The Other Queen is Unemployed
It’s true. While I may consider myself royalty, it is not due to any monetary mark or abilities to travel across the lands on a Queen’s tour. This may be the longest time period I’ve ever gone without work, since I was seventeen years old. Six months ago, I was living in a rural community, the antithesis of my metropolitan upbringing, working as a manager of a small counseling team. This counseling team would drive massive distances to bring mental health counseling, support, empowerment and coping skills to families who couldn’t come to our offices, entailing up to 50 mile drives for myself or my counseling team. I would often meet with homeless clients in parking lots of shelters, at parks in the middle of orange groves to sit down and talk life. The benefits of this job included working with some of the kindest, smartest and most compassionate beings in this world; collaborating alongside one of my dearest and oldest friends who is an obscenely gifted psychologist; earning enough money so that my fairly new husband and I (we were finishing our first year of marriage) could live in a modest house with a dishwasher. No seriously, the prize was the damn dishwasher for my city-apartment-dwelling ass. Well, the dishwasher and the fact that my heart was full.
because I had a garbage disposal
a dishwasher once upon a time
The drawbacks included working for corrupt, burnt-out and unethical company leaders; 24/7 on-call status for crisis pages; and next-door inhabitants who most definitely were not voters in my favor on The Other Homecoming Queen ballot. My “neighbors” most definitely saw my tanned skin, almond shaped eyes, nose piercings, Kerouac-totin’ Otherness as alien, odd, threatening. Don’t even get me started on how they regarded my Southeast Asian, worldly, brilliant and Koran-reading husband. *deep breath* Anyhoo, because mental health is not a priority to our society, I found myself one of the first casualties of the budget cuts, and all the hours I’d wished to sleep in, all the arguments with greedy suits I’d wish to end, did. Abruptly. I became jobless within a four minute phone call (yes, they did it by phone while I was away in SoCal caring for my mother post-surgery), and I was spinning.
Here’s the dealio. All my schooling, thesis writing-then-defending and skills earned during grueling shit-for-stipend internships were rendered unusable at this time. What did I do upon hearing I needed to get back to the office and pack my shit up? I cried about 3 tears. I went to 7-11 Convenience Store with a high school bestie, and bought a 32 oz Slushie, a pack of Marlboro lights, and bottle of Miracle Bubbles. (That’s the name of the brand, btw, not that they can make you regain sight when you’re blind…at least, I hadn’t seen any reports saying so)…. I sat in the passenger seat of my friend’s SUV, with the window down, driving along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), with my arm out the window…. You may have seen me. My black curly hair whipped around wildly, and in my wake…bubbles….
I smoked two cigarettes, which was plenty for me, as I had stopped smoking a year earlier, sipped my Wild Cherry Slushie and danced around in the bubbles I blew for thirty minutes of unhindered joy. This is why: I hated the neighborhood I had brought my sensitive and kind husband to live in. I loathed the Tossers who were balancing numbers in their offices, telling me that they could not fund art supplies for my clients who had no crayons or construction paper (or running water sometimes), all while said Tossers left their air-conditioned offices via their luxury sedans at 5PM sharp. And, most startlingly: I desperately missed the joyous interaction of creative living. See, in my spare time (endangered species, I know) I dabble in music, and I guess I’m a kinda writer. I’m a seeker of Creative Bliss. But the past five years, and certainly since assuming the manager position of that soul-sucking company in the middle of BastardNation, I cased my guitar, sold my keyboard, and shelved my writing notebooks. In all honesty, I had taken the managerial position with the counseling agency because I was trying to be “responsible”. I was trying to appease The Critics. The Should-ers. Our Reigning Queen Kristen would refer to these soul-destroying, Other-Hunters as The Bullshit People.
How many of you feel your inner critics
clawing out of your skulls
trying to straighten this frame?
My life as Kj, the Therapist and Program Manager was in direct relation to my avoidance and acquiescence that The Critic was correct. The Critic told me that it was ridiculous for me to consider taking a break from practicing therapy in order to write travel essays. That it was ludicrous to believe the musical tracks I’d recorded with brilliant musicians, that had been accepted onto a small movie soundtrack might be the key to my heart’s happy dance. The Critic even cautioned me in applying to Doctors Without Borders to volunteer counseling to my husband’s ancestors, who were suffering in extreme poverty in southeast Asia. So while BastardNation may have initially pushed me into the depths of despair, I quickly rallied back and flipped the Double-Bird, KStew-Style to my Critic. Because guess what? The Critic can be wrooooooong.
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this picture.
The internal dialogue went something like this:
Kj: Holy Shit! I’m out of a job! Fuck. I’m scared. No. Fuck, I’m FREE! I don’t have to return to a job where I was dying.
Critic: You dumbass. Whatcha gonna do now? Gypsy around again with a duffel bag in your car? You can’t push your damn piano everywhere, and it’s been years since you’ve even tuned your guitar.
Kj: Well, why the hell would I go back to something that was depleting my soul?
Critic: You moved your husband to BastardNation, only to get your ass laid off. You have no money.
Kj: Well, I’d happily work for OhDreamOn and Cascadega in fighting the good fight on critical-Kristen internet discussion boards. I’d bring coffee and hold their hair back as they dive in swinging.
Critic: Hmm. I agree, it’d be a fuckawesome job. ODO and Cas are in the trenches, snark and brilliance ablaze. Maybe you could make them your other-worldly grilled cheese sandwiches. That might tempt them.
Kj: *small voice* Until then, I have a penchant for writing. And singing. And I’m kinda fierce at playing piano.
Critic: Mom is going to kick you in the bunghole. You didn’t go to a private grad school and study years for licensure to be a open-mic-night pan handler.
Kj: But I feel such bliss when I think about writing, singing, creating.
Critic: (long pause). You did always say that Psychology was Plan B. You’ve given ten years to Plan B. You’ve never committed to anything that long. Props, K. Plan A has been neglected long enough.
Kj: Thanks for saying so, Inner C. Let’s ignore the fact that I recount full transcripts of my convos with The Voices. Have some chocolate.
Critic: Let’s kum-ba-yah this bitch right now.
Who is The Critic for you? The Critic as I’ve encountered, whispers at me to remain cautious and weary of any sudden movement or change. The Critic is different than it’s cousin, the Conscious. Freudians may call it The Superego but the less on Freud the better, in my opinion, mmmkay? So while the Conscious serves to protect us and initiate self-preservation in potentially life-endangering situations, The Critic can be an aggressive little bitch. The Critic seeks perfection from me, highlights my flaws and lapses in wisdom, shoots down ideas seemingly too fanciful. The Critic can take on certain tones of voices such as motherly disapproval (Oh, Kj! How do I explain this to your grandmother??), to cruel playground taunting (na na na na na na, you’re STOOPID!) and spiteful, jealous female coworkers (You, Slutty McWhores-A-lot, will never look good in that dress. YES, it’s obvious you’ve gained weight).
Obviously, the filter through which the Witch-Hunters oops, I mean, Other-Hunters/Should-ers/Bullshit People view us are numerous, and stem from a variety of contributing factors. From a feminist-based point of view: Demonizing of Other can occur when a woman does not choose to be a mother or a wife at a given point in time; or, when a woman wears clothing that draws attention to her body. Basically, Others could be hunted down and shamed simply for not fulfilling roles that society has designated as such. Also, unwanted speculation/evaluation can arise when you’re a member of a particular village or tribe. In Asian cultures, it is frowned upon when an individual becomes more noticeable than his family as a whole.
The Royal Misfits featured in today’s post are Rebel Queens, both gloriously stunning, and both navigating their own internal critic, but also the reality of true critics and commentators spewing narratives about any twitches, blinking, snags, eye rolls they may or may not display. Additionally, there are plenty of reviewers who receive money and fame themselves for giving their opinion on how well these Other Queens execute their chosen professions.
Featured Rebel Royal: Kate Winslet
The exquisite Kate Winslet is already a bit of a legendary Other Queen, introduced to the public’s awareness when she was 16 years old in Heavenly Creatures portraying a young school girl with lesbian leanings and murderous plans. Sweet. Sounds like my kinda girl. She further embedded in cultural consciousness with her first Oscar-nominated turn in the lovely Austen classic (and one of my personal favorite movies) Sense and Sensibility. Of course, she became our original Fierce One, Ambitious Romantic when she starred in the Essential, penultimate romance Titanic opposite equally stunning Leonardo DiCaprio. I could detail her phenomenally impressive professional successes (HELLO, SHE OWNED ME IN ETERNAL SUNSHINE), and we’d be here for days, but I wanted to highlight some reasons why Ms. Winslet is Rebel Royalty. She is known to be unfiltered, blunt, outspoken and passionate, especially in the area of self-image and body awareness. She is gloriously curvaceous and she proudly wears the badge of Ambassador of Voluptuousness. She also drops the F-bomb copiously (adding to her allure in my eyes), but she pulls it off because she has the lilting, seductive British accent, which basically means, everything she says is Aural Porn.
Fuck. I’m such a fucking catch
Kate on her Critics:
“You know why I fear people’s judgement?” Because I know they’re judging. I KNOW they are”
“I’ll drop my kids off at school. And I can FEEL the other moms just checking me out. ‘Oh my GOD. There is no secret [to getting perfect skin]. I have makeup on'”
“You really have to not give a fuck about what people think of you.You have to be prepared to look stupid”
Beauty Marks/Rave Reviews: 1. “Electrical, bruising vulnerability” (Rolling Stone) 2. “Lights up every single scene she is in.” (Washington Post) 3.“She possesses a pure gift” (Sam Mendes, Director/ex-husband) 4. “She is the best actress of her generation” (Leonardo DiCaprio, Co-star, Bestie) 5. “She is one of the finest actresses working today” (New York Times)
My chaise lounge is better than any seating you have, I’m pretty sure.
Other Offenses/Critical Conditions: Per AssClowns, Cultural/Fashion Commentators, Critics KATE: 1. Is chubby 2. Lies about her exercise regime 3. Trivialized the Holocaust by displaying nudity in the film The Reader 4. Purposefully omitted thanking the producer H Weinstein in her Oscar acceptance speech. 5. Called GQ Magazine out for airbrushing photos of her, falsely presenting that Winslet was 30 lbs thinner than she actually is.
Because she refuses to let Hollywood dictate how her body should look; because she knows her Critics can be wrooooong; and because she is brazenly outspoken about encouraging women to accept their own idea of physical beauty, Kate Winslet is Rebel Royalty.
Reigning Rebel Royalty: Kristen Stewart
When we separate what we think we know about KStew’s professional persona away from what we think we know about her personal persona, the contrast is startling. Most of Kristen’s criticism seems to hone in on her wrongly assumed disinterest for the adjunct (tedious) activities of her job: press conferences and junkets, posing, red carpet jaunts. In her every day life, she is twenty years old, with over twenty movies completed already. She has a close-knit bond with her family, a love of animals, and a ridonk taste in music ( SHE PUT TOGETHER THE ECLIPSE SOUNDTRACK, I’m almost 100% sure). She has a small circle of loyal friends, and a bevy of admiring current and past costars.
Oh jeebus, Kristen. My contemplative silences are a hot mess.
Yours are not.
Kristen on her Critics:
“I’m not miserable. I’m literally, sometimes trying to keep myself from crying. I’m reacting physically to the energy thrown at me”
“They think I’m nervous, uncomfortable, awkward–and I am–but those are bad words for them”
“I’m telling you, I don’t know anybody who does this that gives a shit more than I do. ..nobody cares more than I do”
Beauty Marks/Rave Reviews: 1. “Stewart gives a nuanced, complex performance in Welcome to the Rileys” (Elle Magazine) 2. “Stewart is engaging, charismatic, smart, pretty” (Flaunt) 3. “Kristen is the best actor of her generation” (Robert Pattinson, co-star and twin soul) 4. “Stewart exudes a quiet sexiness and an understated vulnerability such that you can’t help but fall in love with her” (re:Adventureland, Film.com) 5. “Who knew she had these notes? I’m discovering an important actress.” (Roger Ebert, legendary movie critic)
Its very difficult for someone
to truly look in the mirror,
for fear of what they see.
Kristen puts on a sparkling dress
and faces mirrors. Hourly.
Other Offenses/Critical Conditions: Per AssClowns, Cultural/Fashion Commentators, Bullshit People, KRISTEN: 1.Is Awkward and gawky and weird. 2. Is trying too hard be overly serious. 3. Pretends to be smart when she is not. 4. Swears like a trucker 5. Is trying too hard to be rebellious and badass.
this picture makes me ache
Kristen has a wicked collection of Louboutins. I fail to see the demonized Other here. I simply see Queen. And because this just came in as I was finishing up these musings….Happy RomeStew. Critics can be so wrong.
Other Offenses? Freckles.
Because I had a kumbaya with my inner critic upon finding myself jobless in BastardNation, though dancing amidst Miracle Bubbles…. I’ve kept myself in the running for Other Queen court.
Because Kate Winslet demanded an apology from GQ for falsely representing her true bodyshape, she is Rebel Royalty.
Because Kristen Stewart endured two full, consecutive days of press junkets, The BullShit People, and a Twilight Convention, all while in super high heels? Reigning Other Queen. Lifetime.
Unemployed Kj is Other.
Kate is Other.
Kristen is SO Other.
Others dance and live among Miracle Bubbles, with their Twin Souls
Embrace Your Other.
Question: Who is YOUR worst critic and how do YOU Kumbaya?
A/N: As always: Bouffant00, my sister, my beta, pre-reader, you are the wind beneath my wings. To the beautiful Buff_82, if I could be one tenth as beautiful and bad ass as you are, I could die a happy girl. Thank you for putting up with my incessant chatter and wonky. @KStewsbtrthanu My lovely girl. My Pied Fucking Piper. You play your tune, I follow, entranced. You have never led me astray. Thank you for musing with me late nights, and for subjecting yourself to airport security just to give me a hug and a quick rundown of the encounter with JawPorn. Flove you. I would have gladly missed my flight to squee with you a bit more. To my Cyber Sisters and Readers: You girls are a constant source of amazement. You humble me every day. Special ShoutOuts to: Marble Pole, I hold you closer; Goldeneye for encouraging me; IndiaMom and Bells for being strong, fierce Other Queens during these dark times. And to Kate who chatted with me about Moms and such. You must have brought The Muse with you.