“Our creative dreams and yearning come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity” –Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
It is quite the decision to explore creative possibilities, pursue a life of authentic expression. Whether it’s unconscious, or a hard-won battle after years of not pursuing your desired life, it still is a decision that we make. Or is it? Social psychologists note that we are governed and motivated by our desire for approval of society and of our own personal societies (our families, our culture, our ethnicities). Do you find yourself hiding your talents because you fear disapproval from your “society”, in essence denying your Otherness?
Reigning Other Queen Kristen Jaymes Stewart and her Partner-in-Otherness Robert Thomas Pattinson are very aware of their peers’ and industry’s hopes for them. Fortunately, both Kristen and Rob were blessed in their supportive surroundings and families who allowed our Rebel Royals to explore their own aspirations. Supportive, encouraging environments are more likely to produce individuals who are confident in following their natural path, even if considered unconventional (Other). Kristen reports that despite growing up on movie and television sets, she did not believe she’d be an actor. She imagined she would write and possibly direct, like her mother. And this is just one more reason I love her, and personally elect her to be forever Queen: Though she did not anticipate being “famous”, she reportedly practiced signing her autograph because of her love of pens.
Both Kristen and Rob have stated their interest in many avenues of creation such as writing, directing, producing, musical composition and performance. They are fortunate to be able to make a living on their art, which they love. Kristen says:
“[On acting] I love it because I love to tell stories. I like being in movies that have a great story. Acting is such a personal thing.
So that is the base of Musings today. Are we telling our stories, making it a personal thing? Do you love what you are doing? Are you interested in living creatively, and have you actively made choices to support your authentic, creative life?
You all know of my decision to live PLAN A, after Dancing In the Miracle Bubbles, and getting the boot from my unhappy existence in PLAN B-for-BastardNation. I can acknowledge that psychology is a realm in which I have some skill, so it makes sense that I would try and make a career out of it. But was I happy? Was I feeling creative? I realized: I, like the social psychologists I referenced earlier, was one of the folks allowing my peers and environment govern my decisions. I found myself submitting to the fear of disapproval, and in Western society, that can mean, fear of “not making a lot of money”. Well, I tell ya, after playing piano and singing in choir since I was 4 years old, and then studying sociology in college, I knew I would not be a monetarily wealthy gal. My mother was only partially placated when I told her I was attending University for psychology instead of music. Again, I asked, is this what I want to be doing? In choosing to focus on disproving Freud’s archaic and misogynistic thoughts re: psyche, I put my musical composition, my singing, my heart’s soothing on hold, denying a facet of who I am, essentially voiding my right to carry my Other Card.
In the inspiring and brilliant Zen and the Art of Making a Living, author Laurence G Boldt cautions readers in not becoming “trapped” playing a role of someone else, simply to gain approval. The minute we begin hiding our humanity and acting only as our societal ROLES, (be it Students, Actors, Doctors, Teachers, Parents, Engineers, Accountants etc), we have become inauthentic and to a degree, less happy. So there I was, playing the role of Psych Student, only partially fulfilled and lacking a creative outlet. The creation of Musings has led to dams bursting, and I find myself writing every singe day. And yesterday, with the release of the Musings On Other Musical Love Letter to which I contributed a musical collaboration of my own, I took another step to reclaiming what is naturally mine. Reconciling the fragments to become whole.
My “manager” Kathryn, has a similar story to mine. She was a computer programmer in Wales straight out of University. She was good at her job, happily making a living, was able to contribute to comfortable living with her husband Keiron, also a computer programmer and Undercover Artist. Things were all right. But Kathryn really only delegated a small amount of time, if any, to her creative expression–in her case, painting–and this only contributed to the restless feeling lurking in her mind and heart. It would take her a period of contemplation and consulting with her family and husband, but Kathryn eventually decided to spend more time painting, if anything, because it soothed her and gave her a creative outlet when work, family, life became a bit noisy. Today, my dear friend has her paintings on walls of galleries and she just officially launched her website and business See Musings’ Sidebar: http://www.KathrynLeGrice.com . She is no longer a computer programmer, and she and her husband live here in my beautiful city in California, teaching, writing, painting, looking after their nearly-two-year-old son. Keiron is about to have a book on cosmology and philosophy published, and Kathryn is enjoying increased interest and inquiries into her artwork. She recently sold a painting back in the U.K., and was able to travel to New York City to meet with more of her Muses.
In honor of Others following their Bliss, and taking the risk to live creatively, I am featuring three Kathryn LeGrice paintings here today. Kathryn has generously donated them to Musings to remind us Others to continue pushing the boundaries and seeking wholeness. We should not deny or hide our gifts and contributions simply because we think society or family or peers will judge us and disapprove. I am giving these 3 prints away to Musings readers who comment today and tell Team Other a little about how he or she is taking the steps to living genuinely, and embracing Otherness despite any judgment…
This is only tiny sampling of Kathryn’s work. I encourage you to visit her stunning website and witness her interpretations of Paris, New York, Wales, and San Francisco, as well as her paintings of missions, churches interiors and landscapes. She may have been a spectacular computer programmer, but I believe her decision to embrace her neglected creative side was her liberation. She truly is an Other pursuing her bliss. And now bliss is pursuing her.
FEATURED REBEL ROYAL: JESSE EISENBERG
Firstly, I’d like to wish Jesse a belated Happy Birthday, as he turned 27 on October 5. The wonderful New York City-based actor is currently on a world tour promoting his new movie, the brilliant The Social Network overseas. He grew up in a family of entertainers: his mother was a clown and his sister is the former child actress Hallie Kate Eisenberg. Jesse was a teenager when he debuted on Broadway as an understudy in the production of Summer and Smoke .After TV roles in Get Real and movie roles such as Roger Dodger and Cursed , Jesse earned rave reviews and award nominations for his portrayal of Walt, a teenager struggling in the after math of his parents’ divorce in the indie-drama The Squid and the Whale.
Some filmmakers would say that Jesse’s “breakout role” was in Zombieland in which he and Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone (oh yessss) sought a land free of zombies post-Apocalypse, but I personally disagree. I say that Jesse stole my heart as James Brennan, the virginal college graduate looking forward to traveling abroad for the summer, only to wind up working at the amusement park called Adventureland. The movie? Oh, that would be Adventureland, starring our Other Queen Kristen Stewart. This movie was pre-Twilight and coined by many critics among the Best Movies of 2009 (to which I must concur).
He chooses offbeat and typically awkwardly (Team Other’s favorite characteristic) sweet characters in his films, and he, like his friend and co-star Kristen, seamlessly vacillates between smaller independent projects including theater productions and better-known films. He received positive reviews for his portrayal of a Hasidic Jew roped into dealing Ecstasy in the film Holy Rollers, and is now enjoying overwhelming acclaim for his characterization of Mark Zuckerberg, the genius co-founder of Facebook in the film The Social Network. In interviews, the soft-spoken, polite fellow from Queens and New Jersey, is often humble, unassuming and complimentary of his co-workers. In addition to acting, Jesse is interested in writing for stage and screen. He’s laughingly referred to himself as “not your typical leading-man type”, and I must say, that makes him all the more interesting. An Other after my own heart.
*Can seamlessly and successfully move between smaller projects, theater and big-budget films
*Is articulate and unashamed of displaying his intelligence
*Is humble and quick to downplay his success
REIGNING OTHER QUEEN: KRISTEN STEWART
Kristen is twenty years old, but has been acting for over a decade and has appeared in over twenty movies already. She was raised by her parents John and Jules, both of whom work in show business. Kristen’s father is a stage manager and producer, known for working on televised shows like Ryan Seacrest’s On Air and currently with George Lopez Tonight, alongside world-broadcasted events such as The Academy Awards and The Emmy Awards. Kristen’s mother Jules is a script supervisor and director. On her childhood, Kristen says:
“I never wanted to be the center of attention. I grew up watching my entire family behind the scenes and on sets. They were crew. I never sought out acting”.
After a talent scout caught Kristen’s performance in a grade school play, she found herself playing non-speaking roles in films such as Thirteenth Year and The Flintstones. She was ten when she landed roles in high-profile films such as The Safety of Objects and Panic Room. She essentially has been a working actor for over a decade, and blowing our minds with her fierce honesty and uniqueness the entire time. Kristen’s musings on expression:
“But in terms of creative outlets and expressing yourself, acting is just the most extreme version of that that I’ve ever found. It’s like running, it’s exertion.”
*Prefers to not be center of attention
*Vacillates seamlessly & successfully between small indie projects and a block-buster franchise
*Views acting as just one creative outlet, not as a vehicle to further her lead-actress status
Because Kathryn and I have decided to take a chance on Plan A and walk the path of more resistance and more bliss, we are Other.
Because he turned down enrollment into New York University to take a small supporting role in an indie film project, Jesse is Other.
Because she views acting as a personal pathway to betterment of self and her craft, Kristen is our Reigning Other Queen.
JESSE IS OTHER.
KRISTEN IS OTHER.
OTHERS DO NOT SEEK OUTSIDE APPROVAL.
EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.
A/N: You can enter in the giveaway drawing for one of Kathryn’s beautiful paintings above by leaving a comment answering this QUESTION: What steps are you taking in your life to make it, like Kristen says, “personal” ? How are you ensuring that you have a creative outlet, or a means for expression?