UPDATED version Monday June 12, 2017 <3 LSH
If you can’t beat them, join them!
- a handful of autobiographical erotic stories about her affair with Big;
- and after coming to terms with her fragile status in The Virgin Diaries,
Lauren doesn’t fancy going down heartbroken and devastated, and sets out to dramatically improve her game. With a self-help book about hookers, sex and ruthless self-examination.
Part 3; The Way of the Trickster
How I saved my business, conquered death, and won a man’s heart.
Well, two out of three anyway.
My name is Lauren Harteveld and I am forty-three years old. I own a moderately successful yoga studio, seven unpublished manuscripts, about a quarter of a man’s heart and enough self-esteem to still believe you need my view on success. Because right now, if you start looking for advice on how to make money, or on how to improve the quality of your life, there is a good chance you’ll end up with circles into circles, with abstract terms like WHY and HOW. Or you will get thirty day productivity challenges, ten things millionaires do, free live webinars that would steal two hours of what could have been a useful Tuesday morning, and ending with the business coach offering you a price cut on their package to a wee three thousand euros. If you decide within forty-five minutes.
And I don’t want that for you.
I really don’t.
Oh and you’ll end up meditating. Every piece of advice will ultimately, somehow, convince you that you cannot become a prosperous entrepreneur, a stable partner, or happy in any way unless you meditate and become mindful and STOP! I’m here to tell you: There is another way.
There is a way to start having fun in life, to game it. To win it even! I know this paragraph is not the time or the place to bring out the big guns, about life and death situations, existential questions, and bold statements. I should coax you in slowly, brainwashing you bit by bit, as I slowly increase the intensity of the examples I’m using. But this will illustrate why I am so passionate about sharing my message.
In the late eighties an American street artist Keith Haring, had risen to fame. He made signature drawings of angels, hearts, flying babies, and dogs with wings on the subways of New York. He was already an established artist, when he was diagnosed with aids. He knew he had little time left. And in those last eighteen months he worked like a mad man. He flew around the world, and was hired to paint walls by the most famous museums of our time. He had been successful before, but it became off the scale those last months.
There was no stopping him.
Until he died.
He was thirty-one years old, and he had achieved more than most people will in a lifetime.
His life’s story didn’t cause me to fear homosexuals, nor did it fuel my raging aids phobia. It didn’t make me want to “know early” if I had anything lethal going on in my body. Instead it made me realize that it’s not about how long you live. It’s about how you live. And if your response to death cornering you, is a raging creative fire that pushes you to the highest peak of your profession, then you have lived a good life.
You have beaten death, by your creative force.
I still can’t see Mindfulness having that kind of impact on a dying man, if I might say. And I might, because it’s my book. And since the Mindfulness movement is obviously determined to colonize the whole spiritual and psychological sector by passive aggressive force, I think it’s time to strike back. Or play back, to be more precise.
It’s time I tell you about the way of the Trickster.
Because Trickster is not passive, but responsive, proactive, deliberate, and strategic. He is like a chess player or a sports man. He oversees the field, estimates his chances, chooses a strategy, and then plays it out in order to win the game.
And in order to prove it works, or maybe even because I’m curious if it works, I will use everything I know about trickster ways to make my business a success, to publish my manuscripts and to win a man’s heart.
The first time Trickster presented himself I didn’t know he was Trickster. I called him Player and later settled for Mister Big. I knew he was bad news. But just like the real Mister Big from Sex and the City, I also knew he was My Biggie. This was the one. I could escape him and I probably should, but the further I would run, the deeper he would root into my heart.
From all my unpublished manuscripts five are about a youth love I had not seen in decades, so I was aware that repressing your true feelings, could lead to writing five books fifteen years later. I had no intention of repeating that. I wanted this to be different.
Instead running away, I acknowledged I was terribly in love with Mister Big and okayed the affair. Hoping, expecting, he would leave his wife. But he didn’t and I became unhappy. Then I started hoping she’d find out. Only to realize that I had had that before.
Years before Mister Big.
This man had quickly gotten rid of me, before the ink on his new apartment lease was dry. He had kept me on and off for eighteen months but the moment his partner found out and kicked him out, my fate had been sealed.
Which was painful in itself already.
Half a year later I found out he had done that because my best friend wanted a relationship with him. They had both dumped me. Just that she had not bothered to tell me.
The memory was five years old but had lost none its sordid details. It was a scenario I did not want on repeat.
My fear of ending up with the short end of the stick yet again, colored our negotiations.
“You’re a Major League player. I would be toast,” I complained.
And I compared him to a wolf.
But Mister Big seemed determined to win me over, in spite of my fears.
“You’re giving me way too much credit.”
“That’s exactly what a wolf would say.”
It was not going to happen.
But when I cycled home something stirred, underneath the fear. And I thought; Wait. Just. A. Bloody. Minute.
Eight years prior to Mister Big, I had ended a 14 year long relationship with a fantastic guy because I had longed for new men. After my aids phobia had wrecked my life, since early puberty, I was done hiding in relationships and ready to face my fears for single sex. To find a balance between staying safe, dating new men and favoring unprotected oral sex. And I did. I had.
And although the beating I took from being betrayed by my lover and my best friend, had definitely scarred me for life, it had also made me stronger.
A dozen relationships with men ranging from twenty to fifty, had shaped me into an entirely different woman. There was no reason to still buy into my own damsel in destress story. I had grown. I had been trained for this.
And Mister Big was not someone who was eager to destroy me, or to eat me alive. But an established player, who longed for a worthy opponent.
I sent Mister Big a Whatsapp message.
I’ve thought about tonight, and changed my mind.
Let’s play ball.
The only reason I can write this book, is because I am not a trickster. I’m not flexible, not pro-active, and I never trick anyone into doing something bad, or against their will. I’m not cunning, nor inventive, and probably not even that creative. I resemble more of a female Bilbo living in his cosy hobit house in Bag End, minding his own business in his quiet and orderly corner of the world. I too, hate adventures. Yoga teachers tend to be these explorative folk, going to India or other corners of the world to find themselves or to learn yoga. I only go on a trip if it includes a five star hotel and a country that doesn’t require vaccination.
I’m as far from a trickster as Bilbo was from being a villain.
And yet the weapon of the enemy, The One Ring, came to him.
“Bilbo seems to be remarkably resistant to it’s evil,” the Elvenking said.
Of course he was. The ring was nothing to Bilbo except a trick you can disappear with. Which was useful in pesky situations and good fun at parties. That the ring also gave power to its bearer to do harm and rule the world, were things Bilbo was not interested in. It didn’t exist in his mind. Just as they don’t exist in mine.
I can tell you about the Trickster, and how to use this exciting coping strategy to get out of pesky situations, and I know you can have fun with it at parties. But I’m not teaching you to do harm. I’m not advocating some anti-social character trait. It can be used like that, for sure. But only if those tendencies already exist within your heart.
This book, The Way of The Trickster, is for those who (like me) like rules, and would be happiest if everyone obeyed them. Including the Universe. So that we all know what to expect, and when, and only good things happen to good people, and the wicked get punished by lightning bolts. Justice is always served, the prince will marry the princess, he will stay faithful, and she won’t screw the neighbor. And about a million more things that would all be taken care off in the perfect world, you and I would like to live in.
This book is also for those who like positive thinking and are able to control their life by the power of their thoughts but think;
“This is costing a lot of energy.”
And you start questioning the fairy tale life you created that is maxing out on hearts and rainbows and unicorns and you get slightly sick of always being positive.
You start longing for the neighbor. And he drinks too much and you suspect he might be rough, and that he will violate your sexual integrity and the fantasies you have about him grow more intense every day.
Oh, this book is for you.
Whether you are a master at creating your own positive world, or whether you like order and for everybody to obey the rules so that we can all live in peace, you have something in common.
You have lost your playfulness.
You have lost your flexibility.
You have become judgmental about what is good in life, and what is bad. You’re shutting yourself off from life as it is. You are, or have been, so attached to seeing life the way you want it, that you’re missing the best part: to let life surprise you. To let your own desires surprise you. The moment you start playing life, and start seeing it as a game, you get a new strength that is better than thinking positive. Better than relying on rules.
You become a Trickster.
And a trickster’s strategy to life, is from all the coping strategies by far the most resilient, exciting, action-based, joyful approach I know. Every challenge becomes like a riddle, an opportunity for you to figure out how it can be won.
How do you solve a costly problem when you’re low on cash?
How do you get more clients to buy your product?
How do you deal with death?
Or in my case: how do I have an affair with Mister Big, and thrive?
Part of me could not believe I was actually doing this: to have an affair with a married man. When I said I wanted to go to his house “for some TLC”, tender loving care, I thought we would just snuggle a bit. Even though I knew things got “out of hand”- as he had put it- quite easily. He had looked sad and beaten when he mentioned that. Women pressing him into having sex had been an unfortunate burden.
Later on, when the night had turned into our first sexual encounter and I had only just managed to avoid fucking, my belief there had been naked nymphomaniacs throwing themselves at him, suddenly became a lot less believable. More likely, there had been a string of women just like me. Happy lighthearted singles, who went to his place for some French kissing on the couch and who had then been coaxed, teased, kissed, hugged, rubbed, complimented. Everything they wanted plus one: they had been seduced. And he only needed a small hole in your defenses to build his entire game and score. He was good.
Mister Big’s response to an early suspicion of his courting skills, had been:
“I would never do anything against your will!”
And I had smiled.
“Of course not. That’s for amateurs. You would make me want it. Beg for it.”
Although I had later forgotten this prediction, it had been spot on.
I just reread my diary and it proves that I gamed this affair from the start. If I wanted a fighting chance to not end up broken, with him living happily ever after with my best friend just like the previous Mister Big, then I needed a mental make-over. I needed to be pro-active and flexible, with watertight defenses and a clear game plan.
I didn’t waste energy hiding my feelings though. It was okay that he knew I was in love with him. After my initial fail of expecting him to leave his wife, I had switched to a game plan of taking the current situation as a given.
Which turned out to be useless to deal with never-knowing-if-he’ll-call-for-a-date. It did not soothe my need for reassurance in four week intermezzos to our encounters. And the strategy was particularly meager when after sex he did not check-in. And when I forced him out of his silence, Doctor Jekyll had become Mister Hyde.
In short: my game plan was crap.
I was a mess.
And I was losing.
We broke up many times those first few months. Or I did. But he always charmed me back, and that made me feel special. And I was happy because I knew breaking up wouldn’t solve anything. I would stay in love. Write another book. Or five. So I was happy he drew me back in for another round. And after a while it settled.
I don’t think I got smarter, or gained more control over my feelings. But nevertheless it stabilized. He does check in now, after we’ve had sex. Briefly. And we keep in touch in weeks we don’t see each other. This has made it easier. Sometimes I request a date in advance, and then we set a date. And then I feel better.
We’ve stopped having amazing sex. We now have normal sex. Things I can handle by myself just in case Mister Hyde comes out again. We had two recent incidents which stirred things up. His wife threw a week long hate tantrum, and our condom broke.
But it was a third incident that gave me the creeps and made me feel vulnerable, insecure and stupid:
I had started to trust him.
It happened when he implied there was stuff I didn’t know, and that he didn’t tell. And that this secret held the key why he had a relationship with me while at the same time staying married to his wife.
Maybe some strong, even altruistic, reason to stay with his wife? I felt better immediately! I loved him, and his love for me was almost tangible at times. I would stand by him, in this unconventional relationship. I would be there for him. From now on, not only would I not expect him to leave his wife, I would also trust he had a good reason to stay and that he was making the right decisions.
What a relief!
But then something dawned on me. What if I only believed that because I couldn’t deal with the fact that he didn’t love me enough? What if giving him my trust was, instead of an martial arts like tactic to move with the force of your opponent, actually a harakiri action where I was placing the sword at my own heart?
After one year with Mister Big, was I finally losing it?
Install Safety Net
It is the end of day one of my Trickster experiment. I spent it writing on an old laptop, unconnected to internet. How very trickster. And I spent it filming yoga classes on location. It was a mess on set and by the time we started filming I had become rigid and was afraid my lack of fun would make it unbearable to watch. Doing retakes of the classes was unappealing since I was already feeling like a failure. So after a break where I admitted I was screwing it up, and I didn’t saw a way to improve it, I suggested we’d use the time we had left to film a free style class for people who have a bad day at work.
“Just like me.”
That was a success. Ivy, the director saw this approach had potential.
“Freestyle yoga for when you’re tired, or hung-over, or in your period. I’m going to do this with all teachers!”
And it brought back my joy in teaching online.
I decided to work more with this trick, and to freestyle when teaching my classes this week. Which had the extra bonus of freeing up a Sunday night, so I could write instead of prep my classes.
And there is more.
To see exactly how far I can let this trickster yoga work for me, I’ll install a freestyle home yoga practice. Nothing premeditated, not even how long it should be.
I will only commit to showing up on the mat and beginning.
If it sparks a home yoga practice, this wouldn’t be anything short of a miracle. Last time I had a consistent daily practice was two years ago. But it wasn’t a joyful one. I was muscling my way through with resentment and loathing. Compared to that today’s videos were master pieces.
So I have solved a problem the trickster way (when I taught stern classes), reset a goal the trickster way (to have a daily yoga practice). And I have one issue that still needs to be analyzed.
A Big one.
I’m deeply in love with Mister Big, feel awful it might not be mutual, and mortified when I think he could break up. Which would prove he doesn’t love me.
Worst possible outcome:
He breaks up with me, and/or acts in unloving ways.
I feel worthless and totally lose it, can’t work, write five books, and so on.
Best possible outcome:
He says he’s so in love with me, that he wants me forever and can’t continue to live two lives. He wants me to be the woman at his side
I’m totally over the moon, and feel special, confident, and living the life of my dreams.
Parameters I can influence:
Parameters I cannot influence:
Yep! It’s working. I can see the solution already.
But before I elaborate on that, a little word on why I have chosen to see Mister Big as a parameter I cannot influence. That is a choice I made a long time ago. Trying to influence a loved one to behave the way you want them to, is a waste of energy.
Think about it. Would you even appreciate it after you have manipulated him to act your way? Ironically, I know that is what I appreciated about Mister Big. That he manipulates women into trusting him and sleeping with him. I know this is probably a lousy explanation but I think he feels the desire is there. Maybe even before the woman does. He knows it’s a yes. And that the rest is all fear. He “tricks” the woman into forgetting he’s married. From that perspective it feels strange that I have so much resistance against tricking him to act my way.
But I do.
The more energy I would put into making Big mine, the less I would enjoy it if he would succumb. I need to feel desired, I need to feel he wants me. Not that I magically tricked him into wanting me.
If I don’t want to influence him, and therefor keep running the risk of being dumped or hurt, how do I avoid losing it when that happens?
You lose everything when you put all your eggs in one basket and then it slips out of your hands. This can be avoided if you spread the eggs. If I would emotionally invest in other men, I would no longer have all my eggs in Big’s basket.
I would still run the risk of my heart being broken by Big. But it’s the difference between having the heart burned to ashes, or a small contained fire that only stains the wall, and just requires a little paint.
I, trickster Lauren Harteveld, will commit to dating other men and rereading, editing and reliving my books about my muse Benjamin, to create a safety net to protect me if I fall.
And then there’s option two. The best case scenario. Mister Big does choose for me. I’m totally over the moon, and feel special, confident, and living the life of my dreams.
But are these feelings exclusive to Mister Big putting a ring on it? Absolutely not. Are they feasible without Mister Big walking down the aisle? Oh yes.
With free-style yoga, the prospect of dating other men, publishing my Benjamin books, and writing this trickster book, I’m living the life of my dreams already.
Meet the Girls and the Ghosts
No home practice yoga and worked ten desk hours yesterday, including learning to make sassy quotes-pictures for my Facebook business page. Updated the audio system at my yoga studio. I am now a paid Spotify member, installed it on my phone, and it can be Bluetoothed to a stellar woofer speaker. So now my studio doesn’t require cd’s (!) to listen to music. Being current was apparently not something I put much value in. But if I want to sell out my classes, and take my business to the next level, I need to use every trick in the book. Including: my company not looking like a portal to 1996.
Ten hour working days are of course not a sustainable way to get the job done. If you like your job – like I do – working will give you a lot of energy. But it still takes a toll. If you can almost feel that universal energy blazing through you when you work. Like a cheetah, you can run fast, but it will end. Even though it is the nature of the cheetah to run, and it would not be living it’s life’s purpose if it didn’t, that doesn’t mean that it can run on forever like a perpetulem mobilum.
My run had taken ten days.
I was done.
I’m sitting here unshowered at my pink hobby desk, listening to classical music, on my third latte and chewing away a mountain of candy bars that somehow invaded the house. I’ve thought of ways to improve my plan. I am going to name my projects, after my idols.
free-style yoga girl
She’s the queen of backbends, practices her gravity defying arm balances between one and two hours every day. The only reason she’s not world famous is that she doesn’t promote herself. She doesn’t have a consistent video feed. All her programs are professionally shot, highly priced, and created by producers who put them out on the market and probably make most of the money.
She couldn’t care less.
As long as Meghan has her yoga practice, she’s a happy girl.
yoga business entrepreneur
As easy going as Meghan is, that’s as feisty as Sadie is. The woman sells it. She started making strong fitness-like yoga videos about ten years ago, when other yoga teachers were still doing mantras on sheep skin. And she never stopped. She is the only female entrepreneur making a living out of selling online teacher training. She is a one-woman empowerment force for yoga teachers around the world.
And the perfect business idol.
$ 1000 an hour escort
You probably think this is my after-dark personality, when dealing with Mister Big. That when he slips his hands into my panties, and pulls down my always carefully selected lingerie over the chocolate fed curves of my hips, and whispers:
That I will then turn on my belly and press my porcelain bum towards him, and I feel so Avery Moore when I wait what’s going to happen. Will he finger me, lick me, or fuck me immediately? Will he use lube, or will he be rough and accidentally break another condom?
And you would be right. All, except for the Avery part. Because when I’m with Mister Big, I feel totally me.
I use my Avery Moore high-end escort persona for totally different things. For the past year I used her energy to keep my house nice and clean, my body smooth and well-dressed. I think she was on holiday because I went to bed without doing the dishes lately. And the only time I clean the house is when I have company and I only wax my legs on nights I see Big. My skin is dry. My daily oil massage has faded from a consistent habit to a chore on my can-be-skipped-without-any-excuse-list.
I want Avery back.
And I want her Moore.
And she’s the right woman to run the studio. She creates a friendly environment for her clients. Yet only works under clear conditions and has her boundaries in place. The ideal attitude for a yoga teacher.
And I want Avery to work with me on improving my yoga space. It’s a nice place, but it needs looooove. I’ve been postponing refurbishing because I have an on-and-off leakage near the window. The landlord has sent the promise of help. For years.
I’m making Avery chief of staff of my body, house, and yoga studio.
Muse. Appears as either a 19 year old ghost, or a business man in his forties
Sometimes I’m curious if he still reads my blog. Or if we’ll ever be together, even though he said he had no time to reunite last year. I was close by. On a holiday. We had not seen each other in two decades and he had a family now. So I contacted him but he refused to see me. I expected this would blow away the ground under my feet and the keyboard under my writing fingertips. A muse, male protagonist of all my books, not wanting to reunite. That would have consequences.
But it didn’t.
The relationship I had built with my keyboard muse easily survived a rejection from the real life Benjamin. Six months later the spirit took human form again. He was a married business man in his forties. Only this time, he could be reached by bicycle instead of by plane.
And he did not require any persuasion.
Getting more Baskets
I just emailed Pierre, and there it is: my second basket. Pierre is a perfectly datable guy. If he would only buy into my promise that his sexuality is fluid, and that there is no reason for a gold-star gay (no female partners, I think) to not start a secret affair with me.
“All men want me Pierre, you know that. Even you want me. You just don’t want to admit it.”
“I would want you if I was straight.”
“Want me still.”
Pierre owns a cafe, reads my blogs, and he secretly Googles me if I don’t come around often enough. He always knows exactly what I’m up to. If I stay away too long, usually because I’m sick of his cat and mouse game of turning me on and then turning away, I get emails inviting me to come hang out again.
He’s witnessed me wanting to publish, then dropping out. He’s seen me climbing back into the saddle every January, and falling off again. But this time I had news.
“I’ve started writing the best self-help book in the history of mankind. And I’m giving it one shot to get a regular publisher. Do you know someone?”
And true to my lighthearted nature I explained with a carefree example of death. The Way of the Trickster is about seeing death as the match of a life-time. It’s not about mindlessly choosing to elongate your life, only to then end up mindfully observing all your emotions in your chemically ruined body. Down to the last desperate detail. It’s about seeing that field, seeing the most worthy opponent life could possibly give you, and snap your head left to right, stretching your neck. Walking restlessly up and down. Eyes on the enemy. Get your gear in place, maybe chew a piece of gum, or just spit on the grounds.
This is where it will take place. This is it. The match of a lifetime.
How often will you score?
Every project you finish, every lover you embrace, every purpose you find. Those are your points. Sure you can prolong your life, but if this requires a year in which you won’t even be standing up straight, is it worth it?
I didn’t write this last bit to Pierre. Just the catchy match of a lifetime bit. And how this book is going to be everything no self-help book has been able to provide. With a strong narrative and a sexually explosive conclusion.
Sex with Mister Big
Anais Nin always wrote in her diary right after she had given herself to a young man, a musician, or to a longtime friend. She wrote the morning after her husband had taken her and she still felt sore because he was so big. Whereas her soulmate Henry Miller, had a more slender penis that slid in smoothly. Probably also because she was a lot hornier with him, I reckon.
Sometimes I wonder how Big’s wife sees him. If she loves his penis as much as I do. His penis is like those clothes that are classy yet comfortable. Larger than strictly necessary but not so big they lose their elegance. And his body is like a dish that looks appealing, but in a completely unpretentious way. But then you take the first bite and you taste cilantro. Or a bit of orange. Or a salty olive. And you’re like:
” Ooooohhhh, my God this is good.”
And the simple looking cafe becomes your favorite hangout. And every time you go to another restaurant you think: It’s not as good as with him. Until you know fully well that you never want to eat anywhere else again.
That’s how I would describe my relationship with Mister Big.
Last night was our first time sex since the condom broke. We had kept seeing each other platonically, which had been the dates I had started to trust him, us, it, again. It had cost me a long time to recuperate from Condom Gate. But now we had a real date. Because we had not had sex for so long, we had both been looking forward to it like crazy.
I invested ninety minutes in the bathroom making sure I was clean and smooth, since I had not paid any attention to my body all that time. He would come to my place, so I also had to prepare dinner and do a massive sweep through the entire house. They say this is all foreplay to a woman. That clean spaces (like hotels) make us horny, and that cleaning our house brings us in the mood. That is totally true. By the time Mister Big arrived, showered and shaven and with a bottle of too expensive wine, I greeted him with teenage excitement.
Since I am with Big, having a flawless date seems so normal. But I know it’s not. Eight years of being single have showed me that. Dates feel awkward around me. Or they have the food requirements of an eight year old. Or they just don’t know how to be there for me in that half hour when I’m cooking and don’t require any help.
He balanced between cuddling my cat on the couch, making small-talk about the food, and debriefing me on everything the cat did. He mouthwateringly inspected the food every time I took the lit off, and he kept my glass filled. He behaved like a lover from a French movie. A connoisseur who will soon wholeheartedly admire and embrace you, just as much as he appreciates the food.
I have this preference for non-consensual sex, so I would say Non! Non! of course. But only to increase my own pleasure.
I read there are two types of women. The ones who require intimacy and trust, and the ones who prefer to have sex with someone they don’t know yet. The last type responds better to photos of strangers than of their own partner. I think it’s even more complicated. There is a third type who desires – demands would be a better word – a man to do everything her way, so he has to know her. But they also want it to be exciting. Type 3 needs the excitement of the new, but they don’t want surprises like:
He has pubic hair the size of a small forest.
He’s wearing his beer brand boxer short.
He doesn’t use deodorant.
He has a sex dungeon and wants you to call him master.
Women of the third type have got to be the most fickle of them all. They don’t perform on garden variety sex with their normal boyfriend. They don’t respond to good looking strangers in a bar. But these arrogant ice queens could turn into cum laude Sex Goddesses the moment you know how to rub them, and what to whisper.
Mister Big was wearing black boxers under his dark jeans. His pubes were tidy. We had loving, intimate oral sex on the couch, before we got around to the rough stuff. I had brought my duvet to keep us warm between fucking. He was forcing (again, think “quotation marks”) me to give another blowjob and as I was doing what I was told he roughly fingered me, with three fingers, using lube, and announcing he was going to rape me.
“We’re going to the bedroom.”
I took his cock out of my mouth and got up. I wanted to take the blankets with me.
“No,” he said firmly.
Although he took my hand, as to reassure me he was acting.
“Leave those here. You’ll be bare. Without any protection.”
I shivered in anticipation and followed him to the bedroom.
A New Dawn
I was brainstorming with a colleague. The idea was that we would come up with ways to get more people to our classes. But something totally different happened.
Turned out she wanted to start a giant international yoga studio.
She was flabbergasted when I got that desire out on the table for her, and she realized she was eye to eye with her purpose. Her real dream. And that this was the reason she wasn’t communicating her true persona on her site. Because she wanted to go a lot bigger than her current offer. She didn’t want to teach one or two hours a week. She didn’t want to have a boss, or a day job that made money.
She wanted the first large international yoga studio in the Netherlands. In her mind she already knew what she’d put on the floors and what the toilets would look like. She wanted a cafe, and knew exactly what kind of crowd she’d draw.
But the meeting had an epiphany for me as well. After we had set her on track with her dreams, I realized:
Teaching yoga is not where my ambition lies.
This was huge for me.
Yes, I always knew I wanted to be a writer. Or that I had been a writer, was a writer still, and would always be a writer down to my last breath. And I also knew I wanted to inspire people.
My yoga classes had already started to lean towards personal development. Because what people needed was not yoga, as in exercise or meditation. It was to change their thoughts. And the more radically they would do that, the more radical the shift in their lives. With stories, I tried to reach the minds of my students, so they could love themselves more, and create the lives they wanted. Until I knew: I am not a yoga teacher. I am a teacher.
My books are the way to reach people’s mind.
It’s not because I don’t see the significance of yoga or physical health, that I want to make the shift to writing and personal development. It’s because there comes a point where one well written sentence can make you run faster than a month long training. One insight can bring you more happiness than a fifth way to train your core. And one spiritual practice (such as a gratitude journal, or meditation- yes, I said it) can have more impact than a hundred forty-three tree poses.
The moment this self-help book, The Way of the Trickster, announced its presence I realized this book was different from my other writing. Trisckster was the most energetic and dominant idea. It would push through no matter what! It claimed whole time slots. Started messing with my head.
Trickster had never come to sell out my classes. He was here to make sure I got serious with my writing career.
LS Harteveld would say: Thank God at last!
I started writing in 2006. It would take me three years before I had my own website, but I did come up with my penname LS Harteveld instantly. She was the persona who could write anything she wanted and I could still teach yoga in peace. Without my students finding my erotica, unless I told them where to find it. And more importantly, without curious readers as tourists in my classes.
The initials LS are an abbreviation of the latin lectori salutem. Hello to the reader. In The Netherlands L.S. is a fairly common way to open a formal, official letter if you don’t know who will read it.
My penname initials L.S. therefor mean:
“Hello to the reader.”
The surname Harteveld (field of hearts) was planted in my head when I was just a kid. We were on a holiday and a family with two boys and a girl was camping there too. I hooked up with the girl, and basically ignored her brothers. But when I heard her name was Harteveld, I checked them out with renewed interest. I fancied their last name, and considered marrying them for it. But I couldn’t find anything attractive about them, so I gave up on the idea of becoming Mrs. Harteveld. I was eight.
And then at thirty-four I brought it up, from my childhood memories. I crowned myself LS Harteveld, giving myself a whole new identity. I was all set for my new career.
Except it didn’t happen. Not the publishing part. Every time in January I started my quest to publish and yet I would always get caught up in questions on whether I would have to get a publisher or do it myself. How to market it. How to stay anonymous so that I wouldn’t have people reading porn signing up for my classes. Stuff like that.
I absolutely hated the idea of owing anything to a publisher, or an agent. In the Netherlands you don’t require an agent, as opposed to Anglo-Saxon countries. Yet, I couldn’t see doing all the work myself. And every time I’d be on tv, probably still not earning a dime being LS Harteveld, I would sabotage my yoga business.
In all those years, I never realized that in order to publish and go public with my story, I needed to make money with it. Only then, would I overcome my fear of publishing.
I always saw LS Harteveld as more businesslike than me. Better at selling her story, and at selling herself. Why did it take me so long to realize LS Harteveld would probably make a lot more money, than the real me would ever do teaching yoga?
To Go Pro
My new yoga business is up and running!
The first people are signing up with my new system, which means they’re signing up directly for half a year, based on my videos. There are no single classes or try-out classes anymore, so I only teach committed students and don’t have to worry about people only interested in meeting LS Harteveld. I’ve created weekly quotes with my yoga video, pinned them to my blog, and I’m offering a themed playlist on Spotify. My yoga business is on track.
I seriously considered going to B-School for LS Harteveld. B-School is an annual eight week business program for women who are starting their business, and I’ve been wanting to join for years. It’s just that I didn’t know if I would take that training to sell my yoga or to sell my books. But before I could spend two-thousand euros, my unofficial business coach, good friend Ivy, intervened.
“If you launch LS Harteveld with the same approach as yoga, you don’t require extra marketing training.”
Even if my single expedition didn’t work out, Ivy explained, I would be able to make B-School work for my problem areas next year.
My second break-through today was how I would publish my books. I decided to not do any collections, but publish a series. Volumes could be read separately, and if you were bi-lingual (Dutch and English) you could read them all.
The thought of publishing all these books was just as exciting as getting play raped by Mister Big. Close enough anyway.
After this last entry I abandoned this book. I had my coming out as LS Harteveld for my yoga students, and put LS Harteveld in charge of writing my new yoga homepage which now included the words wine, broadmindedness, and oozed the confidence and sexuality of a thousand dollar escort. I put her in charge of teaching classes which immediately brought back my mojo for teaching. And ultimately LS Harteveld was the one who urged to get those books out. It would give me a passive income stream and make me more well-known as a yoga teacher as well.
LS Harteveld cancelled all home yoga aspirations, all internet restrictions, and focused all her time on one thing:
To get those books out.
Twenty-four hours. That’s how long it took before two muses arrived. And their names were not Edit and Publish.
Save my story
Suddenly I was wide awake. A relatively unknown self-help author explained in a Facebook video that her new book was turning out to be quite different than she had anticipated. It would be more contemporary. And she mentioned it would even include something on, and I’m definitely quoting now, “getting laid.”
Although I would rather beat myself unconscious with my 1998 laptop, than to use the phrase “getting laid”, I could see a potential threat here.
What if my idea of writing a contemporary self-help book had traveled to a more willing author? One who had not abandoned the document for weeks because she was figuring this whole publishing-all-her-work-thing out? A project she affectionately referred to as The Wait Worth 8.
What if “my” new book, The Way of The Trickster, had taken its desire to be created elsewhere and was forcing itself onto the run of the mill self help author who now clumsily referred to sex as getting laid?
Instead of being written by me, the uncrowned queen of erotica?
I whispered sweet words to Trickster, to come back to me.
“I’ll make it worth your while.”
“I can give you everything she can’t”
“You know I am the one.”
I opened my antique laptop, extracted the Trickster file, and put it on my regular computer. The days Trickster would settle for being my secret lover, and one I could easily abandon, were over. Before doing anything else, I would spend time with him. Soon the phrase “getting laid” would be just a good story about “that time you almost left me”.
I still wanted to get my books published, but thirty minutes of writing had just become mandatory.
I thought this was settled. That the morning-after pill after the condom broke had reset my shortening menstruation cycle. Or perhaps it had been the switch from tampons to a menstruation cup, a quite messy silicon novelty hailed for even normalizing copper spiral induced blood baths.
But whatever it was, it had stopped working.
I had just gotten my period on day twenty-three, and whether this was spotting (loss of blood between or before the real period) or already the real thing didn’t really matter: this needed attention.
In 2011, my cycle had been off as well. And although trying to tackle it had driven me nuts, I failed to remember what had eventually cured it.
Fully knowing that what I’m telling you is TMI, I need to explain why my menstruation is of concern to me. Because it is directly linked to why the condom broke in the first place. To deal with the spotting, I was using tampons. This meant that I was dry during sex. We used lube to deal with this, but the condom broke anyway.
If I didn’t find a way to solve this, I would be sentenced to excessive tampon use, broken condoms, morning after pills and doses of untested sperm in my vagina. Not an appealing scenario.
I considered going on the pill. This would most likely normalize my menstruation. And in case of more broken condoms, at least I didn’t have to take a morning after pill.
Then I changed my mind and I went the alternative route with the menstruation cup. Maybe this would suffice. And it did. For two months. Although I didn’t know if it was the magic of the cup, or the pharmaceutical reset from the morning after pill but either way, it seemed to be fine. Until blood on day twenty-three. That’s not fine.
Now the menstruation of a woman works like this. You have an egg coming from one ovary, next month from the other. I only have the issues every other month so any yoga or lifestyle routine to cure this must be at least two cycles long. A forty day approach will “work”, simply because next up is ovary B which usually causes less trouble than ovary A.
As a yoga teacher I own numerous books on female yoga and hormone yoga, but I place most trust in a book that is called The White Tigress, written by Hsi Lai. It describes a Taoist cult of sexually active independent women. They are eternally youthful and healthy and have full control over their cycle. The White Tigress is not a handbook, but it does instruct rejuvenating sex, spiritual techniques, self-massage, self-pleasuring, oral sex and I deciphered a yoga routine.
To get a normal menstruation, I will become a White Tigress. For a hundred days I will commit to every word Hsi Lai has ever written.
Big part 4: The 100 Day Tutelage of Hsi Lai
and Part 5 (the end) More Erotica.