Auteursarchief: LS Harteveld

In Praise of Staying Lovers | La Belle Epoque movie

It took me a not unpleasant second viewing of the French movie La Belle Epoque (2019/2020) to find out why I liked the movie so much.
I usually remember some compelling dialogue, a sound byte, which offers both the essence of why it pleased me, as well as something catchy to open or close my blog post with.
But with the movie being French and the Dutch subtitles not giving me anything I remembered, although that doesn’t mean nothing memorable was said, it was not the dialogue which made me like it so much.

Before we get into the message of this lighthearted, beautifully shot French movie, about a disillusioned cartoonist who signs up for a theatrical production to take him back to the era or day of his choosing, and he chooses to meet his wife again from whom he is estranged,
i want to get one thing clear about myself.
Make that two, I need to say two things.

First of all, that I am an actor’s fan and a fan of male or female heroins.
I visit movies not because of a director nor because of a topic. I don’t visit them because they offer a profound, or subtle or new perspective to something important.
But if I like the actor? I am surprisingly flexible to what the movie is about.
Within limits.
There are movies with Brad Pitt I have not seen. There are plenty of movies with Angelina Jolie I have not seen. And there are very few with Charlize Theron movies that I have seen, although she seems to be making a comeback to mainstream these last couple of years.
But especially male actors stretch my taste, and I have ended up with some movies out of my comfort zone because of them. 

The second thing I need to tell you is that my lover broke up with me in December, and I used to be a secret mistress for five years and now it is over.
After the initial boost in energy this gave me, to no longer be “the bad woman”, I m gradually coming back from that place where I really believed I too, was better off without our affair.
Don’t get me wrong, I m still not a wreck.
And I m definitely happy that I waited for the world to turn their eyes off of me, whether out of concern or hopes I would crash and be punished by God for my sins or become super relatable or approachable because of my pain, before I turned inside to discover how I really feel.

Getting over a breakup like this is a far more delicate matter than just deciding you re never going to be a secret mistress again.
Even though I did say that in those first weeks, something I seriously regret now.
But maybe because I refused to bend, break or even to give in an millimeter to grief, everything is still very raw.

I did nothing in terms of getting over this, which may explain that all I see in movies is him, me, or us. Exactly the way I have done for five years, except it is all past tense now.
This movie is no exception.

All I see is us.

And these two main motivators for me to see and like movies were both present in La Belle Epoque.
The male actor Daniel Auteuil and the character he plays, Victor, possesses a warmth, wit and charm that could make any woman drop her panties without much further ado.
And the female characters are strong and unreasonable, in a way that made me realize we would never see such girlpower in an American drama.
But honestly, I was so taken by Victor, that even if the female leads had been totally boring, I would still have had a great time.
Like I said, I am an actor’s girl.

I think it was the second part of my preference – where do I fit in? Where do we fit in? – that I only understood the second time I saw it.
This was more complex than falling for Victor’s cheeky smile and his creative talents.
First I thought it was a matter of finding out which role my lover had, and which role I had.
The most logical one, my lover in the male protagonist role of betrayed underdog and me in the role of his vengeful wife, did not make sense at all.
From the two of us, he was definitely the dominant, partly because I would never make the mistake of taking the lead with a man I like.
It’s one of the things I consider a mistress quality, and one “real” relationships can learn from.
Number one, always support each other.
But, number two, make it clear who is dominant and who is submissive, and stay in character.
Victor and his wife Marianne did not support each other, nor did they have a clear agreement on who was in charge. And their behavior pointed towards the roles being reversed. Marianne was and always had been dominant, and Victor aimed to please her.

I tried out different ways of looking at it, including putting myself in Victor’s shoes, but the breakthrough came from exploring the concept of what is real, and what is fake.
Which relationships are true, and which are fake because one of you is playing a role?

Victor goes back in time and meets an actress who plays his young wife, as they reenact how they met.
But over the course of the film, their play blends over to reality multiple times. And when the production company tries to end it, with a final scene, it is clear that even though the actress stays true to her scripted lines, and Victor is unaware that she is still in (or back in) character;
Her tears are real.
The lines she delivers to make Victor leave their play, are so intense that you can just see that she has feelings for him too.
It is no longer possible to separate reality from play, not even for the actress herself.

A mirror image of that comes at the end of the movie when his wife takes over the role of her younger self, and appears in the 70s bar where they once met.
She plays she’s the 1974 version of herself, and Victor reenacts his part.
This is the most intimate moment between this estranged couple of Victor and Marianne, as they connect emotionally, through lines which barely touch on their current day reality.
They are in a play.

And it was this moment, the second time I watched the movie, when I understood why I liked the movie. Because it illustrates that when we play a role, we are actually more real, than when we are real.
And that we regard it as normal that at the beginning of a relationship, we play a role, and engage in fun and surprising conversation; 
Yet when we are in a relationship, we find it acceptable that this fades to the back ground. That we have a “real” relationship.
What the closing scene between Marianne and Victor illustrates, is that when we play, we are most connected.

I know why this is.
Because when we play we have our consciousness in it. That is what makes it so attractive. We are fully present in the moment, and with the other person.
It is absolutely magnetic.
It is what I did when I saw my lover, it is what he did when he was with me, it is what every newborn couple has done that was head over heels in love.
Nothing escapes you when you are in love, you are completely absorbed by the other person, by the connection. You re under the spell of it.

I think what I still have to get my head around, is what this means for my approach.
Or for what we could have had, if things had not ended.
Would we have done a better job?

La Belle Epoque shows us, that if you let it slip, you will need to move heaven and earth and book an expensive time travel gig to get your relationship back and to find each other again.
But have my lover and me not proven that if you do stay true to your role and put the care into meeting each other, it still might not be enough?

We never had a “normal” relationship, so it is hard to compare.

But something inside of me, tells me that maybe in order for it to work, I would have needed to accept things to become real. And for us to drop the roles of lovers.
That a real relationship may not go with playing the best version of a fantasy self.

Maybe for me this movie highlighted that a real relationship can only be formed, at the expense of what the lovers once had.

I know what I would pick.

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

coming soon: new books

1. Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2020
3. Big Mistress – confessions, columns and sex advice from the other woman
4. Blote Kont- (Dutch)
5. ALL THE THINGS – unpublished work 2010 – 2020

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready is to follow my 
English blog which I established in 2018:

Nederlands blog:

Twitter @LSHarteveld


A Day in the Bermuda Triangle

I was writing a post about how I lost a day to fear;  That s how intimidated I was by my own dreams, when my new shoes arrived. They didnt even charge for taking life to an entire new level of rock n roll.

I was writing this post about how I lost a day to fear;
That s how intimidated I was by my own dreams, when my new shoes arrived.
They didnt even charge for taking life to an entire new level of rock n roll.

It took a while before I understood why I lost a day.
Probably because the day before had been both hugely productive as well as flooded with social events, more than half of them unexpected ones.
I didn’t even know my social life was big enough, to cause such an avalanche of meaningful conversations and excitement on a Wednesday in January.

So trust me when I say, no one was more surprised than me that my Wednesday had been so action packed it was coming apart at the seams.
Or at least I was, the day after.

And I had been untrained for this!
January has been: J stands for Solitude.
And the delirious effects that has on one’s brain.

So when I, a writer, which is pretty much the modern day equivalent of a monk, was suddenly showered with advice, love, laughter, inspiration, truffle pizzas, and WINE – and I actually drank that for the second time within 5 days when I normally do not drink a drop – I didn’t look into why I had lost the next day because it was totally logical.
I had a splitting head ache from two glasses of white wine.
A mental shutdown because I had been interacting with four different people. My limit is one non-work related social interaction a day. 
And because I had been interacting for 10 hours straight.
So of course I lost Thursday.


Something way more profound had happened.
Wednesday had been the perfect decoy to sabotage my entire plan of everything I wanted to do, and WOULD DO each and every day for the rest of my life, because I knew exactly what I wanted out of life.

Except for Thursday, when I woke up late, had a headache and felt like somebody had ripped my entire sense of purpose and self out of me and drowned it in Chardonnay.
But letting my Wednesday explode, and my Thursday being sucked down by its slip stream into the abyss, had been a GREAT way to cover up what had been going on beneath the surface:
That I was scared.

Over the past ten days or so, I have not just been consistently building the vision for my writing and book publishing business:
I have also set my first practical steps into curating my English work, under my real name.
Those are two websites that contain all my older English work.
One has – I think 40 posts on them or so;
They’re my first steps, although (of course) I was already writing as LS Harteveld.
And one blog which I started shortly after, which turned out to be a massive body of work.

If I didn’t write anything ever again, not for this account nor under my other name;
And if I would publish my books in orderly format
-not making them too thick or too long, but nicely cutting them to humane sizes,
each telling a good and solid story;

I would already have about 15 books.
All ready. All written. 

It’s ALL there.

I felt like someone who had inherited grandfather’s couch and found it stuffed with bundles of cash, and for a moment just wanted to put her head in the sand.
A few days of not knowing.
A few days of being normal.
And even started considering not using it, not telling anyone. And just let it sit there, or sneak it into your expenses without anybody ever knowing.
Just because I wasn’t ready to deal with the responsibility.

That was the process I was unconsciously going through.
I had already gone through something similar in 2019 when I started to take stock of all my LS Harteveld accounts, and its vaults. It had been so intimidating, that I found excuses to stop doing it.
Some excuses were valid:
2019 was a difficult year and I didn’t know what I wanted with my life/career/income.
I didn’t have the mental clarity and deep concentration curating this source material needed.
But now I do have clarity and the same thing happened, when I looked into the material for my other account:
I dropped out.
Sabotaged myself.

At surface level, it is all understandable and no emotion is attached to dropping out. Because HOW am I going to take care of all this, if I don’t want to spend the rest of my life tied to a desk? 

It wasn’t until today, when I woke up fresh and excited to enjoy my new life, and my newly rearranged house (done yesterday, in order to take back control) -
that I suddenly saw, that beneath me being fed up with all the solitude, and wanting to go out into the world to work, there was a real fear.

I was afraid of what I had found.

That my entire future plan, where I had my own business selling books but I also had a normal job where people didn’t know all that or didn’t care:
A job where I was just Lauren, with the stability of having my own successful business:
That future was within reach.
I had more to work with than most authors will create in a lifetime, and I kept writing and kept creating, even when I didn’t want to or thought something else should come first.

One of the movies I m currently looking into again is The Big Short, because Michael J. Burry is often used as an example of how autistic people feel.
How misunderstood, lonely, and our extreme levels of anxiety because we don’t fit in even when we try.
And even if you do make yourself useful, it is still no guarantee you will be accepted. 

From his letter to his investors

“For the past two years, my insides have felt like they’ve been eating themselves.
All the people that I respected won’t talk to me anymore, except through lawyers.
People want an authority to tell them how to value things, but they choose this authority not based on facts or results.
They choose it because it feels authoritative and familiar. And I am not, nor ever have been, “familiar.” So…so I have come to the sullen realization that I must close down the fund.
Michael J. Burry, M.D.”
from the movie The Big Short

I ve had fear ruling my life until I stood up and faced it because what I wanted was more important than that. But it’s like an onion: Layered and the biggest fear comes first.
Which is the area in your life where you are most out of alignment, where you have made the biggest adjustment in order to work around your fear.

In 2006, I broke through the first layer of the onion. The dry discolored outer layer, that protects what’s inside but is not eatable.
What came from underneath was my own, newly developed love life.
And although there have been different levels of going through that, I feel what I’m going through with my books is about something else.
It’s about business. It’s about money. It’s about being visible and bringing those manuscripts from their digital vaults, into the open where they can be read.

What Michael J.Burry’s letter, my fear to develop my love life, and my current resistance to becoming a successful writer all have in common, is that they are all social phobias:
They’re a deeply rooted fear of being cast aside, to no longer be part of society and to really no longer know enough people to see a Wednesday in January hijacked by social interactions, because they’re all gone, and no one talks to you except through lawyers or because they need your money.

I lost one day to fear.
This was not the Wednesday, where I saw too many people.
But the Thursday, because I chose to go so all-in and drink on Wednesday, went to bed too late, so that I needed a day to recover.

And it happened because for ten days or so, I had not been taking notice of those voices of fear in my head, and had brushed them off way too lightly.
Until they needed alcohol to be shut down.

But I choose to see losing that day, as an investment in myself. I needed that day offline, off-life, off-habit tracking to make a conscious choice:
“Am I really ready for this? Am I ready to face the consequences?”

There is a quote, some say it is from Mohammed Ali, some say from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and others say it is anonymous:

 “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough”

I second that.

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

coming soon: new books 

1. Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2020
3. Big Mistress – confessions, columns and sex advice from the other woman
4. Blote Kont- (Dutch)
5. ALL THE THINGS – unpublished work 2010 – 2020 

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready is to follow my 
English blog which I established in 2018:

Nederlands blog:

Twitter @LSHarteveld



Australia: Land of the Freedom Lifestyle Business Coaches

video: January 2017, the moment I saw this training I became a Katrina Ruth convert

One thing I loved when I had a yoga studio – in fact I loved it so much I didn’t realized I was more consistent with that than with yoga – was marketing.

I don’t remember when I started studying it, but I do know the first coach I encountered in whom I took a serious interest was Marie Forleo.

Because I have lived at multiple addresses over the years, I am usually correct at dating certain events, and if I am not mistaken I encountered Marie Forleo as early as 2008.
Although I studied her free material, and was excited to have found her, things didn’t really pick up until 2014/2015
Will+health+coaching+work+‘in+your+town’_With three Australian coaches with whom I was fascinated:
First was Amanda Daley, who focuses on health coaches, which explains why I (as a yoga teacher) encountered her first.
Amanda Daley’s system is traditional, just like Marie Forleo’s system.
They teach you to adjust marketing principles used by big companies, to being a local service provider. 

Through a webinar hosted by someone else – I even thought it was Amanda Daley herself but I can’t seem to find it back – I encountered Denise Duffield Thomas who was a guest.
Denise focuses on manifestation and running your own business but she hardly teaches any marketing, which is probably why around that time all the other coaches I was following, were already starting to take a backseat.

click photo to go to website Denise Duffield Thomas

click photo to go to website Denise Duffield Thomas

Once you’ve had a taste of running a business without making the effort to “translate your service into the language of your target audience”, and other tedious (not to say ineffective) marketing techniques, you’re sold.
Which is why late 2016, I spent the holidays decluttering the pile of marketing materials I had been gathering, in particular in 2016 when I had encountered a lot of new coaches, and bought several smaller packages and courses.
And there was one new coach, whom I had just encountered that month.

I remember simply saving her material, instead of sorting it out. Because it was still so little anyway, a few printed blog posts.
But I didn’t know how important she would become.
And that had I known her earlier, my Christmas decluttering session would have been a lot more rigorous.

click for Kat's daily (!!) blog and all the other goood stuff (+check her Facebook!)

click for Kat’s daily (!!) blog and all the other goood stuff (+check her Facebook!)

I would probably have thrown out everything but her.
Kat Loterzo.
Or Katrina Ruth, as she changed her name late 2017 it was I believe.
Katrina Ruth would turn into a pretty monomaniac inspiration for me, and I ve actually only recently picked up studying Denise Duffield Thomas again, to spice it up a bit.
And because they’re complementary, they teach different things.

You’ve been Katted

I ve always loved sharing my marketing adventures, if I talked to someone who didn’t yet feel they had it in them to show up on social media, and promote their service.
Especially yoga teachers and therapists, usually do not seek out marketing opportunities, so I was always glad to refer them to Amanda Daley, who I still believe to be the best coach if you still see marketing as something you do for your health business.
Not because it (marketing) excites you. 
And also: Amanda is the best coach if you see your business as something you do for your clients.
Not for you.
The big difference between Amanda and Denise is definitely that for Denise a business is something you do for yourself, whereas Amanda connects it to being of service to your clients.
Denise promotes an online business, minimizing your one-on-one hours and definitely not basing your business model on them and makes it pretty clear that your business is there to serve you.
Denise is more abstract than Amanda as Denise is a mindset mentor.
Not a business coach.
But even Denise is an easy breezy walk in the park compared to Katrina Ruth;
It’s just I didn’t really see that until I started making referrals!

Where both Amanda and Denise had always been gladly accepted, when I gave their names or books (Denise) to other yoga teachers or friends, Kat was met with a What the Fuck more than once.
People actually felt compelled to tell me they had not been able to stick with her, and I thought that was extremely odd.
Why would anyone not want to get inspired at that level?

I am talking a cellular transformation that changes you into an entire new breed of entrepreneur, that needs half the hours of sleep you used to, and has ten times as much purpose. 
Someone who steps up their game DAILY, and in any and all areas of their life;
And makes just as much millions as she damn well decides, doing whatever the fuck she wants.
Why would anyone in their right mind NOT want that?!

As sort of a side note, which made the entire thing even more unbelievable, is that Katrina Ruth shares ALL her information daily and for free!
She has many programs, and I own close to ten of them by now, but that’s more because I just like having those courses and because I like paying for them.
That I make a payment, also as a thank you for all her free material.
But her YouTube, her Facebook, and her blog already have all the information right there, for free!

You could start making millions without spending a dime.

Providing you are ready to:
Take the red pill.
Do the damn thing.
Face your fears.
And ruthlessly strip away every layer that no longer serves you.

Out of all the people I referred to Katrina Ruth, only one friend ( I know of) felt the calling and consistently started following her content. 
Needless to say, she is just as much a convert as I am.
Once you’ve been with Kat, your fate is sealed.
There is no getting back.

It’s literally like taking that red pill in The Matrix:
You can’t go back, you can’t unsee.
You’ve been Katted.

Freedom lifestyle

I m sure there are American coaches as well who use this term, but I see it as the common denominator between Amanda, Denise and Kat:
The talk of a freedom lifestyle.
It can be location free because you no longer offer local services but go online. 
It can be freedom from a normal job, because you make enough from your own business.
Freedom to do whatever you want financially.
And ultimately (or if you re following Kat, this is your starting point) the freedom to do whatever you damn well please.
However it also took until this week, that I realized why I had not, as Kat describes it “Press Play” on my life, the way I should have done ages ago.
What had been holding me back.

I don’t want to have an online business.
I don’t want to live location free.
And I don’t need a dream house.
And this week I realized I even want a job. That I don’t want to be a writer/entrepreneur and be “free” the rest of the time.
And that’s when the pieces of the puzzle finally clicked.

I saw that the freedom lifestyle to me meant:
- freedom to do my purpose work (writing)
- free from selling them myself; Offering my books through an online publisher
freedom to have a normal job, but without being financially dependent on it.
To me, a normal job had always had a bad connotation because it implied being dependent on the company you work for.
Which must have instinctively terrified me.
Not the long hours, not the work stress, but knowing that I could not stop because I needed the money.
Knowing that I wasn’t free,
After all those years studying marketing I suddenly realized that although I didn’t need or even want to live location free as a self-made millionaire;
I had my own very specific reason build a business.
Not necessary because I didn’t want a job;
But because I did.

In 2006 I ended my long term relationship, because I wanted to know what I wanted out of love and develop my sexuality.
What I have come to find, is that I m generous with my love, sexually monogamous and that I need a partner who is adventurous with other women, and who chooses me time and time again.
Not because he needs me; After all he also has other women.
But he chooses me because he wants me.
And he wins me over time after time.

That’s the type of relationship I want with an employer.
A place where I can be generous with my love. A company who has a healthy relationship to its employees. And mutual respect where it is understood that we choose for each other from a place of independence and respect.
And not out of neediness.

Written like that, it’s all so simple. But I can assure you it has taken me until this month, January 2020, before I could pinpoint what my previous resistance towards a contract job had been.
And that self-made millionaires are not just women who want to be free to sit with a laptop on their sun-kissed thighs at the poolside on Bali:
Some do it because they want to have a normal life, between normal people, doing normal things.

Just free.

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

My Year with Kat – How one woman can change your business and your LIFE. For free

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

coming soon: new books 

1. Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2020
3. Big Mistress – confessions, columns and sex advice from the other woman
4. Blote Kont- (Dutch)
5. ALL THE THINGS – unpublished work 2010 – 2020 

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready is to follow my 
English blog which I established in 2018:

Nederlands blog:

Twitter @LSHarteveld

I can’t believe I didn’t sell that book…

gallery-1453072090-mcdsean-ec180-h (1)I can’t believe it!
For probably a year or so, I ve been shy selling my favorite book.
Big, diaries and erotica

I simply didn’t mention it, and hardly ever linked to it.
Not even last month, when the male protagonist, my lover Mr.Big broke up with me. 

And my shyness didn’t have anything to do with the fact that;
- the description alone is more revealing about me, than any civic-minded respectable author would ever reveal about themselves in their entire career.
JUST the description!
- I feel vulnerable because I have been a mistress/ this mistress, and fear it may one day cost me my life
- this book about the first two years of my affair with Mr.Big is a sad reminder we’re no longer together
- the book is the most in-my-face confrontation, that I need to write about my love life. It’s like written proof of my indiscretion (or written proof that I m a human and a writer, not a Swiss bank) 

All those things are true, and have their own levels of awkwardness attached to them, but the reason I didn’t sell my book about my affair with Mr.Big was because there was an “n” too many, in the description.
It said “an” scarred single, instead of “a” scarred single.
And I just cringed every time I saw that.

I publish my own books at Lulu, and I thought I remembered that every time you adjust something about your book, EVEN if it’s just in the description, you were compelled to buy/order a new copy to “check” it before it was allowed back on the market.
Adjusting my description would cause a delay, maybe it would be blocked until I had “checked” the new edition.
I knew that it could probably be bypassed because they have a really good customer service, but I simply had not come around to do it.
And every time I wrote a piece, I thought:
“I should link to my book about Big!”
Only to then realize, grinding my teeth, I still had not fixed “an” into “a”, and decided I was not going to promote it with the description in this shape.

It’s very late, Sunday. Should be in bed already.
I was writing “fix description Big” on my to do list, and suddenly I was like “Oh to hell. Let’s get this over with.”
I intended to fix it, order a “new copy”, allow the book to be blocked for a few weeks until I had it straightened out: I didn’t care.
I was at the “at any cost” stage, rather than putting something that was 9 months overdue on a to-do list.
Only to the read the sentence: 
“If you only adjusted the description or the price, you can clear the book right away.”

So there you go!
Big is my favorite book probably because it is so personal. I talked myself out of publishing it many times.
With the reasons I gave you before, and things a lot like it.
Even now, I read that description and know what’s in the book, and think:
“I can’t believe I published this.”

But by fixing it, I ve run out of excuses not to sell it ;) 

Big, diaries and erotica

or check the store, with all my books

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

PS: If you are Dutch/Nederlands, your best buy is
“Het Boek Benjamin”
It includes my main 8 books, including 3 Dutch ones
Mango / 22 erotische verhalen/ de Candystop
En natuurlijk “Big, diaries and erotica”

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

coming soon: new books 

1. Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2020
3. Big Mistress – confessions, columns and sex advice from the other woman
4. Blote Kont- (Dutch)
5. ALL THE THINGS – unpublished work 2010 – 2020 

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready is to follow my 
English blog which I established in 2018:

Nederlands blog:

Twitter @LSHarteveld

Two be one

“He could make women feel good about themselves but he couldn’t give himself to them;
Because he could not give himself away.”

about Leonard Cohen
from Words of Love

I just saw Words of Love about Leonard Cohen and I m having many thoughts on the ruthlessness of what it means to be an artist.
This wants to come out so badly, I ll be typing the damn thing on my phone although I will clean it up later, when I have time to post it properly.
But God damn.
What powerful truths were spoken.
And I just felt the impossibility of ever finding lasting love. And the magnitude of what you re asking, as a creative, from your muse and lover.
I think the worst scenario would actually be to have one settling down with you, only to then crash under the weight of your art or be torn apart by the storm of your creativity.
But I m getting ahead of myself.

One month ago my lover broke up with me. And although we had a secret affair, and were in that respect the opposite of Leonard and Marianne’s open arrangement;
Ours lasted 5 years, theirs 8.
And although I respect his decision, my feelings for him have not changed.
I could practically see one of us sending a goodbye audio message from a death bed in 30 years.
But again, I m getting ahead of myself.

Marianne and Leonard in Hydra, Greece

Marianne and Leonard in Hydra, Greece

The thing that struck me most was Leonard’s observation that love means you become the content of the other, and the other becomes the content of you.
And my lover has even become my content in the most literal sense; As an online writer, content refers to me writing about him.
Something I really wish I could not do…
I m not just a creative, whose unpredictable life force does not provide stable grounds to build any kind of arrangement;
I will also write about you.
We had a secret affair, so no one knew. And I will keep having secret affairs, to control the damage the mementos of my undying love do, but ideal it is not, says Master Yoda. 

But it is not “just” becoming each other’s content.
Leonard describes that in order for this to work, you need to have the same size. 
You re different.
Feminine, masculine.
Sun and moon.
Yin and yang.
But you have to be equal in size.
Someone smaller than you cannot fill you up, and neither can someone bigger than you.
And that s when I knew Leonard Cohen had just pointed out to me how unlikely it was, that I would ever find love again.
Not just because I write about my love life.
Not just because of the forces of creativity tearing at me, and anyone close to me.
But because HE needs to be just as big as ME.

I ve met new men in the five years we were together, and fell in love twice.
All the others were not a match, and with some I could feel they put me on a pedestal which ruled out any warm feelings from my side.
Whenever I got worked up about something like that I often wondered if a man I did like behave like that, would I like it?
I would immediately fall out of love.
But they never did that, so I stayed in love. Although obviously over the course of my life some men have dropped off the radar, and even the first of the two men, whom I got to know in the past 5 years, is no longer active in my vibration.
But I did not actively fall out of love because they behaved like I was more than they were.
Two men in 5 years who I really liked.
Both in relationships and I suspect not the open Leonard and Marianne type ones.
Mr.Big too, was unavailable, I became his mistress.
Which makes zero available men I fell in love with in 5 years.
But at least thanks to Leonard, I know why that is.
WHY I only meet so few whom I love;
Because we need to be equally big.

The only thing that comforts me is this;
At least they can get out if they want to.
There is no shortage of women interested in confident men of any age. The men I m in love with do not have to settle for me, in fact if they are the settling kind it is very unlikely they will choose me.
Anyone but me.

But it is also a comforting thought that the only way they can find, or have found, real love, is with someone as big and equal in size as them.
We’re in the same boat.
They may not be creatives, and write about their encounters or burden the relationship with unpredictable energies that will eat you both alive;
But this one goes for them as well.
You need to be equal.

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

coming soon: new books 

1. Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2020
3. Big Mistress – confessions, columns and sex advice from the other woman
4. Blote Kont- (Dutch)
5. ALL THE THINGS – unpublished work 2010 – 2020 

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready is to follow my 
English blog which I established in 2018:

Nederlands blog:

Twitter @LSHarteveld


Happily ever after (HEA) was more important in Star Wars than in Marriage Story

At 1 minute 45 we see the darkside prince falling in love with Rey from Jakku *romantic music known as The Force Theme playing*


“Many women feel like they have wasted their time buying into a franchise that ultimately never cared about fulfilling its own promises about happy endings, telling a complete story, or even offering hope and compassion to the characters that needed it the most.”

Star Wars: Why Reylo Outrage Inspired #ReleaseTheJJCut

I just got back from seeing Marriage Story, and it left me a bit sore.
I had assumed that because people were so enthusiastic about this movie, the couple played by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson would ultimately get back together after their divorce process gets from bad to worse.
I had gone to the movies because I longed to see Adam Driver on the big screen, and had vowed not to see The Rise of Skywalker anymore.
The Rise of Skywalker, TROS, was 2019.
This was the new year and it was not invited.
So instead of breaking my resolution for a TROS-free decade, I went to see Wedding Story, also with Adam Driver. I have skipped The Report because that was too serious and heavy for me, but Marriage Story was doable.

Like I said, all the positive feedback for this movie had convinced me there was much to like, and probably included a happy end.
After all, it was called Marriage Story.
Making it painfully obvious that I had learned very little from Rise of Skywalker, which should have been called The Rise of Palpetine.
But hey! That does not sell!
Neither does a movie called Divorce Story.
So I went to the movies, chose Marriage Story, and I was disappointed.

In Dutch we have an expression that allows you to say something is “a dragon of a movie”.
It was as if I was watching a Woody Allen movie, and I’d rather not.
I read people thought the director of Marriage Story created movies that looked a lot like Woody Allen’s, because they revolve around relationships and New York. But I think them and me differ on whether that’s a good thing or a dragon of a movie.

So either way, Marriage Story was (for me) almost unbearable to watch. There was no reason for these people to get a divorce other than that they both brought so many unspoken expectations into that marriage, it was simply doomed to fail unless they were going to talk about it.
Which apparently they could not without getting very angry with each other.

Neither one of the parties was taking any responsibility for not setting any boundaries and goals of their own during their marriage and had just plunged into the deep end hoping for the best.
Which turned out to become a very nasty and very expensive divorce ten years later.

And then there are moments when they could have seen how easy it was to love each other, and that it is all a big misunderstanding and yet they don’t see anything!
As the viewer you can see the potential is still there, yet apparently they experience it as a cathartic cry and still go through with the divorce.
It made no sense.
So on my way home I started pondering if I needed to write about this movie Marriage Story.
And if so, what was I going to write?
Ultimately I decided I was going write about it in conjunction with The Rise of Skywalker.
Both movies had ended on a bad note, in particular for the character Adam Driver had played.
But Marriage Story had received raving reviews.
Whereas The Rise of Skywalker had mixed reviews from critics and Rotten Tomatoes shut down the pole to prevent its audience review would go down. It’s had the same audience score for two weeks.

So I started thinking about this critically acclaimed Woody Allen-like divorce drama, which was loved by the audience and not by me; Versus the critically not acclaimed Rise of Skywalker movie, which was also not loved by the audience nor by me.
Although many disgruntled fans still wanted to make the point TROS was “Way better than The Last Jedi!”

To understand what that means, we must go down and search Star Wars at its roots.
Take a meta perspective on the origins of the latest trilogy, in order to reveal why for people like me, The Rise of Skywalker was not just a bad movie in particular in comparison to The Last Jedi;
But also why people like me are invested in Star Wars in a way that does not even begin to compare with seeing a one-off Woody Allen-like movie.
To understand why a movie like Marriage Story will never get my heart, nor any other heart like mine, pumped with excitement or broken from grief, we need to go back to 2015.
To a movie called The Force Awakens, which was the first part of the new trilogy also known as “The Sequel trilogy”. And we need to establish that this movie, nor its successor The Last Jedi was an accident, but that they belonged to a story that was set out by Disney for this trilogy.
A story that was abandoned.
As was the group of new fans that had embraced it as their own:
The group of people, known as Reylos.

The Story of the Reylos

For over 2,5 weeks I have been glued to my Twitter timeline, reading everything about the heavily disappointing Star Wars 9 The Rise of Skywalker. My addiction ultimately paid off in giving me The Ultimate Article on Everything Wrong with The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars: Why Reylo Outrage Inspired #ReleaseTheJJCut

This article pleads for release of the original/ real ending, by JJ Abrams. And although the title does not fully cover it, the article sums up everything wrong with Star Wars 9, in particular from a Reylo perspective.
I will explain in a minute why that is defendable as the most relevant perspective.
But let me first explain what “Reylo” means.
It stands for the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren. Their love story roots in the myth of Death and the Maiden, in the Phantom of the Opera and it is almost a direct clone of Disney’s other favorite (Star Wars is owned by Disney), Belle and the Beast.
The Beast, Death or the Phantom was Kylo Ren, played by the tallest actor of his generation Adam Driver, who has made it big with numerous highly acclaimed movies.
Adam Driver played Kylo Ren, Disney’s dark prince, who would be united with his equal in the light, the girl Rey from Jakku.
Together Rey and Kylo would bring balance to The Force:
The darkside warrior with the light inside of him and the lightside warrior Rey with the dark inside of her. Like the black yin and light yang, both having one dot of the other inside of them.
Now that I am unapologetically making Kylo Ren “Yin”, which is also the female element, I am reminded of an interesting perspective which was offered on Twitter directly, so I don’t have an article (yet?), about how the tall handsome warrior Kylo Ren is actually portrayed as very feminine.
Not only does he posses the long flowy Disney prince hair;
He also uses his voice, his eyes, his mystery to seduce her. At one point he’s shirtless when he talks to her, throwing Rey off as she stammers if he perhaps has a cowl to cover himself up.
For me it were indeed these feminine aspects that made Kylo irresistible.
So Reylos, or Reylo shippers are the people who “ship” (from relationship) the pairing of Rey and Kylo. A pairing which – and this is important in the light of where things went – was setup and supported by Disney themselves.
As much as more traditional Star Wars fans may argue otherwise, episode 7 The Force Awakens  (2015) and in particular episode 8 The Last Jedi (2017) were setting up a story that was more sexual, sensual, spiritual and more mythical, than any of the previous Star Wars movies had ever been.
If the third trilogy was rooted in anything from the past, it was much more in the Prequels; A series of movies George Lucas himself made at the beginning of this century. And at the time, the prequels were heavily criticized by the fans of the originals.
Fans of the originals did not like the prequel trilogy.
And now both fans of the originals and fans of the prequels, didn’t like the theme of the sequels.
But here is how it differs and where the recent criticism turned into the downfall of the entire sequel trilogy:
Because in the case of the prequels, the criticism never got to influence the story.
George Lucas knew the bigger story and he stuck with it.
But what happened in the sequels is that episode 7 was different, fresh, but not too different. And was still ambiguous with regard to the love theme. It was this ambiguity that ensured the older fanbase liked it, and drew in the first of the new fanbase.
The Reylo shippers.
But then came 8, The Last Jedi.
The romantic story was dialed up and all hell broke loose. Criticism was usually not directly aimed at the romance, nor at the socially conscious themes 8 had included.
Instead it was projected at what was “done to” Luke Skywalker (he was a bitter man regretting the choices he had made, instead of a Jedi superhero), and on how many or more how few lightsaber fights 8 had.
But the point that should have been made then, is that those complaints were entirely irrelevant to the bigger story which was being told. The story that after hiding in episode 7, was finally becoming more explicit and more visible.
And if George Lucas had done this trilogy, just like he had done the prequels, he would have held the course. He would not have changed the story, because of nitpicking on choices that didn’t have anything to do with the bigger narrative.
But as the old Star Wars fans were angry because they saw Star Wars canon, and the characters as they saw them, being compromised in 8, Disney grew uncomfortable with the path they had chosen.
There are people pointing out that Disney has creative freedom, and that it’s okay for these three movies of the final trilogy to have an entirely different tone;
There are even those wondering if Reylos have a right to ask or expect a Happily Ever After.
Yes, we do.
Not because that is what “we” want to see, but because that is what has been fed to us.
THAT is the story Disney set up, that is the entire thing this sequel trilogy is based on. Or was based on, until they first got cold feet after the backlash from the Last Jedi.
And then weeks before the premiere they got cold all the way up to the waistline, because they changed the entire ending.
The ending of The Rise of Skywalker does not contain any original material of Adam Driver “acting” his death. They used material, in all likeliness from his Happily Ever After, and edited it using every dirty trick in the book, until it looked like he had died
And Rey – who had been hailed during the entire movie as being half of “A dyad in the Force! A power like life itself! Unseen for generations!” was copied from her Pasaana shots, and pasted into Tatooine.
And voila!
Disney’s half of the Dyad, also known as Belle, is now redubbed to Wonder Woman in space, and doesn’t need anybody anymore. There was no footage of her mourning the dead side of her dyad, her other half, and the man with whom she had been having heated Force conversations with for over a year;
Instead they let her commemorate his uncle, Luke Skywalker with whom she had a difficult relationship with; And his mother Leia.
Just like Adam Driver didn’t do any acting for his ending, this footage too was most likely entirely fabricated and the actress who played Rey never got a chance to act as someone who had just lost her soulmate.
They just copy pasted her into the desert.
Rey in the final minutes of the film, has been compared to the Stepford Wives: She does not show any emotion only an artificial smile.

bad endings

I feel Star Wars was never for me.
Or, as the article said it: 

“Star Wars has the bitter taste of a franchise that accidentally tapped into women’s interests but had little interest in them as intelligent viewers engaging with the material.”

Star Wars: Why Reylo Outrage Inspired #ReleaseTheJJCut

We were lured in with the promise of an epic fairy tale, and then we were kicked out that we should be strong, be alone and eat sand.
That made Star Wars 9, The Rise of Skywalker, so painful for me and all the other Reylos.
Stories are there to transcend our pain and suffering. They provide healing.
I think the main difference for me, and perhaps for other Reylos too, is that I would never bring those kinds of expectations to a real life human being.
Not into a real life relationship between a man and a woman.
Expectations are projections of who will save you and complete you. According to Disney they don’t even belong in fairy tales. Even there the heroine just has to suck it up.
But I think the reason Marriage Story never really got to me, is that even I, a romantic Reylo, know that expectations of your other half completing you,
definitely do not belong in a marriage.

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

coming soon: new books 

1. Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2020
3. Big Mistress – confessions, columns and sex advice from the other woman
4. Blote Kont- (Dutch)
5. ALL THE THINGS – unpublished work 2010 – 2020 

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready is to follow my 
English blog which I established in 2018:

Nederlands blog:


#thankyourianjohnson | A Reylo Fairy Tale on The Rise of Skywalker

Christmas Eve, 2019
introduction to the story

Four hours ago, I sat down in order to write a compassionate review of The Rise of Skywalker.Something that would uplift the hearts of everyone who had been disappointed in any way shape or form, by the final episode of the saga.
And this included the people who had worked on it for all those years, and director JJ Abrams.
I was convinced that if I could look at JJ Abrams with the same compassion I had given the villain of the trilogy, the darkside warrior Kylo Ren, I would be able to connect with the part of JJ Abrams that had done the best he could.
And who was probably haunted by his own inner demons.
Just like Kylo Ren had been a victim of mental abuse since before birth, when a dark Lord invaded his mind and crushed his soul.

Kylo Ren never had a chance of staying on the right path.
And I was sure that in that light, the controversial choices of JJ Abrams too, could be explained by his deepest darkest fears getting the better of him.
Things that frightened him to the bone but that had been so terribly close, that he had been unable to separate them from his very own being. 
Much less do anything about them.
897c4a72b6bdf959768dca2ee5ab890cAnd yet the intention to develop a more compassionate view of the man who had once given us the beautiful Star Wars 7 – including a bridal carry scene halfway through the movie and a bell in the first scene with Rey; both promises of a fairy tale-
did not bring out the wave of inspiration and healing I was hoping for.

On day six after seeing The Rise of Skywalker I was no way near forgiving him, for taking away our happy end.
For turning this into Romeo and Juliet, instead of Belle and the Beast.
But since I had announced on Twitter that I would be writing a compassionate review of The Rise of Starwalker, I felt the obligation to at least mention, that it was still on my mind, but that I could not find the right way to go about it.
So that’s what I tweeted.
And one tweet turned into two.
Two into four.
And by now they had numbers followed by slash/ and the word “thread”.

I knew I was on to something and that I had no idea how long this thread was going to be, or which story I was going to tell.
And this illustrates how I feel about writing and art;
In my opinion all you can do is let the story come out. It must reveal itself.
I m sure writing a film script is in many ways different to blogging or tweeting, but having said that, I do believe that if I had been convinced, that for The Rise of Skywalker, JJ Abrams had been following his own inner-voice?
I would have wholeheartedly accepted it.
Even if The Rise of Skywalker had been about all of them turning to the dark side, and submerging the entire galaxy into darkness for eons to come;
If that’s how JJ Abrams, director and screenplay writer, had seen this movie with great clarity?
Then so it shall be done.
The entire problem was: We never got that impression.

As far as I could see, something already went very wrong when the first director for this episode Colin Trevorrow was fired or resigned, based on creative differences.
This was before The Last Jedi was released, so it didn’t have anything to do with Disney responding to disappointing box office results or anything.
Colin Trevorrow must have experienced a limitation that didn’t allow him to make the film he wanted to make, but the film Disney wanted to make. His resignation should have been a red flag for JJ saying yes.
What exactly had he said yes to?
In the Twitter thread I m sharing below, I ve let this conflict play out with the character of Palpetine, because Trevorrow has always claimed his script did not include a return of the emperor.
The Emperor, came with JJ.
If I read the thread below, I can see I have not totally succeeded in my setup to write a non-salty review, that is compassionate to everyone involved. Technically, it is not even a review.
And I must say I am very sorry for that.

But I let the story out, as it wanted to come out.

And in the end?
That is really all any artist, any creator, any writer, and any filmmaker, can ever do.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.


A Reylo Fairy Tale on The Rise of Skywalker 



[ click the link to tweet ]

I really wanted to write a compassionate piece on The Rise of Skywalker,
but my thoughts are all over the place.
I think about toxic masculinity a lot.
I can’t write until I ve found my inner Rose

I m a sequel-fan.
I really never “felt” Star Wars, until right before The Last Jedi: I checked its spoiler reviews and encountered Reylo!
Suddenly the strange feeling I had felt after TFA made sense.
I rushed to the theater and never came back. Until now that is.

I believe JJ did put the option of a love story into The Force Awakens. But he didn’t push it.
The strongest evidence is the care put into making Kylo a Disney prince!
But JJ’s TFA left too much room for interpretation, which caused conflict between fans.

So the two years after The Force Awakened a war was fought, between early Reylos and fans of the originals and the prequels.
The Reylos were outnumbered.
No one believed their story that Rey from Jakku would fall for the darkside warrior Kylo Ren.

In December 2017 The Last Jedi was released. Critics praised this character driven Star Wars movie, and the Reylos were over the moon!
Rey and Kylo Ren were going bring balance and save the universe by their union of the dark and light.
Until something happened..

Fans of the prequels and the originals were furious.
Although once at war with each other, back in 1999 when the first prequel came out, they had now joined forces and they lashed out at the The Last Jedi, with anything that remotely looked like canon.

They hit so hard Disney suffered financially, or at least they thought they had.
Or would. Or would in the future. Who knows what they thought.
As a response Disney ghosted Rian Johnson: the same director whose film they had praised and had offered extra work.

The Last Jedi haters also took their anger out on Reylos.
But by now they were with many.
The Force Awakens had been the spark but The Last Jedi set fire to the Reylo flame.
For two long years, Reylo fires burned bright on all social media.

After The Force Awakened Reylos had been a minority.
But after the Last Jedi the groups were equal in size
And the Reylos used a weapon the antis did not understand:
The narrative.
Which means they were incredibly strong with the Force And they were winning

But behind the scenes, in the final months before the release of the Last Jedi, something had happened that would change the fate of all Reylos.
A new man was appointed to direct final movie, of what Reylos considered “their” trilogy
And it would be their downfall.

On a quest to bring the final chapter of the the saga back to the fans of the prequels and the originals, the new director forged an allegiance with a mighty foe:
The Emperor
The most powerful misogynist that had ever existed and the arch enemy of the Reylos.

For two years the new director worked on his masterpiece:
One film, to rule them all.
One film, to bind them.
And while the world held its breath to the grand final of The Nine, The Emperor said his cooperation required one more thing.
A human sacrifice.

The director could smell victory was near.
The fans of the prequels and originals were excited about the upcoming movie and Reylos were looking forward to see their ship sail to its final destination.
The war had stopped
For a brief moment there was peace in the galaxy

“What sacrifice, my Lord?” the director asked.
As his mind went over who he could spare from his cast and crew.
The Emperor answered: “Bring me the heart of Kylo Ren.”
The director was shocked.
“But my Lord, it is not mine to give. It belongs to Rey from Jakku.”

But the Emperor did not yield.
Months before the movie’s release the director ripped the heart from Kylo Ren’s chest and gave it to the Emperor.
Then he ordered the cast to return to set except for the actor who played Kylo Ren.
His services were no longer needed

In the final months the director reshot 30% of all material, and feverishly edited his masterpiece.
But the actors had become quiet. They did what they were obliged to do, but no one talked about the movie or promoted it.
Their faces had become like masks.

Rumors grew.
Stories that the director had sacrificed the heart of Kylo Ren reached the Reylos.
And while the fans of the prequels and the sequels uncorked their champagne and toasted to the return of the emperor, the Reylos refused to believe their hero had died.

Timezone after timezone, Reylos around the world went to see the premiere of the movie.
And one by one they fell.
Because the rumors were right: In sharp contrast to the happy end, as promised by the promotional material that had been released, Kylo Ren died.

The Reylos had been betrayed.
Kylo Ren had been erased from the film, and just like Rey from Jakku – who ended up all alone on a desert planet exactly where she started – the Reylos too, were exactly where they started. But they had learned an important lesson.

The Reylos went their separate ways.
Some raised money for
 @AITAF, from the actor who had played Kylo Ren:
Others started
#thankyourianjohnson, the Reylo patron saint
But not one Reylo ever spoke of what they learned.
Because some things are best forgotten.

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

My diaries en erotica are available at my BOOK SHOP

coming soon: new books 

1. Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2020
3. Big Mistress – confessions, columns and sex advice from the other woman
4. Blote Kont- (Dutch)
5. ALL THE THINGS – unpublished work 2010 – 2020 

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready is to follow my 
English blog which I established in 2018:

Nederlands blog:


bridal carry in The Force Awakens, also directed by JJ Abrams: