A Good Friend To Bear | 1996 diary

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Madonna early 80s

diary 1996
“GO HOME, LAUREN.”
Thursday May 6, 1996

I always feel my workweek ends on Thursday night.
I don’t know why, because I cannot remember the last time I could actually take time off, to work on my own books on Friday.
I m always behind on my freelance work, and work weekends too. Sometimes because I have a deadline, but more often because I didn’t get any paid work done during the week.

I try to make at least 32 paid hours a week, but at the expense of publishing my own books.
The Friday “off” to work on my own stuff, is a concept, a dream that has never been a reality. It’s something that only works in theory or until I become more productive.

Another reason I still see Thursday night as the closer to my workweek is because it’s Guns N’ Roses night at the hard rock cafe. I can justify going there way more if it’s “my Friday night”, even when it’s obviously not.

So I went to the hard rock cafe but it was relatively quiet. Maybe because it was raining.
There were maybe half of the people I usually meet there, and not the guy I always flirt with and with whom I suspect to one day end in bed with.
It gave me a lot of time to think, and as the girl I talk to the most went to the bar to get us a beer, I started contemplating all the areas at which I seem to be failing.
My paid work.
Publishing my books.
Writing. I hardly write anymore because I m daunted by everything that I’ve already written and that I want to print. I don’t want to add more to the pile.
And I fail at losing weight.

Months ago, I really tuned into how I lived when I was 16 and was so motivated to use that as a recipe to get the body and the productivity back I had then. I called it Project 88, because I turned 16 in the Summer of 88.
But like I said, despite the cool title, nothing much came of it.

I never got it rolling.
It was a good idea, but I still weigh the same, and as I just explained my productivity is also nowhere near that teenager that just crushed it.

I wondered if there was a different way of viewing this failure of getting my shit together.
An explanation, of why I was failing at something I had done right without any effort, years and years ago.

If I was that 16 year old Lauren right now, what would I be doing right at this moment?

Of course.
I would be home.
I would not be standing in a bar on a Thursday night.

It is already too late to call it an early night, and I did have two beers.
But that light bulb moment made me go home as soon as I could. At least an hour and a beer earlier than usual.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I did realize that wondering what 16 year old me would do, at any moment, any situation, how she would tackle my current life;
That, was always a great question to ask myself.

.

diary 1996
DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL. WITH BELLS ON. ūüĎĻ
Friday May 7, 1996

Around 2 AM, but I can’t remember I had actually slept although I had not been fully awake either, I “woke up” with pains in my body that I only have when I m stressed.
The type of pains that you ve read about, that you should have them checked out because you may be suffering from a heart condition.

The type of pains I ve been, well not “ignoring” since I was 16; But I have always refused to give them the medical attention a sane person would have given them.
I think they’re a sign that if I don’t want to die, I should get my shit together.
Not that if I don’t want to die, I should go to a hospital and get some scans and other tests and then get medicated.
I ve never seen them as a sign of that, and even though the pains woke me up at 2 AM, took my peace of mind, worried me sick, and I did not fall asleep until dawn;
I do not intend to start caving in now.

If I die, I die.
But if God wants me to publish my books, and become a published author, then he better keep me alive.
We’re in this together, and I m not going to do all the work of undergoing all kinds of stressful tests or treatment to stay alive.
Not when I was 16, and my boyfriend broke up with me, and it was the first year I felt these pains.
Not now.
Not ever.

Regardless of how often you ve felt this, you never get used to it. It’s loneliness, but amplified by being alone at night. It’s fear of dying. It’s the pain itself, that is so unsettling.
It mixes together to a monster that I would round off to “fear”, but then again it’s too big, too multifaceted to be called by such a simple term.
It’s a monster, that what it is.
And it comes at night when you’re all alone and were not feeling too good to start with.

It comes to feed on your fears and then on your soul.
I m sure of it.

I’m postponing getting to bed tonight. Going to do some dishes, hopefully that helps me to calm down a bit.
But then I m going to bed.

Hoping tonight will be better.

.

diary 1996
16 GOING ON 23
Monday May 10, 1996

It’s almost 11 P.M. and I only have time for a very small entry, because this is no longer “Me” who is typing this.
It’s 16 year old me, and “she” would go to bed on time.
Not open a new entry 11 P.M. and then have the dishes still waiting for her as well.

I am experimenting with giving my life back to the 16 year old me, since she was absolutely nailing life in every area you can imagine.
And also every area I have been failing at since summer 1994. Right after graduation.

I can’t think of a good reason to struggle with that stuff when I rocked it as a teenager.
She and me are the same person.
I m sure there is a way around this.

So I “summoned” her!
And I even gave her her own diary, although I must admit I (flaky 1996 me) have not been that consistent letting her (the one whose help I want) write.
But I want to get better at it, and give her free reign to take over my life.
She earned it.

Here are some of the things she has written in her diary ever since arriving in my current body and life:

– surprisingly quick adaptation to being teleported 7 years into the future

– curious to meet the friends in my calendar and confidently does everything that I would not know how to do.

– happy to find that although her 16 year old heart was broken around this time (May 1989), I am/ she is doing fine in 1996.

– From the calls she receives from Bear and the diaries she’s found, she has concluded they’re in some sort of relationship and she s looking forward to it.
She’s unbothered to be the other woman.

16 Year old me is totally into being in 1996, and does not miss being heartbroken and still a virgin.
And in the meantime she fixes my life.

I like this girl.

.

diary 1996
A GOOD FRIEND TO BEAR
Sunday May 23, 1996

It was a note on a worn-down notepad next to my bed, the paper block that I had torn out of a notebook I had never used, that looked extremely cheap and shabby because the stitches or threads were still sticking out of it;
But it was that notepad that brought me back every night to the only thing I could do.
And the only thing of value that, despite feeling like I was disintegrating, I still knew how to do.
It said:
“Be a good friend to Bear.”

Must have been late last year or early this year I wrote that.
And it saved me.
Or at least it kept my head above water until Sara really saved me.

So, what had happened? What had caused this meltdown where I needed to be saved every night by demolished stationary? 

I saw Bear, and everything was absolutely perfect.
First of all, for the first time since he moved in with his girlfriend and no longer has his own house, we were not at my place.
It was not a clandestine, sneaking away from work to visit my college sweetheart, drop by. 
He was house sitting for a friend who was on holiday. Taking care of the house but mostly of their dog Snoopy, who needed to be taken out for regular walks. And although him staying in this apartment didn’t have anything to do with his girlfriend, it felt like old times.
Him and me.

He called me Saturday morning, I think he was making a shopping list. And he asked if I’d like red wine or something else. And I already knew he’d make us Pasta Carbonara.¬†¬†
He checked if I knew how to cycle, and offered to place my bike in the basement storage.
He also repeated his offer to sleep over, and when I declined, he repeated he would cycle with me on my way home until I was past the bridge. 

Even before I had set a foot in the apartment, everything already felt like a warm blanket. I don’t think I ever felt so loved.¬†
It also made me realize that this Bear, this type of attention, had been long gone when he broke up with me. That there was more that had been lacking, than just the months and months he hardly contacted me, prior to him breaking up.
The downfall had started way before that.

I recognized this type of love from the first years we were together. But because we were so much younger then, still teens, it wasn’t the same as it was now. He had been talented, skillful, sweet. A charmer. A womanizer. And as opposed to me, definitely not a virgin. But in terms of innocence and sometimes still feeling insecure or quirky, we had been the same.
Our arrangement had been based on guts and gusto! 
Not on any, I would say “formal training”, in how to make dating work.¬†¬†

I had never seen so clearly how much he had grown, since then. And I imagined it was largely due to the girlfriend who is at least five years older than we are. Perhaps more.
Bear was always good with Pasta Carbonara, but now he was more confident in his actions.

If you’d asked him for how he had set up this date, I m almost sure that (after a little thought, because to him it would come natural) he could have come up with a checklist, as if it were a wedding.

I found my way to the address he had given me, without needing the map I brought in my bag just in case. I¬† rang the bell, and after a “Hello?” the door opened.
On an ice-cold walkway I passed a kitchen window, where I could already see Bear. We waved, at which Snoopy started barking loudly.
Bear gave me a long hug and kisses in my ear, before I even got my coat off.

We drank red wine in the kitchen, while he cooked our pasta, and Bear opened the windows to the walkway to let all the steam and cooking smell out, which turned the kitchen cold.
But we were too happy to finally see each other, to really notice.

We ate our Pasta Carbonara on the couch, just like the old times when we both lived in student rooms.
I don’t think we ever had dinner at a table, in all those years we saw each other.
And even though he, and I guess me as well, had grown and our date felt like we were pretend playing we were adults, we still automatically bypassed the dinner table to eat.
And we would also bypass it for sex.

This was the first time Bear had a separate bedroom to offer me. Again, when you re a student and your bed and couch are next to each other, it makes it arbitrary which one you choose.
But now, after dinner, when we were cuddling up on the couch, Bear asked me:
“Do you want to go to the bedroom?”
I don’t know if he remembers that it always turns me on if he asks me what I want, or for permission to do something sexual.
Tonight “Do you want me to (fill in something sexual)?” was “Do you want to go to the bedroom?”

Although it was used many more times after.

We had sex in the most intimate way. There was a deep physical desire for each other. There were no fantasies, no memories, no talk about future sex and what I would like one day;
Because everything was now.

We stared into each other’s eyes, for connection but also filled with wonder at how horny we were.
I remember at one point sitting on top of him, and I could feel his dick was so incredibly hard, and it only got harder. It moved in me, or waited patiently.
But it surprised me, how it felt. So powerful yet contained.

Being together felt like nothing we’d ever done and not comparable to all the years we were students and saw each other.
We did things I m not going to talk about, maybe one day.

I know I can’t keep saying it was the best time ever, every time we have sex. But it was the best time sex ever.
The big difference was that it also felt really romantic.
He didn’t say I love you, it was not that cheesy.¬†

But I felt loved.

Until the days went by and I was not asked to come again, for the remainder of his stay. And it was in those days that I realized that the only reason I was not feeling totally miserable, like I usually do after having sex with Bear knowing he has gone back to his girlfriend, was because I thought he would choose for me.
That him being in that apartment, tasting freedom, tasting me!, would either lead to him becoming single.
Or part of me thought that he had already been single.

That he just didn’t want to bring me the news, because it would have placed pressure on me being there.
But I was convinced that what I had felt, was not Bear cheating on his girlfriend.
It was Bear starting a new life.
Or so I thought.

And then day came, that Snoopy’s family came back from their holiday and Bear would move back in with his girlfriend.
And I heard nothing from him.

And my heart broke.

It was more painful than it had ever been. There were days when I couldn’t stop crying. But also days when I couldn’t stop blaming myself for this. I knew this. Why was I falling into the same trap over and over again?
Why couldn’t I just enjoy Bear on the moments he did have time for me?
I knew he was the one I wanted, and that I didn’t want sex with other men.

Sure!
I like the guy from the hard rock cafe. 
I fell in love with the painter guy who looked like Slash, in 1994.
but it never took flight. Maybe it will one day, but with Bear and me, things are in such different stage.
We have a legacy.

I was ultimately saved by my older friend Sara. She explained to me that what I had felt with Bear was a freedom he had created himself. That it didn’t matter if he was or had been single, because what I had felt was something he had created.
And that I had wanted.

That Bear could not give me the sex life and the adventure I was longing for. I had to go get that myself. 
What she explained (if I understood correctly) was that I wanted to be Bear. Not be with Bear.
And ever since I know that, I m recovering.
Sara was right.

I wish I was that person using all the space, the house, the skills, the time, the love, the way he uses them.
So I m good now.

But that blow when the post-sex backlash came, had been a bad one. And there were multiple times when I thought I could not go on seeing Bear as the other woman. That it was breaking me.
I was heartbroken.

Yet every night I found the note:
“Be a good friend to Bear.”

And it saved me.
That, I could do.

.
~Lauren96

An unexamined life is not worth living

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

A Good Friend To Bear | 1996 diary
is the tenth chapter to
1996 diary 

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

.

Books 

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

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Sexless Saturdays | 1996 diary

d3e85150adf706e778f660766e78b73a--a-prayer-madonnadiary 1996
ON MY KNEES
Saturday April 3, 1996

Maybe it is because my correspondence with Nikki, the British Bon Jovi bootleg trader, has been slow.
Because I don’t remember last year’s Easter to be so dull and slow, and that was when Bear and me were still in full breakup mode.

I don’t remember if we had a late or early Easter but either way, by the beginning of April 1995, Bear and me were either not seeing each other at all, or we were in the modest coffee date phase.

After that breakup December 1994 when he told me he had someone else, someone who wanted more than “just” sex (he didn’t say that but I know that is what he meant) we had months in a row when it did not seem like we would pick it up.
Least of all sexually.
But also the friendship he had promised me seemed to have been taken off the table.

I did not blame him, I assumed it probably meant that he did have feelings for me, and needed to not see me to make the other relationship work.

Yet I can’t remember Easter weekend feeling so lonely then.

Even though I did not have a pen pall then who had paused our correspondence. Nor did I have the Thursday Sunday dates at the Hard Rock Cafe, that were cancelled.
Like they are now.

Maybe that is the key:
Because I didn’t have contact with Bear, I didn’t have a hot letter exchange with a man I called Nikki, and I didn’t have anything-goes nights at the bar with like-minded souls.
So I didn’t miss them either.

But now I do. Very much.
I can’t remember ever feeling so lonely at Easter, although in my case the worse is already over.
Thursday night, Friday and today I was alone.
But tomorrow and Monday I have company.

It’s always darkest before the dawn.

With a little luck I ll be resurrected tomorrow.

.

tolot-4diary 1996
HANGING BY A THREAD
Saturday April 11, 1996

Since it’s exactly one week ago, I wrote in my diary last, it seems to be a Saturday night thing:
Feeling lonely.
Feeling asexual, deserted, hopeless.
In a vacuum that is filled by movies on TV because I m too numb to even put on a VHS, or to listen to Bon Jovi bootlegs to write reviews for the fanclub.
I can’t concentrate for ten minutes, let alone for 2,5 hours listening to a crackly cassette.

So sexless Saturday seems to be here to stay.
Today I walked, I cycled, I masturbated AND I did yoga.
That’s four physical activities, that should be able to sustain some feeling of vitality or even sensuality.
Some feeling of aliveness below the belt.
But nothing lasted and I feel fat and slow, as if I sat on the couch and ate nachos all day.

If you would call me, you’d hear an echo.
If you’d water me, I would drown.
If you’d invite me for a party, I would answer I have nothing to wear, because everything feels off.

I checked my calendar:
It s almost 5 weeks since Bear and me had sex.
And it’s not even two weeks since I last heard from Nikki. A small note with the latest bootleg, explaining he would have little time to write.
I received the letter on April 1st, and thought it was the worst April fools day joke ever.
In particular since he sent the letter from England so there was no way for him to know it would reach me on April 1st.
But I did feel like a fool. Not just with regard to him, but because I feel so dependent on men.

My sexuality just seems to die, the moment they turn their backs on me.
And my body even!
I couldn’t go to Thursday’s Hard Rock Cafe because my belly was hurting so badly. It was one of the few spots without easily infected organs, and it responded to breathing, so it’s probably a muscle and not an organ. Nothing to worry about at all.
But there were moments I could not even sit up straight, so no Hard Rock Cafe for me.
.
And another Saturday night at home wondering what I need to do to stay “alive”, in the broadest sense.
And not shrivel into sexual nothingness the moment I am deprived of men, music and more.

It will take a man or a miracle, and I suspect a miracle won’t cover it.

.
~Lauren96

An unexamined life is not worth living

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

Sexless Saturdays | 1996 diary
is the ninth chapter to
1996 diary 

Find the subscription button on this page.

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

.

Books 

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

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

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
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Touched For The Very First Time | 1996 diary

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CHOOSE WHERE I AM HURT THE MOST
Friday March 12, 1996

I have no idea if the worst is over, because in that case it was pretty doable. But even if I have another wave coming of feeling worthless, hopeless or have a panic attack, I know now that I choose this.
Because where you feel the most, you love the most.

It’s not even 7 PM on a Friday and I have a lonely weekend ahead of me. A date got cancelled tonight, so there is no escaping what I have been pushing away since Monday.
Bear and me had sex, for the first time since summer 1994.
He broke up a few months after. Months in which we saw each other only once, as I recall.
From infrequent, his calls seemed to disappear entirely.
Until he set a date and we saw each other and he told me he was seeing someone else.

Five years ended, just like that.

Five years in which I knew I wasn’t the only one, and I think he has cheated on other women who were in a relationship with him.
But it wasn’t all that obvious.
Certainly not at the point where I could be held responsible. Which is not to say I accept responsibility today, because I don’t.
His choice, his responsibility.
Not mine.

So there it is, the first weekend after we had sex and I know he’s with his girlfriend.
They’ve been together every night since Monday of course. They live together. But still. It’s the weekends that hit the hardest.
Where I am alone and he is not.
And that hurts.

There is no way of telling how hard this is going to be, but I have decided to see the pain as a sign I made the right choice to go with my heart.
And not a sign it was the wrong one.

Irritation. Impatience. Indifference.
If I had these emotions it would be a sign I could get out, and would feel relieved to start anew.

Anger. Reasoning. Blame.
It would destroy me to feel so negatively about someone I had been so intimate with.

But a heart that feels like its bleeding left to die.
That’s a sign it was the right man.

Where we’re hurt the most, is where we love the most.

.

THE EYE OF THE STORM
Saturday March 13, 1996

The worst was indeed over.
I went to bed way too late, but I slept alright and today is extremely productive.
Although a bit lonely;
After yesterday’s date falling through, today’s walk with a friend also got cancelled because of the weather.
It’s storming.
Originally I thought I was gonna go no matter what, but then I saw a piece of roof flying by.
I live on the third floor!
A piece of roof, like corrugated sheets but without the corrugation.

I really wanted to go outside but the moment I realized that might include getting beheaded, I called him and we cancelled.
So I didn’t have any daylight, fresh air, outdoor exercise nor social interaction.
Which is not healthy, but at least I still have my head.

Yesterday I had what I thought would be my final take on sleeping with Bear even tough he now has a girlfriend.
And the pain of him leaving and not being my boyfriend, was more intense than it had been during all the years of what should probably count as “an affair”, even though he didn’t seem to be cheating, and I wasn’t seeing someone else.
But the lightness of it, was “affair-worthy”.

It’s strange that the same man leaving after sex now, going to his girlfriend and their house, is so much more painful than when I had no idea if I was the only one, yet I pictured him coming home in the student dorm and falling on the big couch in the man cave that was their shared living.

And I was right, the worst really was over yesterday.
Perhaps the whole process of getting over it and finding peace also came from reaching the conclusion in yesterday’s diary entry, that he was the right man.
Not despite the pain but because of it.
That we only get hurt where we love the most.

To be in the calm of the eye of the storm, you need it to storm.
Just don’t lose your head.

.

SHINY AND NEW
Sunday March 14, 1996

When it rains it pours! But only good things, this time.
Contrary to the last two days where I had no social interaction, and even daylight and fresh air got cancelled because of a storm;
Today was filled with so much excitement, I feel my whole life is starting anew.
That tomorrow, a Monday, my whole life will be healed, filled with meaningful relationships, and of course lots of sex.
I haven’t felt this sexual in years!
Me and Bear finally hit it off again, and me finally having all the way sex, first time in 18 months, seems to have sparked something.
Something good.

I haven’t felt this alive in ages.

Today was spent with a friend, had lots of exercise, had to go to bed around dinnertime because I was so tired!
And then tonight I went to the hard rock cafe which had “reopened”, after its unexpected and unexplained shutdown about a month ago.
Still don’t know if it was by the health inspection or if those were just rumors.
It wasn’t an official reopening or anything.
They had opened the doors this afternoon, and put the chairs outside on the terrace, and word spread fast.
A friend called me to tell me the good news, waking me from my nap.

I only had one beer, but I talked to so many people and it feels so good to be back.

Back in the land of the living.

.

TOUCHED FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME
Thursday March 25, 1996

It worked! I really am back in the land of the living.
And the consequences of needing a sex life, or to saying Yes! to sex when the opportunity arises (and in case I m absolutely crazy about the man of course), have become clearer.
They are indeed, inevitable.

I refuse to live a sterile or monogamous life.
Having one partner who is totally devoted to me, would kill my creativity, as much as living in a monastery would. People always think that I want to be the one who fools around, that not being in a relationship has perks because “then I can do whatever I want”.
Which I think is so revealing about them…. It is they who wish they could do whatever they want. They have sacrificed a unique part of themselves, their sexual expression, because they thought they had to, to be worthy of love.

When the part I would find suffocating, is him being monogamous to me.
Not me being monogamous to him.
That aspect of monogamy, is my default.

Which is not to say I do not aspire to become more versatile. Nor do I intend to say No to a new lover, to being in love, to exploring one night stands or other non-committal versions of sex, with a man when I feel attracted to him.
But it is not what comes easily and in all likeliness it will not be something I excel at.
It will not come as natural as being faithful, but that does not mean it isn’t healthy to pick Life up on an adventure.

I also insist on having a non-monogamous relationship (or no relationship!) because I m not okay with a man being jealous. I want him to be supportive of me, happy for me, take care of me when I come home.
That sort of thing.

Being faithful is easy for me, but another reason I would not make it into a promise, is because it would allow for things inside of him to stay hidden.
An undesirable inequality could arise, where I politely work around his insecurities. Something that ultimately would not benefit anybody, least of all him.
Promising him I would be faithful, would feel like doubting his ability to be bigger than that.

After the first hurt was over, or maybe even when it was still there, the thought of Bear living with his girlfriend started to arouse me.
It’s not that I can’t see how great it would be to be together. Just that it no longer keeps me from appreciating the special situation we are in.
There is too much good there, tension and interesting-ness.
I can’t write it off as a dumbed down good (he chooses for me!) versus bad (he doesn’t choose for me!) situation.

The current situation with me being the friend he started sleeping with again, is preferable to the staleness of monogamy.

I heard someone say that if you find the pain you can fall in love with, nothing can stop you.
Two and a half week after he was here, having recovered fully and counting my riches, I can say;
I ll take this.
.

~Lauren96
An unexamined life is not worth living

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

Touched For The Very First Time | 1996 diary
is the eighth chapter to
1996 diary 

Find the subscription button on this page.

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

.

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/

Pretty Tied Up | 1996 diary

disclaimer:
NSFW, triggering, sexually explicit, 18+

Video: On Wednesday, 10 March 1996, Lauren attends a screening of Guns N Roses, Tokyo 1992. Pretty Tied Up was the 7th song of that VHS.

And on Tuesday and Thursday she writes in her diary:

PRETTY TIED UP
Tuesday March 9, 1996

I feel I m in way over my head!
Sunday I came up with this idea to clean up my agenda, my social life. And get the healthy and productive lifestyle of Me, at 16!

No more Sunday night bar benders. Which didn’t seem too hard, since the Hard Rock Cafe is closed because of holiday or hygiene reasons. Either way my Thursday and Sunday fan nights are already cancelled, so it was a relatively small step (or so it seemed) to getting back to my high school rhythm.

Just the thought of having close to 10 productive hours a day, made my mouth water!
I m a freelancer, and I only bill effective hours:
Combined with how easily distracted I am, and often having the overwhelming urge to do my own work first (writing new work, even though I still have not picked up publishing my old work, my books) this means it often takes three days before I can bill 8 hours.

It’s hopeless.

And then I power through, work until way too late like I did yesterday night after having lost the entire day because Bear came by.
He just stayed a few hours, early afternoon.
But it killed my workday and maybe also because I didn’t want to feel the pain of him leaving;
I chose to work until after midnight instead.

So within 24 hours of starting my Project 88, 88 days of living my 1988 life, my current life had already spun out of control.
Instead of better, it had gotten worse.
And today a new neighbor brought me 5 gigantic homemade cookies, which were the best cookies I have ever eaten.
And eaten in the shortest amount of time, I imagine.

So on this project that was supposed to bring back my 16 year old size 6, one entire meal consisted of cookies.

But there is also good news.
About my books.
And it was such a surprise, and also shock!
I felt so free and happy and bold! I even checked with the publisher if my new plan was actually allowed.
All ISBN numbers, meaning all my books, are already registered at 1995, via a publisher that allows you to publish your own books.
It’s totally different to having a normal publisher.

So I asked:
“How strong is this push to hire an editor and designer, and make it look professional?
Because I would like to try something else, but I don’t know if I am allowed to.”

I was very proud of my choice of words “try something else”. I had thought long and hard about that. I didn’t want to shove it down their throats, because they have been so good to me.
But I also didn’t want to go ahead with something that is, three months after registering all the ISBNs and hardly making any headway publishing my books, clearly not working.

The task of publishing that many manuscripts is impossible.

So I asked:
“What if I would give myself one day for every book?
And that I print them however they come out after that one day?
No more, no less.”

And they agreed this was interesting and that they would help me!
In particular with coming up with some kind of cover format that we can adjust for every book.

So that was all very exciting (maybe you’re noticing I m not talking about Bear being here yesterday, but I m still trying to not think about it until the first pain of missing him has worn off) and then another thing happened!

Guns N Roses fans from the Thursday group at the Hard Rock Cafe are throwing a potluck party, and it’s tomorrow.
Someone has the Live in Tokyo VHS, and that’s what we’re gonna watch.

Shame it’s not the Sunday group with Bon Jovi fans, because I would have loved to see that special guy where I had, rubbing-crotches-in-passing-by-with-drinks contact with.

But then again, maybe throwing home parties on a Wednesday night is more of a dirty thing.
And Jovi fans would be too modest or hardworking to take it that far.

Let’s take it that far.

PRETTY TIED UP – part II
Thursday March 10, 1996

The potluck Guns N Roses night, with the show Live from Tokyo, was a success.
Although I did sleep through my alarm this morning, for the first time this week.
I m on an 88 day challenge to get into my 1988 high school rhythm. But I slipped within 24 hours, when Bear came by my house and we had sex.
It wasn’t that I could not have foreseen that, because as opposed to other times when he didn’t announce himself until last minute, or he didn’t announce himself at all, I knew he would come by.

I think as far as thinking what this meant for my chances of returning to my 16 yo virgin lifestyle, on the day my former lover would come by, and thinking those chances were higher than zero;
That was because I was still holding on to the idea that I wasn’t going to have sex with him.
He s living with his girlfriend, and I didn’t want to be a mistress. Still don’t, not really. If he had wanted me he should have chosen me.
First time we had sex was January 1990, so it’s not like he didn’t have a chance to mull things over.

And he broke up with me December 1994, and we’ve been flirting since spring 1995. Toying with the thought of starting an affair, and meanwhile also toying with each other. So we have been fooling around, and we did have sex but it was not all the way, and just in general not as intense as we used to have it. We deliberately kept it very playful and not too intimate.
Yet it was difficult, and I often had panic attacks after he left.
But it was also hot and exciting.

A year, since we started flirting!
So I too had plenty of time to mull things over.

And I am glad I did, because man! Monday, first time real sex, was so intense!
Despite my superficial “keep it light” decision, “don’t get caught up”and so on, which implies I was going to stick with other things than full sex, on a deeper level things had been both more complicated, as well as more simple.

More complicated because I knew I had outgrown the phase I drew lines in the sand, or above my panties.
But simpler because I was going to follow my heart, what felt good. Fully aware that more sex included a higher chance of meltdowns, emotional backlashes, and more recovery time.
After over 1.5 year without full sex and still madly in love, I had ran out of reasons to play safe and be the good girl.

So I stopped being a good girl.

And it was hands down the best sex I have ever had in my life.

It was as if I was a virgin physically!
I know it’s not possible, but damn it was tight! And it stayed that way, no matter how often he penetrated me.
Which was often.
But not as often as the times I had his dick in my mouth, which was deep!

I apparently have a very deep throat, or so I have been told twice after I had to stick my tongue out at a doctor’s office. One exclaimed I was the dream “test patient” for the throat area because you could look so far into my throat.
Well, however deep it was, it didn’t have spare space when he took me deeply. Bear knows I like that.
Something other women do not like, or so the few female friends with whom I have discussed my sex life have told me.

Ever since I know that, I appreciate Bear even more.
Before that I was just….spoiled I guess. Didn’t appreciate it. But exactly like with all other things sexual, including anal sex if we had that, he reads me.
He’s never strong or rough in a disconnected way.¬†
The guy is psychic!

The smallest twitch, or hesitation, and even things I do not know myself, and he sees it. He stops. He asks.
This all didn’t happen Monday, because my entire body was one big screaming Hell Yes.
When I say I gave more blowjobs than I have fingers on one hand, and how deep it went, this is an illustration of how much I was into it. Not to accuse him of not being sensitive, nor of
blaming him for the backlash that I can feel will still come….

It’s one thing to have an affair with someone who leaves you afterwards.
But to have one with the sex we had Monday? That hurts down to your bones.

I m on day four of holding it at bay, hoping that time will take the sharpest edges off before the blow strikes.

Yesterday, at the party with about eight other Guns N Roses fans from the Thursday gang, watching the VHS from Live in Tokyo, I noticed Slash was wearing a black T-Shirt with a white print.
For a moment I thought it was the same shirt Jon Bon Jovi was wearing in 1995, of Thin Lizzy. I went up very close to the TV screen.
But it wasn’t Thin Lizzy. It was a cartoon.¬†

And the disappointment over not having guessed the right shirt went over to disappointment about not having the right boyfriend.

And feeling less like Thin Lizzy, and more like a cartoon.

.
~Lauren96

An unexamined life is not worth living

Pretty Tied Up| 1996 diary
is the seventh 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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Archive:
1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project
.

.

Books 

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

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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.
.
So:
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.
.
~Lauren96

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.

Find the subscription button on this page.

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

.

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.
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Nederlands blog:
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Through The Looking Glass | 1996 diary

introduction

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.
.
.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
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.
.
~Lauren96

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.

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

.

Books 

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

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

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
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There is no doubt you re in my heart now | 1996 diary

THE WORST TIMING
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.

.
IT S ALWAYS ABOUT A MAN
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.

.
I JUST SAVED MY OWN DAY

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:
Strong.
Lean.
Confident.

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

.
THERE IS NO DOUBT YOU RE IN MY HEART NOW

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.

~Lauren96
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.

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

.

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/

In The Jungle Where We Play | 1996 diary

photo Madonna, Michael McKenzie 1981

“ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS CAME NATURALLY”
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

UNDER COMMAND
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

I FOUND MY 16 YO SELF IN A BAR
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.

IN THE JUNGLE WHERE WE PLAY
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.

~Lauren96
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.

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

.

Books 

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

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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.

~Lauren96
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.

To receive all, find the subscription button on this page.

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

.

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.
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Nederlands blog:
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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.

.
~Lauren96
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.

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

.

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/