michael McKenzie 1981

Monday February 1, 1996

Let’s do this!
After being inspired by photos from 1988, the summer I turned 16, and seeing my body was naturally thin, curvy around the hips like Sharon Stone, and with broad shoulders like an 80s bathing suit model;
I got to work.
There really is no excuse for my current weight, since I had such a good start. And it came entirely natural.
I remember this because I studied my body in the mirror, consciously saying to myself:
“Always remember this came naturally. You never have to do anything for this. This is who you are.”
What I meant was that I don’t have to go on a diet or workout.
But I also interpret it as:
“You never have to do anything else than what you are doing right now.”
Because that gives me a starting point to get back.
So I got to work.
What did I eat when I was 16?
What did my days look like?
How much did I move?
I scheduled out best I could a week planning that would mimic this.
Some things are different now.
My mother was taking care of me, so in 1988 I did not have to spend time on grocery shopping, cooking, housekeeping.
And the life of a 23 year old writer and a 16 year old high school student, will be different;
But I think I got the gist of it.
Here’s what I came up with:
-smaller meals
I ate every 3 hours or so.
Which was not ideal, because at 4 PM I would come home from school and eat the largest bowl with banana, yogurt, raisins, nuts.
After I had satisfied my appetite I realized I would not be hungry for dinner, but I was so starved I just couldn’t help myself.
But it does illustrate I never allowed myself to be hungry and was never shy of eating.
The other two aspects are 1,5 hours of cycling or walking, 5 days a week.
And a 30 minute walk, also 5 days a week. Which I will be replacing with yoga.
Finally, every night between 7 and 10, I would go to my attic room with a cup of coffee (that was the only moment of the day when I was certain I drank coffee) and do my homework.
So night times will become working hours.
I ll let you know how it goes, tomorrow.
And I’ll also tell you about the perhaps not so smart choice I made yesterday night, which has given me a groggy Monday morning start, my 16 year old self would never have approved of.
photo Madonna, Richard Corman 1983

Tuesday February 2, 1996

Is it possible it’s only Tuesday morning and that I already broke my week?
That I already did not do so many things of the things I said I would do? In particular because I had decided to go back to my 1988 schedule of working (studying) at night.
I should have won the week, by looking back on a strong Monday.
I think the positive way to look at it, is that I have changed since I was 16. And also that it may have been the remoteness of the village where we lived, and the humdrum of living at home, that kept me indoors.
Living and working independently, getting up early and saying No to going out, is much harder.
If not impossible.
However, I still remember seeing that photo last Saturday, from when I was 16 years old and so many kilos younger, so many productive hours a week richer, and daily bike rides as a given.
It was entirely ingrained in my daily schedule.
Sunday night, I started the week on the wrong foot, or at least a very entertaining foot, when I went to the weekly Bon Jovi night at the Hard Rock Cafe.
I ve been going there since high school, although then not on a Sunday night obviously!
Throughout college I kept going there and never saw other students. It was one of the sanctuaries, just like Andy’s Room at the back of Warhol’s.
This reminds me of 1994!
When a painter who looked like Slash came to paint my house.
We kept running into each other, and sometimes consciously seemed to be staging a meetup.
One of them was at Andy’s room;
He had casually mentioned he went there every Saturday, but when I went there to see if he was there, he was standoffish and the bar lady was being very possessive.
Even though she was not his wife.
It did straighten out, months later. When he made an effort to see me, talk to me, and we had coffee and oliebollen (Dutch New Year’s treat).
I think that was the last time I saw him and that 1995 went by without him.
Last Sunday at the Hard Rock Cafe (note: This is not A Hard Rock Cafe, the franchise. We don’t have one here) it was good to be just a Bon Jovi fan.
There is something about that music that makes being with people who love it, easier than Guns N Roses fans.
It’s all ages, and at least on Sunday night more men than women, but at concerts it’s 50-50.
Bon Jovi are coming to the Netherlands this Summer, but I didn’t buy tickets. I don’t feel like it.
Sometimes I think I m just not someone who can stand the inconvenience of travel, and waiting in the sun.
Crossing the country in the dead of night.
And sometimes I think it must be something else that just doesn’t click…. So I don’t know why I love hanging out on Sunday night in a bar with other Bon Jovi fans, and I forgot to mention I work for the international fan club too!
I make their bootleg reviews, that’s how I know Nikki, the guy from the UK who trades them.
So there are days when I think I am a Bon Jovi fan, and that I can achieve anything I want, if only I work hard and stay optimistic.
And then there are times like this, when I can’t make myself do anything. And I resist being under command.
Even if it is from a regime that gave me the best body I ever saw, and the fast lane through high school.
I can’t make myself do things. And when everybody goes A I always go B.
If staying home on Sunday nights and going to bed early was frowned upon, I d be rockin’ it.
photo Rosanna Arquette and Madonna on the set of Desperately Seeking Susan 1984

Wednesday February 3, 1996

I’m not saying hanging out in bars (two nights out of three) does not take its toll.
It does.
I slept in this morning and was unsure if I would not get sick, from yet another night in a smoky bar, but now I feel fine, so I guess I m getting away with it.
Besides: On Monday night I was in, and yesterday morning I opened with:
“Is it possible that I already broke my week?”

So statistically speaking the worst day came after a night of staying in. And a worst day it was, emotionally. Little did I know the evening would bring the best most bad ass night of this year, if not this decade, where I totally found my mojo with help from my friend Sara!

So what happened?

Well it was with Sara, and we went to a bar and drank beer, and I complained her pretty little ears off of her head, whining about how I had lost 20 months after graduation already, and still didn’t have a frickin’ clue what I wanted with my life.
That the beginning of this year was marked by removing some toxic people out of my life, and removing myself out of toxic environments;
But it had been the same environments that held career options, money, fame, becoming a well known author and so on and so forth.

In other words: Although I was happy I had gotten myself out of it, I had paid dearly for it.
And I wasn’t my old self again.

I was not just separated by a fuck load of kilos, from the 16 year old self I had seen on the photos mama and me sorted through last Friday;
I lacked that 16 y.o. mental spark more than anything else!

Her confidence, her naturalness. She did not hang out in bars on Sunday nights and Tuesday nights looking for fun and deep conversation, because she lived in a village;
She also did not need those things.
She was fine being her, and comfortable in her own skin.

So I told Sara about finding those photos and how I felt I had deteriorated. How I had become less vibrant, achieved less, didn’t know myself anymore, and whatever my talents had once been, I would not be able to name them if they hit me in the head.
From the moment of graduation/ university, June 1994 to now, February 1996, I had wasted the already mentioned 20 months.

But in all likeliness: From summer 1988, the moments those photos were taken, to now;
I had wasted 6,5 years.

And the only thing I gained was an education and a lot of kilos.

So I was telling her all those things, and being aware we’d been here before, and it was getting repetitive, I was very aware this was going the wrong way.
I could not go on like this.
Even if wallowing had ever been justified, for example because in December 1994 Bear broke up with me, even then it was enough.
I was done.

And I could just feel the power, who I was all those years ago, flow back into me. Like that movie Highlander where you get the power of the one you kill.
I did not kill anyone, but I felt the life force of 16 year old me flowing back into me.

And all the years in between just fell of me like dead weight.

I’m back in the land of the living.

Friday February 5, 1996

photo Axl Rose, who (as someone pointed out to me just recently) was very androgynous in the 80s.

The good news is that I don’t have a hangover from the third night this week, I went out.

Bad news, is that I did spend the first two hours after waking up, worrying sick about how I am going to make it in life.
Analyzing (and in response paralyzing!) all the parts where I had lost my power, and in all honesty did not have a clue how to get it back because I do not know any people who have made it into adulthood with the same aliveness as they had when they were a teen.

The ones who I know who are already working are taking themselves so seriously. If they ever were creative or had dreams, they tell themselves they’ll get back to it one day;
Only to then hang out at the Rock Star Cafe on Thursday night.
Just like me.

Just like them I too need to first touch base with who I am, my own identity, my independence. Thursday night is Guns N Roses night, and it’s like the church of lost souls.
Where Sunday’s Bon Jovi fans, seem to have at least some kind of connection to Tommy and Gina and everyday life;
The Thursday crowd looks as if they’re hurt by it.
With eyes filled with relief, to finally be with their own people and feel human again.

Sunday’s Bon Jovi fans have a We Can Make It mentality, but in a humble, non-NLP way. There is nothing shallow nor overly ambitious about it.

Thursday’s Guns N Roses fans have a I m Unsure If I m Still Alive mentality. I don’t know any of us who are on drugs, or have visible problems, and yet it seems like we’re eaten by life itself, every single day.
Maybe it’s an extrovert introvert thing – Sunday is definitely more outgoing!

I feel at home in both the groups, but I know I am a Guns N Roses fan at heart. Maybe unfortunately, but either way it’s just how it is.
And I too needed to see them, before I could decide on what to do.

I mean I know what I want, but how in God’s name am I going to get there? Still don’t know, but a remark one friend made did stick. It was a really weird one, and you’re probably going to think I m crazy. I bet she didn’t even know herself what it meant, and forgot about it immediately after.
And yet, to me it clicked.

The conversation went something like when I pick up my new life, or have better understanding of how to express my true identity, it will be really good for my sexuality.
“My sexuality?” I asked.
Since I was unaware I had a problem with my sexuality.
Things have been slow since Bear ended our affair, and my aids phobia pretty much preventing me from building a sex life as a single.
But I don’t consider my sex life to be problematic.

She repeated it would be good for my sexuality, and specified: 
“For your masculinity. You have been among women too much, and it’s draining you. You’re male.”

I was absolutely baffled, but I immediately knew she had spoken the truth. It were the words I needed to hear, at the time I needed to hear them.

I’m not talking body stuff (and neither did she), I m not unhappy with the fact that I’m a woman;
But working in a female working environment at the publisher’s, and even my internship before that, has indeed fucked me up good.

In order to feel better, and see where my path leads, I need to man up.

An unexamined life is not worth living

In The Jungle Where We Play | 1996 diary
is the third chapter to
1996 diary 

New diary entries are posted on my Facebook page ;
And will be published together, once or twice a week, here on this blog.

Find the subscription button on this page.

1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project



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:

A Successful Sweet Sixteen | { reboot } 1996 diary

On 25th January 2021 I decided to quit writing.
There was no way
to give Lauren96 a sex life with her lover Bear having ended their affair late 1994,
and my real-life body being stuck in Covid struck 2021. 
But apparently, she has more to say!
The Lauren96 Reboot: 
Madonna 1985 from “Adore” limited edition photo book by Kenji Wakasugi

Saturday January 30, 1996
6.15 P.M.

I’m at my desk with a cup of coffee, very much like the year I’m sending myself back to; 1988.
Yesterday, I was at my mother’s and we were filing our photos. 

One of the years that came up was 1988, and I had such an intense experience of traveling back in time.
To the virgin year before, shall we say “all hell broke loose”.

1988 was the year I had my first relationship, but with the knowledge of today, I wasn’t in love. 
I found him exciting, attractive, and I had known him most of my life, always captivated by the way he seemed to be above of it all.
But at least for me, there was no real way to connect or relate to him, and therefor there was no real way to fall in love with him.
Even though he was extremely attractive, intelligent, and artistic.

Combined with the large distance between us, since we were living on other sides of the country, and the fact that he was having trouble at home, I had probably selected the most difficult first courtship imaginable. 
It didn’t turn sour until the very end, but it was very passive aggressive, from his side. Mine was probably overtly aggressive because I was frustrated with him just opting out by not answering phone calls, vague excuses his family made for him.

I have not seen him till this day, that’s how painful it was. And that’s how easy it is to avoid seeing him.
I m glad he was my first boyfriend because he was at the time someone I had been fascinated with for such a long time.
But I paid for it. And by the time I met Jonathan, in the final days of 1988, I was still not ready for a new relationship or courtship.
Jonathan did become my new boyfriend however; And that ended even worse.

By the time I sat down with Bear for coffee, late 1989, my heart was still showing signs of Jonathan’s breakup.
It’s just that I chose to move on anyway.

Bear became my lover, and he stayed my lover all throughout college until 14 months ago when he broke up with me.
That my heart no longer had the resilience it had had after Jonathan should have been the first sign it was taking a toll, I could no longer pay.

But I chose not to see, or not to do anything about it.
Until today.

Because yesterday I saw those photos from 1988, the year before Bear, before Jonathan. It was a year spent on my room in the attic, like most years were. 
And it was spent with school, sunny holidays, and dreaming about boys. And the occasional meet up with my first boyfriend.
It was this predictable schedule that spoke to me.

One of those daily routines was being behind my desk every night after dinner, with a cup of coffee.
Just like I am now, although I was here a bit earlier today.

In 1988, I would be in my room and study from 7 until 10.

I had tried to recreate that rhythm earlier this year, or maybe even late 1995 I can’t remember. I thought it would help me to publish my books!
By seeing them as school projects, I was sure I would be working on them every night from 7 until 10.
Just like back then.

And I could also see how the daily schedule would help me lose weight because all I had to do was stick to the food I ate then, and get the physical exercise I had right then.
Without success. My (bad) habits stayed the way they were.
The only thing I did do was quit smoking, but this has made me gain even more weight.

But yesterday I saw the photos that were taken in this school period. The time when I had that highly efficient and strict rhythm.

And what I saw was what I will call “the body of bodies”.
My 16 year old body, was by far the most beautiful body I have ever seen in my life.
And I ve seen quite a few, because I read a lot of men’s magazines and photo magazines.
But Lauren Harteveld 1988 wins, sorry guys.

Lauren Harteveld 1996 however? 
I have gained a lot of weight. It started late 1993, when I would spend days at the office during my internship. 
Then writing my thesis in 1994.
Followed by a job at the publisher’s sitting on my ass all day, and now I ve finally freed myself from that, but publishing my own books is not going well.

I have not given that 16 year old girl the future she deserved.
The future she worked hard for, every night between 7 and 10.

The other moment I started to gain weight was, of course, late 1994 when Bear broke up with me.
He has a girlfriend now, and he’s living with her. Although we still like each other and for a long time it appeared as if we’d start an affair.
But I don’t think we are.
I feel I lost him.

We have seen each other, intimately. It was weeks ago already, but I have not heard from him since and did not want to talk or write about it. 
Still don’t.
It’s really sad because there really isn’t anyone to blame, it’s just that things are no longer working out between us, even though it seemed like they would.

Like I said, I don’t want to talk about it. He made his choice, there’s nothing I can do.

But it is the right time to focus on my career and getting my 16 year old body back.

I owe it to myself.

An unexamined life is not worth living

A Successful Sweet Sixteen | 1996 diary
is the second chapter to
1996 diary 

New diary entries will be posted on my Facebook page when they’re small;
Or will be bundled together/ immediately published here on this blog.

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1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project



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I am a writer | 1996 diary

scene introducing Catherine Tramell, movie Basic Instinct (1992)
Thursday January 7, 1996

The new year began by paying a high price (a week) for a lesson that in all likeliness, could not have been learned any other way.
At least not by me.

Until the first week of January basically burned all my ships for me, I would have been too tempted to drag at least one, if not all boats, with me.
A boat named “yoga”, a boat named “real writer”, a boat named “Real Business”.

They’re all gone now.

I will spare you most of the unpleasant stories of who disappointed who, and how people, mentor figures, who had been in my life for years, have suddenly disappeared.
But it was ugly.

But like I said: It did what it was supposed to do, and forced me to say goodbye to three areas where I was still holding on to something that was a Plan B for when the thing I really wanted (be a writer) had failed.
They were the three career paths still available to me, at any time in the future.

The first thing I did was throw out the books from the yoga training. I only kept a handful of regular yoga books I had collected over the years, secondhand. 
Books the yoga training did not approve of, and that are for amateurs.
I also stopped practicing yoga, although I may pick it up once I have detoxed from the idea that I have to teach it. 

There came a gigantic push-back from my old employer, the publisher, when they found out I m going to publish my books at the Publishing On Demand company that opened last year.
They are afraid I m going to tell secrets, or client information, and even wrote me a letter reminding me I am legally prohibited from sharing any information about their business. 
This uproar, and local gossiping I presume, got the interest of the Publisher On Demand. They had not realized my potential, and probably just saw me as a crazy woman for having claimed 21 book titles and ISBN numbers on the last day of 1995. 
But by now they probably see me as the Mata Hari of books.

And finally the network of business school graduates who were working independently. I had been attending their meetings and was on their mailing list, but aside from the glossy magazine (and the knowledge their network was worth gold and could get you a job within days) I found little inspiration there.
Being a writer is not the same as being a consultant.
Their focus on making money gave me the creeps.
Or maybe I was just jealous that I did not have the luxury of choosing what I wanted to do with my life and at what price point; I have writing just pouring out of me, and will probably choke on it if I don’t do it.

The freedom to have a conversation with someone who calls himself a client and then draw up a contract for which price you’re going to do something? 
Eighteen months after graduating I know I am never going to have that conversation.

The only thing I can do is have faith that God gives no task that is too big for you.
Not even if it is to publish 21 books.

Because I am a writer.

An unexamined life is not worth living

I am a writer  | 1996 diary
is the first chapter to
1996 diary 

To receive all chapters in your mailbox, find the subscription button on this page.

1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project



My diaries are available at LULU
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Appetite | 1995-1996 diary

Monday December 28, 1995

At the risk of sounding like The Twelve Days Of Christmas, what I will refer to as “the third day of Christmas”, was a reflective one.
After all the wining and dining and surplus in being social, I couldn’t even think straight anymore.
Plus I m having a holiday, so although I should probably think about how I m going to make a living as a writer in 1996;
I just couldn’t make myself.
I didn’t even go for a walk, and spent the day at my mother’s where we went through old photos.

We encountered photos from 1989, the year Jonathan became my boyfriend in January, broke up with me in Spring, and in December I asked Bear to be my lover. What a transformational year.
I ve changed so much since then and not in a good way.
As pragmatic and determined as I was then, that’s how lethargic I ve become.
I ve gained nothing but years, weight, and disappointing experiences.

Part of me is still angry I cannot profit from my academic diploma, despite finishing almost first and many of my friends still at uni.
I should have gotten a proper job by now.
Not the desk job at the publishers I got, and not the half in half out independent I am now.
Something real.

But I know the real things I could be doing with my diploma will never come. Every minute of the day, except maybe on the third day of Christmas, my mind is on something else.

Like Madonna said on MTV:
“I want to rule the world.”


Tuesday December 29, 1995

A friend and me have a standard joke, where we plan our walks by adding:
“Because it gets dark by 5.”
And then the other suggests a time, adding:
“Because at 4 it’s already dark.”
The final one is always the one who says:
“Because the sun already sets at two.”
Whether it is my winter depression, or an exceptionally cloudy day but by now I really am convinced the sun really sets at 2 in winter.
But yesterday I was too busy to notice.
I didn’t even go out until it was pitch dark, and I was just in time to get my cards in the mail.

I spent the day behind my desk drawing new year’s cards.
I was very pleased with the result, and happily surprised all had gone well, and the job was done within a day.
So I mailed everyone who lived out of town, and then I had a nightly bicycle ride to deliver all the others.

It was the first year I didn’t deliver a message to Bear. Last year, I didn’t send cards. I don’t think it was because he broke up earlier that month, although I m sure that didn’t help either.
If I had wanted to deliver a card to him in 1994, I could have, but he lives with his girlfriend now. They re playing house. I can’t send him anything anymore, without running the risk of him being uncomfortable with it.
So I didn’t.

But maybe that made this year’s round less satisfactory, despite being pleased with my home designed card, and very happy I had something so beautiful to share.

That although I m almost a hundred percent certain, that in 1996 we will start sleeping together again, occasionally;
I couldn’t send him my best wishes for the new year.

And that makes 1996 imperfect, before it has even begun.

Like a day when the sun sets at 2 PM.


Wednesday December 30, 1995

In the end, meaning less than 48 hours before this year closes, it was always there. How is it possible that something that has been so omnipresent in your life, takes one failed first proper job (at the publisher’s), one vocation that I never started (yoga teacher, I got an offer to teach early this year), and half a year of working as an independent and being clueless how to make money or even what to focus on –
How does something that was present all that time, takes so much time to figure out?

In my defense, it may not make me money.
So it wasn’t that obvious.
It wasn’t like I accidentally missed a fully mapped out business model that is a guaranteed way to fame and fortune in 1996.

But it is the way to a guaranteed future that will keep me fully engaged and excited about what I do.

In the new year, I will focus all my attention on the three things I do when left unattended, so to speak.
– studying yoga books
– listening to Bon Jovi bootlegs
– drawing childlike cartoons

Yoga, Bon Jovi, and cartoons.
That is what I commit to, and that will be my work.

What a relief to have the vision showing up, on the doorstep of the new year.
It took me eighteen months since graduating from uni but here I am.
And I got this.


Thursday December 31, 1995
9 A.M.

I should be dead tired, because I had so little sleep.
Or perhaps I should be making myself a proper breakfast, instead of the snacks I ve been randomly pulling out of the kitchen since 5 P.M yesterday, when I started my 1995 sprint, which had both the potential to save the entire year;
As well as the risk to kill me before the end of it.

So what happened?

A couple of months ago, I made an inquiry with a new company, which I knew from my final months at the publisher.
This new publishing firm does not work as a traditional publisher, but it works for the author.

Like a copy shop or the local printing service where my mother used to bring our home designed New Year’s cards.
We’d usually design them over Christmas, and then they’d go to print, and reach our friends and family on the 29th or 30th of December.
Sometimes the first days of the New Year, not everything went perfect.
But it did give me a sense of accomplishment and I still make my own cards.

Either way, this new company focuses on helping authors to publish their own books.
Anais Nin too, had her own press after a long period of not being able to publish her work.
Maybe that is why although this new publisher was talked down at the publisher during breaks, I never joined.
Part of me knew that I didn’t really belong working at that proper publisher. It wasn’t me. I even hated my own translations, because I thought the Dutch words looked incredibly dull and dry.
I hated what they did to the art work on the covers.
English cover: colorful, appealing, brilliant.
Dutch cover: like a textbook from the 1950’s

I understood the new competitor was favoring authors that would never be able to publish their work, unless they were willing to buy their own press like Nin. And that this meant the quality would go unchecked.
And at the same time I knew that was me.
The good, the bad and the ugly.

The good because this new style of publishing books reflected how autonomous and unique I am.
The bad because it reflects how incapable of doing concessions.
And the ugly? Well. There really is no saying in what you will think of my work.
I love it.
And that’s the end of that story.

A few months ago, I contacted them, but it didn’t exactly fly. I was put on hold I think, or maybe I didn’t explain myself well enough but the phone conversations and the tour I got through their building, didn’t really lead to anything.
So what I did is, I threw all our ideas and half-ideas out the window, of how we were going to conquer the world with my books, and started over.

I wrote them/ my contact person, a plan on how I wanted to do it.
And then I heard nothing, which I thought was typical.
I didn’t really mourn it, because at least they had now rejected how I really wanted it, and I was no longer engaging in half-baked plans that no longer reflected who I was.
It was okay to be rejected for what you really want.

But then, yesterday afternoon, someone I had not talked to (I think he’s new) contacted me and asked me if I was still interested and I said yes.
So with the speed of light we cooked up our approach and one of the things I really wanted was to publish my books in 1995.
Not 1996.
This meant that I had to claim my titles and ISBN numbers, before the end of today. So that’s when I frantically started going through everything I have ever written, from articles for the European Bon Jovi fan club to articles for the school newspaper and yearbooks.
And of course all my diaries and everything I wrote when I was dating Bear.

Just like I had announced;
It was a lot.

But even I could not suspect it would actually be a lot times twice! Instead of the ten books, which I had expected, I had twenty.

So this morning I handed in 20 titles for 20 books, and I waited until my bill was ready.
Next to printing costs of the manuscripts and ultimately running a test copy, the ISBN costs are the only cost that is unavoidable.
They also want you to send in a free copy to the public library in The Hague, but I m not going to do that.

I gracefully accepted the bill:
Seven-hundred eighty Dutch guilders.

This afternoon I m invited at the publisher’s for oliebollen (a Dutch treat for New Year’s Eve) and champagne.
On my way over there, I m going by my bank to wire the money.

It’s the best I ever spent.
And the best 31st of December I ever had..

An unexamined life is not worth living

Appetite  | 1995-1996 diary
is the fifth chapter to
1995-1996 diary 

To receive all chapters in your mailbox, find the subscription button on this page.

1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project



My diaries are available at LULU
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The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
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When you’re talkin’ to yourself and nobody’s home | 1995-1996 diary

Madonna about 23 years old

Sunday December 27, 1995

I can feel Bear was slightly surprised I didn’t want to have sex. Didn’t want to use us coming together again – despite the fact that he’s living with his girlfriend now – to have sex this calendar year.
To make 1995 a bit less rotten, a bit less lonely, by ticking off that I had intercourse so at least it wasn’t a total failure.
But I just couldn’t.
For multiple reasons really.
First of all, because by now I ve made my peace with being single again. It’s okay to have a shitty year if the man you’ve been with for five years breaks up with you. Even when it was only a loose tie in terms of commitment and visibility.
It’s okay to mourn that.
I have no desire to mark this year as any different than what it was, by making up for it in November or December.
And I told Bear that much, that I was okay with becoming a lover, you could even call it I was okay with becoming “the other woman”.
But not this year.
I told him that much.
What I did not tell him was that December in particular, as the month we would reboot our affair, had been a very mixed bag right from the start in 1989.
We had been on a date, not even a proper date it was coffee in a cafe. I had told him I was looking for a lover because I had been single since spring and had been unsuccessful creating a sex life for myself.
I was still a virgin.
I needed someone skilled and patient. Skilled sexually and patient with my Aids phobia. Although I loved oral sex, I frequently panicked afterwards, and could almost black out for days.
It was like the entire world would disappear behind a fog of loneliness and despair.
I needed someone who was not going to freak out by that; Not in a way of calling me stupid, but also not in a way of frantically looking for reassurance that we had been “safe” and that everything was alright.
I needed someone who understood sex and in particular safe sex, was multifaceted. Someone who could resist dumbing it down.
Bear had proven to be that partner.
But in December 1989, things had not looked good.
Despite our first date being very business like, and two dates where we kissed and cuddled a lot;
He had dropped out of communication second half of December or around Christmas.
I don’t know why.
Maybe he had a girlfriend he had not told me about. Someone who wanted his attention. Or maybe he was having second thoughts, now that he had a better understanding that I was indeed not the merry go lucky girl so many people thought I was.
That there was darkness and doubt, and so much fear within me.
The fact that we had not had sex yet, did take the sharpest edges off his withdrawal. But I don’t think I ever forgave him. There was always distrust, that whenever his normal life called him, I would not be included in that.
I remember my holidays being very lonely that year, and certainly didn’t have that glow anymore of having found him, and of negotiations and our first kissing dates having been so great.
I feared I had lost him.
In January he contacted me, and we picked it up where we had left off.
Neither one spoke of December.
But when late November and early December, we were kissing and cuddling again, I had no desire to take it any further than I had six years ago.
I ll just wait until January.

An unexamined life is not worth living

When you’re talkin’ to yourself and nobody’s home  | 1995-1996 diary
is the fourth chapter to
1995-1996 diary 

To receive all chapters in your mailbox, find the subscription button on this page.

1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project



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Collect another memory | 1995-1996 diary

Wednesday November 4, 1995
7.30 P.M.

I wanted to call him “The Collector”, before I reread this diary and judged otherwise.
Because in retrospect I had already determined, right from the first chapter* which I wrote in June ’94, what the new man in my love life was going to be.
It was going to be a Nikki Sixx.

Now I don’t know if the man I’m going to call Nikki, looks like Nikki Sixx because I don’t know him.
We only write.

The Collector, my first choice or idea on how to name him, is a reference to the man who bought Anais Nin’s stories.
They made a movie out of it, Delta of Venus, which revolves around this relationship where she wrote erotica and was paid per page by an anonymous collector who only answered through messengers what he wanted her to write next, or focus on more.
I think the movie gave another spin on it, but as far as I can remember in reality she never found out who he was.

The reason I decided to call him Nikki, and not The Collector, is twofold.
Firstly because the first chapter* already speaks of a desire to have a Nikki Sixx in my life; A dominant man, who would push me further than Bear ever had.
With whom I have to work harder.
Initially I thought, as is described in that chapter, that I was longing for someone who is more of a dominant in an S&M way. That he would hurt me p
hysically as part of our sex life.
And I suspected that was not what I was really looking for, but at the time that was as close as I got to understanding why a fan fiction story where Nikki Sixx was a dominant who did hurt his submissive, was appealing to me.
Naturally I thought it was this obvious characteristic of physical pain that appealed to me, because all the other things were already in my relationship with Bear.
I already had “a dominant”.

That was June 1994. Since then, Bear has broken up with me, he’s now living with his girlfriend, and my aids phobia anxiety attacks have returned with a vengeance when Bear and me tried to have sex in a hotel room this summer.
A confession that was first given to Nikki, the man with whom I am in anonymous correspondence, before I could trust it to this diary.

I had even been actively lying in this diary, to avoid telling I had been with Bear. That’s how painful it was.
So contrary to when I wrote that very first chapter*, I no longer “have” a dominant.
Instead I have a vacancy, not just for a surplus to what Bear was offering, but an empty vacancy for everything that has to do with mental intimacy, physical intimacy, mind play, power play.
The days I dreamed about men who were able to add pain to that equation are long behind me.
Eleven months behind me to be exact.
I need to get the basics in place first.

I am no longer interested in a man who can go next level.
If I ever end up with a man in bed again, I m first going to need a really long cry.
Or two.

So that explains why I absolutely did not consider calling this new character “Nikki”.
The desires from that first chapter from summer 1994* seemed desires of another life. A life when things were still sweet and not rotten and lonely and with a lover who has chosen someone normal to live with and have children with, and ditch the girl that was his lover for five years.
Having a Nikki Sixx in my life, is the last thing I want.
1995 Has been miserable enough as it is.

And yet, when I reread that first chapter* from this book, I thought;
“I ll be damned. Let’s go for it.”
Because it really is his dominance that makes me thirst for more. It’s definitely not because he takes care of me, or comforts me for all the bad stuff that’s been happening.
The reason I told him first, about Bear and me meeting this year and how it all turned sour because I just froze up and couldn’t do it (be a mistress) is because he asked me when the last time was I had sex.
I had already told him my relationship with Bear had ended in December, but then when he asked when my last time sex was, I wrote him how we almost had sex.
Until my phobia kicked in.
And that I m now still licking my wounds.
His question brought me to face what had happened this summer, and that I could not lie about it.

Until then I had been telling the story as if it had happened with other men.
I was more honest with “Nikki”, than I had been in my own diary. 

Nikki lives in England, and although he does occasionally visit the Netherlands, I don’t consider him a physical threat nor a physical option.
First of all because I don’t know what he looks like, or what age he is. I refuse to start fantasizing about someone without knowing who he is.
And secondly, because even if he does look as good as Nikki Sixx, Jon Bon Jovi or Slash?
It’s way too dangerous.

Meeting strangers abroad, or from abroad, that’s how 23 year old women end up raped, killed, exploited, abused, blackmailed, or financially ruined.
Giving him a name as dangerous as Nikki Sixx, ensures that I never forget that.

Bear is called Bear because I trust him.
Bear is called Bear because even though he got us a hotel room, and wanted to make love to me like we always had, he stopped as soon as I started having second thoughts, and he never made me feel bad about it.

We don’t name British collectors of my erotic correspondence “Bear”.
We name them: Nikki Sixx.

So that’s already two good reasons to call him Nikki Sixx, really;
1. because my first chapter for this diary speaks of wanting “a Nikki Sixx’ in my life. A golden rule of cinema; If you introduce a gun in the beginning of a movie, you have to fire it later.
2. because I want to remind myself this is dangerous stuff and that I should never think lightly over seeing him, or engaging with him physically.

But there is a third reason, and this is by far the most interesting one:
Because I know now, that my desire for “a Nikki Sixx” in my life, didn’t have anything to do with wanting more pain during sex, or S&M.
Or that I found Bear’s cuteness factor too high, and wanted all the sex and dom stuff, without
a man being just as vulnerable and goodhearted as I am.
It was something else;
I wanted to be challenged mentally
I wanted to be inspired.
I wanted to work…

I wanted a man, and adventures, that would inspire my writing and make for good storytelling – like I said.
And who would keep them coming!

Part of me has always known there was a limit to what Bear would be able to offer me. He would never agree to be the man of a wild, crazy, woman writer.
Not good for business, not good for his ego.
And also:
A disaster for my storytelling and books.

Even if Bear stayed the fun loving, mysterious womanizer, I had always loved, there was no way he would let me write about that.
And with that, the boundaries of what I would be able to write about were set. And most likely those boundaries would be forever closing in.
I would not be able to write about the things he did with other women, nor about the things I did with other men or the fantasies I had about other men.
I would not be allowed to write about our quarrels or how he would want me to go to family gatherings I didn’t want to go to because I felt too much and I felt judged.
Ultimately I would have to choose between writing and Bear.

And I would choose Bear and die inside.
Maybe I would wake up in my midlife crisis or something.

The longing for a Nikki Sixx in my life, was the longing for a muse that would not interfere with my writing. 
Someone who would inspire it, like Bear had, but who was not harmed by it.
The longing for a Nikki Sixx stood for a longing for someone who was not affected by my pen, by my fame, or simply by “me”.
It was a longing for someone I could not outgrow, nor outdo.

And that is exactly what the correspondence to the man I call Nikki does:
From an artistic perspective I have hit the jackpot.

Ever since I’m corresponding with Nikki, I am doing all the things I said I would always do when I was a writer and a publisher.
And it’s not perfect, my God, far from! 
So many weekdays go by without making the hours behind my desk, that I want. Or without doing the physical exercise, yoga and so on, that I want to do to get a killer body.
It’s very hard to be as disciplined, in any area, as an independent without colleagues, rhythm, deadlines.
But because of Nikki I’m getting there.

The pace of our correspondence dictates my work; Or I let it.
And I ll tell you in a sec how Nikki and me started writing, because I completely forgot to introduce him!  
But initially I just started writing immediately when I received a letter. But now I m using the letters as a way to do the things I want to do.
Before I allow myself to write back, I have to do yoga, I have to review a bootleg for the fan club, and I have to work on publishing my books.

And it’s not perfect, but beneath all the things I miss, or fail to achieve, I can detect new dreams, new realities, coming into vision.
Things I didn’t know or couldn’t see, at first.
An example is what happened with Bear and me this summer;
The correspondence, the simple question: “What was your last sexual experience?” made me realize, that it had been a sexual experience.
And that I needed to come to terms with it.
With my phobia, but also with me and Bear breaking up and him choosing someone else.

Another example was the realization that I need a muse, someone who inspires my art, and who is actually enhanced and nourished by my writing.
Instead of someone whose existence is threatened by it.
This is also something I now know, thanks to Nikki who offers me absolutely nothing, except for inspiration.
And me realizing that’s all I need.

And all the other examples are things like: Knowing in what type of house I want to live. What kind of money I want to make. Things about my independence; That I will never be “okay” with selling my hours or my services, although I can understand that I may temporarily have to go back to that to support myself.
I see my body, the way I want it, more clearly than ever before.

So now how we met;
In 1994 I bought a Bon Jovi VHS from a woman, who is actually part of a couple. Her husband is in the bootleg business, and I wanted to know if he could get me a bootleg from the 1988 Bon Jovi concert in Rotterdam.
He couldn’t, but he said he had a contact in England whom I could contact. It was a business I had seen in the European fan club magazine, but I never dared contacting such a business.
The only reason I had asked the husband, the Dutch bootleg trader, was because I already knew his wife and she had put a list of their bootlegs in with the video.
But that’s how I came into contact with the British trader, whom I now call Nikki.

I receive about two letters a week.

Our letters cross each other, so that means we’re having two separate conversations. One is sexual, and the other is about other things.
They’re both entertaining, they’re both intimate, and neither one is ever harsh or offensive. 
He’s very warm, funny, honest, and he doesn’t make any promises.

I often wonder what he gets out of corresponding with a 23 year old Dutch Bon Jovi fan, but that is not for me to say.

And who knows what diary he started, and what desires he had in June 1994;
Who knows what it is I do for him.
I don’t. 

All I know is what he does for me.
And that’s sheer magic.

An unexamined life is not worth living

* In this post I refer frequently to the first chapter of this series.
Which is this one:
A letter from a stranger | “1994”: fanfic inspired erotica episode 1

Collect another memory  | 1995-1996 diary
is the third chapter to
1995-1996 diary 



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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When your fears subside and shadows still remain | 1995-1996 diary

Delta of Venus (1995)

Monday October 19, 1995
9.30 P.M.

If you asked me what I did since my last diary entry, six weeks ago, I would not be able to tell you.
Just like I would not have been able to tell you now, what my life looked like then.
It’s all a haze, just like all the months before that.
I just reread the pages, they are very positive.
On September 1st, I m starting my new life!” it opens.
Not a word about the headaches, which began this summer

I thought the headaches had to do with my work at the publisher’s. That it was a sign the desk job was taking its toll on me, and that I needed to move on and start doing my own work.
Write and publish my own books.
And become a yoga teacher to support this new uncertain future as an independent.

A friend of my mother’s has her own studio, and when I was 15 or so I started taking classes.
When I was in college I was allowed to join her teacher training for a reduced fee, and it became a welcome diversion from the academic world.
The weekly Saturdays in training became my sanctuary.

What I had not expected was that the headaches didn’t have anything to do with the desk job.
Or maybe I did know, but just chose not to see.

I still stand by my decision to become an independent, even now that I know I can’t teach yoga, because the headaches are unreliable.
They make me feel insecure about any commitment, but in particular teaching a yoga class which requires me to feel good.
You can’t fake your way around it.

The headaches that I have been suffering from are stress related, and the stress came from my sex life.
Not my desk job.

I’m taking a deep breath now, because I am ashamed to admit that I lied in my last diary entry.
I said I had been trying to have sex, or had sex, with someone new, other than Bear. And that the phobia for aids returned.

I was very aware I was lying, yet I talked myself into thinking it didn’t matter. That the essence, which was “I can’t have sex because of a returning hiv/aids phobia” was the same.
The fact that the phobia had returned as a response to Bear breaking up with me, was also still true.

But what I did not write nor shared with anyone else, was that the man I was with, was in fact, Bear.
And not a new man.

My phobia had not bothered me in the five years we were together, but I have always known its roots are still there. And that I have Bear to thank for finding a way to work around them.
But being with him had been such a positive experience, I never expected  I would have to fight the same demon again.
And not that the fear would show up when the man I was with was in fact Bear!

He has moved in with his girlfriend, so this was the first time I was officially “the other woman”.
Over the years I ve suspected there were other women who might have thought he was faithful to them.
But I never knew.
This was different, and we both knew it.
She was the reason he had broken up with me in December, so we both knew he had at least hoped he could have stayed faithful to her.
We didn’t talk about that at any point.
I didn’t ask, and he didn’t offer an explanation as to why he had changed his mind.

I really thought I could do this.

And the only reason I know how much this meant to me, that it hurts me, and that it is very relevant to the headaches, is because I can no longer remember the details.
Not of our date.
Not of the sequence, the order of things.
May to August is one haze, starting at the point when flirting entered our friendship and ending that afternoon in the hotel, when I “just couldn’t”.
And the weeks of anxiety attacks that followed.
The total despair of knowing I’m just so messed up, and meanwhile he is normal. He’s doing alright. He has a great job, a woman he loves. 
I think they want children.

And here I am, alone, phobic, and Oh! I forgot; The psychological help is off the table too.

Just like in 1989, they could not help me.
A phobia for aids that ruins your sex life doesn’t exist any more today, than it did in the 80s.

Bear responded so sweet. 
There we were. Almost as if it was the first time we met “as adults”, if that makes sense. We were in a hotel room, not a student dorm.
He was taken, and no longer the guy who no one quite knew what he was up to.
And I was there as a secret mistress.
Or I would have been, if I had been successful.

I lay on the bed in my bra and my jeans.
He sat in the window sill, also wearing jeans. Bare feet, bare chest.
He was smoking a cigarette and blew his smoke out the window, because he knew I was trying to quit. 
He was entirely at ease being exactly where he was, one hand on his strong thigh, his elbow bent outwards.
He smiled at me.
And blinked his eyes at me; A reassuring gesture I only know from my cats.

Nothing had happened, and yet everything had changed.
My phobia had returned.
I got migraines.
And Bear was no longer my lover.

I have lost a lot more than six weeks.

An unexamined life is not worth living

When your fears subside and shadows still remain | 1995-1996 diary
is the second chapter to
1995-1996 diary 


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