Mirage 1: Person au Gratin

After finishing Bedtime Stories, Lauren picks up writing her friend Elliot. In honor of her idol Anais Nin she calls it Mirage and illustrates it with Paris’ most famous photographer in the 30′s, Brassaï.

Plato and Anaïs in the School of Athens | photo most likely by Brassai

Plato and Anaïs in the School of Athens | photo most likely by Brassai

Wednesday September 3, 2014

Dear Elliot,

What came first? The doubt, the insecurity, the gnawing itch that implies everything about yourself and your life is wrong yet refuses to speak in clear terms? Or was it my decision to focus on my books for the next few months, that ignited those feelings of worry and worthlessness? Chicken and egg. Either way they seem to be companions. When I’m happy, or at least numbed by daily life, I have no need to write. Yet when I feel awful or hopelessly insecure, preferably both, I need to write with an urge usually reserved for running to the toilet. And yes, I know that was probably not a comparison you were wildly enthusiastic about. I’ll try to be less literal and more lyrical.

I’m on day 4 of my Writing-first-spree, the successor of my yoga-empire-first campaign that dominated this summer. And the insecurity I feel has little to do with writing, nor with publishing, more with how I function as a friend, a yoga teacher, and of course a cat-mom. Things are not running smoothly between me and my best friend Marieke. She is going through stuff I can’t help her with but which does tend to make her grumpy. And instead of letting her be, I immediately switch to this pleasing-mode, ending up feeling frustrated. I’ve also had a disagreement, with someone in that quarrel-prone area between friendship and business, and ended up frustrated because I had reached the point where I could no longer be happy for the things she values in life, because I had already given too much and was angry for her giving too little in return. Rutger, my long distance lover, cut me short in my rant, stating holding an opinion can be valuable in business, but only if you make a decision. Otherwise opinions are just judgmental and annoying. I realized he was right, and that it was even applicable outside of work. If we’re not ready to draw conclusions and move to action, disagreements are a waste of everybody’s time. So I took action, yet stayed angry that I had gotten involved emotionally, and that my mind was now polluted with something that was basically just business.

 

Saturday September 6
night time

Went on a date with sexual omnivore Michael. We went on a date years ago (let me check my boy’s calendar to give you a date) and since then our online chemistry was so strong we nearly ended up having hook-up sex several times. Yet instead we never saw each other again. His fault. He dropped out of communication every time we were in the when-where stage. I was surprised he agreed to see me, especially since I stopped flirting ages ago, refused any suggestive locations and insisted on broad daylight on a terrace of a well-known café. But now I think that may have been the reason he actually did show up: that he only shows up if I have a boyfriend, and will never be interested in him. Over coffee I suggested we could visit book readings together. He emailed me and is suggesting completely different things. I ignore it. I’m not the least bit aroused, our date did nothing to change that, and even if he did manage to find the right tone again, I know he’ll just vanish into thin air. It’s pointless. I went on this date because I think he’s fascinating, not because I want to have sex. As a born-again writer I need interesting, I need complicated, I need dangerous. But merely a sniff, a flavor, just enough to get the idea. Not to get sucked in and have adventures.

The second writing-related man I reestablished contact with this week is Henry. Our meet & greet early this year fell through because he was occupied finishing his 20ish novel, and I was saving Max (my small cat). I reread a diary from 1996 this week – in shock at the emotional mine field being in my 20s was – I stumbled on an entry about a book signing and the conversation we had had. I made a picture of the page and sent it to him, and that’s how we started talking again. I have some concrete questions, regarding publishing, that I want to ask him. A date will be very welcome.

The third writer that just fell into my lap is an old friend. He stopped seeing me around ‘06, ‘07. Out of the blue I received an email. I welcomed him back but did ask why I had become this persona non grata. Or, as I jokingly called it, this person au gratin. I warned him that I was still the same loud ballsy woman, although ignorant about what it had been in particular that I had done wrong.
But it didn’t have anything to do with me.

Brassaï - Le Nu Realiste

Brassaï – Le Nu Realiste

Next to laying the foundation of my writer-worthy circle of friends, I also made pictures for the book cover. Medium shots and portrait. The first showed an arm, and when going through the rushes I wondered if the chubby arm was supposed to trigger a new a serious attempt to lose weight….. I felt ambiguous. But then I saw the portrait pictures; a 42 year old with no wrinkles, blushing cheeks, vibrant eyes! And for the first time ever I embraced my full weight and size. If I would drop 10 kilos I would age ten years.

Today I tossed out all clothes that were 1, 3 or 8 kilos too small and ordered bras and jeans in my real size.

 

Monday, September 8

Some Monday! If you would Google trivial problems, it would give my morning. Although anything involving my cats can only phonetically count as a petty problem. They’re my babies.

Yesterday was alright. Together with a friend, I did a small refurbishment at the yoga studio, and when I came home I was so hyped up I took on the task of carpeting the hallway upstairs. I’ve lived here since 2011, and although I took care of most of the things, despite having a temporary contract (which keeps being extended, it won’t be demolished until they start to build the new houses here), the hallway was dangling somewhere at the bottom of my to-do list. Together with clearing out the shed, where I kept the left-over carpet. I dragged the carpet in, leaving a trail of spider dust, earth, and insect eggs. After an hour of cutting, I had it fit. But the floor was chaos, and probably still contained potential new life forms. Before cleaning it I decided to put up some photo frames, since everything was dusty already anyway. So I did that. The frames still contained 2012′s vision boards. Another half hour later I vacuumed the stairs and the whole second floor, mopped the kitchen and the living, and fell asleep admiring the third and last supermoon from my bed.
I felt enormously content.
Until the first person making contact with me this morning was Michael.

I was taking care of my cats and my phone kept buzzing new messages. I thought it would be Rutger, as I sent him a love letter yesterday. I finally had time to read the messages “only” to find out it was Michael. Apparently, ignoring his overheated emails after our date was doing little to cool things down. My curiosity had won last week: I had agreed to see him again after (still owe you a year/date here!) those years of not seeing each other, not having sex, and me being angry with him for not showing up, dropping out, and lying. But although the date was not disappointing, I felt shockingly unmoved by his presence. Was it perhaps that our sexual attraction had only existed digitally? Or was the damage of his unreliable behavior simply too big? Had I been naive to think I could just go on and be inspired by him, after all that had happened?
Either way, he wasn’t giving it any time to develop, and was clearly not picking up that I was cold to the point of freezing. If anything, his attention was worsening my condition instead of improving it.
Angrily I texted back. Starting with that I didn’t know what to write, but soon lost in a sermon. Rant. Declaration of war. All bottled up anger just spilled out. Although that’s exaggerating. I was still polite. But nevertheless he didn’t sent me even one letter back.

So that was the first hour of the day.

Second hour.

I’m watching the news and Willem my cat is purring on my lap. Yesterday I bottled his poo- he did it in front of the litter box, giving an excellent litter-free sample to get a lab-test. He’s had diarrhea off and on for 2,5 months now. He’s had three courses against a parasite, and two runs of antibiotics. Getting his feces tested for a full check was one of the final things the clinic could do. Maybe it would bring an underlying cause why the parasite was returning all the time, why his immunity appeared so low. I bottled the poo, but had also found (presumably his, Willem’s) diarrhea again this weekend. And it had left me worried and depressed. Not again…. Also, I m planning to go to Rutger in November and felt sorry for myself for being glued to my house this summer. I had intended to travel more, get more people to take of the cats instead of just Marieke, but as long as Willem was in poor condition, there was no way I would introduce new care takers. Week after week, month after month. Instead of becoming more flexible, more independent, I was totally sucked into mothering over my cats. And now Willem was back to diarrhea…. so I made a decision to stop planning for Rutger in November. I just gave it up. Connecting Willem’s recovery with yes/no November was only making things more stressful. And I don’t even endorse that way of thinking. Your first priority, and even your first joy, should always be to take care of those who need you.
And then I heard a sputtering sound from the litter box. It was Max. It had been his diarrhea! The one I had found this weekend too of course. I had already found it weird that Willem was making both poo as well as diarrhea. I called the vet for advice on poo and parasite.

It was 9 o clock and it was the most mundane, least promising start of the week imaginable.

Love,

Lauren.

ps:
Sweetie, I just checked my boy’s calendar: my first contact with Michael was early 2011, then we get numerous cancelled dates – cancelled by him, or just not confirmed as he vanished into thin air presumably with a dead battery or such. Then in 2012 we had our first and only real date. No kiss, no promises, but nevertheless the next day my lover Nubian Prince and me found it a good time to have goodbye sex, and give Michael a chance. But Michael didn’t respond to invitations for a second date.
With a price like that paid -wasting a perfectly good lover-  no wonder was overly sensitive and easily infuriated. Nubian Prince was a sexy, honest, academic 22 year old; we’re talking solid gold here. 

Michael got exactly what he deserved. Just that he got it two and a half years too late.

 

 

 

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