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Molly, Stewie, Me: Times Three

6 Jun
A/N:  Images displayed on this birthday post are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr, Imagebam & Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended. Click the image to link directly to its origins. Musical inspirations listed at the bottom of post. To open the playlist in a new window, click here—> http://pl.st/p/20984139787  Posts are usually pre-read by a luminous team of Rebel Beauties, but tonight: It’s just me. These garbled ramblings in all their flaws and glories are mine, all mine.

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Definition: Beautiful

~Merriam-Webster Dictionary, June 2010

Beautiful, adjective. Exciting sensuous or aesthetic pleasure. Applies to whatever excites the keenest of pleasure to the senses and stirs emotion.

This was the exact definition which launched the very first Musings three years ago, on Thursday, June 3, 2010. As I’m typing these words out tonight, on a Thursday evening in June of 2013, tears are paving tracks down my cheeks. Moving through the actual movements of piecing together the musical playlist, and selecting images to use for this essay provokes profound physical reactions from me, clearly. I should have seen it coming. It is without exaggeration and with complete awe that I realize everything I do these days is in response to, influenced by, or connected with the decision I made to muse aloud about Unconventional Beauty. It manifests in the music in my library, the people I speak with, and in the conscientious practice of self and Other compassion. To say that these days, I’m experiencing the ‘keenest of pleasure to the senses’: Accurate.

Molly and Me

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Did it start with Molly Ringwald?  When I found myself at Borders Books (Rest in Peace), I hadn’t expected the Original Poster Girl for Awkward, Outsider Beauty to be there too. I was brand new to Twitter, and operating under my now-unused personal account KJN52. One of my very first tweets looked something like:

@kjn52 Molly Ringwald is here and I want to scream about Jake Ryan and that people’s “little brothers paid a buck to see your underwear!”

Obscure Sixteen Candles reference, my friends. If you haven’t seen John Hughes’ masterpiece about misfits and adolescent longing, then I have the opinion that you are suffering from staggering incompleteness. Please. Go. I sat at a cafe table  in the corner of the book store and watched as Ms Ringwald read excerpts from her new book Getting The Pretty Back to a captive audience. While I wasn’t originally there for the book promotion, I could hang onto every word falling from Molly’s mouth from my perch at the edge of my chair. So Molly Ringwald was speaking about great things, important things. About how we can lose our sense of self, especially when surrounded by people and forces willing to take it for themselves, turn it into something else entirely.  Says Molly: It’s up to us to define our paths. Foreshadowing the Other Anthology, Ms Ringwald? Prettiness, she reminds us, is a state of mind. 

“…It’s the part of you that knows what you really want, that takes risks.” 

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Molly Ringwald did not know this at the time, but she in that moment, became my very first Featured Rebel Royal for what would become a ‘blog’, then an entity, and then a practice that would alter my life. 

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Of course, it was another Molly, my dear friend Molly, who could also be credited for sparking the Other Revolution. It was she,  after all, who pulled me out of my house to the book store with her to pick up the sequel in a series she was not exactly forthcoming about. Molly: hipster, cool, brilliant… huddled next to the store’s display table, raptly staring at….

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I watched, baffled, as Usually Poised Molly, slunk around the table, and snatched up a copy of a sleek, black book with the word moon across it’s spine.

“What are you doing, Molls?” I asked.

“I haven’t slept for over a day. I couldn’t put this damn book down. I must read more. MORE!” Molly gushed, her eyes darting around her.

Ok, my usually collected reserved girlfriend was literally trembling [withdrawals?], and so I grabbed the first book of the series, and promptly marched up to the counter to plunk down my money. I was scheduled for knee surgery a few days later. I was gonna need lots of entertainment for the weeks I was to be bed-ridden in recovery. Vampires? No problem. I have a long love affair with stories of the supernatural variety [I am an OG Vampire Diaries reader, plus a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan] and I simply had to experience the stories that transformed my friend into a shaking, stumbling Twilight fiend. 

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Suffice it to say: I didn’t sleep that night either. I really didn’t sleep the next four days. I sent my husband prowling the city at after hours book stores to pick up New Moon and Eclipse [Breaking Dawn hadn’t been published yet]  for me, since I was supposed to stay in bed. You know.. knee surgery blah blah blaaaah. So I stayed in bed… and read… and researched, and googled…and stumbled upon comment sections, YouTube euphorias, discussion groups and MTV: Twilight Tuesdays. 

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Seven months later, in November 2008, my friend Molly was my date on opening day to the movie: Twilight

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Goddess Bless the Mollies in my life.

An Awe-Inspiring Awful

I mentioned my weeks of post-surgery recovery in Spring of 2008. During that eight weeks in which I was off work and rehabilitating my knee, I discovered the Twilight books, I discovered the internet. Therefore, I discovered The Fandom. MTV’s Twilight Tuesdays sparked an intense fascination with the chemically combusting interactions between the absurdly aesthetic Kristen and Robert. I found fellow book readers who were excited about the release of the movie, who also noticed an unmistakable affection between the two lead actors cast to play Bella and Edward in the film. A hub  [at the time] of seemingly positive discussion about all things Twilight revealed itself as a forum through E!Online: The Awful Truth. Take heed, friends. I don’t mention that place or it’s creator/ Captain Shit-Stirrer Casablanca… ever. But in celebration of Musings On Others’ third anniversary, I would be remiss to neglect acknowledging its origins.

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See, The Awful Truth brought me to my CyberSisters & Readers five years ago. Among them my beloved Bouffant, Robkris13, gretel, and RainierSixPac. There are so many phenomenal women in my group–like the featured #Eeeby. Yes, the now defunct Awful introduced me to people whom are now some of my best friends. I speak with them every single day. They have held my hand in my most devastating moments, moments from which I am still recovering, that have occurred very recently. Friends I’ve made through this exasperating fandom represent intelligent, empowered, Creative Thinkers in the most awesome of ways.  Most importantly, I discovered Muses and Royal Rebels who encourage and inspire. Over three years ago, I met the incomparable CynicallyConvy, brilliant author of KSIBTU, and her unbelievable band of warrior beauties including the insanely talented Buff, JHiggs and my lion-hearted sister Just2CUSmile

KSIBTU Painting

By the beginning of 2009, I was pretty comfortable hanging with my CyberSisters (led by the trailblazing MarblePole) in our own discussion space, separate from Awful Truth, but still interacting online with delightful, articulate “regulars” who shared the same appreciation for Kristen Stewart, her ‘deliciously handsome’ partner in crime Robert Pattinson, and yes…Twilight. I flew under the radar for the most part. My decision to become involved, was as I noticed the alarmingly abominable attacks on Kristen Stewart in so many of those online forums. Especially baffling: those doling out the most vicious criticisms were people who did not even know Kristen. Bloggers, commenters, teenage girls home from school, their mothers with a bit of idle time–they, by far, unleashed the cruelest, most uninformed and illogical bouts of malevolence onto Ms Stewart, and I was struck speechless. I am usually anything but without words, guys, you know this about me .

An anger was unleashed upon Kristen, in an unfounded, unparalleled manner that in turn, compelled me. I had to do something. 

I Can Do~Helen Keller

How can I be an activist? Well… I learned that when I wrote things out, or spoke my rambling thoughts aloud, people listened and responded. One admirable trait about Captain Ignorant Casablanca at The Awful Truth: he will interact with those who send him questions, make provocative comments. I could give him a bit of credit in helping me find my voice. After wading through hundreds (hundreds!!) of anonymous or monikered commenters insulting Kristen’s hair follicles, smile [or lack of], shoes, fingernails and family members, I lamented with my girl Bouffant, and asked her how we can bring attention to and then curb (if not stop) the daily bashing on Awful.

My complaining resulted in a letter (pre-read by Bouffant in our first writing partnership) that I wrote to Mr Casablanca, asking him to reconsider the moderation of  his comment section, so as not to enable the hatred and bullying. . . and he wrote back. He asked me to help him brainstorm how to do this. While Ted Casablanca really didn’t implement suggestions I gave, he at least encouraged proactivity on my part. He reminded me that I have my own little pocket of power. Words can be incredibly powerful…And Lawdy knows I have them in abundance. 

Journals- Keeping Your Memory

Definition: Beautiful

~Urban Dictionary’s third most popular definition, June 2013

Beautiful, adjective. The description of anyone who is true to themselves.

“Honesty is beautiful.”

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Middle School Mixups

I brought together a small task group. My Team Other Captains were elected. Bouffant, Buff, CC and the always impressive Goldeneye began receiving emails from me with fragments of ideas and anecdotes about misfitting and combatting hatred…and questions on downloading images and links. I looked to CC to be my expert guide as she had launched KSIBTU to such exuberant welcome, I knew she could at least nudge my stumbling feet in the right direction.  I collected memories of my first few brushes with intolerance, unkindness…and rebellion. All in the name of  creating a forum for patience, positivity and Rebellious Beauty, but in an authentic, personal way. A small army of Kristen Stewart defenders, yes, but really, it evolved into a gathering of rebellious misfits needing to speak up for all under-voiced, misrepresented people.

For us OTHERS.

I found myself remembering my first experience of “media” and the havoc it wreaks. I briefly mentioned a few incidents on my About KJ Page. Since the faceless, nameless one-sided attacks upon Kristen reminded me a little of middle school drama, let me tell you a little story. 

Books fly with imaginations and dreams of the Mad Ones

I was thirteen years old and, like, totally with the love of my life, Joey. I had a unique look about me, I gathered that much, what with several complete strangers approaching me and commenting on my “exoticness”. I understood that I was somewhat surprising in my appearance compared to my family and peers as I’m a bi-racial girl, adopted by a family who had physical traits the polar opposite of mine.  I tried to blend in quietly, and I thought I was doing it well. Anyway, I was in 8th grade of junior high. Dreamy Joey and I. Together. He was, no exaggeration, the best looking boy in the school. During our entire passionate-for-junior-high school relationship, other girls, including my peers and upper classwomen (!!!) tried to drive a wedge between us, to lure Joey away from my frizzy-haired, book-loving self.

 

It was the end of the year, and I found myself very flatteringly nominated for several end-of-year yearbook categories: Best Personality, Nicest smile, and one half of the school’s Cutest Couple. Ah yes. Our coupledom was nominated as The Best. K-JO was IN. THE.HOUUUUSE.   

LOVE photo Lights

So listen up: I won all the categories for which I was nominated. However, an odd quandary at the yearbook printers led to a picture of my face floating below the title of CUTEST (equivalent of today’s SCHOOL HOTTIE) instead of BEST PERSONALITY (the title I really wanted) in the final, massively-distributed yearbook. I suddenly acquired the drive for self-preservation, for self defense.

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People would whisper and verbalize their warring opinions about my status as CUTEST in the school as I would make my way to my locker, my frizzy hair shoved into a scrunchy. Yeah, I said it: In junior high, I wore scrunchies. Girls would gather in catty, feral groups in the hallways and literally point and loudly, not accidentally, exclaim: “SHEEEEEE is the PRETTIEST GIRL IN THE SCHOOL?” And then they would, of course, reference lovely, beautiful, desirable Joey. “…HOW is that ugly mess JOEY’S GIRLFRIEND? What is she, anyway?” 

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Yeah. Those fucking trolls were ripping me apart physically, based on a misprint in the biggest media sensation for the time [we’re talking pre-Facebook, folks], and because I had attention on myself already, with my beautiful boyfriend, I deserved the hate, as deemed by society [middle school student body]. It didn’t matter that I was an Honor Student, an accomplished musician and a noted Peer Counselor. These vultures insulted my hair. My clothes. The shape of my eyes.  

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Sadly, as you can witness at any given moment on Twitter, not much has changed. In fact, it seems worse, what with the world wide web and the increase in anonymous bullying. Middle school politics are being played out on Twitter timelines [or DMs nowadays] and in comment sections [my CyberSisters call them ‘Carol Anne’s Closet’ –ahhh Poltergeist] at this very moment. And while there may be some younger folks participating in the spewage…It has been proven that the loudest squawkers and vocally vile Kristen-Haters fall within the average age bracket of 39 years old.  Grown-ass ‘adults’, mainly women, attacking the character and physical attributes of a-then eighteen year old girl.  This couldn’t be a case of Middle School Mixups. 

Molly was my First Featured Royal Rebel in a moment. And Kristen became my unquestioned Reigning Queen of Other.

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The recall of my traumatic brush with public opinion and media misrepresentation combined with a fond retelling of my encounters with My MOLLIESMusings On Other Queens, Kstew and Unconventional Beauty was born. Goldeneye helped me outline and shape my goals. Bouffant and CC pre-read the first drafts. Buff created the most beautiful background and banner for the site and for my Twitter account (also created June 3, 2010). And, well… Heeeeeeeeere’s, MOO. 

Remember when CC told me to push 'Publish', Remember???

Remember when CC told me to push ‘Publish’, Remember???

Definition: Other

~Merriam-Webster Dictionary, June 2013

Other, adjective. a: being the one (as of two or more) remaining or not included.

b: being the one or ones distinct from that or those first mentioned or implied.

c: not the samedifferent

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Definition: Unconventional

~The Synonym Finder, 1986 First Edition

Unconventional, adjective. Uncommon, rare, unique, peculiar, uncustomary, unexampled, unparalleled, unexpected. Extra-ordinary.

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The Heart Of The Matter

I had hoped to post this Birthday Edition MOO on Monday, June 3, the exact anniversary of its first publishing. Sleep deprivation and intense client work at The Magical Little Practice prompted me to wait a little longer . As it is, I feel very much so at peace with posting today, on Thursday, Musings’ regular posting day, and because the first essay ever also emerged on a Thursday.

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Also, just this Tuesday, we learned that Kristen booked two new film projects, both independent dramas, both reflective of Kristen’s essentialness. Her Otherness. Her Royalty.  Because truly, the heart of the matter is this: Kristen Stewart defines Beauty in her unapologetic defiance of anyone’s/everyone’s expectations, with her relentless insistence on protecting all (including whom) she deems precious, and in the thoughtful, measured choices she makes regarding her work, her self proclaimed love.

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With the announcements of her new projects, the extreme wayward focus of the past few weeks, months, years, can finally center on Kristen’s craft.. . and for me, we can honor the beginning. And like Kristen, we can return to our roots.

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Molly Ringwald reminded me that even awkward misfits can bring The Pretty Back. My Molly introduced me to Vegetarian Vampires and is proof that even typically collected & calm Cool Girls are susceptible to addiction to a wildly romantic notion.  The Awful Truth blessed me with a plethora of obscenely articulate, intelligent wordsmiths, all who encouraged me to speak up, find the words, because there are so many Others who want the change.  We Misfits, Unusuals, Unconventionals, and Defiant Ones don’t need or deserve ostracism because of our unique perspectives or philosophies. We deserve celebrations. Coronations, even. 

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A crown for my birthday celebration with the KSIBTU Crew

Today I pay homage to the sole reason for Musings’ conception: Identifying and exalting all the qualities that set us apart from anyone else. And one way to combat the destruction and exploitation of these unique abilities and assets…is to EMBRACE them. 

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Today is not the day for judgments, biased relationship advice, amateur psychological diagnoses, bids to become the “The Most Insidery”, or spectacularly dramatic paparazzi fanfiction. It is not the time for mass hysteria triggered by wild speculations from unproven informants. Today is for honoring our roots, honoring our Beauty Rebellion, and the Something we can DOAnd this day is for saluting a courageous woman for moving onward, always, despite the vast challenges and countless detractors.

A woman who embodies all the qualities of Unconventional Beauty…

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

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Thank you, you beautiful Readers, Friends, Sisters, Brothers and OTHERS, for these extraordinary three years. It has been an absolute pleasure. You literally give me life. And Kristen? #OtherOn, your Highness. #OtherOn. 

Molly is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others return to their roots.

Others do their Something.

Embrace Your Other.

***

Playlist

Hero ~ Family of the Year

Stubborn Love ~ The Lumineers

Blue Skies ~ Noah and the Whale

***

Redefining Beautiful: Courage for Authenticity and [Com]passion

24 Jan
A/N:  Images displayed for this post are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr, Imagebam & Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended. Click the image to link to its origins. Playlist is working again (it’s probably playing RIGHT now)! Musical inspirations listed at the bottom of post. To open the player in a new window, clickity-click here—> http://pl.st/p/20984139787 Pre-read by a luminous team of Rebel Beauties, led tonight by @kate_suena . If you catch any remaining bobbles, they belong to ME.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”

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HAPPY NEW YEAR, my Rebellious Beauties! It is my pleasure to skip vivaciously into 2013 bearing a couple more definitions for our Anthology of Otherness. I must tell you…well, no, I can’t even begin to articulate how stunned and honored I was at your responses to the last [first?] new Musings. 

In the comment section, on Twitter, Facebook and through emails, you showered the kindest and the most exquisite definitions and responses upon me, all in the name of my Royal friend Eeeby, and New Beauty, of Reigning Other Queen Kristen Stewart, and of #Otherness. I humbly bow down to you. Your warm welcome compels me to keep going and continue this… even while things have been especially challenging. . . 

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So let me introduce you to the contributing definers featured in tonight’s MOO. My friend Dee (@DeeDreamer16) is an OG Muser. Legit. I mean, I think she commented on the very first Musings ever written, two and a half years ago. A sage, articulate and thoughtful kind of gal, Dee is, and we connected almost instantly, through the magic that is the world wide web. Over the years as we bonded over our love of Kristen’s unrelenting badassery, Robert’s increasingly open admiration of aforementioned badassery, and the sweet seduction of the written word (fanfic and otherwise); Dee became a consistent, loving force in my life. She is a supremely gifted writer and has been unfailingly kind and supportive of me personally (read: she has listened to me sob into her ear via phone…several times) and in our celebration of Kristen and Otherness. I am honored that she felt inspired to have a hand in The Otherness Anthology. Annnnd I may or may not have highlighted passages that resonated with me all of it. every dang word. But above all, I count my lucky stars that she is one Majestic Misfit whom I call friend. 

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Definition: Authenticity

~DeeDreamer

Authentic, adjective. True to one’s own personality, spirit or character. Not false or imitation. Worthy of acceptance. 

“This above all: to thine own self be true.”  ~ Hamlet

When KJ first presented the idea for her Anthology to me, I immediately gravitated toward wanting to expound on authenticity. What does it mean to be authentic in this modern age of digital anonymity and online personae which may or may not accurately reflect the true character of the person behind each screen name? This question, especially after jumping into the Twilight/Rob/Kristen fandom four years ago, confounds me. In preparing the definition for this term, its true meaning in terms of Other nearly screamed at me: worthy.

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Aren’t we all worthy of acceptance? Don’t each of us deserve to live our lives without judgment from others, especially from people whom we don’t know? I think that’s the essence of being a beautiful person — knowing how to reserve our own commentary, teaching ourselves to put the filmstrips of judgment residing in our minds away on some dusty, back shelf of our brains so we can transcend. If we subscribe to this mantra and follow our hearts, we win — even when we are too blinded to realize it.

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I was too blind to realize it back in high school. Looking back even now, with so many years separating me from that girl I was, I still don’t really “feel” like I won at anything. In fact, back then I’d have argued that I was pretty much losing — as in being a total LOSER! — at least in terms of things like popularity and cool friends/boyfriends/parties/whatever. I made a lot of… unpopular choices. I removed myself from what my peers were doing socially because I never — not once — could make myself comfortable doing the things typical high school kids did. I didn’t want to be seen as a priss, and I certainly wasn’t doing anything to stop others from having their fun, but I just felt… Other. It made for some lonely days. Not gonna lie. 

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But then my senior year came to a close, and yearbooks were delivered. I flipped through mine and saw a gorgeous, half-page ad in the back that my parents, brother, and sister had taken out for me, proclaiming their pride, love and support. Along with their words, my mother had included my (still to this day) favorite Shakespeare quote. Reading it there in black and white, for everyone to see next to my senior picture, was somehow utterly affirming. 

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Scholars can argue Polonius’ meaning as he spoke these words, but to me, as an impressionable teenager, the words sang to me, echoing through my limbs. They were a calming salve on the raw wounds of teenage life, and I ensconced them in bubble wrap and kept them safely cradled to my heart. They gave me strength to stand by my beliefs. They gave me permission to be my authentic self. They gave me the confidence I sorely lacked and assured me that, indeed, I was worthy… just the way I was. Nowadays, so many years later… if I had an “Other” button, I’d wear it proudly. Even through the halls of my high school. (Hint, hint, KJ.) 😉 ~Dee

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So I guess I should pull out my old button-maker and while I’m at it, fire up the T-Shirt making process too?  It has been awhile since my last T-Shirt giveaway…See what I mean about Dee? Brilliant and so kind and spot on. 

You all, I’m pretty sure, have encountered the genius and gentleness that is my Katie (@kate_suena), the second contributor to tonight’s collection of pristine terms and definitions. She of course, has authored several gorgeous essays for @KSIBTU, and she is the scribe behind the sublime Lost In A Book Somewhere  (have you visited yet? If not, GOOOO); but she also is the biggest Other Anthology Supporter.  She was apart of the commencement post with a stunning definition of her own; she was the first of my friends to donate her words. Well…she’s back, y’all. Again, I may have highlighted bits that knocked my socks off…Have a seat and prepare to be inspired. 

Definition: [Com]passion

~Kate

[Com]Passion, noun. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” 

I sometimes feel as if compassion is an endangered quality. Especially in “Girl World,” where for whatever reason, some find it easier to focus on the negative and relentlessly tear things apart and each other down.

~DefyConvention tumblr_lvxqgyUreg1qai6hpo1_500

But then there are those who are OTHER. They bring a refreshing change of pace to this antagonism. I see PASSION as a key part of compassion; if one feels ardently about something, or someone, this is reflected in the compassion they display.

By consistently recognising Other in the world, our view allows us to be aware of what is important and react accordingly, simultaneously disregarding frivolous non-concerns

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A tangible, important example that springs to mind is the response to the havoc that Hurricane Sandy wreaked. I find witnessing Mother Nature unleash her fury terrifying; there’s a sense of hopelessness as you watch natural events unfold (and I’ve never even experienced any such destruction firsthand!). But in the days following the storm, I saw an online show on compassion that restored the hope that Mother Nature had temporarily interrupted: one person donated to the Red Cross and ignited a spark.

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Soon my Twitter and Instagram feeds were FULL of people sharing how they were donating and therefore helping those thousands of miles away from them, subsequently encouraging [O]thers to do so as well. These compassionate people from all over the United States and around the WORLD were doing their part to assist people they had never even met.  

How beautiful is that? Queens of Other and Royal Rebels are unbeatable proof that caring and compassion are alive and well in this world. ~Kate 

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Definition: Courageous

~KJ

Courageous, adjective. Daring, steadfast, unswerving. I am frightened but I am unfaltering.

“Freedom lies in being bold.”
~ Robert Frost

Over the past six months, I have seen courage manifest in the most awe-inspiring of situations, and in gloriously royal people. After a hellacious summer, Our Reinging Other Queen Kristen proved her resilience and fortitude by stepping into the relentless spotlight and unblinking camera lenses to dialogue about a project of great personal significance to her. Despite the countless glaring gazes fixed upon her, and the judgments, diagnoses already conjured and proclaimed, Ms Stewart remained poised, and throughout even while vulnerable and exposed .

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So, she persisted. She moved onward (in perfect shoes).

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These days, I have been struggling to find my own valor… I realize the work I’m doing at my counseling agency and with The Red Cross has depleted my abilities to regenerate and provide compassion for my own weariness. My personal relationships are suffering severely and my physical body is run down. I know that getting out the door each day in the morning is an act of courage in itself, when all I want to do is huddle in a dark corner and weep. But I do climb out of bed and push through the door, regardless.

Now, that is little ole ME lamenting on the copious reserves of bravery I’m trying to locate within myself.

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I do not have swarms of vultures toting cameras circling outside my house, stalking. I do not have warring factions of “superfans” determining my worth based on a self-made (read: absurdly skewed) psychological theory touted all over Twitter.

But Kristen Stewart does. 

And excepting when she’s in SuperStealthNinja Mode, Kristen still. shows. UP. And she’s all beautiful and brainy and breathtakingly articulate when she arrives.

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Other Emerging

I believe it takes a tremendous amount of courage to be authentic and [com]passionate. As both Dee and Katie illustrated earlier, it is not the easiest of decisions to represent an idea or image that deviates from the conventional schemata. I have watched, awed, by Ms Stewart’s ability to remain congruent and grounded, even in the midst of extreme, incomparable challenges…It is why she is, after all these years, Queen Royal Rebel. She wears the shiniest crown.

Norman's Cloud Break

courtesy of (c)KinoPhotography

Soooo these are the newest definitions to catalogue in our expanding Anthology of Otherness. Thank you for rolling with me into this new year. Thank you for sending in your most incredible ideas and thoughts on what “Other” means for you. I will try and feature every contribution I receive, even–especially–those left in the comment section and emails. I maintain always that Musings’ readers are the most incandescent of souls. You continuously, wonderfully, confirm this.

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We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others are freed by their bold, [com]passionate authenticity.

Embrace Your Other.

*   *   *

QUESTION[s]: How has your relationship with authenticity, [com]passion and courage evolved over the year? How did you greet the new year?

A/N: Next time, which will hopefully be within just a few days, I will bring a few more essays to you. I’m pleased to tell you that the lovely Emma (@ItsAlwaysEmma) has contributed a definition to the Anthology that makes me weak in the knees…and the voraciously brilliant and funny CC of @KSIBTU and I are collaborating on a conversation about On The Road and #TheMadOnes that I am dying to delve into with you all.

* * *

Thank you, Katie. Thank you, Dee. Thank you Eeeby. Thank you @r_boncoeur.

CynicallyConvy and BeammeUp_00 check in on me regularly and I am beyond grateful for their thoughtfulness.

SOOO many pictures found on the tumblr so perfectly named: QueenKristen: http://queenkristen.tumblr.com/archive/2012/10

Playlist

Blue Skies ~ Noah and the Whale

Born Secular ~ Jenny Lewis (feat. The Watson Twins)

Til Kingdom Come ~ Coldplay

Redefining Beautiful: Resilience, Kristen & Eeeby Everywhere

29 Nov
A/N:  Images displayed for this post are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr, Imagebam & Pinterest.  No copyright infringement intended. Click the image to link to its origins. Pre-read by a luminous team of Rebel Beauties, headed by @deedreamer16 and @just2cusmile. So if you catch any remaining bobbles, they belong to ME.

It isn’t easy finding footing, once we’ve tumbled, as scores of us can attest. It is those who have fumbled and fallen to whom I gravitate, seeking validation and wisdom. It has been over three months since I’ve mused, and the ache in this knowledge is ineffable. Hello, my Royal Rebels and Majestic Misfits. After weeks of contemplation and more than a few entanglements with heartbreak, the flu, false starts and deletions, I’ve finally found myself ensconced in the sanctuary that is Musings again.

To Return

I have returned anew. I have cultivated and maintained this space for over two years and have been enriched in ways I never believed possible. Over the course of Musings’ evolution I’ve encountered kindness, compassion, wicked wit, cleverness, warmth and sheer intellectual genius in the form of you lovely Readers and Rebellious Beauties. I’ve also recognized that MOO’s original concept has emerged, expanded and naturally concluded. And while I considered wrapping up thoughts and archiving this ‘blog’ I have decided instead on another route.

In the end, after hashing it out with some of my dearest, I’ll continue to muse aloud, seeking more ways of Othering onward,  hopefully for the benefit of someone. ‘Someone’ might mean the few of you who read these ramblings, or clients, or folks in the Kristen/Robert/Twilight community, or fellow Others… maybe you, maybe me.

I think this new incarnation is even more faithful and congruent with Musings’ original mission to redefine beauty, honor the unconventional and ultimately expunge vitriolic judgment.  I will continue to applaud and highlight Royal Rebels in our midst and celebrate any Royally Rebellious gesture that our Reigning Queen Kristen Stewart produces, but we’re going global, guise. We’re going to take the spark that Ms Stewart and fellow Others ignited and blaze a bigger, brighter trail. I hope you decide to accompany me on the next leg of the journey.

Anthology of Otherness

So what did I do? I turned to the most brilliant people I know (that means YOU) and presented a question:

What does ‘Other’ mean to you? 

I asked a few of my CyberSisters, my Team Other Co-Captains, my friends from the MOO and @KSIBTU community to send in words, pictures, ideas, phrases and music that defines and illustrates their conceptualization of Otherness, Unconventional Beauty, and Royal Rebellion, across all realms: Kristen and Rob-influenced or not; 3D life, 2D life, or otherwise.

And the genius began rolling in. It occurred to me: I need to compile these new definitions into an index –an encyclopedia, if you will. To share. To refer to when feeling directionless, uncertain. 

I realize I was already kinda doing this the previous two years of Musings, what with Featured Royal Rebels and Stew Reviews, but you all know how I struggle with the ability to be succinct and contained. Also, in this forum, we’re interacting collaboratively, not with me just blah blah blabbbbbing AT you. Come on. You know one core principle guiding Royal Rebels:  Sharing is caring. 

So… below, are the inaugural entries for our Otherness Anthology. Please. Please give a warm welcome to the absurdly talented  [and aesthetically pleasing] poetic princesses: @buff_82 and @kate_suena.

Buff is up first, Katie’s definition follows, and then I wrap up the essay with my own contribution.

So… Buff: She’s the designer of both Musings’ and KSIBTU’s banners and themes over the years. She also is webmaster for my private practice’s site…and on top of it all, she’s mother to beautiful offspring, and a deft wordsmith in her own right. I am so pleased to call her my friend.

Katie, my beautiful soul sister, writes words that make me weep. Her odes to books (you follow her blog LostInABookSomewhere right? If not, what are you WAITING for???) and stories and travel make me soar and I am a better person for knowing her.

Definition: Fearless

Fearless, adjective.  One foot in front of the other. Never stop, never waver, push on because you are sure of one thing–yourself.

Definition: Embrace

Embrace, verb. “Live the life you’ve imagined” 

When KJ first introduced the idea of definitions for an “Encyclopedia of Other,” this was the word that immediately was at the forefront of my mind. It pertains to all the areas of Other that I can fathom – and of course the overarching idea of Otherness itself.

To embrace means to transcend past simply “existing” to actively exploring/loving/living/changing/growing. The beauty of this concept is that a person can embrace Other and everything it represents in whichever way they choose; there’s a sense of freedom and security simultaneously.

Shedding inhibitions that previously affected the way in which you faced a situation and decided to go with your gut – this is key to embracing what life is all about. It could be as small as varying from the norm when it comes to choosing your next meal, and therefore exposing yourself to a new and exciting culture. Or, it could be big. It could be more profound than you ever imagined – like taking that first step towards pursuing a new career (or life) goal.

The magnitude of what one embraces isn’t the important part, it’s that the action is happening, period.

Plus, I must admit that I’m quite fond of hugs, so this definition fit snugly with that as well. That feeling of being wrapped up with love and warmth is a pretty damn good one, wouldn’t you say? <33 ~Kate

 Definition: Resilient

Resilient, adjective.  Encompassing strength, grace and courage to push through adversity. I am worth this. I will do this. I will return.

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen

For this first post, defining resilience for The Anthology of Otherness, no words can properly illustrate Kristen Stewart’s spellbinding emergence over the past four months. Simply absorb the majesty.

@gettyimages

Royal Rebels Among Us: Eeeby

My dear friend Eeeby (her nickname is the phonetic, Australian pronunciation of her online handle) and I met a few years ago. Through this community, this chaotic, addictive, omniscient fandom of ours. Vivacious, scintillating, and eloquent she is. A single mother of two teenage boys, Eeeby was a constant force of nature, all mouthy and bold. 

So Eeeby had herself a rough year, but perhaps above all, she had the most harrowing summer and fall of her life these months. I’d venture to say she’s had the most harrowing time of anyone’s life. 

In June the Colorado Springs wildfires roared through her neighborhood, forcing her and her two teenage sons to evacuate their home, bringing only the possessions that would fit in  their car with them . They stayed four nights outside their home, taking shelter at a friend’s, away from the destruction. June 29th, Eeeby and her boys were permitted to return to their home, which blessedly, was undamaged, save for smoke saturation. Such gratitude they felt for having their home spared. Early morning on June 30th, Eeeby discovered that her newly-turned 18 year old son died in the hours following his exchange of grateful goodnight hugs with his mother.

The anguish I felt in my heart when I received the news of Cole’s passing could not be soothed. I was teaching a Psychological First Aid course for Red Cross on this bleak Saturday,  and I found that the techniques I taught earlier in the day needed to be implemented for myself that evening. My CyberSisters came together in the most phenomenal way, from around the world. We joined together in candlelight vigils, prayer chains, regardless of differing religious backgrounds.

I found myself delving into my own religion, at my piano. I was compelled to follow an aching melody floating around my head. I pushed ‘record’ on my iPhone in a last-minute decision to contain it, and maybe share it with Eeeby as a wordless expression of my grief and a declaration of my love for her and her family. I couldn’t get to Colorado, though I offered. But I could quiet myself long enough to let the lullaby emerge, and all I knew in a moment, was that Cole was with me, speaking to me, communicating with Eeeby and his little brother L. Even if I didn’t get the chance to physically be near or speak to Eeeby for a period of time, she would know she was surrounded. 

Cole’s Lullaby

A few nights later, I received a text as I was about to walk into a movie theater to see The Amazing Spiderman with N. It was from Eeeby. She thanked me for the composition and asked my permission to use it for Cole’s memorial service the following week. And as I burst into blubbering tears in that movie theater lobby, I let her know YES YES YES I would be honored if she used that little spur-of-the-moment piano ditty to celebrate her Cole. It wasn’t mine to grant. I told her it was hers, hers, hers. Never mine. She sent some sparkling, lovely reply back, and I cried harder more out of awe for my friend who despite her anguish, found a way to remain, as always, here… and so very her. 

Which is even more inspiring to witness since Eeeby was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in September. But she’ll be damned if she doesn’t look good while fighting it. Check her shoes below. The night before her surgery  (a double mastecomy with a radical mastecomy on the right side to remove lymph nodes), she packed lipstick and her makeup in her overnight bag . She attempted to bring along her heels, but the hospital staff quenched that urge real quick, much to Eeeby’s dismay. 

Upon hearing news of her diagnosis, Eeeby joined CaringBridge, an online support site to stay connected to family and friends while on her journey towards wellness. She also joined to make sure she stays connected to who she is especially while feeling the effects of chemo (which she’ll begin next week); the storm of emotions, the hellacious physical discomfort. Her journal entries filled with curse words, requests for coffee and acute observations on humanity’s mysteries, make my life. 

Though she hasn’t the ability to fully lift her arms, and she takes measured, languid steps when she walks, my friend Eeeby clocked in 9 hours of Black Friday shopping Nov 23rd, and she offered to pummel my husband who has been behaving slightly [read: alarmingly] off-color as of late. Now THAT is a fierce, fearless, Rebel Queen who is willing to embrace Otherness, if you ask me.

If you would like to connect up with Eeeby through CaringBridge, to share your own stories of resilience and Black Friday steals, come talk to me. I’ll hook you up. I have no reservations about showering upon my friend the praise and affirmation every day that she is an Other Queen in every sense. . . she is and remains in the company of my very favorite embodiments of grace, beauty and resilience. 

Redefining Beautiful

Sooooo. This is the New MOO. It is an evolving, fluid, collaborative effort to redefine the antiquated ideas of “beauty”. To create, identify and celebrate the unconventional, the unusual, the inspiring ideas and the people who embody the pioneering spirit of Otherness. Every essay won’t be this long, or this loquacious. I may just publish a series of pictures or videos on a random day with no commentary.  I’ve definitions tumbling in courtesy of your brilliant minds, and this is just the beginning… In the next month or so, I expect to be flooded. 

I look forward to our adventures together, Lovelies.

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others create their own definitions of beauty.

Embrace Your Other.

* * *

A/N: Talk to me. How are you? Are you already conjuring up your own vocabulary words to contribute to The Others’ Anthology? How do you see “Embrace”, “Fearless” and “Resilience” manifest in your own life?

Thank you…… Kate, Iris, Buff and DeeDreamer16 for holding my shaking hands as I trip and stumble through my own return to posting.

Thank you to all of you folks on twitter and facebook who say really, really nice things to me.

So much love to: Bouffant, robkris13, Mel452, r_boncoeur, punkybellyjelly, j_carroll7, alotmoreofmagic, cynicallyconvy, Aaiposs, JaiPoss, Nai, lmrg1122, TrueLove, bellsy-bai, cheermom, randommama, Mari-Pai, every single one of my Cybersisters/Readers, my sister Puss, mycleveralias, drowninit, and iampancakes (thanks for the ride, beautiful!)

Muselet: New Day

18 Aug
A/N:  Images displayed in this essay are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr, Imagebam, and Pinterest.  No copyright infringement intended. Click the image for a link to its origins. Totally unbeta’d, so any mistakes and stumbles are mine, allll mine. This is only a shorty, but of course there is a playlist. Click here to open a new page & listen——>(http://pl.st/p/20984139787)

Here comes the sun

Hello, Lovelies. Long time no musings, I know. Those of you who have been my journey mates these past two-plus years understand that any silence from this site is not indication of similar silence experienced by it’s author. I have been musing. Oh, how I’ve been tumbling through and under and over and every which way through the contemplative immensity these past four, [five?] weeks. It’s a matter of reining it in and sharing the ramblings in a cohesive manner. Clearly, as I’ve proven time and time again, my challenge is succinctness. 

….Since brevity is the soul of wit ~ Shakespeare

When I decided on a whim to post this little ditty, the clock was twenty minutes shy of switching over to “00:00”, proclaiming a new day; one, as Anne Shirley [an early Other herself, as she dreams from her house of Green Gables] jubilantly reminds us contains “no mistakes in it yet”. It has now grown five minutes past midnight. I only wanted to post a little heads-up. To let you know that Musings is coming atcha this weekend whether you are ready or not. I wanted you to know that I. Am. Here. I never left. 

I was inspired to return to this WordPress Wonderland of Otherness for many reasons: because I needed to; because I wanted to; because I have so many words in my head and love in my heart I feared I may implode. Also, because I feel The Shift. The clouds are easing up slightly allowing for precious, nourishing slivers of light to illuminate the sky, warm our faces. 

Also, I never had the chance to properly celebrate Musings’ two year anniversary and I simply cannot let much more time elapse without writing about this glorious, shattering, profound year. And to not acknowledge that is just WRONG. This year has been everything. And the past two months in particular have simply changed the game.  

So I’m writing the celebratory MOO post that I had planned for weeks ago. This was before July 17, before my husband and I made some pretty intense decisions which lends to why we’re today, quite literally, separated by a world;  before I became involved in three funerals, before I made an unexpected but most cathartic return to composing music and finding long-forgotten melodies within. 

I created this space over two years ago because I needed a forum to find my voice and connect with kindreds searching for theirs as well. I wanted to to do something to help dissuade the negativity and maybe do my small part in creating change that I wanted to see in the world around me. No time is more apt or essential than now. 

So I figure: Let’s pick up right where we left off. 

****From my July 31, 2012: Twitlonger

There is one simple, pure, and constant concept that has been a small measure of comfort to me this week. And that is this: nothing, nothing, nothing is black or white. Nothing involving human beings and their emotional capacity can be categorized so easily. There is a gray area. There is an essential consideration that is near and dear to MY heart– of OTHER. That idea that is indefinable, fluid and against simple explanation. Because there is ALWAYS more.

We do NOT know. There is a sequence of events, there are precipitating triggers, there are esoteric factors that we have no access to, and–here’s where it’s crucial to understand– It is not OUR right to access.

No where is there an Admiration Rulebook that states we retain [or deserve] the right to acquire personal, private details in ANYBODY’S lives, let alone regarding people we have never met. We were never invited into their relationship. In fact, Kristen and Rob did everything in their power to preserve and protect what is theirs. They both have countlessly reminded us that idolatry is unwarranted and in the long run, completely, utterly UNFAIR. To ourselves. To them. 

People have asked, begged, prompted me to say something all week, and while it is quite flattering to me that you, of such great, burgeoning minds, seek out my addled brain for guidance, there is another part of me that feels pressure.

Yes I’m a clinical psychotherapist. Yes, I Muse on empowerment and compassion and love. Yes, I am a supporter of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson: Together, separately, no matter. But I too am wading through stages of grief, loss, confusion. And sometimes, though this ‘twitlonger’ doesn’t reflect that, I am without words and direction too.

Two points I had hoped to make, before this spiraled out of control into a full-on Musings.

1) Musings On Other Queens–this ‘blog’– is not going anywhere. It never was ‘A Kristen Blog’ or ‘A Robsten [ugh, you KNOW how I detest that label] Blog’. It was a space I created so we could talk about the ways we can overcome labels, misconceptions and generalizations. A way to give voice to the underrepresented. It was intended for us to have a forum to encourage SELF-REFLECTION on how we can contribute to the lessening of stereotypes, possibly banishing the bullying and the hate-mongering.

I think we need that capacity more now than ever. And so no, MOO is not closing down or taking a hiatus other than it’s regular breathing schedule as I navigate my 3D life. And BOY is my 3D life colorful this month. Balance, babies, it’s all about balance.

This started it ALL. It aint stopping anytime soon, kiddos

2.) I honestly and soulfully believe that Kristen and Robert will move through this, in a way that is healing and right for Kristen and Robert. Not by our definitions or standards, but theirs. As it should be.

Also, any amount of processing and rehabilitation will take time. 

Sitting on Twitter, or watching entertainment ‘news’ channels obsessively is maybe the most damaging thing we could do right now. And I can say with utmost confidence and authority, that believing wholly in anything the “media” [tabs] churn out is a great disservice to … well, everything, everyone, including Kristen and Robert, the very people that bound us together in the very beginning.

In my twelve years in training as a professional listener…I have learned an open mind is the most compassionate and–most often–prevalent truth in the end. Compassion and support is what Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson need more than anything right now.

Be well and take care of yourselves. Cultivate all of your strengths and blessings in your everyday, tangible life. And while a young couple takes time to assess and evaluate their hopes, aspirations and paths, we can do the same.

See? We’re all rediscovering our humanity together.

In a letter I wrote to my CyberSisters a couple days ago, in the midst of my own personal anguish, I concluded:

“I want to tell you as a marriage and family therapist, that I see this devastation often. It happens. EVERY. DAY. In one form or another.

And, yes, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. the sun rises again and people-warriors make their way towards it’s warmth.

I have faith. I have so much faith.

So a 22 year old girl is human. She resides with the rest of us mortals. I am so happy for the company.”

I am so happy to be in your company.

****

See you this weekend for the commencement of celebrating Other? Yesssss. All my love and light… KJ

*    *    *

Playlist: 

http://pl.st/p/20984139787

Ho Hey ~ The Lumineers

Ashes and Wine ~ A Fine Frenzy

Breathe Again ~ Little People feat Rachael R

Hold On ~ Alabama Shakes

Dear Kristen

25 Apr
A/N: The images displayed in this essay are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr and Imagebam.  No copyright infringement intended. Click the image for a link to its origins. Totally unbeta’d, so any mistakes and stumbles belong to MEEEEEE. Musical playlist, per usual, at the bottom. Click the “Sign Me Up!” button in the side panel to receive MOO updates in your Email…right. over. heeee-yah——>

Dear Kristen

Dear Kristen,

I can understand on a very personal level that pain and anguish can trigger spellbinding creativity. At the very least, conflict and confrontation sparks a need to respond–hell, it’s why I began writing this little blog in the first place, almost 2 years ago. Today is my four year wedding anniversary, eliciting a sappy, nostalgic mood. I recall that it was April 2008, four years ago,  that I  foraged into the Twilight Community for the first time. [See –>  Origins Of Musings Page  ] And it was two years ago in 2010 that I began formulating the beginnings of what would be Musings On Other Queens ..[See–> The First Ever Musings] Big deals happening all over the place, I’m telling you. *winking at Josie Belle Cullen and @CaraNoFic*

Hello, Cover Girl

Okay, so Kristen, it’s 2008, and suddenly you are omniscient. I simply could not remain silent about the unfounded, unfair and oft times vitriolic criticism  that also instantaneously emerged. Your name was uttered in households the world over…[I’m searching for the word….iconic?] and you were the most beguiling [divisive?] topic of discussion,  simply because you accepted a new job in your already impressive career. I could be wrong, but I don’t know that you ever, in your wildest imagination, anticipated the maelstrom that resulted from your decision to portray the role of a seventeen-year-old human girl who fell in love with a vegetarian vampire. I don’t know that you had foreseen [and who could have?] that your mere attendance at a desert music festival this weekend would lead  to new shrines and discussion boards…But for the record: You do look fantastic. And by that I mean: healthy, jubilant, inspired and amorous. Luminous. Congratulations on your face and that smile, btw. And P.S. way to rock the short-shorts, baby.

Sooo, as I was saying: I completely get that conflict and heartache certainly can be a catalyst for the creation of something big, phenomenal, even. However, this month, as your second year in your second decade of life commenced, I witnessed how positivity and love  took center stage and emerged into a Celebration. You, my friend, are the reason for countless gratitudes so many hold, and that I myself have procured over the years. During your birthday week, I sat back and stared in wonderment as people–thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, maybe millions? of people–stepped forward and found their voices to express their admiration for you, because you came into being. Because you exist.

I had never been more in love with this community than I was that week. You’ve probably seen these, but they’re worth a second or twenty-second glance… oh my, my the talent.

Team Kristen Site’s Birthday Projecthttp://tksbdayproject.tumblr.com/

@Fiorel90’s Birthday Video: 

@KSIBTU’s 22: Best Of Kristen

There Are Places I Remember 

A little over three weeks ago, I posted the first new Musings On Other Queens, KStew and Unconventional Beauty [yes, I full-named myself]  memo after two months of being…away. It was glorious and painstaking and tedious all at once. I had taken a hiatus, because heartbreak in my personal life was affecting my ability to create. I came back because you and your fearless pursuit to know and honor Marylou  of the seminal On The Road film project helped equip me with the lady balls to plow forward, onward. But it was brutal. I cannot lie, these past few months have been absolutely awful. 

These days, I swing wildly between elation and terror. You  have provided me this courage to follow through on my wild, maybe unreasonable, whimsy to pursue a smorgasbord of Bliss. Last week, I went to a formal job interview, the first in over a year, for a supervisor/trainer position at a counseling agency  which provides support and encouragement to teenagers in neglected and underserved communities. It’s an end-of-the-line intervention before said teens turn to gangs, drugs and prostitution in their desperation for obtaining the feeling of safety, belonging and home. 

this sunrise greeted me after a very dark night

I hadn’t walked into the interview with any expectations. I have a good thing going for me right now; I didn’t need  (nor want) to return to bureaucracy, and certainly not after my experience with my previous job, at Bastard Nation. But I went in for the interview anyway, and the directors provided hope and fresh perspective and I suddenly felt excitement for working with community agencies again. And they wanted me for my Other characteristics–my physical features, my youth, my unconventional perspectives. You are the catalyst who imbued the bravery I needed to even consider returning to the field, Kristen. You. 

Call it the Royal Rebel Effect

Additionally, I have taken some major steps towards developing and expanding my private practice into a consulting business which would incorporate group discussions, webinars and training on grief, empowerment and resilience, my areas of expertise. This means that I am putting my credibility [and my face!!] on the line and online to share what I know (whether inherently or due to years of training and nurturing) with an audience outside of my perfect, bubble-wrapped Musings world. Like…on YouTube and shit. Vulnerable much? I’ve got my own demons to fight, my girl, but the point is: I am owning it. I am pushing through what is to get to where I want to be. Just as you do on a daily basis. #OwnIT

gpoM

For People and Things That Went Before…

The second gratitude I have as a result of your existence is the goodness you bring via your admirers and supporters. They’re the best, Kristen, I swear to you. I know I’m biased, but I’ve been around long enough to see exceptional people exhibiting [mirroring your own?]  extraordinary qualities. Four years ago, when I tip-toed unsuspectingly into the Twilight community via MTV interviews and E!Online lurkfests, I didn’t know. I didn’t fully understand the enormity and passion that you incited in people. I still am stunned by it today, honestly. But by chatting with people, watching YouTube fanvids, by meeting my CyberSisters and Readers face-to-face, I found the most incredible people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. After writing the first Musings, I received poignant, empowering emails and letters from Readers around the world. People who sought an authentic connection and held pride in representing the deviants, the Awkward Ones, the unconventional, The Others. I’ve gained lifelong, best friends and sources for inspiration. We were/are all bound by the protectiveness and admiration we hold for you, and for Robert, and your unwavering mission of authenticity.

The Kids have Chosen. YOU win.

I talk to some of these amazing people every day. EVERY. DAY. I speak to my CyberSisters and Readers more than I do my family. I have never met a more vibrant, brilliant, compassionate group of people than I have in my association with this community, the Supportive Kristen Community. And oh my gawd they’re amazing. Not only in their support of YOU, but of ME, and in OTHERS everywhere…Because they remind me every day that Other is everywhere.

Love of Mad Ones, the ones who burnburnburn, via Sydney, AUS ~@Mel452

Finding the courage to take risks, to follow Bliss via Portugal ~ @dizzy_ladybug

expression through music and cultural pride via Indonesia ~ @Ichaluvcat

Reminders that authenticity is Other is Beautiful via Florida, USA ~ @that_bitch101

…In my life, I’ve Loved Them All

As do you, Ms Stewart. You model for us a congruent Otherness that is unparalleled. You have been a pristine Ambassador of Other for Musings. You have been both a candle  burning steadily and a mirror, reflecting the luminosity of Royal Rebels abound. You have worn the crown on your head, even through turbulent waters, gracefully and relentlessly. 

I had no inkling of an idea that I would stumble into the cavernous treasure trove of possibility, friendship, support, love, passion and courage when I joined the murmured discussion about a young woman named Kristen Stewart all those years ago. But today I can see that it was serendipitous that I did. This little Musings  Letter is merely my attempt at expressing sentiments that are nearly impossible to articulate–my utmost gratitude for the existence of you. Thank you. You have beatified my life profoundly, and probably obliviously. I bow down in awe, humility and respect to you, nonetheless. Happy Birthday, Kristen Jaymes Stewart.

Love and Light, KJ

She Reigns. #OtherQueen

 *      *      *

[QUESTION:] Where were you in April four years ago, three years ago, two years ago….?

[A/N:] Today  is N’s and my four-year wedding anniversary. It’s all love, which is good, because there felt to be an absence of genuine respect floating out there in our fandom…and in my 3D life too. So in essence, this letter is a celebratory reminder of Kristen, of this outrageously entertaining and beloved fandom, and of the people I’ve met, known and learned from these four years.
I didn’t update as soon as I had hoped, but I didn’t let two months slip by again. Seriously, thank you for your utmost patience and kindness as I work through The Stuff. I hope to be back with you even sooner, but not after I return from my little vacay. Leaving for Washington D.C., Raleigh, NC and possibly New York on Friday to see family and dear friends. And because I have needed a vacation desperately for a very long time. See you when I return. And to prepare for the epicness that will be #Cannes. My BODY. IS. READY.
 *  *  *  
*  *  * 
This Letter’s PLAYLIST 
::: Fires  by Shady Bard
                 ::: Hold On by Alabama Shakes
*  *  *
**Heading titles are lyrics from Lennon & McCartney’s/ The Beatles’ In My Life 

Muselet: Through What Is

24 Mar
A/N: The images displayed in this essay are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr, Pinterest and Imagebam. Click the image for a link to its origins. Mostly unbeta’d, but preread by the luminous Bouffant. Any mistakes and stumbles belong to MEEEEEE. Musical playlist, per usual, at the bottom. While I try to normalize a posting schedule, click the “Sign Me Up!” button in the side panel to receive MOO updates in your Email…thissss-a-wayyy——>

“In order to get from what was to what will be,

you must go through what is.”

~Anonymous

Hello, you beautiful, beautiful souls you. I must be honest: I didn’t know how to return to you after being away for so long. It’s been nearly two months since I’ve written a new Musings, therefore two months since feeling that connection with you all, which is by far the most rewarding reason for doing this “blog” in the first place. I do not know how to be anything but honest with you, so here’s the truth: I’ve suffered a beat-down–physically, emotionally, personally and professionally–and I not only hit a brick wall in my capacity to create, but I wavered in faith that I’d be able to recover. I’m nursing a broken heart. But nothing…nothing heals me better than Musing aloud with the finest and kindest souls I’ve ever encountered *side-eyes YOU ALL*.

you let me stand under your umbrella. ella. ella.

In the past two months, the number of pristine Moments of Otherness have become uncountable. I won’t even attempt to highlight a singular event that impacted us RoyalRebelWatchers during these weeks. But I can pay homage to a few significant happenings that lovingly coaxed me out of my hiding place. I hope you’ll join me in my brief Musings on the splendor that has graced us since we last chatted. And then together we can look towards the greatness glimmering on the horizon, ok?  Ok, then, off we go. #OtherOn #ThroughWhatIs

Go forth and set the world on fire.

~ St Ignatius Loyola

Since we last spoke, we were in Paris, and better yet, we were whimsically compelled in Paris. Kristen was photographed in a fantastical couture ball gown, and hanging with visionaries Karl Lagerfeld and Mario Testino. So Paris -Part Deux was surreal. And essential on many levels.

Our Reigning Other Queen’s appearances at various Paris Fashion Week events were her first in a professional capacity since becoming the newly-named ambassador for Balenciaga. She attended the Balenciaga showcase in the company of Anna Wintour and Salma Hayek. She met up with her “On the Road Boys” [which we’ll reference another time] at French lounges, and dropped by show rooms of fashion icons. In short, Kristen brought. it. She represented while clutching an incredible Stella McCartney bag and wearing a couple of different leather jackets that reduce me to tears.

brb, weeping over that jacket

Our RebelQueen handled her ambassador’s duties with finesse and grace, and with few, if any, words. Oh and also? Kristen wasn’t alone. No, she was surrounded by love and support provided by her elite team. Her steady assistant John, her incredibly winsome publicist Ruth, her stalwart bodyguard JB and an encouraging and proud partner Robert.

The crowning jewel atop the sparkling Parisian tour was Kristen’s visit to the opening of the Marc Jacobs-Louis Vuitton Exhibition. Wearing a leopard-print Vuitton minidress and gun metal-tipped heels, Ms Stewart landed atop nearly every fashion critic’s Best Dressed list, including British Vogue. 

Now, I’m not someone  you’d call a fashionista, not by a long shot. But I do possess an appreciation for lovely material, unexpected lines, and rich patterns that prompt a physical response–an intake of breath. And I can ascertain an inner strength that exudes from a woman who is on a sky-bound journey called Greatness. Her emergence as a composed and congruent woman has been a steady, tantalizing unveiling, but make no mistake: She. Is. Here.

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

~Jack Kerouac, On The Road

So…as I worked through some painful decisions that impact the livelihood of my self and of my family, and more weeks melted away, I found myself cocooning for self preservation. As we’ve discussed before, there is an almost crucial compulsion to re-establish equilibrium for the recovery process to commence. And sometimes, we don’t know how to implement the healing. For me, I immediately withdraw and become quiet, so I can search for that still, small voice (some call this God, The Universe, Allah, Intuition, or…The Divine) to emerge. To access that inner compass, I write, listen to music, make some of my own music, and immerse in nature. I also look for guidelines as provided by strong models who surround me.

In a moment of startling clarity, and tremendous pride, I drank in the examples as exhibited by our Reigning Other Queen. You guise: the reason why I began writing Musings On Other Queens in the first place, almost two years ago, was to pay homage to an actress of uncommon poise and conviction.

I needn’t look any further for inspiration and gentle encouragement towards a courageous role model. These days, she is ev.er.y.where. 

Kristen has been signed on to play Marylou in Francis Ford Coppola’s adaption of Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel On The Road for years. She was approached by filmakers to consider the role before her Twilight days. The film project itself has been in development since the 1960’s and the role call of artists attached to it over the decades is nothing short of legendary. And yet, it is just now, over sixty years after the original scroll was typed, that the story is at last available to and for public consumption.

Now, I know that the book On The Road isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. But it is my cup of tea. I read the book at an extremely fragmented time in my life–my senior year in high school, while I was determining colleges, and grappling with my first bout of depression. This book–along with the book The Perks of Being A Wallflower and my discovery of Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos–served as balm for my wistful, wild yearnings for it. The ‘it’ that Sal Paradise, Dean Moriarty and the ‘beautiful sharp tack’ Marylou also sought.

Kristen Stewart knew, when accepting the role of Marylou for this film, that she was undertaking an enormously important project. This film was not only a life vest for an aimless teenager like myself, but is the visual manifestation of a story that is referred to by cultural commentators and historians as the ‘defining work of a generation’. Ummmm. Ok, so in other words, a Big Fucking Deal. 

So, while contemplating my next steps in reconnecting with Musings and you, I watched with saucer-sized eyes as our Ambassador of Otherness herself pushed through any reservations and fears she may have held. Per her usual method, Kristen immersed herself in Marylou’s story (‘Marylou’ is based on a lass called Luanne Henderson), attended Beatnik Bootcamp (dancing, listening to music, reading the literature of the time, watching films and discussions fostered by Kerouac, Ginsberg and Cassady). She divined her own inner mad Marylou to best connect with the motivations of a woman who was raw, wild, magnetic, simultaneously vulnerable and brimming with sexuality.

Ok, you see? She went there. She still waded through the stuff in order to genuinely experience this character. She is in the spotlight   and under extreme scrutiny every single day which I can only imagine generates an ungodly amount of stress and anxiety. She is the new face of an iconic fashion line, and she is spearheading at least two high-profile projects all while trying to maintain her connection to her family and beloveds. She moves through the here-and-now anyway. It is stunning to comprehend the level of strength it takes to do what she does. Every. Day. Are you bowing down to Royalty as I am?

“But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

~Jack Kerouac, On The Road

Well, my Rebel Royals, this is where we’ll stop for today. I wanted to dip my toe in the water before jumping back in, cannon-ball style, and I thank you for holding the space for me to do so. We have so many more amazing adventures to review together the Hunger Games movie and seeing Marcus Foster live (tomorrow night) notwithstanding… I still want to discuss with you all the implications behind the case study we approached last time, about Empathy Erosion and the desensitization to humanity as discussed in the last Musings——>A Stew Review: Compassionate Beauty 

Also, I so very much want to return to our roots, which includes the celebratory highlight of a new Featured Royal Rebel.  I want to talk about and give the mad props deserved to a brilliant, important English bloke. You may know of him already. . .

And we will discuss and rejoice over our Rebel Queen’s continued, brilliant courageousness …Because she is The Fairest Of Them All. She consistently lights the path for Others to tread.

I look to her, and you to help me move towards what will be by honoring and foraging through what is. Because it’s how we roll. #OtherOn

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others choose to go through What Is.

Embrace your Other.

*      *      *

QUESTION: What were your thoughts on Paris Part Deux, and the On The Road trailer? Can you recall a time when you withdrew from a stressful situation only to realize that pushing through the discomfort and fear was the most direct and honest path to recovery?

A/N: Now is when I convey my gratitude to you for the time you’ve  spent in perusing my ramblings, if you indeed made it to the end of this somewhat erratic post. THANK YOU. Though I’ve been on the periphery and quieter than usual, I am here. See you very, very soon. Always, KJ

VIPs in my LIFE and for this post to be possible:

@Kate_Suena @DeeDreamer16 @maybeimrivers @robkris13

BOUFFANT

My Always-Constant CyberSisters and Readers

*Last notes*

1. Take time to check the About KJ page if you would be so inclined. I finally updated a new Sentence Completion Exercise. 

2. Visit one of my bestie’s beautiful, beautiful book blog. And come get lost in it with me. Love you, Katie. And Thank You. For everything.

I’M LOST IN A BOOK SOMEWHERE

Today’s Musical Playlist: 

Joyful Girl (live) ~ Ani DiFranco

First Breath After coma ~ Explosions in the Sky

Lullaby ~ Sia

Fires ~ Shady Bard

A Stew Review, and Stew Anew: Une Beauté de Compassion

4 Feb
A/N: The images displayed in this essay are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr, Pinterest and Imagebam. Click the image for a link to its origins. Tragically unbeta’d. Any mistakes and typos in this post as well as 3 different thesauri belong to MEEEEEE. Musical playlist, per usual, at the bottom. While I try to normalize a posting schedule, click the “Sign Me Up!” button in the side panel to receive MOO updates in your Email…thissss-a-wayyy——>

“There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life: reciprocity.”  ~Confucius

Hello my stunning, Royal Rebels. I hope this new post finds you and your families healthy and well. When I said last time that I’d “update on Thursday”, per the usual posting schedule, I bet ya’ll didn’t think I meant Thursday-in-a-week-then-add-a-day-or-two-so-that-it’s-really-Superbowl-weekend did ya?? Yeah. Because that’s what happened, though not premeditated. Just keepin you on your toes. Dance, honey, dance.

'cause The Rhythm is gonna get ya

I admit it: I had intended to post the highest-voted [and final] Moment of Otherness for The MOO STEW REVIEW by last Thursday, but I became detained. Detained by my self-imposed cocoon, in all honesty. Between the car accident and the insurance company battle and a new teaching schedule with Red Cross, I simply had no room to breathe, let alone post. I ended up taking a “personal” day last week and I stayed in my PJs the whole time, #NoRegrets. It was my only day off. And it was bliss.

Wanna know what else is blissful? Kristen Jaymes Stewart. This whole week was like a dream. We had the feeling she was about to burst onto the scene, but the combination of two of my very favorite nouns was too much for me to comprehend. Too much. Turns out, we didn’t know anything.

Oh mon, tu es belle

+

=

Yeah. So Kristen arrives in one of my very favorite places ever [seriously, my love for Paris knows no bounds] appearing casual, flawless and with a knowing smile on January 30th, without pomp or circumstance. JB, Kristen’s handsome bodyguard, and her buzz-cut sporting assistant John [do we need to talk about all the newly shorn heads belonging to the men in Kristen’s life? Is this a new club initiation?] protectively flanked Her Royal Highness as she glided through Charles de Gualle Airport. Towards well..bliss evidently.

It takes a special girl to command my attention over Haute Couture and Karl Lagerfeld

Speculation as to why Ms Stewart was in the City of Lights ranged from prep work for her new Balenciaga campaign to a photo shoot for one of the three movies she was releasing this year. But, no. Kristen was in Paris to shoot a photo spread for Vanity Fair. Her photographer? Legendary, gifted, beautiful Mario Testino. The fashion? Dior. Haute Couture. On-set visitors? Oh, hello, Karl Lagerfeld, head fashion designer and creative director of Chanel [cue screaming, flailing].

I’m pretty sure Karl is just as captivated by Kristen as we are. And Kristen? NO question about it, you have arrived. You are relevant. You are sensational. You are a B.F.D. 

Not just because you rocked a couture Dior ball gown [perhaps the most beautiful gown I have ever laid eyes upon] on the chilly streets of one of the most romantic, inspiring cities in existence and a fascinator [who, pray tell, could pull that headpiece off with any semblance of authenticity? Only Kristen Stewart], but because when you stepped out in between shoots and hanging with legendary designers and artists, you did so, looking like this:

Note the PF Flyers on her feet. #SandlotForEVerrr @j_carroll7 GETS. IT.

Kristen stopped, signed autographs and greeted the growing crowd of admirers gathering at her hotel, or on the streets and cafes where the photo shoot took place. All while exhibiting a graciousness and poise that only royalty can

So I could wax poetic for days about the brief glimpses of gorgeousness we received while Kristen was in Paris for a mere 48 hours. But there are so many other people who know what they’re talking about who could–and have–present incredibly informed commentrees on ParisianStew. I suggest you read those….

For Haute Couture goodness and witty brilliance, go read my girl CC’s post ‘J’Adore’ —–> KSIBTU  I will simply wait until that Vanity Fair issue releases, [probably in May, to mark the opening of the highly anticipated SWATH?] and try not to lose my shite every time a new picture surfaces. When that article and photo shoot is on newsstands, we’ll talk. Oui? So check out KSIBTU’s fantastic thoughts, and I will stick to what I do best: Muse on Otherness.

Premiers secours Psychologiques

One reason why Kristen Stewart is our Head Ambassador of Otherness is because despite her anxieties steeped in facing swarms of people, she still took time in her ridonk 48-hr whirlwind visit in Paris to acknowledge her admirers. But the detractors and haters–The Bullshit People as we know them here in Otherland–didn’t recognize her generosity and graciousness. Not when they could instead pick apart Ms Stewart’s actions and paint her as a crass, murderous-intending spawn after her interaction with actual crass, greedy spawn: the paparazzi.

You all know that I elect to not waste any particular energy addressing or acknowledging the existence of the drama llamas. I am only noting this instance because it aligns so perfectly with an epiphany in my own 3D work. I’m an instructor of disaster response and mental health with #TheRedCross, and you all listened to me screech and celebrate my certification last fall. Well, last week, I was honored and proud to instruct my first class of new Red Cross Disaster Responders. The class? Psychological First Aid.  But people didn’t come to my class to learn how to do CPR and keep a body alive at the time of cardiac arrest. No, the course I taught was first aid for the heart and soul. What I essentially learned, is that this course really could be renamed Human Decency 101, and that quite a few of us could use a refresher in it. What a revolutionary thought, hmmm? A course on the basic tenants of humanity: compassion and presence.

The first wave of folks I’d encourage enrollment into Psychological First Aid? The Bullshit People, the Stalkerazzi, the detractors and destroyers hell-bent on tearing Kristen Stewart and all Unconventional Beauties [Others] down. If you check the sequence of events that occurred in the above gifs, you see Kristen Stewart, internationally known personality and Rebel Queen, stopping to sign autographs and exchange a few words with her fans. What you also should notice, is the frenzied, intrusive presence of the camera clowns and stalkerazzi snapping away and encroaching on Kristen and her fans’ personal, physical space.

What you’re witnessing is the breakdown of empathy–the Empathy Erosion–or the objectification [dehumanizing, depersonalizing] of a person due to lack of human relating as Dr Simon Baron-Cohen cites in his fascinating research The Science of Evil  by Basic Books Publications. [This has been added to MOO’s Resources of Beauty page]. We’ll talk more about Dr Baron-Cohen’s work in the next MOO, because I find it startlingly relevant for our community, for Kristen and her Royal Consort Robert…and in our pursuit of Othering ONWARD. The photogs and even some hyperactive blog trollers have negated the fact that the target at the end of the camera lens is a human being. A woman. A person.

looking better than ANYONE ever does after a trans-atlantic flight. Girlfriend probs wants some recupe time, non?

I approach the concepts of Empathy Erosion and Psychological First Aid tonight because upon surveying this odd and fascinating fandom’s way of interacting, especially during a perceived “drought”,  I’m asking us all to be aware of any compassion refresher points we may need. Because in watching those CameraClowns/Vultures swarm and circle Kristen Stewart this week, and in reading snarky, entitled bloggers and commenters pot-stirring, I wonder to where the compassion disappeared.

When did it become the norm, to overlook the basic needs of a human being?

Administering Psychological First Aid

(aka, how to provide compassionate presence in response to a disaster and trauma)

(aka, Human Decency 101)

  • Make the connection. ~ Say hello, introduce yourself. Establish that you, a fellow being, are here. You’re not just a spectator. You’re in this too.
  • Help people be safe. ~Move the person to a warm, dry, stable place to sit, away from the stressors. It’s not the time to stare as if it’s a gladiator arena spectacle…or The Hunger Games. 
  • Be kind, calm, compassionate. ~This person is overwhelmed. Understand that.
  • Listen.  ~One of the most powerful abilities we have.
  • Meet people’s Basic Needs. ~We all thrive on the same things: water, air, shelter, support.
Simple, right? Common sense…or is it? Why is that kindness, subjectivity, empathy and compassionate presence are taken for granted? Is it the slow endangerment of genuine face-to-face interactions with the rise in internet-centric “social” networks? #WeSeeYouNerdyBloggers
O_o
Of the many human interactions I’ve been privy to these weeks, I’ve been shocked and disappointed with choices made. The person who slammed into me and my car a couple of weeks ago, blatantly lied to the insurance companies and said I hit him. I can’t even talk about this event yet–it makes my heart hurt and a coil spring in my head. That same night of the accident, I had to file a police report and toy around with the idea of calling Child Protective Services because a mother abandoned her child in my department (one of my three jobs is as a manager for the children’s department in a bookstore) so “mother” could go off drinking with friends at the mall.
O_o
That night, I questioned, over booze: Where has the love gone? Do people have no scruples any more?  I know you generous, uncommonly compassionate and brilliant Others are apart of the renaissance amour, because I’ve seen you, your presence is felt. It’s incredibly reassuring and staggering for me to know you’re out there. Hopefully, our Reigning Queen of Otherness feels you as well.

Nous sommes au Numéro Un

*waves hands to dispel the joo-joo and rein in focus* Now, rather than spend any more energy on empathizing with the un-empathetic vultures, I’ve a major Other Countdown to wrap up. Let’s get ‘er done, friends. As we established in the preceding three parts to The MOO Stew Review, our Reigning Other Queen dominated most of 2011.

But there was one moment that prevailed as the most notable Moment of Otherness in 2011, according to Musings readers. OtherBeautyCominAtcha.

OoO_OoO

Remember, you guise? Remember this??? Remember when Ms Stewart arrived in London wearing a stunning, beaded, halter Roberto Cavalli gown and towering Jimmy Choo heels? When she paired an Alexander McQueen belt to accentuate her tiny waist and assets in a way that should have been banned for the level of sexy glamorous-ness?  When her make up was flawless and her long Snow White tresses were pulled back halfway back to showcase her exquisite shoulders….and face?

You remember. Obviously you do, because this night, November 16, 2011, was voted as your number one Moment of Otherness in the MOO Stew Review. I remember feeling and truly hearing a collective sigh across the internets and in my own living room as Kristen emerged beneath the trellis at Westfield Stratford, London, in the wintry outside air to greet the crowds who’d been camping out for days to see her and her boys [Robert, Taylor, Wyck Godfrey and Bill Condon] at the UK World Premiere. It is as though that evening was the unveiling to the world: Kristen Stewart crossed over an old threshold of beautiful. And we all knew it. He certainly did.

Of course, Robert, our Poet Warrior, Kristen’s Other-Partner-in-Crime acknowledged the sanctity of such an uncommonly lovely creature for years by this point, but there was a heightened awareness and prideful declaration of affection and unity on this evening.

Byway of countless nonverbal expressions [lingering touches, adoring glances, physical proximity, tactile reassurances], Kristen and Robert honored their partnership, their devotion and their pride for one another. . .all while inhabitants of Rob’s home town looked on.

The Pretty is blinding

Soooo….There you have it. You Beauties have been extraordinarily kind and patient as I have grappled with ways to connect with Otherness, our Reigning Other Queen and you all while seeking the elusive balance and some first aid for my soul. Your suggestions and emails and kind words of encouragement have been my fuel. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for being so incredible. And thank you for sending in your thoughts which resulted in this four-part MOO Stew Review. 

This is what we know now. Kristen Jaymes Stewart has thrown down the gauntlet. She is here, she is present, and she is poised to explode across the sky in 2012. Our survey of 2011 alluded to greatness that will soon come into fruition. Case in point:

It’s safe to say we’re in for an extraordinary, rebellious, beautiful year. Happy New Stew Year, my Other Rebels.

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others resist empathy erosion.

Embrace your Other.

* * *

A/N: HAPPY SUPERBOWL WEEKEND, for those of you who watch, support, celebrate.

I’m eternally grateful to all of you who have checked in and let me know that you’re there while I’ve tumbled through some of the roughest weeks of my life. Special shout-outs to my CyberSisters and Readers who are army-crawling through the muck with me right now. (light and love to: Peri. Jai. Aai. Believe.)

To my Twitter Lovelies who always peek in and whisper-encourage that I keep going (side-eyes @deedreamer16 and @mycleveralias).

P.S. How great is this Tumblr? <33 Source: thebubbleofrobsten, via rk913

I do hope to be back next Thursday with our discussion on Empathy and Humanity. Thanks for giving me wide berth as I try to stay on schedule. Until then, be kind and well and I will see you soon. #OtherOn xo, KJ

ESSAY PLAYLIST: 

The Hideout ~ Sarah Harmer *spotty live version on player, may be removed*

Le Mar ~ The Beautiful Girls

It’s A Fire ~ Portishead

Shake It Out ~ Florence + The Machine

Karma Police ~ Radiohead

TRANSLATIONS: 

Une beauté de compassion = A Compassionate Beauty

Oh mon, tu es belle = Oh my, you’re beautiful

Premiers secours psychologiques = Psychological first aid

Nous sommes au numéro un = We are at Number One

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