A/N: We’ll call this one a Muselet (a silly one at that), ok, Lovelies? There will be no Featured Rebel Royal in today’s essay, but I will more than make up for it next time, cross my heart. I also am pressed for time as I’m writing this just before I’m to hop a plane for a short flight down to my hometown, to attend a psychology training over the weekend, and celebrate my birthday with family and my hubs, who will fly down just to hang with me for a day or so. Of course, I also plan to squeeze in a viewing of Welcome to the Rileys’ with a couple of girls from the KSIBTU Crew. #Priorities.
Sooooo, hello, my Majestic Misfits, how have you been this week? I’ve been well, though super busy as of late, but nonetheless well. I know it’s been a rather sparse time, in the aftermath of last week’s StewiePalooza,Welcome to the Rileys Press Tour, a.k.a. Kristen. OWNING. IT. But we’ve had a few little nuggets here or there that help us coast through the week. For one, our beloved bestie Tom Sturridge and one of our lovely Featured Rebel Royals Carey Mulligan have been seen hanging together outside of hotels, at Whole Foods, whatnot. Oh, and we can’t forget that our favorite Warrior Poet Rebel Mr Rob Pattinson allegedly purchased a bicycle and has been seen riding around the lakes at the university, near Baton Rouge where he and fellow cast mates are in pre-production for the six-month shoot of Breaking Dawn.
With stellar (insert sarcasm) precision, someone, somewhere has happily tweeted or Facebooked, or interviewed a store owner to obtain the latest details regarding Kristen and Rob’s location, their possible living arrangements, and food consumed while in Baton Rouge…..And, well, let’s not dismiss the stories of Voodoo Weddings and elaborate Halloween bashes that Rob is supposedly throwing! No wonder the poor guy bought himself a bike!
Our Reigning Other Queen giggled (perhaps Stew Giggles compose the sweetest sounds ever) when she told Mr Leno that her mother, the ultra-talented Jules Mann-Stewart, is a big Halloween buff and that Halloween in the Stewart household is kinda a huge deal, like, a Bigger-Than-Christmas deal. And for several years in a row, Kristen admits to dressing up as, ironically, Dracula.
How bad ass is that? She wasn’t a girly vamp, Kristen cautions us. No, she wore the long cloak and rocked the widow’s peak. Man, KStew is so much better than me. #KSIBTU. Can I say that I tend to feel the same way as The Stewarts? Let’s think about it shall we? Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, is a day in which–according to English and Celtic lore–the veil between the OTHERworld and this world is thinnest. The Celts believed the souls of the dead (both benevolent and malevolent) roamed the streets and villages on this night. Family ancestors were honored and invited into the home, as rooted in the Festival of Samhain, but evil spirits were cast away when the celebrants wore masks and costumes of demons. Also? Bonfires. Lots of bonfires involved–to signify heath and home, but also as a cleansing ritual as people would throw the bones of slaughtered livestock into the flames, signifying the end of summer, and the dawn of winter. In traditional Celtic festivals, folks would hollow out and carve faces into large turnips, to place in the windows of homes in order to ward off harmful spirits. Would it look something like this?
So here’s the deal. There are many perspectives on Halloween, influenced by old cultural traditions, and religious beliefs. Most countries don’t even observe it at all, not as the North Americas and some European countries do, anyway. Halloween in its incarnation today is not the same as All Souls Day (Nov 2) as traced back to the middle ages in which poor folks would go door-to-door seeking food in return for prayers for the dead–although you can see in which today’s Trick-or-Treating customs are rooted. Also, this day should not be mistaken for, though often is, The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) the holiday observed in Mexico and some South American countries in which family and friends gather for prayers and offerings in remembrance of those who have already passed on.
Here is my perspective. Halloween is the opportunity for us to present the repressed and reveal the hidden, and acknowledge the shadow, recognize the undervalued facets of yourself…One might say it’s the ultimate day to Embrace the Other? Clearly, it’s time to declare October 31 as Day of Other? Well, in my world it is a special Day of Other, because it also happens to be my birthday. *nudges you* It makes so much sense, right???
So it’s true: While I already was self-conscious and awkward and hyper-aware that I looked differently, dressed differently, seemingly formulated thoughts differently than my peers and family, additionally, I endured the heckling of uncouth peers because of the day I was born. According to these geniuses, I was born on Satan’s Day and that I must be the spawn of the devil…and that I was so ugly it was no wonder I was born on Halloween, because I already came equipped with my own mask, yadda yadda. Seriously, don’t cry for me, Argentina, it’s cool. Made me stronger and more aware of the Destruction of Others at a young age.
Are we agreed? Shall we declare October 31 Day of Other? You all must see the signs now: Other-endorsing agents everywhere, opportunities to react in unexpected, unconventional, unusual, quirky, odd and rebellious ways in our every day lives. Signs encouraging you to fly your freak flag and embrace it all…right? There are the endless musicians, actors, and activists that Team Other and I try to highlight every week for you in with Musings, we also have literary heroes like LisbethSalander from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and it’s sequels, and let’s not forget the beyond brilliant TV show Glee please, all righty?
A brief reminder: while Halloween can be one official day of Embracing Otherness, I still want to encourage you to seek out the unique and extraordinary every other day as well.We’re not making Day of Other like that ridiculous poseur “holiday” Valentine’s Day, now. Nah. Other Day should really be DAILY OTHERNESS, a conscious mantra. Although, I must say I enjoy some of the holiday TV specials that arise as a result of Hallow’s Eve:
Back to Glee for a sec. Have we not talked about this show together yet? I mean, it’s a show about Otherness, outcasts, misfits and rebels set to song and dance for cryin’ out loud!! It has succeeded where poor Cop Rock could not. Just two nights ago, they did their tribute to Rocky Horror Picture Show, quickly earning itself a spot in my Top 5 episodes ever. Happy Other Day indeed! All right, we’ll talk more about Glee in future essays. But I just wanted to illustrate how prevalent and relevant Otherness is. It has permeated the collective consciousness in gloriously unusual and creative ways.
REIGNING OTHER QUEEN: KRISTEN STEWART
Our Reinging Other Queen Kristen definitely recognized at an early age of her exclusion from the “Ordinary Club” and therefore her membership in the Other Category. The sweet girl was not a fairy princess or a ballerina for Halloween, (not that there is anything remotely “wrong” with either of these costumes/roles, they are examples of the more acceptable, gender-role-supportive via our society), she chose a notorious masculine, blood-sucking, erotic, influential, literary antagonist instead. When asked by friend CC of @KStewsBtrthanU: What should Kristen be for Halloween? I replied: Bettie Page.
Kristen, according to peers and filmmakers, exudes a strength and maturity far, far beyond her chronological age. Not surprisingly, Kristen was reading books such as Kerouac’s On the Road when she was a pre-teen, and at 17-years old, she was hand-picked by Greg Mottola to play the conflicted college student Em in the wonderful wonderful movie Adventureland . Most recently Jake Scott, director of Welcome to the Rileys’ reported that despite Kristen’s age (only 18 years old when she was cast as Mallory), he had complete faith that Kristen could tackle the emotional and physical obstacles to portray a broken, near-hopeless teen runaway/stripper/prostitute in his film. She is so unexpected, fresh, unique and unparalleled when comparing her to her contemporaries. Melissa Leo, Kristen’s co-star in WTTR said:
“She was 18 when we shot the movie — almost too young to know all the stuff she does, to get inside something like that. She had the willingness to literally be exposed in the way she was.”
WHEN YOU WERE OTHER
As I mentioned earlier, I had a pretty solid recognition of my Otherness when I was in grade school, and anytime I looked in the mirror (what? I’m Filipino and Puerto Rican for The Goddess’ sake, and my parents and big brother are Swiss-German, it was all kinds of obvs). But between The Great Yearbook Photo mix-up of Junior High and The High School Other Homecoming Queen nominations, I would say that I opened up to my Otherness quotient in the middle-to-late nineties.
Just this week, I was catapulted back to the Grunge Years as I found myself reading a new fan fic called The Ride by the sublime Aylah50 (whose own birthday is tomorrow Oct 29th~HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my fellow Scorpio Grunge Baby!). The story chronicles two people’s trajectory after a very romantic, sensual encounter at a concert by one of my favorite bands LIVE in 1996. Let’s just say that in my nostalgic haze, I could very remember the traces of purple Manic Panic swirling around the drain in my sink as I would dye my hair and my friends’ hair (if we weren’t using KOOLAID, remember that shit?), hear Trent Reznor’s voice sing of how he gets Closer …to God, see my Doc Martens peeking out from under my floral dresses or completely inappropriate lingerie; I can remember perving on the beautiful tattooed guy behind the counter of the coffee shop I would frequent….ahhhh. Well that 90’s Flashback and today’s playlist was brought to you courtesy of BIRTHDAY GIFTS TO ME, INC.
Ok. So I’m gonna leave this essay as is, right here. We talked a bit about the possible origins of Halloween, birfdays, declaring October 31 an Other Day. We of course discussed the brilliant and rebellious genius of Kristen Stewart and I promised we’d pick up next time and talk about a new Featured Royal Rebel, but we conceded that Other really is permeating our collective unconscious, right? I asked you all to remember where you were when you realized YOU. ARE. OTHER. and I moseyed down Memory Lane and found myself thinking about Nine Inch Nails, LIVE, and unrequited Coffee Shop crushes.
I’ll see you next week at some point, after Halloween, but before the LA SHIT SHOW, a.k.a. Good Times and Birfday Celebrations with The KSIBTU Crew. I’ll want to talk with you all about seeing Welcome to the Rileys as it will have had it’s wide release tomorrow. I’d like to talk about risk-taking, and bliss pursuing, and the ecstasy of love but the absolute agony of loving in the eye of the storm, Cosmology and Spirituality, Body Image and more and more… Until then, enjoy the music, go and read Aylah50’s The Ride, and think a little about when you chose to be Dracula instead of Barbie for Halloween. Have a wonderful Day of Other/ HALLOWEEN/ SAMHAIN/WHATEVER IT IS YOU DEEM IT, but continue to seek and celebrate your Otherness beyond the 31st. I’ll see you soon so we can check in on how that’s going for ya… Take Care, xo, KJ
HALLOWEEN IS OTHER.
KRISTEN IS OTHER.
OTHERS HAVE A WILLINGNESS TO BE EXPOSED.
EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.
QUESTION: WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE OTHER?