“And it makes me float free, when I see how small my life can be” ~~ Lamb, Small
My darlings. *opens arms wide and ushers you all into a ginormous group hug*. So much has happened since we’ve last visited. Not only did our Royal Rebels Kristen and Robert emerge for a low-key date night, and National Rob Day commenced in which we were blessed with two live interviews from him; but in a surreal and horrific blip of time, Mother Nature and All That Is Larger Than Us rose up and schooled us about our place in this world. I had intended to post a MOO Memo to discuss our Fair Philanthropy last Thursday, but it turns out I was to wait a bit longer while we merged with the global pulse. Literally.
See, two weeks ago, late Thursday night, March 10, 2011, I pressed the “PUBLISH” button on a MOO essay featuring The Risks and Benefits of introspection and following bliss–and Helena Bonham Carter. The post went live nearly simultaneously with the news that the devastating tsunami hit the Sendai Miyagi Prefecture of Japan. The giant wave was triggered by an incomprehensibly large 9.0 earthquake just off the Japanese coast. You all know this. You may have been awake with me and joined in the impromptu vigil with our friends, loved ones and fellow fandom members on Twitter.
It was one of those moments when I was truly awed by and strangely grateful for the effectiveness of social networking sites, but moreso, I was humbled by the grace and graciousness with which members in this newfound community operate. Suddenly, it wasn’t about interviews or celeb-sightings nor petty in-fighting nor paparazzi wars..For once, it wasn’t even about Charlie Sheen’s alarming (and I say this from a mental health professional’s perspective) decompensation and subsequent One-Man Comedy Tour. It was 11PM here in Cali when the first images of the earthquake and the tsunami began filtering in. And I was on Twitter trying to contact friends, MOO readers and my own family in Asia…N had just come home from work, and was on the phone trying to locate his family in Indonesia to advise them of the Tsunami Warnings of waves barreling towards 12 other countries including Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. My eyes darted between the horrendous images flooding in on CNN, and my laptop’s computer screen where I sought updates from friends across the world. Though stunned and heartbroken for witnessing the devastating destruction in Japan, I still felt great camaraderie and comfort, because you all were here, witnessing it as well.
A Shift In Focus
Nothing like the shifting of the Earth’s axis ten fucking inches to remind us how tiny we are, hmmmm? Can you believe that madness? According to the United States Geological Service (USGS), the Japanese Earthquake permanently shifted Japan’s coastline 2.4 meters!! While we endured a physical prompting, I’m going to venture out and say that we also felt the impact on our emotional and psychological well-being too. Here’s the dealio: It’s expected and normal for us to feel jarred and ungrounded after witnessing the mass destruction of the quake and tsunami. I felt faint echoes of September 11, 20o1: Eyes glued to the television while feeling helpless and shattered and incoherent with a grief I couldn’t identify. Experiencing and/or witnessing a traumatic event, of chronic poverty, of war, of Mother Nature (i.e., Katrina, Haiti) can elicit strong feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness, depression and grief. Post-Trauma Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is no joke, just ask anybody in the armed services, or any survivor of emotional and/or physical violence. But rather than write a litany of sobering, staggering statistics and clinical jargon, I wanted to remind us all of the absolute power we posses. I want to pay homage to the inner strength and phenomenal courage that composes us, exudes from us, and surrounds us. . .because serio, there are small miracles and blessings in every single moment, counterbalancing any darkness. For instance:
That picture above? My 3 year old niece, Monkey, had her first extended day of preschool (a 4 1/2 hr session instead of just 2!) this week. She informed me that she is “learning about BUGS, Auntie!” And while she admits she “hates bugs”, she was able to paint vibrant colors on coffee filter-wings to show her acceptance that even bugs are beautiful during craft time. And she gave this exquisite butterfly to moi. Now COME ON, people. This is what it’s about. We are not long for this world, we are small, small glimmers among a night sky filled with stars. But fuck it if I am not brought to my knees with the reminder that we are evolving, thriving creatures spreading our wings, venturing out, redefining. Monkey is for certain a sage Queen from whom I can learn grace.
Monkey also sat me down and indoctrinated me again in one of the O.G. Royal Rebels of the Disney Tradition . I very happily would have endorsed our Majestic Misfit Kristen taking on the role of THIS Disney spitfire, if she hadn’t chosen the fairest Snow White. See, 3-year-olds are sage, sage creatures. Shout-outs to @ellelala for hooking me up with this jewel, and for @Buff_82 for singing the lyrics to me…
“I like Belle a lot. She was kind of a loner, but she wasn’t sad over it or desperate to fit in. She didn’t give a shit that the hottest piece of man-ass in town wanted her, because he was a total semi-retarded douchebag and she knew she could do better. She wasn’t motivated by love or the need to have a significant other to do anything. In fact, even when she began to fall in love with the beast and she got news that her father was sick, she was like “iight I’m feelin you Beast but my dad is like dying in the woods so I should prooobbably go”. And then when Gaston was like being a complete asshole by getting everyone to raid the castle and kill the Beast, she broke the FUCK out of that cellar and rode a horse to rescue her man, after she nursed her father back to health. And we don’t even need to mention the fact that her man was an 8 foot Chewbacca/buffalo hybrid, she saw that he was a kind person who loved her and she fell in love with him. Like, seriously, Belle is basically the coolest woman ever.”~courtesy of Beautilation’s Tumblr
Royal Rebels Remind Us
We always can look to our fellow Others and Royals-in-Training when we’re lacking in confidence , or if we need a nudge towards expanding perspectives. Our Reinging Royal Beauty Kristen and her “deliciously handsome” partner Robert are always quietly urging us to focus not on their personal lives or their unconventional, mouth-watering attractiveness, but instead on their work. As we discussed last Musings, both actors have exciting, film projects debuting this year, which I personally think have the power to propel them each beyond the stratosphere.
She’s embodied the free-spirited and fierce Beatnik Beauty named Marylou in the Francis Ford Coppola-production On The Road…
And he’s killing us softly with his portrayal of vet student-turned-circus-roadie Jacob Jankowski in Water for Elephants…
Another subtle reminder for us to chillax with the microscopic focus on our Rebels is thiiiissss: The Re-Emergence of NinjaStew. KnowingKristen. Gleeful-SideEyesKristen. Remember, our Reinging Other Queen rules at communicating…. without saying a word. OICU, Peek-a-boo-Stew.
Kristen’s message as I hear it?
Yeah, I’m here. With him. I will not give you details about my personal life, except that I do try to have one, and I’m intensely protective of it. Interpret that as you will. But I do partake in the same activities that you do; like bowling and attending movies or concerts. If you approach respectfully, I’ll happily take a picture with you. But I’m not really comfortable with the ardent, singular focus on me, though I appreciate your admiration for my work. But really? There are other things and events in this world where your time and attention could go.
So Kristen and Robert were able to sneak in a movie date last week. I’m happy for them. I’m happy that they supposedly were able to slip into a dark theater and support their friends Billy Burke and #ChattyCathy by seeing the film Red Riding Hood …It’s nice to hear that they easily posed with fans for pictures and autographs. I’m happy that people were fairly respectful of the duo, not tweeting or Facebooking the private pair’s location, or at least, waiting until Kristen and Rob left before sharing their whereabouts. NICE WORK, friends. Maybe if we continue to be mellow and respectful, the lovely couple will feel safe enough to venture out more often. #AnAstonishingConcept
Look! The thought of some breathing room makes Martine dance!!
And it gives our Majestic Misfit a moment to gather her wits and thank The Gods that people are willing and able to shift their focus…
Be The Change
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world”~Gandhi
When Ms Stewart first alluded to her ambitious philanthropic leanings in her Vogue interview, it’s clear that she possesses that broad perspective we discuss here in Otherland, the awareness of the Global Soul. Kristen’s interest in charitable causes only further confirms her right to wear the Other Queen Crown. After I awoke from the haze I’ve been in these past two weeks–partially due to the Japan Disaster, partially due to the depression and writer’s block– I experienced the overwhelming desire to help…do something… just as I had with Hurricane Katrina and with the Haiti earthquake. And this is where our personal power surfaces. While we can’t all be Sandra Bullock , Jack Johnson or Gwen Stefani (bowing down to their awesomeness), my dears, it doesn’t take too much of us to contribute to the global goodwill and make a big statment.
One way we can help is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation…and spread the word on Twitter and Facebook, or whatever your social network of choice….
OR, contact your country’s RED CROSS to donate any time or supplies or money.
So I find myself lacking severely in the financial arena. However, I do have eyes, energy and a skill-set that is warranted these days. I hopped online and began researching Disaster Relief options and found myself face-to-face with an opportunity to partake in what has always been a goal of mine: Mental Health Disaster Response work. I have signed up for the Disaster Response Team with Red Cross, offering my psychotherapeutic skills to families who are effected by the Japanese quake/tsunami, as well as to any folks experiencing local disasters…and also importantly, I’ll be available for relief and debriefing for the caretakers and counselors who are already there in the trenches. I also have been led to–and have decided to pursue certification with– GREEN CROSS, an organization comprised of mental health professionals who are on standby for deployment to Japan for direct work in the hardest-hit regions–a very hands-on crisis counseling team. So this is how I can help, and exercise my power with resources available to me. This feels right for me.
So how else can we “Be the Change” ? We can be kind and patient and supportive of one another. We can exercise compassion towards our fellow beings, whether in 3D/”Real Life” or amongst our Cyber Friends. We can emulate our Reigning Other Queen Kristen and seek ways to build and support a cause close to our hearts. There are a couple of incredible fundraisers occurring these days that are integral to the Twilight Community…One charity I recently gave a small donation to is Fandom For Sexual Assault Awareness, spearheaded by a friend of mine @Aylah50 and author ColdplayWhore. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; plus, the cause is especially significant for me personally.
Another one you’ve probably heard of, is the fundraising efforts in honor of our Reigning Queen Kristen’s birthday (April 9), for the Non-Profit organization Covenant House whose mission is to get runaway kids off the streets.
“You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.” ~John Lennon, Imagine
So yeah…There are lots of ways we can embrace the dreamy “Dreamers” in John Lennon’s Peace Anthem Imagine… And, there are many small, but powerful practices to “be the change” we wish to see in the world around us, as advised by Mahatma Gandhi. Support does not always manifest monetarily. Sometimes the most profound gift we can give to someone else is a kind word or a listening ear. Several beloveds in my world are experiencing shattering, soul-depleting divorces. My dear Sister-in-Law suffers from a chronic, painful, autoimmune disorder requiring chemo treatments monthly for symptom management.
Knowing that we are not alone…well, that may be the most invaluable knowledge of all, hmm? Because I know my friends enduring the painful dissolution of their relationships, as well as my Sister grappling with the anxieties and physical complexities of chemo appreciate the hand to hold and the validating nod or two…And I know that in those moments two weeks ago, after posting MOO…and after the news of the Quake and Tsunami, I felt a rich, encompassing solace in knowing we were in this together. As sentient beings. As Others.
We are Other.
Kristen is Other.
Others know they’re dreamers, but that they’re not the only ones.
Embrace Your Other.
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A/N: There are many words to say, but I’ve already taken up so much of your time. I thank you for stopping by and checking out this week’s atypical MOO.
It is imperative that I send a very special SHOUT OUT to the brave, beautiful souls who filled out the sentence completion questions on the About KJ page. And there were many of you who have sent in private emails with your stories and your answers. I read every single of them and laugh, cringe and cheer along with you. Your courage and honesty bring me to tears. You inspire me . Thank you for sharing a piece of your soul with us: MYCLEVERALIAS…MARI/PAI…LADYBUG…EDMETT…ELLELALA & PHARMGIRL15
To author 107YrOldVirgin, Amber, how graceful you are. You will be missed, but you are supported in every step of your journey. Your incredible writing thrived and blossomed and became extraordinary from “Mystic” all the way to “Authentication”. A force to be reckoned with. Go do your thing, honey.
Beloveds who have been on my mind and in my heart: OJ, Ellelala, JRollin5, Ree, Puss, Katie, CC, Iris Adrienne, Buff, RobKris13, Possum Jai, My SK, RandomMama, Ms. Maroon… Julie and your family on the Central Coast.
BIG THANKS to CC, Buff, LCMom, IndiaPale, Beanai and Tebby for sending me encouragement (and links!!) for the job search. I’m chasing after it, guys, I am.
See you all next time…Wholly yours, KJ