Finding your Voice, and the courage to Sing Loudly

10 Jun
The Sound of Your Voice

When I refer to the “Voice” I’m referring to the essence of how we communicate–the words, intonation–what we think, believe, hope for, aspire to. Our Truth. The Voice can be the culmination of one’s heart, one’s passion, soul, dislikes, likes and weaknesses. Scholars of religion may call this your soul, or your connection with your Higher Power. Psychologists may call it your personality. Purveyors of metaphysics and nature may call it your ki, essence, or being.

*BOOK REC ALERT* “A Woman’s Worth” author and spiritual lecturer Marianne Williamson speaks of finding your voice as ‘owning your passionate nature, allowing for love and inspiration to thrive’, and I’ll add, allowing it to permeate one’s outer shell, shine through.

Don’t you look like this when you stand on windy cliff-sides?

I had not planned on writing about the “controversy” that KStew found herself ensnared in last week. But when I witnessed how Kristen struggled and triumphed to not only find her voice, but sing loudly with it, I knew I must address what has now been known as Kristen’s “Rape Controversy”. Prior to this hot topic, I was so distracted by the epicness that was the UK Elle interview and glorious pictures that accompanied the piece; Kristen’s whirlwind Eclipse promo tour, and pending MTV Movie Awards. I was totally blindsided by the drama. Actually, I don’t know that I’ll wholly delve into the matter within this post, although I wanted to address it–if nothing else, then to acknowledge the tentative, magnificence of finding one’s voice, then to experience the agony and rejection of having it SHUT. DOWN.

Today’s musings has already referenced Voice as one’s true self/soul/personality, but the majority of this essay will reference one’s verbal and physical expression of the Self, the Voice. This post is in honor, of course, of our Reigning Other Queen Kristen, showcasing Others who do not possess the eloquence to express our inner musings. This is for those of us Others who are awkward, fumbling, bumbling, tongue-tied, over-thinking babblers. We’re the ones who receive countless confused stares and sidelong glances because yeah, we SAID. IT. We’re also recipients of the Puss Face when no one else understands WTF just happened.

I’ll take my cup with cream and Splenda if you have any?

Let’s do this, mmmkay? The two Rebellious Royals we’ll visit in this post are both outrageously beautiful Other Queens, and representatives of two types Communicators (of the verbal and physical expression of thoughts and ideas). The first type is the Genius Bizzarro Blurter and the second: Sublimely Cerebral, Awkward Orator.

Featured Rebel Royal: Tori Amos

Genius Bizzarro Blurter. The GBB finds herself extremely expressive, using facial expressions and hand gestures to further elaborate on a point. The words that exude from the GBB’s mouth can be whimsical, brilliant, nonsensical (to some), sensual and provocative, and yet still be direct and astute.

Tori Amos emerged in the 1990s as a singer-songwriter of incredible means. She is known as the quintessential Eccentric Girl, with her flame red hair, her masterful musicianship, her role in her family as The Minister’s Daughter. She has been called The Provocative Poet, the Charismatic Faerie, The Goddess.

Those fingers can stir even the deepest emotions. She may be tiny, but she is powerful.

Things you may hear tumbling out of this particular GBB’s mouth:

‘God, sometimes you just don’t come through. Do you need a woman to look after you?’


‘I think that people who can’t believe in fairies aren’t worth knowing.’


“I don’t see myself as weird, I just see myself as honest.”


“Most people would rather be sheep than stand on their own with antlers on.”


and my personal favorite:

“So, you can make me come, that doesn’t make you Jesus.”

Beauty Marks:
1.) Clear, heartbreaking soprano voice 2.) Prodigious piano skills 3.) Advocate for Rape Victims’ rights 4.) Speaks openly about sexuality, religion, love and despair 5.) Will turn the piano into an instrument of ROCK 6.) Fearless conviction and celebration of her Other-ness.

watching her is like watching an exorcism
Offenses of Other: Per Ass Clowns, music and societal commentators, Tori:

1.) Humps her piano bench 2.) Speaks gibberish 3.) Engages in blasphemy by singing about sexuality AND religion! 4.) Is too sexual and brazen in her female confidence. 5) Is too provocative 6.) Appears to twitch, convulse and become possessed while performing. Awwwwkward.

There were times where I wished I was her piano bench

Her wide-release debut album “Little Earthquakes” highlighted the song Me and A Gun, an acapella retelling of her shattering rape experience, a song that became the foundation for Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). We will revisit RAINN a bit later, interestingly enough. While “Little Earthquakes” introduced the world to this intriguing Rebel Queen, her second release, “Under the Pink” created the pop icon that earned millions of ardent fans– ToriPhiles. She earned critical raves blowing past the boundaries of conformity, by challenging everything from religion, sexuality, parenthood, love and fierce, unbridled ANGER. Because she speaks of faeries, antlers, masturbation and food (she likes Chocolate and molasses A LOT) in the same sentences as religion, God and parenthood, she is a GBB, but also Rebel Royalty.

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

Sublimely Cerebral Awkward Orator. The AO is very aware that her words contain power. This knowledge can be paralyzing and overwhelming to the the intellectual, sensitive AO. The AOs in our circles are the folks who appear to be contemplating, or not listening at all. He or she may make pauses in speech, drop off before completing sentences or thoughts, may use their physical being do the real communicating, with the bouncing knee, down-turned gaze, pursed lips, and don’t forget the gesticulating fingers and hands.

Things that you may hear tumbling out of this AO’s Mouth:

‘Um. I don’t know. What the fuck is inner beauty?’
‘It’s funny how in America, fame is placed so fucking high–above wealth, happiness, everything. It’s so not true.’

“I choose my work instinctively. I couldn’t have a plan. I would always fall short.”
“I can’t pretend.”
and my personal favorite:

“Silver spikes? What? They’re bullets, Mofo!!”

With one of her most revealing interviews in recent memory, Kristen speaks of her discomfort with the Fame Game to Flaunt Magazine, Elle, and Elle UK. The article that sparked the outcry of anger was the Elle (UK Version) article. Here is what Kristen says to Hanna Hanra in the UK Elle interview for July 2010.

Whaaa? Did you say something? Can’t hear ya. I’m still staring at this cover.
‘Your little persona is made up of all the places that people have seen you, what has been said about you…so overwhelming in the moment and fleeting for me… What you don’t see are the cameras shoved in my face, and the bizarre, intrusive questions being asked…the screaming and taunting to get a reaction. It’s so…’ (searching for words) ‘The photos are so…I feel like I’m looking at someone being raped. A lot of time I can’t handle it. It’s fucked.’

Did you read anywhere in that paragraph–which I just copied word for word from my copy of UK Elle lying on the table next to me–in which Kristen said that she hated acting, hated her fans, hated being famous? No? Did you translate how Kristen compared fame to BEING RAPED? Did you read or hear Kristen say, “my discomfort is more legit than the pain victims of sexual assault feel”? NO? Ya sure? Maybe you should go back and read it, because for some reason, a shitton of people DID hear Kristen stirring a controversy. Below are samples of Smack Down that anti-rape organizations issued publicly.

Katherine Hull on behalf of Rape and Incest National Network (R.A.I.N.N.): “Kristen Stewart’s comments are regrettable. should have used a more appropriate metaphor to describe the intrusive nature of the paparazzi. Rape is more than an intrusion, it’s a violent crime, that causes serious long term mental health effects for victims.”

The executive director of
RapeIs.org, Margaret Lazarus, weighed in, pointing out that: “Rape is a violation in which one has no choice. A star seeking publicity has choices. Although rape involves loss of privacy, loss of privacy does not constitute rape. Let’s use a little logical thinking here.”

Neil Irwin, Executive Director of the
Men Can Stop Rape Organization, believes that there is some degree of comparison, but concludes: ‘Out of respect for these survivors, we would suggest using a more appropriate word, like ‘violation.'”

Nonverbal communication, Mofos! Smiling=happy

Beauty Marks:

1.) Articulate 2.) Wicked sense of fashion 3.) Speaks her mind 4.) Admits to and displays her vulnerability. 5.) Follows her heart, her instincts, her soul’s trajectory. 6.) Seeks to perfect her skills within her craft.

 

Offenses of Other: Per Ass Clowns, and a few condescending rape organizations, Kristen:

1.) Over-analyzes her words to the point of obliteration 2. ) Is a publicity seeker  3.) Is illogical 4.) Does not use a dictionary or metaphors correctly 5.) Does NOT understand what HURT is. 6.) Admits to being unsure and vulnerable. 7.) Is a miserable, melodramatic complainer

Silent All These Years 

Are you still hanging with me, friends? I hadn’t expected to go here, not in the second Other Musings post ever, if at all. However, I’m going to tell you a brief, intense story as to why I reacted so strongly to these events. Four years ago, I was a woman in her mid-20’s  living on my own, still an intern counselor, nursing the wounds of a recent, brutal breakup. One day, during the lunchtime hour,  a man broke into my small studio apartment through my bathroom window, wrapped himself in scarves and shawls of mine that he found in my wardrobe, and attempted to assault me in my home. I managed to save myself from injuries, assault, and perhaps an even worse fate, by speaking to my attacker, asking him to reconsider harming me. He screamed at me, attempted to bind and gag me, but in the final moment, dropped the scarves, dropped my shawls, and ran out of my apartment, away from me.

Suffice to say, I bristled when these “victim-protecting” organizations and critics emerged from the woodwork to jump on board the KStew-Hunting Train. I, for one KNEW what it felt like to be violated and would have found it insulting and insensitive if someone came along and told me  how to correctly detail and express my experience. A couple days ago, I wrote RAINN,  the abuse prevention organization that Tori Amos founded, and whose current organization heads requested an apology from Kristen for likening her experience to that of rape victims. I wrote them to remind them that Kristen is a twenty-year-old women who is subjected to physical danger and sexual harassment every moment she steps outside her front door. When she walks through an airport, it could potentially look like this:
I’m pretty sure you can see the lip quiver and absolute terror on her face

And sometimes, 15-20 men with cameras and microphones can be heard shouting questions about her sexuality and her sex life as well as the physical attributes of her body. They call her names like, “BITCH and WHORE” and make it nearly impossible for her and her family to finish simple tasks like visit the doctor, attend a concert, eat dinner.

So in these incredibly violating moments, ok, no, Kristen was not physically forced to have sex against her will as per the legal definition of rape according to California law. However, according to Dictionary.com, synonyms for the verb Rape include:

Violate. Assault. Maltreat. Abuse.

Neil Irwin, Executive Director of the Men Can Stop Rape Organization, was one of the more fair-minded, just commenters on Kristen’s usage of the word “rape” conceding that she probably does feel violated, forced and coerced. Mr Irwin believes that Kristen should use a “different, more appropriate” word like violated. Although, he is a man, and he can’t possibly feel the depth of a Woman’s violation, he at least wasn’t quite as condescending as the other folks mentioned above, both women by the way. Wow, women can be unrelenting, huh? Damn. *mutters, “another time, another time*.

*clears throat, raises hand* I just want to say that I have an opinion, and it is mine and mine alone. I don’t expect you to share my opinion or like it, even, but this is my essay, so I thought I’d give my thoughts on the situation, briefly…and then I’m done talking. Swearsies. Kristen is a girl who struggles already with the words and communicating. She is an Awkward Orator–helllloooo! Why hasn’t anyone read my definition yet?? She finally garners the courage to let the public and the paparazzi know:

I am frightened and vulnerable. You are not respecting my need for space. You are taking pictures without my permission, against my will, you are posturing and physically intimidating me, yelling foul, offensive things about my body, my sexuality, my love life. I’m just trying to get to the car. I am feeling unprotected and violated.

So she reveals her vulnerability. She speaks up. HOORAY for KRISTEN,  and all AOs fist pump and W00t with her! Ahem. Negative. Not only does she get ridiculed and taunted by press and papz for using her words to speak what she truthfully feels, but she is coerced, bullied and shamed into publicly stating she was wrong for feeling this way. Despite whether she needed to do so, Kristen issued an apology while on press tour for Eclipse just a few days ago. It was a very concise and respectful concession. However, because one of the organizations demanding it from her, over-rode their own mission statement of protecting and supporting victims of abuse to make an example of Kristen, I became….twitchy. Oops! Hot Therapist Avatar has something to say too… hang tight, and hold onto your hats and glasses, and not because it’s gonna be a mind-blowing wild ride (although it is). But Hot Therapist Avi borrows things and doesn’t return them. Those glasses she’s wearing? Mine. Truefax.

Reading Comprehension is invaluable. Get it.
Dictionaries are indispensable. Buy one.

*Hot Therapist Avatar climbs atop her soapbox and says:*

People have NO IDEA the effects of verbal and emotional abuse. Constant name calling, put downs, posturing (getting too close to a person, though not touching the person), remarks about body and sexuality— those can cause LONGER-TERM residual psychological damage. The negative effects on self-esteem, self-confidence, decision making, social interaction, relationships- –are staggering. Papz ARE engaging in abusive behavior towards Kristen and Rob…AND it becomes SEXUAL in nature the second, the second the pappz make a comment about Kristen’s body, her gender, or her sexuality…

It gets me soooo mad when people dismiss the harmful effects that emotional and verbal abuse causes. Doesn’t cause damage? Is it NOT violating? Is it NOT abusive? Tell that to the children and teenagers who were subjected to and/or witnessed verbal and emotional abuse (say, in bad divorces, school bullying, etc) in my counseling office over the last 9 years.

*Hot Therapist Avatar climbs off her soap box and paces the room, fuming*

Ok, then. So here’s the deal. I’m gonna steer us to towards the bright spot at the end of the tunnel now.   Because Kstew, our featured Sublimely Cerebral Awkward Orator and reigning Other Queen, came out on the other side of the “controversy”, looking like this:

. . .And like this:

. . .And gets to do this every night:

. . .With this gloriously Rebellious Royal:
I also am a misfit, dontcha know? But my girl and I are a perfect fit.

I will not only lovingly shove Hot Therapist Avi off her soapbox, and lock her away with my unemployment paperwork, but I will concede that Kristen Jaymes Stewart deserves to remain our Reigning Rebel Royal for a long while.

Sing it. Own it.

Whatever it is that you call your Voice, your Truth, Owing the Passion, harnessing your Energy, I encourage you to define it, listen to it, speak it, dance it and Sing. It. LOUDLY. And even if you’re a Genius Bizzarro Blurter (GBB) or a Sublimely Cerebral Awkward Orator (AO), you can still communicate your authentic nature in the face of some severe critics, and gain respect and strength on the other side of the fire.

I found that in the darkest hour, in a moment of absolute stillness, I asked a would-be violator to please remove my scarves and shawls so I could see his face. I used my voice to ask him to please please see my truth…and perhaps so he could glimpse his own. I never felt such clarity before this moment. And I think that is when I learned the absolute power I held when I used my voice. And I haven’t stopped talking or singing since.

Tori was a piano prodigy at four years old, granted entrance to the private, prestigious music school Peabody Academy when she was just a little girl. She was kicked out by the time she was 12, because she wanted to rock the Beatles instead of Beethoven. She became a cultural icon and a trailblazer for singer-songwriters for the end of one century, and the beginning of the next. Plus, she also has a castle in England. Fit for a Queen, yes?

Kristen is a fumbling, intelligent young woman who is finding her own voice in front of an audience of millions. She spoke her truth, got slammed for it, and still rose above, earning her begrudging but awe-inspired respect from harsh critics. She is generating golden buzz about her upcoming movie roles Welcome to the Rileys and the soon to be filming On the Road . She blurts golden nuggest like, “What the fuck is inner beauty?” unknowingly personifying and modeling the very concept about which she is uncertain.

Tori is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others emerge through fire, singing loudly.

Embrace Your Other.


QUESTION:  When did you hear your voice for the first time?

A/N:
Please take a look at who contributes to this blog, and therefore to my life. Go tell these ladies how beautiful they are. @Bouffant00 is my friend, genius researcher, confidante and pre-reader/Beta. Love her. @buff_82 pre-reads my work, and makes everything you see on this page as beautiful as it is. The Banner? Please. Buff did that one morning in between creating/beautifying the pristine KStew Is Better Than You Blog, raising her children and writing her heartbreakingly lovely fan fiction. The glorious CC of @Kstewsbtrthanu somehow pre-reads my work, shouts at me to PUBLISH THAT SHIZNET. NOW.

. . and makes me laugh all while working, graduating from grad school, managing and writing her own brilliant blog.  As usual, my usual posse, my sleuthing, brilliant cyber SISTERS and READERS rock my socks off every single day. Thank you, ladies. You inspire and astound me. Special mentions and hugs to Dancer1 who fights the good fight against KStew critics all damn day, and my friend Constant (Julie) who is a warrior queen, every day.

The responses and reactions I received from the first ever Musings On Other Queens post just blew me away. You shared anecdotes, funnies, awkwardness so willingly and astonishingly. THANK YOU. My hope, as I’ve said, is to respond to you directly. If you leave a contact Twitter name or at least a moniker that I recognize, I will do my best to reply directly to you. Mostly I just want to tell you how grateful I am that you peeked in and shared a thought or two in reaction. Yours, KJ

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