What happened to fury?
What happened to accuracy
What happened to kindness?
What happened to teenagers kissing, instead of blogging and dissing?
What happened to teenagers marching and refusing
Instead of exploiting and using?
I say let’s speak it
Let’s fight it.
Let’s right it.
It sucks but it’s true.
It’s you and me, baby.
~You Tell Me How To Be a Girl In 2010 by Eve Ensler
Well, my dears, we’ve somehow moved to December…How did this happen? I hope this week finds you lovely folks sated and in the throes of preparing for family gatherings, consumption of obnoxiously large meals; scoping out too-sweet-to-ignore-sales and observing spiritual and religious traditions of great importance to you and your tribe. Last week, you all sent such wonderful declarations of gratitude in response to my own list of thankfulness, regardless of whether or not you were apart of a culture that celebrated Thanksgiving as we Yanks do. Musings enjoys readership from all over the world (it rocks my socks off when I get notifications or a tweet/email from readers from faraway, exotic locales such as Bulgaria or South Korea for example) and last week we all joined in for a moment of gratitude for our Reigning Queen of Other Kristen Stewart and her beloved. It was truly an awesome, extraordinary experience. As usual, I bow down to you all for hanging with me in this colorful quest towards embracing Otherness and celebrating it as it resides in Kristen Stewart, in our peers and family…in ourselves.
Ms Stewart has embodied vintage NinjaStew for the past couple weeks, in the aftermath of Braziliapalooza. She and her rakishly handsome partner were able to fly under the radar and spend Thanksgiving undisturbed, or at least, out of the public eye. There were moments of contention amongst the
stalkers exuberant fans as different sources placed Kristen and/or Rob in four or five different locations ranging from Los Angeles to Colorado, Baton Rouge or New York over the holiday weekend, though one picture, clarified Rob’s location: In L.A., at a vintage guitar shop he has frequented previously. And we all know if Rob’s in L.A. on holiday, and Kristen’s on holiday, with an opportunity to be near her family, then they’re most likely together. They’ve managed to master The Stealth with their arrivals and departures to and from The City of Angels.
A GIGGLY NARRATIVE
However, as it’s happened in the past, when there is a lull in NEWS from the K & R Camp, the natives get restless. Those of us left clamoring for glimpses of The Pretty revisit former interviews, images from now-legendary photoshoots (*cough* Harpers Bazaar, Interview, Nylon *cough*) and re-watch movies to take the edge off. Which movies do I watch when I need a shot of Lovely Kristen? Adventureland and Twilight with commentary (duh). So this week, partially due to my need to recover from the holiday weekend, what with illnesses and judgmental relatives, and also partially due to needing to fill my quota of Rom-Com/Holiday Movie viewings, I found myself hermitting. I pulled a NinjaStew if you will: watched movies, baked cookies, grabbed some ZZZZz’s; read copious amounts of fan fic and viewed Twilight with commentary (duh). Perfect timing, of course, as December 4, this Saturday, the Eclipse DVD drops in stores and arguably the most anticipated extra among the coveted special features is the audio commentary of the film delivered by the film’s leads: Kristen and Robert. OH. YESSSS. We didn’t have this luxury of the comedy duo known as Kris-and-Robert-Variety-Hour for New Moon. And even with Twilight, we were graced with the lovely, locquacious Ms. Cathy Hardwicke in the room with our Royal Rebels. Nuh uh. Not this time. Eclipse boasts a narrative featuring long-distance chatting and giddiness as Kristen was in Montreal filming On the Road, and Rob was in Los Angeles having wrapped up Water for Elephants filming. It was about the time, if you’ll recall, that Rob and his bestie Tom Sturridge (whom I ADORE and watched Pirate Radio during MovieFest last weekend for my #TeamTommy fix) were spotted on at least two separate occasions at In-N-Out. Perhaps this jogs your memory:
*Small Spoiler*–as I know several folks holding out (admirably, I might add) to listening to the commentary before the DVD release–Robert commences the narrative while munching on an In-N-Out burger. This act taunts Kristen who is far away from her hometown, her significant other and the obscenely delectable aforementioned burger joint at this point in time. While Rob munches on his burger, and notes aloud he has a second one awaiting consumption, Kristen reports that she is “harboring hostility” that Rob is enjoying such yummy goodness without her, but also publicly and audibly. So this is all within the first 5 minutes of the commentary. *End of Small Spoiler*
I personally think Kris and Rob should take their chemistry and comedy act on the road. They are magical and create a joyful synergy together. I would love listening to their running editorials on daily life: Taking out the trash, breakfast foods, wigs, and relationship advice. If you haven’t listened to a commentary by Kristen and Rob, I suggest you drop what you’re doing and pop in your copy of Twilight and get on that goodness, because come Saturday, Version 2.0 Bigger, Better, Gigglier is ON. You won’t be sorry. It’s especially nice to “witness”–or hear–a relaxed, comfortable and unguarded Kristen Stewart. All the qualities we admire in our Reigning Queen are expressed: intelligence, awareness, humility, compassion, humor, articulation, giddiness, respect and generosity for colleagues, knowledge, kindness…and affection for Rob.
YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT TO DO
Commentary greatness and my personal Recuperation MovieFest aside, I also revisited previous interviews that Kristen gave in the past year as I formulated this week’s Musings. I stumbled upon a January 2010 interview that Kristen gave to British Fantasy Society’s publication Dark Horizons and per usual, I was stuck by the poetry and synchronicity of the moment. Kristen spoke about the theme for this essay, before I had written my thoughts down. I just kinda knew. Every week, my process for writing Musings varies. Often, I take cues from what is happening in Kristen’s life for an opportunity to reflect and weave the event into a theme that is evident in the fandom, or in society as a whole…in our lives. This week, in a reversal of fortune, the theme for Musings presented itself through a personal experience in my own life. Afterwards, I found an interview in which Kristen alludes to a parallel experience. Yet another reminder that we really are all not so different, hmmm? Others together.
I encountered a rather jarring situation which had me pondering (“long-thinking” as my friend @ellelala refers to it) subjects such as intuition, resilience and self-preservation. And Kristen, speaking to Dark Horizons interviewer/author Paul Fischer, spoke of adversities she faces as a professional, self-preservation and awareness.
“For me, the biggest adversity I face is The Bloggers….Suddenly, I can get anyone’s opinion at the click of a mouse. [Hearsay via media] is sometimes really very destructive…”
This statement of Kristen’s has me recalling the pervasive and destructive feedback she received (without having asked for it) when the pictures of her wearing her bikini while filming the honeymoon scenes in Breaking Dawn hit the world-wide-web. As I reviewed last week, pictures like this—
…unwittingly and unfairly triggered bloggers, and sadly this includes a handful of Fanfiction authors, plus anyone with access to the internet and a public “entertainment news” site to give their opinions on Kristen’s physical form. Whole posts were dedicated to zooming in and analyzing Kristen’s anatomy. More alarmingly, a rather unethical, smarmy “reporter” from a Brazilian reality TV show posed as a crew member and breached set security to videotape/screen capture images of Kristen and Rob on the set of Breaking Dawn, during private moments when the film cameras were not rolling. The undercover TV reporter was in an uncomfortably close physical proximity to Kristen. While I only glanced at perhaps two images from this event (I declined to look at the video or the screen caps before they were seized by Twilight’s production company, removed from the internet), I felt a heavy ball of dread in my stomach and a concern for Kristen and Rob’s physical safety. Sheds a whole new light on Kristen’s now famous statement comparing paparazzi intrusions to feelings of “watching someone get violated (raped?)” doesn’t it? So there it is, my Musings topic: Intuition and self preservation, or rather, the moment our intuition (aka our inner voice, our body’s protective system) kicks in and sends us warning messages for self-preservation and survival. Fight or Flight.
A personal story::: Just a couple nights ago, I was home alone as N was away working. It had already grown dark (as it does in these days of Late Fall/Winter) and I was tucked away in bed reading and making notes for advertising the Magical Little Practice. Suddenly a series of loud, consistent knocking reverberated through our tiny studio of hardwood floors and little insulation against the unusual cold for this time of year. I was completely jarred upright. I did not like the sounds of the knocks on my door. I immediately tensed up, pulled the covers tighter around myself. Every fiber of my being was yelling at me to NOT ANSWER THE DOOR. We don’t have an adequate peep-hole in our front door because the door is covered in sound & weather-proofing material at this time (N has since remedied this, as a result of this event), so I couldn’t stealthily make my way over to peek on my unexpected “visitor”. I immediately texted my husband and asked if he was expecting a delivery, or any visitors. He quickly texted back, “NO”. The knocking ceased for about a minute, but then started again. Loud, rapid, jarring raps (almost could be called pounding) against my front door, but no verbalizations, no one calling my name out, no texts announcing an impromptu visit from friends or family. I quickly deduced that this person was not familiar. Our little studio is one level apart of a larger house, and our front door is not visible from the sidewalk. The only way someone would know where our front door is, is if they’ve stood in front of it before, or they are actively seeking it out. Minutes, maybe five after the second and third rounds of sharp knocking finally silenced, I, against my intuition and bodily warning signs, cracked open my front door.
And saw…nothing. But my inner ninjaturtle was screeching in my ear, demanding I slam the door shut, bolt it, chain it, and go back to bed, because something had been there just minutes earlier. So I slammed the door shut, and bolted it. After exchanging a few texts with N about what happened, I catalogued the event as a slightly unsettling, but otherwise not-unusual category. I didn’t recall the warning signs until later. The signs, as I mentioned before, are produced when our body and our deepest soul recognizes what is happening long before our brain does. In his incredibly resourceful book called The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker urges us to listen to our intuition, and our body’s physiological need to continue existing. Why am I discussing this book right now in the middle of my weekly tribute to the Royal Rebel Ms Kristen Stewart?
Well, for one thing, I received a pretty sobering email from my mother, a day or so ago after the FORCEFUL KNOCKING INCIDENT. The letter outlined information regarding Mom’s friend’s brother, who needs a professional counselor to talk to, possibly through The Magical Little Practice. This brother, for safety purposes we’ll call him D, was the only witness in the case of murder. D had seen a man RAPIDLY, LOUDLY POUNDING ON DOORS of several different apartments in his building. The Knocking Man(iac) came to D‘s door too. D did not answer his door. Something inside of D warned him against doing so. Unfortunately, tragically, D’s neighbor did open her door. D’s neighbor was murdered last week. Thanksgiving holiday. The murderer has been identified and is in prison.
DEEP BREATH. Are you hanging with me? I needed to tell this story for a few reasons, one, to process the sanctity and briefness of our time here in this world; and another, to pay homage and condolences for a woman to lose her life in such a horrifically violent way. Finally, I wanted to say this: We are entrusted with personal security systems within our minds and bodies and hearts, to protect us against people or things willing harm against us. The term harm encompasses destruction on many levels including emotional, psychological, spiritual as well as physical. I truly believe there is goodness out there, but I have witnessed darkness as well, in my profession working with the mentally ill, and simply as a human being, seeking knowledge for living in this world. De Becker’s book The Gift of Fear outlines and urges us to be aware of physical warning signs of danger–increased heart rate, an attacker’s body language, an attacker’s verbal language–as well as internal signals–our intuition, our instincts, our awareness. I believe that De Becker’s guide also could and should be applied to awareness for emotional and psychological attacks as well. Kristen Stewart, our Reigning Queen, is subjected to and vulnerable to all of the above: Emotional/verbal, psychological, and physical attacks.
You’ve witnessed it, my friends. We all have: The Cyberbullying of fellow “fans”, heated arguments between Nonsensicals and Shippers (a name, which, for the record, I’ve never enjoyed or used when describing my support of Kristen and Rob), anonymous commenters degrading, insulting, mocking, writing letters about, publicly discussing and bashing everything regarding Kristen Stewart. Interspersed in these public ‘discussions’ are threats of physical harm, but more shockingly obvious are the verbal, emotional and character abuse unleashed on Ms Stewart. Guess which type of abuse is harder to recover from? OH YES. Countless psychological case studies have proven that people (women AND men) seek counseling support for the destruction of emotional/psychological/character abuse they experienced. Bruises and broken bones, while painful and horrific, will heal up again. Low self esteem, low self-worth, anxiety, depression and addictions can last lifetimes.
So what does a Rebel Queen do to preserve herself?
REBEL TIPS FROM REBEL QUEENS
I draw from my studies as a psychotherapist, practicing self-soothing techniques (meditation, playing music), self reflection and also, knowledge I’ve gained in my own experiences of being in danger. Aside from the clenching stomach, the increased heart rate, and the inner guide screaming in my ear to back away, back away!, I also hold first-hand knowledge of experiencing a fight-or-flight choice. I vaguely addressed once in the Musings essay titled Finding Your Voice and The Courage to Sing Loudly, my own experience of having a man break into my apartment with an intent to assault me. I know my own instinctual drives were roaring loudly, and in my quest to fight and self-preserve, an eerie calm flooded my bloodstream and I could hear myself strategize survival.
Kristen’s survival plan has formulated based on her extensive experience in show business, as well as her observations of her peers and role models. “…a really, really, really thick-developed armor” is in place for Kristen’s friend Joan Jett, as Kristen tells Dark Horizon. “It’s a self preservation thing..she’s a survivor”. Kristen is referring to Jett’s ability to cope with emotional attacks at a time (during the 70’s and early 80’s) when the public would say and do anything in person (versus via cyberspace, which hadn’t been invented yet) to give their opinion of performers and public figures.
Kristen’s adversaries are the bloggers, The Bullshit People, the judgmental, the faceless, Screen-Named though anonymous attackers with an exorbitant amount of time on their hands. Also on the rise are a group of “fans” (who, are really another brand of not-really fans) who view themselves as supporters and defenders of Robert, and trash Kristen at every opportunity because they believe she is “unappreciative ” of Mr Pattinson. Though, I’m pretty sure there is more evidence of a mutual adoration between Robert and Kristen than the contrary…Liiiiiiike…..
So there have been many ways that Kristen (and through her, for her, Rob) has offensively protected herself.
- OWNS what is HERS. No apologies.
- Keeps her private life PRIVATE
- Declines joining any social networking sites
- Keeps a close-knit circle of family and friends as her support system
- Does things because she chooses to not because she is told to.
- Employs her internal BULLSHIT DETECTOR
- Looks the woman in the mirror straight in the eye~she knows and trusts herself and her instincts
And what can WE do as fellow OTHERS and Majestic Misfits to Preserve and SAVE our Fellow OTHERS from destruction?
WE OTHERS CAN:
- Respect Privacy and personal lives, especially if it is at the request of an Other
- Refrain from getting pulled into petty fights on any social networking sites, with other supporters
- Remember to USE WORDS WISELY–any bashing we do publicly, paints us in certain light as well
- Remember we are ROLE MODELS in the community to people of different ages, cultures & backgrounds
- Know and check in with our close-knit circle of family and friends frequently-they are who support us
- Remind ourselves that if we “support” a Rebel Royal, we support their choices for happiness
- Continue to EMBRACE OUR OWN OTHERNESS
- Remember that WE ARE ALL OTHER
FEATURED REBEL ROYAL: CLAIRE DANES
I know I’ve had a lot to say today…But I did want to make some time for a modest introduction to an Other who has managed to walk outside the periphery of convention while in the public eye. Inspired by a musical selection on last week’s playlist, Late At Night, by Buffalo Tom, and the squeals of recognition from fellow AngelaChaseIsOther Supporters (looking at YOU, @DrownInIt), I decided to feature a Rebel Royal that I’ve grown up with: Actress and dancer Ms Claire Danes. Ms Danes was born in Manhattan, New York City, New York to a artist mother and computer consultant father. She attended Yale University for two years studying Psychology before stopping to return to film making. Attending a performing arts school while growing up, Claire whet her appetite for performance through modern dance and theater first. She was thirteen when she was a guest star on an episode of Law and Order. She was only thirteen when she auditioned for and landed the role of Angela Chase in the seminal and profound television series My So-Called Life. When the show was picked up for more episodes, Claire was fifteen years old, playing 15-year-old Angela. Angela Chase completely embodied the heartbreak and steadfast optimism of an OTHER as the short-lived TV series chronicled awkwardness, tension and disagreement with the parental units, crushing on the beautiful mysterious musician at school, side-stepping the lovelorn advances of the boy next door. But alas, a story this heartrending was perhaps only fated to last but a brief time, and after 19 episodes, My So-Called Life was cancelled. It did, however, maintain a cult following.
Particularly gifted at playing awkward, gawky, angst-ridden teenagers, Claire received her first Golden Globe and Emmy Nominations of her career when she was just 15 years old for her work in My So-Called life. She won the Golden Globe. After My So-Called life’s cancellation, she transitioned into film work and her star rose to quick heights with her role alongside high-profile actors such as Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon and Gabriel Byrne in the film Little Women. In 1996, Claire’s celebrity and critical acclaim rocketed to the stratosphere when she appeared as Juliet opposite Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Claire continued to work steadily through 1999 with her roles in The Mod Squad and Brokedown Palace but she left acting to pursue her degree at Yale. When she returned to filmmaking in 2002, Ms Danes chose quirky, thoughtful independent film projects such as Igby Goes Down and paired her work with larger-budgeted films such as the Oscar-nominated film The Hours, in which Claire portrayed Meryl Streep’s daughter.
Baz Luhrmann called Ms Danes, “This generation’s Meryl Streep”, and her poise and confidence has earned her admirers in her many impressive colleagues and co-stars such as Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola and actor/musician Jason Schwartzman..and she is the muse for or the subject of at least four songs released by several indie or alternative rock bands. She has experienced the backlash of publicity when she became romantically involved with her costar Billy Crudup at a disadvantageous time, and in 1998 she was publicly condemned by then-Filipino president Joseph Estrada when Ms Dane’s comments about the poor conditions of the Manila, Philippines film set for Brokedown Palace were taken out of the context to which she meant. She later advised that she had only been shown the “darker, underbelly of the City of Manila”, and did not mean any disrespect to the country as a whole nor to its people. The Filipino president deemed Ms Danes’s comments as “irresponsible, bigoted and sweeping statements”, to which she issued a public apology to the city of Manila, Philippines in addition to an official letter of apology. How has she coped with the adversity? Like Our Reigning Queen Kristen, she has learned from past experiences, and has opted to keep her private life private, declining to speak publicly about personal relationships; and she freely gives clarification behind any misconstrued statements in interviews.
While teaming with Offenses of Otherness, I’ll highlight an abbreviated list: She knew from a young age that she wanted to be an actor. She kept a focus on her goals for performance and dance, and surrounded herself with supportive friends and family. Now 31 years old, with more than 25 films under her belt, Claire is married to actor and costar Hugh Dancy, whom she met on the film Evening. She is just coming off the success of her Emmy-Award Winning performance in the HBO Movie Temple Grandin, in which Ms Danes portrays the ultimate Other: Temple Grandin. Temple Grandin is an American Doctor of Animal Sciences and a University professor with high-functioning Autism. Dr Grandin is the inventor of The Hug Machine, a calming deep pressure device designed to soothe hypersensitive people who experience Autism Spectrum Disorders. Pretty awe-inspiring, right? Claire states that the point of acting is to share and connect with others, and she is aware and grateful for the ability to have a career doing what she loves most.
*Willingly walked away from the business of acting to empower and remind herself who she is as person.
*Believes that fame is not a reward for working hard. Doing what she loves (acting) is complete fulfillment, the reward.
*Is extremely forthright and confident when she speaks her opinion.
REIGNING OTHER QUEEN: KRISTEN STEWART
I think we’ve established in this epically long Musings that our Reigning Queen of Other is a role model and pioneer. She has managed to cope graciously (even when her detractors are attacking her) by forging onward and continuing to partake in the craft that she loves. Kristen has an internal compass that guides her steps along her path of authenticity. She already knows what she’s doing. And it’s been absolutely miraculous to witness her journey thus far.
*Strives for improvement of her craft and self, not for notoriety.
*Continuously cultivates self-awareness and strives for self-preservation.
CLAIRE IS OTHER.
KRISTEN IS OTHER.
OTHERS REALIZE THEY ALREADY KNOW WHAT TO DO.
EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.
* * *
Question: I can think of several times when I overrode my instincts and suffered the results. I also can think of the times when I trusted my inner voice and was elated with the results. Can You?
PHEW. This was about 4,000 words long. I have been struggling to process so many things these days, and I guess it has manifested in the longest Musings… ever. Thank you for hanging with me through this. Truly.
I wanted to thank my good friend @MissBettySmith, the brilliant author of The Gentleman From Washington State and Full Disclosure (my fave), with whom I shared a too-brief lunch today. In her latest update of TGFWS, Betty very clearly defended Kristen against people who are hell-bent on tearing down our Reigning Queen Of Other. Betty has a devoted following, with thousands of readers of her stories, and she is aware that she is accountable in how she expresses her values and uses her words . She is mindful of her many readers’ different age brackets, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. THANK YOU, BETTY!
Love, light and strength to my friend TEBBY and to my sister PUSS.
“Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are”~Henry Van Dyke
We are role models. We have voices. We have instincts to trust. We are Other. See you next time, my Majestic Misfits.