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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.

DeeDef-Authenticity

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. 

No Other like U~tumblr_lygts1lxzy1qbpwzeo1_500

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. 

DeeDefAuthenticity-ThineOwn

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

youareenough~tumblr_lo90coyDrU1qlaa6wo1_500

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.

sparkler

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 

Kristen1212http-::www.imagebam.com:image:e01833225449737

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.

katieDefCompassion1

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

Back To The Barre

19 Jul
A/N: So very, very unbeta’d. Please forgive me the typos, grammatical slips and bobbles. I own some pictures in today’s essay. Most of the others, not so much. Goddess bless Tumblr.

“Rocks in my way, I pick them all up. Someday I’m going to build myself a castle.” ~Fernando Pessoa

Greetings, all you Beatific Misfits! I hope this long overdue essay finds you well and healthy? I am hanging, but I’m going to be totally honest: I’m beaten up, overwhelmed, wary, and emotional (even more than usual…scary). I realize I’m over four days late in posting New Musings and that knowledge just makes me twitchy, albeit from the pressure I put on myself, not from anything external. We are our own biggest critic, are we not? I’ve had what I’ve wanted to talk about in this essay outlined in my notebook for nearly a week now, but I’ve not found the articulation. I hope you’ll flow with me.

A part of my ill ease is that I’m still acclimating to being home after my national assignment with the Red Cross. Other causes for my wariness stem from natural stressors that accompany family, marriage and friendships that are moving through transitions. Admittedly a small contribution to my discomfort expels from the atmosphere of tension surrounding fellow “fans” and “supporters” in the Kristen/Rob/Twi Community. And a leeetle smidgen of my preoccupation may surround my decisions for following Bliss.

catharsis

So how do I move forward when I am feeling fractured, uncertain and unsettled? I go back to the beginning. I return to the stripped-down foundation, to the basics. I review what it is that motivates me and inspires me to go forth…whether it be writing or journaling; playing the piano or singing; writing music, reading poetry or literature [or spicy fanfic], listening to music, surrounding myself with inspiring and kind people, walking on the beach, or rereading letters received or letters I’ve sent to someone else. I start from scratch and, in advice  from one of my favorite guilty pleasures, the dance movie, Center Stage, I go ‘back to the barre’.

In the technically meticulous and heartbreakingly beautiful art of ballet, the barre is a handrail either bolted to the wall or a horizontal, free-standing base. It is used for the warm up period before floor work and dance sequences. While sometimes seen as monotonous and tedious, barre work is crucial for all dancers, regardless of level of skill, as the exercises build strength for leaps and turns, sharpen precision, hone speed, and enhance flexibility and balance. It’s the reacquaintance of one with his or her roots and center. This month, I need to come back to my center almost desperately, because I felt that I might drift away, too far.  So, this week’s essay is my own reminder about the significance in returning to the place of grounding.

Since She’s Been Gone

Well, since we last talked, our Rebel Queen Kristen has been spotted just about everywhere among the county of Los Angeles, as well as in Toronto on the Cosmopolis film set and maybe New York City. Girlfriend has been on the move…and without a doubt, she’s got several vultures on her trail (growling). Now, *clears throat* I haven’t been nearly as active as the fierce and lovely Ms Stewart. Nope, since I’ve returned from my assignment last month, the only thing I’ve been actively doing is …emoting.  I have probably experienced and then worked through every single emotion possible, including apathy, anger and elation. A couple of you lovelies have written me and asked me how I’ve returned to “normal” after seeing what I saw and learning what I did while working with the survivors (aka Inspiring Heroes) of the natural disasters in Mississippi and Missouri. When my friend CC asked me how I’m able to be “back and continue on in life”, I answered, “Slowly, painstakingly, carefully.”

patience and gentleness

One thing I’ve very clearly realized since coming home: I have zero tolerance for hate-vom and/or unnecessary drama. No room in my 3D relationships and not in this fandom. Having watched families emerge from the literal ruins of their lives in Joplin, I cannot find it in me to participate in power struggles between factions amongst supporters in this fandom regarding tidbits they’ve allegedly received  first.  I cannot summon the patience to follow the hate-filled and irrational spewage of theories by people who have agendas of generating chaos and disagreement just so they can claim they were involved in it.

I’ve stepped back from Twitter. I still keep my eye on the news around the fandom just for confirmation that our Reigning Other Queen Kristen appears healthy and that she is still employing The Stealth; but I don’t read the twitlongers or Re-Tweets of Nonsensicals because 1) I’d rather put my energy elsewhere and 2) There are people who have made it their job to read and address the hate and hypocrisy. Hats off to @BecauseWeAreNot for spearheading that particular operation.

The Beats were pretty profound, yes?

Soooo, what does one do to carry on without getting carried away? One seeks the counterbalance. Revisit and celebrate what it is that compelled us in the beginning. Ms Stewart has been away from public, prying eyes these days, which is how she likes it best. Kristen’s unique brand of badass-regality is comprised of her ability to move through daily activities–while being tailed, hounded, stalked and scrutinized–with little reaction or fanfare.  She’s admitted in the past to feeling overwhelmed and timid when photographers and “groups [of girls]” approached her in public, but she appears to have connected with that inner compass of calm within herself over the year. This is a Royal Rebel’s way of staying centered.

In addition to a cool and gracious exchange of car insurance information after a fender bender in Hollywood….Well, she runs errands.

She works out in preparation for new film roles (while in SPANDEX, yo)…

…She visits her parents, peruses through vintage clothing stores, trains for horseback riding, and visits her aesthetically pleasing partner in rebelliousness Robert (along with their dog) on the set of his now-wrapped David Cronenberg-directed film Cosmopolis. Kristen carries on with her daily happenings….so why can’t everybody else? Kristen describes herself as “incredibly boring” (an argument that is actively disputed I’m sure by everyone who knows her) and she harbors propensity towards being a homebody who chooses to read books and hang with her cat in lieu of attending high-profile industry parties and award shows. She will, however, attend public events if it means supporting beloved friends:

Dean and his Marylou

The Chris & Kris Mutual Admiration Society

While Kristen flits in and out of public’s viewfinder, ensuring she has time to reacquaint herself with the mundane and normal, perhaps we can do the same…for ourselves…? Precious energy does not have to be poured into analyzing why Kristen is not seen out, or if she and Robert are getting along well. We instead could rejoice for those moments the girl has any privacy. Or better yet:  we could infuse our efforts into our own relationships. Call it a hunch, but I bet that both Kristen and Rob would much prefer we enhance our relationships instead of scrutinizing theirs.

A startling lesson I learned while away last month: It could be gone. All of it–obliterated–RIGHT NOW. Every single person I counseled in Joplin stated that the complete destruction of their lives occurred within a millisecond. Where and how did those people spend those final moments? Checking Twitter timelines? Updating their Facebook status? Dissecting someone else’s private life?

The Fangirl Learned: A Magical Era Ends Emerges

A method of returning to the barre (and in some ways, melt into escapism) for me is the immersion into compelling stories and films. I finished and fell insanely in love with the book Divergent and I saw the final Harry Potter film this week. It might have been too much epicness in too short a timespan, now that I think about it. We may talk more, MUCH more about Divergent another week. For those of you who have not read this incredible book–in my opinion, it is the next best read behind The Hunger Games– DO IT. DO IT NOWWWWWW.

For those of you who have read it (very Big UPs to my Good Reads Girls): Did you find the message as profound as I did? The message being: We are at our most powerful and beautiful when we embrace all facets of ourselves–including the elements we are told are wrong, odd, fear-inducing and unwanted–aka OTHER??

#CannotBeLabeled #AlsoKnownAsOther #FourandSix

And as I begin this new series of wonderfulness (come join me in reading Divergent’s upcoming sequel next Spring, will ya?) another beloved series drew to a close. Last Wednesday evening, I could be found stuffing my purse with packets of tissues and weighing the pros and cons of eating popcorn smothered in “butter” (because you shall go big or go home). I both hated and LOVED that I sat in front of a ginormous movie screen playing the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. I expected to shed tears. Many of them. And sure enough, my first tears fell before the haunting screen shot of the title fully formed in front of us onscreen.

Always an ardent book lover, I was a Potter fan since the very beginning. I was 18 years old when the first Harry Potter novel, The Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone was first released. I was a freshman in college and I was hostessing for a seafood restaurant part-time when I purchased my copy.  It was the first time I participated in anything that remotely resembled fangirling, and it combined with a burgeoning love for The WB television network’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Fun Fan-Girl Fact #1: I created a 15 minute public-speaking presentation for a college speech course defending the virtues and benefits of watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I got an A, thank you very much, and turned a handful of cynical college cohorts into Buffy fans.

Fun Fan-Girl Fact #2: It was for Harry , Ron and Hermione and not Bella and Edward that I went to the midnight book release events and stood in the long movie lines on premiere days.

The film, Deathly Hallows Part 2, in my opinion, was wonderful. The experience of seeing it at Midnight in a packed theater teeming with fellow Potter fans was incredibly bittersweet but still glorious.  I saw the first movie (Sorcerer’s Stone) via matinee by myself (that may have been the first time I saw a movie alone in the theater) because my then-boyfriend hadn’t woken up from his all-night music writing session of the previous evening. A decade later, I watched the final film in a theater in an entirely new city with a husband who told all his friends on Twitter that he was at the midnight showing of “Harry PORTER“. N has not read the books but over the past few years has seen all the movies. My, what a difference a decade makes.

We’re also nearing the end of the our time with Twilight. Our Majestic Misfits Kristen and Robert are set to return for their third appearance at San Diego’s Comic Con[vention] this Thursday, July 21. This will be the couple’s first public appearance since the eventful MTV Movie Awards in early June.  It’s also the first major promotional push for The Twilight Saga’s final film installment: Breaking Dawn. As I am writing this essay, people (including my crazy beautiful sister @robkris13)  are already lined up at the convention center in San Diego to camp out  for Thursday’s panel–comprised of director Bill Condon and actors Ms Stewart, Mr Pattinson and Mr Lautner. We’ll talk more about Comic Con next time..but suffice to say: It’s kinda a big deal.

TWILIGHT:::

#DeepBreath #BeforeTheInsanity #DidNotSeeThisComing

cozy

NEW MOON:::

Did someone ask a question?

What will this Thursday’s Breaking Dawn Comic Con panel bring…?

We’re granted a double dose of Kristen (uh, Hell yeah) this year at Comic Con as she is sitting on a second panel in representation for her new project Snow White and The Huntsman. This will be the very first promotional event for SWATH. The panel will consist of director Rupert Sanders and the [obscenely] attractive cast. Filming isn’t scheduled to begin until next month in London, so this Comic Con appearance will provide a unique opportunity to gaze stupidly at the pretty  learn about the storyline and characters before production commences.

Hope y'all are near a fire-exit because will this panel explode or...?

This month I have goals (besides enjoying Comic Con and filming updates for SWATH) to expand The Magical Little Practice, launch a consulting firm attached to the MLP, and pursue instructor certification for Red Cross courses. While trying to gather the strength and courage to do all of those things, another healing, magical element emerged this month for me to appreciate.

This is when I turn to you all with wondrous eyes, surveying the friendships and relationships I’ve forged as a result of my involvement in this Kristen Stewart and Unconventional Beauty Support Campaign. Last week, I was blessed with visitors hailing from all corners of North America including Canada. And these ladies are the loveliest, most eloquent , most wickedly funny and brilliant gals. We met through…THIS. Through Musings, through KSIBTU, through our mutual support and admiration of our Reigning Other Queen Kristen and her Deliciously Poetic Partner in Crime, Robert Pattinson.

Whenever it becomes almost intolerable and painful to endure the slander, libel and absurd delusions concocted by the severely unsatisfied Other-Hunters and Chaos-creators in, drink in the sights of people you have met whom embody positive attributes: independent ideas, positive regard, wit, and open mindedness…maybe recognize the whimsy and fierce fashion accessories too…? Dear @Kate_Suena @MyCleverAlias @That_Bitch86 and briefly, Ms @J_carroll7: It’s been a pleasure and an honor.

These counterbalancing people you see probably possess  boundless pockets of joy…and perhaps the tendency for documentarian-like photography (which I support wholeheartedly btw) and the proclivity towards copious alcohol consumption…

night #4?

Also he or she may actually comprehend the awesome responsibility with which we use our words…

These neutralizing souls will most likely hold appreciation for varying perspectives. And he or she probably respects the value of introspection.

So that’s what I’ve been up to these past few weeks. I was all somber and contemplative for a few days, and then slightly combative and irritable for a few others. And now…Now, after spending a week or two stretching and warming up my muscles, breathing deeply and carefully considering the best position for my feet (hopefully not in my mouth, though that’s not a promise) at the barre, I am nostalgically reviewing the excitement and motivation that coursed through me as I researched new Royal Rebels to discuss with you…

Remember some of the Featured Royal Rebels we met this year? They have all traveled through these months garnering accolades from critics and colleagues along with numerous award nominations. They’ve debuted exciting and innovative new projects, released new albums, starred in blockbusters and/or critically acclaimed films.

Jesse

Freida

Johnny

I’ve three people percolating at the top of my head whom I hope to feature in the near future, just a heads up. Anyone you’re eager to see?

Remember those feelings of pride and glee when you caught a clip or video of Our Ambassador of Other Ms Stewart in refreshingly honest interviews or slightly uncomfortable, but always-humble award show appearances?

Remember when we first met because we held respect for Kristen’s career trajectory and her unapologetic genuineness? Remember when we all were collaborators and we would brainstorm new definitions and reframes for negative connotations and labels such as “unusual”, “awkward”, “unconventional” and “odd”?? Remember when we were ecstatic because Kristen appeared to have found a kindred spirit within a bumbling, awkward, intellectual and charming British bloke?

Yeah. I remember too. And I’d really like to return to that joyous, reverent, cohesive place as soon as possible. These past few weeks of drifting, regrouping, withdrawing and re-prioritizing have been exactly the sort of conditioning and healing I sought, whether consciously or not. Knowing I have several goals and hopes to address this year, I must have recognized the need to cocoon before pushing boundaries and charging forward at full speed. So after finishing several books, witnessing the grace and graciousness of a Reigning Other Queen, viewing one tearful but satisfying finale to a decade-long film series; and, enjoying the company of fellow Others amongst The Beats and summertime ideals, I am stepping away from the railing along the wall and moving towards an open floor. However, I know whenever I feel off-center or uncertain, I can always, always find balance along the barre.

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others seek clarity and balance along the barre.

Embrace Your Other.

*  *  *

QUESTION 1: What do you do when you need to reconnect with your roots? How do you steady yourself along the barre for balance?

QUESTION 2: Who is a Royal Rebel you’d like to see featured in a future Musings?

QUESTION 3: Memories of past ComicCons? Hopes for this year’s double-Stewy panel?

A/N:

Opening Pessoa quote provided by @Dizzy_Ladybug

Picture credits for “drinks” and “rings” goes to @Kate_Suena.

Printer’s Ink” courtesy of @MyCleverAlias.

Kristen at the PCA’s is from @CheerySarcasm

Infinite curtsies and bows to:

Bouffant for talking me through stuff.

My ‘Good Reads’ Girls for providing me an escape.

Possum Bestie @Justice_Aussie for “pinning me” with pretty quotes and pictures.

**Playlist for this Essay**

Where’d You Go ~ Fort Minor feat Holly Brook

Belong ~ The Cary Brothers

After The Storm ~ Mumford & Sons

Poison and Wine ~ The Civil Wars

The More I See, The More To Know

5 May

He who knows best knows how little he knows ~ Thomas Jefferson

Greetings, Lovelies! My hope is that this new essay finds you and your families healthy and flourishing. A lot of  time does not need to pass before something wonderfully Other and so luxuriously Royal occurs, cueing my mind to spin out of control with ruminations and reactions and the overwhelming urge to analyze and then appreciate…and then celebrate. The past two weeks away from Musing with you lovelies have been so jam-packed with these glorious Other Moments that I realized first with sadness–and then with glee–that I simply cannot address them all. Not in one sitting at least. *smirks* There have been equal parts Reigning Royal Awesomeness  paired with reeling introspection personally, that this I’ve decided to switch up the structure of MOO. I’ll get back to that, though. Let’s do this, let’s jump in and review some of the spectacular moments that have surfaced since we last convened. ANNNNNND GO.

Oh. ummm. #$*!@#$!^)% What was I saying?

*recovers, sits up from position on the floor* Ok, lemme work up to the gloriousness that was The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (aka The Met Gala, aka The Oscars of Fashion) in NYC. It’s been a busy, exciting, near-overwhelming slew of goodness this week for our Other Queen,  so let’s back that thing up.

Princes, Previews and (a) Bear, Oh MY!

Just yesterday, while we still await cautiously for  the introduction of the actor who will take on the titular role of The Huntsman in Kristen’s next film project, Snow White and the Huntsman, we met the fetching British bloke who will portray Snow’s Prince Charmant. Say hello to Sam Claflin, everybody! 

While I’m still stinging at the loss of Viggo Mortensen in the role as The Huntsman (who, due to filming conflicts, dropped out of the project), and swatting away the teasing possibility of Hugh Jackman  (who also passed on the role, which was offered to him when Mortensen vacated), the announcement of Sam Claflin landing the part of The Prince provided a little soothing. Twenty-four year old Claflin is from Suffolk, England and is building an impressive resume with TV performances (The Pillars of The Earth) and with upcoming lead roles in the newest Pirates of the Carribean film and The Seventh Son opposite acting royalty Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. Looking forward to seeing Sam begin work with our Reinging Queen Kristen, who, of course, is the fairest of them all in the role as Snow White, this retelling of a tale from the Brothers Grimm.

Another week, another Entertainment Weekly cover to hunt down. But I got smart and returned to the same bookstore that sold the previous hard-to-access EW covers. No more driving all over town for ME! We saw our Majestic Misfit Ms Stewart leave Vancouver after wrapping the principal shooting of Breaking Dawn, though we weren’t entirely sure when or where we would set sights on our lovely Rebel again. We know that Kristen’s Partner-in-Crime-as-well-as-Life, Robert, has been on an exhaustive world promotional tour for his beautiful and whimsical film Water For Elephants (Did you see it yet? Have we talked about our impressions yet? No? Ok, SOON.), but we weren’t sure where our stealthy girl would be–which is ideal. #StealthyNinjasNeedRefugeToo. Enter EW.

EW explored with Kristen, Robert, and Taylor their sentiments about wrapping the final movies of the Twilight Saga, and while nothing earth-shattering was revealed with this interview (thanks to the massive leak of unedited film images and footage, the speed and prevalence of Twitter, and Rob’s numerous on-camera appeals to the Twi fandom to cease the hacking and spreading of said images), still, some illuminating recollections emerged from and about our Reigning Rebel Queen Kristen.

  • She was angry and “gutted” by the Breaking Dawn leaks.
  • *spoilers* She was affected emotionally while filming the wedding scene as well as the brutal childbirth scene.
  • Director Bill Condon is not immune to Kristen’s overall awesomeness nor her royalty, deeming her “hugely talented” and most likely able to “mold a career around who she is” and not the other way around.
  • Kristen is extremely satisfied with the wrap up of the story telling and filming process of Breaking Dawn, sounding downright giddy. “We ended on such a high note…” reaching a “state of exuberance”.

"exuberance" has never been more stunning, Your Highness

Oh, I can’t help it. Whenever there’s a pause I am absolutely compelled to paste an image of #MetGalaStew because in my opinion, Kristen embodied everything that is unique and edgy and unconventional and sexy and confident and simply regal. 

Having said that, there is one more event I wanted to acknowledge before we delve into the wonders of the Met Gala. Again, there were so many Royal goodies these days, but yesterday was simply a banner day for our Queen and her royal court. We not only met Kristen’s newest SWATH co-star in Sam Claflin, but we met a particularly special addition to Ms. Stewart’s family, the decidedly, Other Rebel: Bear.

Bear sees YOU.

This adorable adoptee, a German Shepherd-Pit-mutt-mix whom Robert and Kristen saved from euthanasia in a Baton Rouge shelter, has been a favorite subject of several of Rob’s interviews while on the road promoting Water For Elephants. In interviews Rob has made several references to “we” in the ownership and rearing of the rescued pup; and, yesterday, a whole new level of frenzy ignited when pictures of our girl Kristen walking with Bear in New York City surfaced. I will talk more about the soulful-eyed Bear a little later, as I delve into the discussion topic of this essay. But I have never seen such an explosion of opinions and reactions to a gangly, four-legged companion like this in my life. And I’ve seen some cray-cray, lemme tell you. Kudos to young Bear-san for a spectacular debut!

A Savage Beauty

But let’s cut the bull and celebrate another spectacular debut, shall we?

The Lady in Red with her dashing dates Jack and Lazaro- Proenza Schouler's designers.

Well, ok, so I’m not a fashionista, let’s just qualify that right now. But I understand that Monday night’s Met Gala was a night celebrating late designer Alexander McQueen byway of a theme of Savage Beauty, and our Reinging Queen arrives on the carpet in a ruby red floor-length gown designed by the aesthetically pleasing designers themselves as her dates, so stick a fork in me: I’m DONE. I was absolutely mesmerized.

I am not well-versed in the language of Couture, but I can appreciate silhouettes, and colors and fabric and texture. I can go out of mind with lust over edgy lines, and boldness in hues. I can ascertain the theme Savage Beauty as Queen Kristen interpreted it: fierce, delicate, powerful, sensual and strong. I kinda understand  how maybe the heaviness and texture of Kristen’s Proenza Schouler gown lent a draping quality. And I can absolutely understand and admire the beauty and aesthetics of …the back. 

Holeeey Hell. *gulp*

I can applaud Ms Stewart, a typically reserved woman who has admitted to feeling great discomfort at red carpet events, for buckling up calf-high Proenza Schouler heels on “Fashion’s Oscar Night” and gracefully posing for the bazillions of flashbulbs …before trekking up those stairs. Knowing those few things might just be enough.

Savage defined: fierce, wild, untamable, cutting and ruinous. Yes. She certainly destroyed it that night. I thought she looked, well, unapologetically, exquisitely, magnificently… Royal. 

All I Know, I Learned From. . .  

So. I opened this essay by mentioning that I would be changing up the flow of Musings to accommodate the swell of Moments of Otherness that have transpired lately. See, it’s usually here at this point in the post where I would introduce the Featured Royal Rebel for the week. I know I said we’d discuss a new Rebel today, but I’m deferring the discussion til next posting so that I can try this new format. I’d like to send special acknowledgement and long-hugs to a friend of mine, author Miss Betty Smith, whose own blogging style inspires and informs the new MOO Format with which I hope to play and muse. Whaaaa? There could be some form of organization to my ramblings?

Even MessengerStew is a bit skeptical.

Here’s the deal: I’ve been apart of the Twilight/Kristen/Robert fandom in some incarnation or another since late Spring of 2008 which means, good Goddess, I’m hitting a 3-year anniversary!! I’ve been writing MOO, defending Kristen and fellow Others for almost ten months (y’all are gonna celebrate the year anniversary with me in June, yeah?).  I have been a practicing mental health specialist, psychotherapist and social worker for over ten years. One of the deciding factors behind my pushing the PUBLISH button on the very first Musings last year was the excitement of possibly ceasing an opportunity to incorporate my skills and knowledge of sociology and psychology into better understanding why this fascination and passion in defending an actress called Kristen Stewart came to be. When I began tossing around the idea of Musings ten months ago, I remember saying aloud, “What is the draw? Why so fascinated with the fascination?” Well, besides the obvious.

Post-Met Gala, perhaps my fave?

Okay, why now? Why am I outlining a specifically-focused MOO? In addition to having a few charged, tense, personal encounters with friends-cohorts in this fandom, these past few weeks have additionally proven to be the most frenetic, passionate, eye-opening, jaw-dropping, temper-eliciting couple of weeks in this community that I’ve ever witnessed in the three years I’ve been here. And beyond the initial shock of seeing people go rogue, I realized I wanted to stay and keep representing the fight for fellow Misfits.

In one event, I found myself disappointed  by friends’ actions and by the quick judgments they issued that were very un-Otherly. But I realized it was my own disappointment to work through, not anyone else’s (other than what they take responsibility for) and an indicator of grace and poise is in conflict resolution. I reached out in all three occasions to open the lines of communication. Of the three different encounters of disagreement, I handled one instance very well, another one tolerably well, though quietly, and the third, well, not great.

And in other surprisingly controversial news, ummmmm: Bear (?)

I dunno bout you, but I derive so many fantastic, positive things from this picture. Rob is out of town, across the pond promoting WFE, so it makes sense that Kristen, a known dog lover and cat owner, is caretaker for their shared pet. Kristen is in  New York, which means she brought this puppy with her while she attended The Met Gala so that he wouldn’t be left behind with strangers or placed in a kennel. That dog travels better than I do, that’s for sure. Also, these pictures clarify (at least to me) who the “we” Rob refers to in interviews when asked about Bear’s guardians, and it further encourages the kind-hearted act of adopting animals from shelters. But apparently, that is not a shared sentiment.

Comments have trickled into my Twittah timeline or email box (people send them to me so I can laugh)  accusing Kristen of “animal abuse”, clearly since she attempted to force an animal against its will to “like her”, like ‘Snow White’, by “dragging” poor Bear along behind her on the cold, wet streets of New York. Other folks have dismissed Kristen walking Bear as her attempts to “copy everything Robert does”, adopting her own dog only because he adopted one. Because they couldn’t possibly share the animal, this could not be Rob AND Kristen’s dog. Then there’s the ridiculous theory that she’s using the dog to gain supporters for her career. Come again? I can’t even address that charge without snorting with laughter. But I do wonder–how does it make sense that to win the heart of your beloved you trash and insult his beloveds?

Does this scene look familiar?

hmm. I see that you're incredibly dedicated to proving your point...Your cynicism isn't at ALL alarming.

I’m only spending energy on highlighting some of these preposterous claims to illustrate the climate amongst The Bullshit People and Nonsensicals.

Leads me to think—->POTENTIAL DISCUSSION TOPIC #3: Haters Gonna Hate? 

For every new MOO post, we will still review and celebrate our Reigning Other Queen’s successes and endeavors as she barrels forward on her path, and we will discuss and highlight an Ambassador of Other/Royal Rebel, but we (“we” meaning, you, me, and occasional guest writers) will also survey some of the concepts and topics that have arisen simply because we are apart of this very interesting, and undeniably passionate collective.

Miss Betty Smith writes a feature called Ten Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Writing Fic  on her blog and it’s the format I’m fashioning the following new MOOs on. Check out Betty’s blog, it’s brilliant and insightful and alarmingly revealing. Also, if you read FF, read Betty’s stories including my favorite Full Disclosure.

I’m going to write something along the lines of: Case studies at work have NOTHING on the workings of folks HERE.  The interesting is not at the clinics I’ve worked in, they’re HERE. At this point, I don’t have a title for my new feature…I’ve tossed around ludicrous ideas of course:

  • Ms Therapist Finally Learns The Meaning of Cray-Cray
  • All That I Know, I Learned As A Fangirl
  • What The SpiderMonkey Saw

Let me know if something strikes your fancy, or if you think of a suggestion to pass along…And the discussion topics may range from a variety of observations I’ve had over my tenure in this passionate community…including, but not limited to:

:::The love we have for L.O.V.E.

:::Searching for perfection– (aka, are you projecting unrealistic, Vampiric expectations onto some poor unsuspecting mortal?)

:::Coping mechanisms for stress– (some eat a lot, some blame a lot, some pick fights a lot)

I may know of a diagnosis if this is the case for you ...or..

:::Extremes in this fandom–NOT. THAT. DIFFERENT. The “Haters” do not behave ALL THAT MUCH DIFFERENTLY than the “Supporters”.

:::Anonymous Cruelty–aka it’s okay to be an asshole as long as you moniker up.

:::The WOMAN’S Wrath–Ladies, when did you become so harsh?

:::The pursuit and struggle for power– (are YOU a Top”Insider”?)

:::Are we highly supportive, or actually scary-fanatic?– (How many hrs a day do you dedicate to involvement in your interest in Kristen, Rob and/or Twi?)

:::Double standards and hypocrisy–guess what? We don’t practice what we preach.

:::Brilliant and Creative Expression– (ahem, do you photoshop yourself into pictures with Rob and pass them off as real? Just wonderin’.)

Though there are some colorful challenges in this community, I will always try to express my deep gratitude and humility for being apart of it as well. The people I’ve met and encountered through this fandom possess the unbelievable capacity to love, and a fierce loyalty, and they (you) remind me how brave and courageous and soulful humans can be. And how freakishly funny and witty we can be too.

It has dawned on me how IN this I am. How personally invested I’ve become in this fandom and how, because I’ve continued to attempt in merging the fragments comprise my daily living, it isn’t an option to separate my Musings and 3D life anymore. …And how I’ve witnessed this become truth for many of you, my cohorts, fellow Others, as well. I did not see that coming. It isn’t a bad or a good thing, it is what it is. I should reiterate that there are no regrets, I am incredibly humbled and grateful if anything. Because my life is extremely colorful and challenging and exciting and filled with laughter and some very good friends whom I hope to have for a lifetime.

I check in with my Cyber Sisters as well as some of you folks every single day whether on Twittter or via email. I don’t talk to my own mother as much as I speak with you guys. We know about some of the heartaches and successes in each others’ lives. You all have hung with me while I navigate this new world of unemployment-turned-business-ownership and Bliss-Pursuit. And you cheer my husband and I on as we claw through the hoops dangled in front of us by Immigration.

Which reminds me: Psssssst!! N got his green card!!! !!!

See? I knew you'd celebrate with us. I feel your joy all the way here in Cali.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say, in my usual rambling, roundabout way…We’s haz lots to talk about. We always do. And it’s personal.  We have so many opportunities to gain knowledge from our Royal Rebels and our Reigning Queen, but also from each other. We still have boundaries to push and passions to defend and Otherness to embrace. But there are new lessons to be learned in every interaction. I seriously have enough potential discussion topics to run MOO another several months without needing to search. . .  Just with the “FANS'” behaviors alone!!

Some pretty profound events on a global level occurred this week as well: hello #ChangingRelationsWithTheMiddleEast; Hi, #RoyalWedding; oh hello #ExtinctionOfOBL; Top o’ the Morning to you #OperationEndIslamicVilification… and it was incredibly charged and emotional and stunning to experience these events with you all. So as things continue to shift, and ebb and flow and construct and destruct, let’s roll through it together, mmmkay?

Next time? We’ll discuss a few things: R & R for Kristen and hopefully Rob; Coping Mechanisms and A Woman’s Wrath (seriously, I knew women could be harsh, but this is bananas)…plus we’ll chat about The Gypsy Spinning Queen herself, Stevie Nicks. Until then, my Majestic Misfits, be well, be kind to one another. See you soon. xo, KJ

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others know that there is always more to know.

Embrace your Other.

* * *

Question: Have you found that you’re in deeper than you realized? When did you know?

A/N: Sorry it’s so late in posting tonight. Had a hard time summarizing. You know me. I am rarely succinct.

I’ve updated the Sentence Completion of About KJ

Playlist for this week:

Rescue Song (RAC Remix)~Mr. Little Jeans

Flightless Bird~ Iron & Wine

Kites~Geographer

Crystal~Fleetwood Mac

Gratitude and strength to my usual suspects: Cyber Sisters & Readers, Puss, Monkey

Infinite love and lunch date dreams for @MissBetty Smith

Super hugs and gropes to: Bouffant and Beanai

For What We’re Worth

21 Apr

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Confident Beginning

Ohhhh, boy… *blows a long breath out* Hello my Rabblerousers and Majestic Misfits, how goes it? Things have been insane in the membrane since we last convened, right? Not in a bad way, but in a really, busy, joyful, Ohmahgawd-I-can’t-believe-how-beautiful-yet-how-involved-I-am-in-all–of-this sorta way. You know what I mean. Since we last ruminated together, Our Reigning Other Queen celebrated her 21st birthday,  which involved Twilight co-stars and friends, her good buddy Taylor Lautner and his pretty girlfriend Lilly Collins. Also included an adoring, attentive Robert ….and a motorcycle…

ok, so maybe not THIS motorcycle...but the boy was there

And she inspired folks to raise nearly $17,000 for charity. . .Bowing down to all who contributed to this incredible cause in the name of Kristen, and with the hopes of eradicating the very serious issue of teen homelessness. Also, such gratitude to those who contributed to other charities in support of Kristen’s philanthropic wishes. All of you are truly incredible.

Well, let’s see…Our Majestic Misfit managed to make a profound statement of support and confirmation in New York City this Sunday. And she did it all without saying a word. She quietly attended Rob’s Water For Elephants premiere, looking almost obscenely stunning in a J. Mendel dress. She did not walk the red carpet–she would never want to overpower or detract from Rob’s moment. Because that’s what would happen if she had set just one toe out there on the carpet. She never intends to, but unwittingly, unknowingly, she compels us to look.  She is charismatic and magnetic, and would undoubtedly cause an epic frenzy if she had chosen to walk in the front door of the theater instead of the undercover side entrance. Because..uh, LOOK. AT. HER.

It’s criminal how insanely sexy these two are together. Look at the pandemonium inspired even as she remains in the background !!!

…and within a mere twelve hours later she surfaced in Vancouver, BC for stunt work for Breaking Dawn.  She flew back and forth across the continent between Rob’s movie premiere and the film set…so she could run on a treadmill while wearing a hot blue dress and black sweatpants. Because kick-ass Bella Cullen will run in a dress, dammit, but our girl is smart enough to know her legs might suffer in the cool Vancouver air. I won’t show the pictures of her on the vamp treadmill, mostly because I cannot tolerate the camera hound who took the pictures and I don’t want to endorse his stalking and opportunistic tendencies. But I will  illustrate that nonverbal communication for which I adore Kristen and her protectors.

This is a good crew. I see why she will miss them.

This morning (Wednesday), our extremely dedicated and well-traveled Royal was spotted, thumb brace still in place, at Vancouver International Airport, having wrapped the principle filming for the role of Bella Swan Cullen. *sniffle*

Only Royalty looks this good at 5AM

It’s a bit bittersweet to watch Kristen fly away from The Breaking Dawn set, as we’ve been on a journey alongside her while she created, crafted, shaped and injected a compassionate, endearing spirit into a girl who had merely lived on paper and in our minds’ constructs. Kristen loves and passionately defends Bella’s decisions and actions to the very end (did you listen to the Eclipse Commentree?). She personified, sympathized with, and injected confidence into a restless and pretty young thing, perhaps because she found personal truths in common between herself and Bella… And perhaps this is just another glimpse of Kristen’s brilliance as an actor. She inspires our faith in a character that we may struggle to identify with…Or, conversely, over-identify with. Kristen granted the strands of conviction to those who merely viewed Bella (or themselves) as a too impulsive, too naive seventeen-year-old girl with an infatuation.

With considerable skill, Kristen Stewart took a vague caricature amongst a less-than impressive screenplay (sorry, Rosenberg, you and I are not besties) and produced a determined, complex, and impassioned young woman for whom we cheer on. As there will be reshoots and voice work, and two more movies to promote through 2012, we have not seen the last of Kristen’s Bella, but there still is a lingering sense of melancholy as we watch Breaking Dawn wrap, the actors and crew flying away from Vancouver and dispersing. Thank you, Ms. Stewart for all that you have done to create a fierce, relatable, unforgettable Bella Swan.

Playing The Game

So while Kristen has quietly (as a roar) displayed her propensity for sparking near-riots I finally did it. I finally sat down and read The Hunger Games. I hadn’t read them up until this point not because I resisted, but because I’ve just been busy and boast a bedside table bowing beneath the weight of the 208,371 books I already am reading (in addition to my fanfics). I finally sat down and read Hunger Games and within 36 hours had devoured the three books as if I were a wild raccoon ransacking a campground dumpster (check it: opposable thumbs are fierce). However, since I was late to the party in reading this magnificent series, I’ve made up for it by becoming wholly and utterly consumed these past two weeks, reliving, re-reading, basking in the genius that is Suzanne Collins’s tale of war, our society’s obsession with appearances and the healing profundity of loyalty and love. My reading of The Hunger Games Trilogy coincides with the casting of the film adaptation scheduled to release in March of next year.

This is REAL.

WARNING: An Oncoming Other Teachable Moment: Because of the amplified scrutiny of the casting process, and the passion of my fellow readers, there are strong reactions and declarations emerging. It is very, very reminiscent of the casting process for a one beloved young adult series called Twilight. I won’t launch into a full feature of defending Otherness today…but I want to say that I have complete faith in the actors Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, who have been chosen to play two of the three leads in the film.

I don’t put too much stock into any discrepancies of physical characteristics, because a.) We as OTHERS know more than ANYONE that our external attributes are only one slice of our Misfit Majesty and b.) becoming someone else is what actors do for their jobs. Both Jennifer Lawrence (Ohai Oscar Nomination) and Josh Hutcherson exhibit proclivity in their craft, i.e. MAD SKILLZ. I say we sit back and witness what these talented folks bring to the table before judging them. It’s the least we can do as fellow Others, long recipients of preconceived notions and unfair judgements ourselves.

We of the askance tiaras SEE you. We get. IT.

And to highlight two very significant events: Remember how dubious folks were when Robert Pattinson was cast as the iconic Edward Cullen almost four years ago? There was a freaking petition circulating in which thousands of people signed, proclaiming extreme dissatisfaction and doubt in Robert’s abilities: to act..to be sexy..to be beautiful. Um. LOOK AT HIM NOW.

Things didn't turn out so badly, did they?

Secondly: At the risk of being skinned alive by my peers, I note, in the case of Josh Hutcherson, that he has pretty solid cred in the business (did you see The Kids Are All Right?) AND, most importantly, our own Reigning Other Queen Kristen, she of the infamous BULLSHIT DETECTOR, and “incredible instincts” (per Sean Penn and Jodie Foster) deemed Josh as Good People years ago when they were costars in the film Zathura. According to Josh, he nursed a pretty serious crush on our Rebel Queen (ok, that right there implicates the kid’s supremely good sense), and she bestowed a baby turtle on him for his 13th birthday. If Kristen Stewart is gifting baby reptiles to this dude, I venture it’s safe to say he is not the devil incarnate. I guess I just ask us to hang back and reserve evaluation. . .And I’ll deftly and sweetly change the subject….nao.

I get it. And I like it.

She’s Got Skillz 

Other than procuring a new obsession with a book about teenagers brutally killing each other, I’ve been extremely busy since we last checked in. A sweet friend from Australia, Miss @Mel452 and I spent a couple days exploring my beautiful city…and hanging out with The Beats (we may or may not have gotten drunk where Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund hung), and introducing my Aussie friend to the wonders of IN-N-OUT. Partaking in Italian food consumption, smokes and “Jack Kerouacs” cocktails?  In short, it was divine.

I’ve been cultivating time and lessons learned with my clients. I’ve attended traffic school, the first part of  training for the Red Cross Disaster Relief team I’ve signed up for…I’ve been hanging out with N in the rare moment he has time off work–we have our wedding anniversary approaching next week– and I’ve been gathering courage to take the next step. The last activity has been the most challenging for me.

In a nutshell: I’ve been trying to accept the good. I’ve been digging deep and trying to take my own advice and look in the damn mirror. I’ve made the decision to expand the Magical Little Practice, not shut it down (see, Buff, I won’t give up, I won’t!). Without delving into too much detail, I have been constructing a curriculum to broaden my connection with the community of folks out there who seek empowerment and direction. Also this means I can finally, finally do what I’ve always felt I am meant to: teach, present, consult and collaborate. With the assistance of my business-minded manager-sister, I am trying to take back and own my accomplishments by channeling my skills into creating the perfect job. The job that I was chasing with other companies, outside of myself. I realized after a consultation with a colleague therapist that I can CREATE MY OWN PATH using the tools I’m already equipped with. One problem: I don’t quite have a Rebel Queen’s Confidence. #ReframeTime. Rather, ok, if I do have it, I have a hard time remembering I do.

“Letting circumstances or others determine worth gives them inappropriate control and power,” ~Anonymous 

grounding.....grounding....breathing

My Manegent (the term my brother dubbed my manager-agent) Leon began making calls to agencies and organizations to begin spreading the word of my expanded services, and we have been met with enthusiastic and promising options. Now all I need to do is present myself as capable and skilled and confident in my abilities.

*Commence knees shaking*

Leon asked me to piece together a bio so she could present a quick and direct introduction to folks who don’t have time to check my gorgeous website or peruse my flyers and business cards.

Guise…??? I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell Leon a thing about me that I found marketable or desirable. Not. A. Word.

“But what about your Masters degree?” Questioned Leon.

Nope.

“What about your certification in parenting, group leading and clinical supervision?” pushed Leon.

Nuh-uh.

“You make a connection with people. You provide comfort and kindness.”

Me, blushing, stuttering: “Ummmm.”

“What about the three thousand face-to-face hours you put in for your internship and licensure over three years?” She pressed.

“Eh, I paid my dues like everyone else who goes into this field. We’re not doing it to be rich or right,” I say, ever placating.

Exactly,” replied Leon. “You. Have. Worked. Your. Ass. Off. And because you chose to, not because you had to. And not for the accolades and great monetary rewards.”

*crickets*

Why? Why is it so difficult for us to hear and accept the positive attributes we have but so easy to believe the criticisms? Why is the bad so much easier to acknowledge than the good?  Dr. Glen Shiraldi, psychiatrist and lecturer, cautions us that mistakes and past traumas, external criticisms and chronic seeking approval from outside sources all deplete our confidence and abilities to see ourselves as worthy.

We lose our ability to accept the good, and accept that we’re good the minute we forget to realize that our core worth already exists. We were born unmarred, pure, untouched by externals (money, physical looks, status, possessions). See it’s when we begin to listen to our Detractors, The Vultures, The Nerdy Bloggers, The Bullshit People when we go astray. Rob and Kristen have it right in ignoring these loud critics and asking for the focus to be on their work. What they do. 

Our internal strengths are essential, unique, eternal and unchanging in value. Our internal strengths are what comprise our Royalty. 

Our Otherness. Annnd, I begin writing a bio for the business presentations. . .

 When I thank and admire and muse about the Royal Rebels that serve as our models, (please see EACH AND EVERY FEATURED REBEL IN THE HISTORY OF MOO), I actually am thanking them for delving deep within and finding that internal compass, that core self which implies we are still, in the scheme of all the chaos–traffic school (I have a clean record now!), final exams, job stressors,  movie premieres, the unemployment claims…. doing all right.

Our Rebel Queen Kristen consistently provides graceful examples of how to transcend the landmines that are externals:

  • She disregards the clamoring about her attendance at her partner’s work events and goes–while wearing a slinky dress, a bold red lip color and a thumb-brace that red carpet cameras will not capture. She didn’t dress up to be” seen” except by who matters most: herself, and Rob. I think he’s appreciative, yes?

Yeah, I'd smile that hugely if I were you too.

  • She returns to her base, her craft, to complete her journey as a girl named Bella.
  • She peers in front of her, eyeing the next project that highlights her talents (her goodness)..That could mean filming K-11 and Snow White and the Huntsman;or, promoting her next movie On The Road (breath stutters in excitement), and maybe perfecting the recipes she’s tweaked from The Cooking Network.

It doesn’t really change the fact that whatever she chooses to do next, it’s her call, not anyone else’s. I’m pretty confident in her confidence.

These past two weeks, while our Reigning Other Queen has steadily taken steps towards her blazingly bright future, quietly but fiercely casting off the criticisms and judgements shoved onto her, I am following her lead. I am tentatively placing my feet on the road before me, re-learning how to forge onward as well, still wearing my Chucks and a (slightly askew) tiara.

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others do not let externals determine their worth.

Embrace your Other.

* * *

Question: How have you let externals inform or derail your chosen path?

A/N: I plan on returning to the usual MOO format of highlighting a new Featured Rebel next time.

Thank you to everyone I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with this week in those quiet moments of uncertainty.

Thanks to Leon.

Love to Reb and love to my longtime Bestie S who I miss madly.

Thank you also for everyone I’ve spent time rejoicing in Otherness with:

@Mel452

My HG Girls–Beanai, Webby, Kris, Peri,  Sail, Brothaa

Thank you for musing and contemplating with me: @ThistleFi @PrimaryColors1 @MadamThang, @DeeDreamer16  @edmett @robkris13

Long Hugs to: @beammeup_00 @Kate_Suena @MyCleverAlias        @Justice_Aussie @Ophelia2010 

As always, my constants: My Cyber Sisters & Readers

**Are you going to see Water For Elephants this weekend? Puss and I are hitting the matinée tomorrow. We’re coming with tissues and waterproof mascara (along with snack money–nachos and popcorn are a MUST). Let’s meet next week to chat WFE, ok?

I’ve updated the Resources For Beauty Page  as well as About KJ, but will probably run another sentence completion before this weekend.

See you next time. xo, KJ

Homage To The Firsts

24 Feb

Well hello there, my loves! I hope this essay finds you well and healthy and warm if you’re in the freezing cold part of the world, and cool if it’s hellishly hot where you are . It’s rainy and stormy here in my neck o’ the woods, and I’m happily bundled up while writing and listening to the sublime Adele (check the playlist. I’m slightly obsessed this week) sing of love and redemption. Today, we’re having a bit of a Rainy Day Pow-wow!  It’s a bit different than how I usually structure Musings, and we will not highlight a Featured Rebel today. However, I hope to reinstate weekly postings next week, and I will commemorate this by highlighting the deliciously unique and glorious Other Queen, Helena Bonham Carter. Sound good? Soooo without further adieu, lets get on with our Otherness Kumbaya, shall we?

Happiness is when you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~Gandhi

After I had finally, finally decided on a major in college, I enrolled in a class that was a graduation requirement for my field of study (counseling psychology), the start of my junior year. I had just turned 20 (Kristen’s age now).  For MOO’s purposes, we’ll refer to the class as Communication and Collaboration or C & C for short. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I had enrolled myself in the most catalytic, revolutionary class of my life. What was this class? Can’t be categorized, as it drew from teachings in various disciplines: sociology, psychology, criminology, business and…. Kindergarten. No, seriously. I sat in a circle with eight other people and caught a refresher course on the basic essentials of socialization and etiquette: turn-taking, sharing, listening before speaking and cultural sensitivity. If we had a designated “snack time” and “nap time”, it really would be like Kindergarten.

Arts and Crafts Time

Each week, nine of us fellow academics along with two co-leading peers would discuss and share our thoughts, concerns and reactions surrounding a myriad of topics including: career, relationships, love, loss and ambition. We all derived from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and fields of study but once a week for 2+ hours we would convene to share a piece of our personal value systems with each other. I suppose it’s similar in concept to group therapy, but with more of a book club vibe. However, instead of discussing the latest best sellers, we’d  trade stories about our experiences and ideas that shaped our personalities. I always believed that we (the world) could live in a peaceful utopia if everybody  participated in two events: One, attend and work through a C & C class; and, two, work in customer service, preferably in the restaurant business. Because let’s face it: people just don’t know what it’s like until they experience it for themselves. And even then, people don’t quite see how to apply the newfound knowledge to others’ situations….

Is it really wise for you to antagonize the one who brings your food to you?

So why am I telling you about the life-changing class called C & C and encouraging you all to get food-serving positions? Well, I’ve just basically shared my core motivator for writing Musings. I wanted to create a place, like C & C, in which people from differing backgrounds, ages, and experiences could come together and  share different interpretations and reactions to events that are important to us, i.e. Royal Rebelliousness, Bliss Pursuit, Kristen Stewart’s Steeze, and have a respectful dialogue regardless if we share the same opinions or not. When we realize that we all have differing perspectives  but on universal, common themes, it removes the stigma of the “Unknown” (Demonized Other, Alien) Factor.  Perhaps it eliminates the reason for insulting, bullying, tearing down of others…? I learned that we have filters through which we view everything. Our childhood experiences, our current interactions, our culture, our family, all shape how we view and respond to situations. It’s our conditioning. See, here in the land of MOO, we’ve talked about perspective before. We’ve acknowledged that no single one of us has the exact same reaction to a certain situation, and we certainly recognize that we have very strong inclinations towards protectiveness when it comes to our Reigning Queen Kristen.

Back to the Beginning

According to a Psychology Today article entitled “Heartbreak and Home Runs: The Power of First Experiences”, our first experiences are formidable enough to shape our whole character, our  adult personalities. Elation and heartache we encountered in our younger years may hold the key to why and how we react the way we do as adults, why we make the decisions we do, why we’re fascinated with whom or what we’re fascinated with (clears throat)…

So today’s Musings is dedicated to the exploration of Firsts: ours, and Other Queen Kristen’s. A reason for a stroll down memory lane? Well, for one thing, my incredibly brilliant Cyber Sister Readers and I were exchanging  our own stories of first loves and first kisses, prompted by particular fan fiction stories we’re reading (taking a moment to rec and love on the story A Quiet Fire by @Magnolia822) and with 3D happenings in our families.

Another reason for the nostalgia: our Majestic Misfits Kristen and Rob have returned to British Columbia this week, to complete the final months of filming for the last installments of the Twilight Saga. Not only am I struck with moments of, “remember when K and R were in Vancouver the first time two years ago?” and reminded that Vancouver is one of my favorite cities in the world too, but I’m also aware that I’m more irritable and have an increased need to preserve and safeguard Kristen, Rob and their cast mates against the Vultures and overzealous critics and “fans”. See what I mean? I’m influenced by what I witnessed and experienced from Vancouver before…

Oh that's right. They're so THRILLED to be hunted down.

Baton Rouge, from where the cast just returned, served as a quieter, less-intrusive backdrop for our Queen Other and her Ninja partner Rob, and while we didn’t receive minute-to-minute commentaries on their every move, I was infinitely happier because I knew that Kristen and Rob had semblance of privacy, which is not necessarily the case in Van City.  Amongst VulturePapz fighting re: the order in which the actors disembarked from their airplanes, also bonafide set stalkers and the resurgence of Nerdy Bloggers and pretentious “insiders”, it isn’t any mystery that the only glimpse we’ve had of Kristen is one pic of her running to her car with a jacket over her head.

I’m not sure what first experiences justifies how the BullShit People and obsessed gossip bloggers can harass our girl, why they cannot seem to grant Kristen the space to acquaint herself with her own adventures. Were they picked on as children? Did they never have a moment of wanting privacy, of silence? I humbly request that we Others all reflect, C & C -style, upon our own journeys before we lose the capacity to be compassionate and nonjudgmental. Before we lose our own personal connection with the meaningful experiences in our lives. Shall we take a stroll?

FIRST FALLINGS

Some of these Firsts are featured in the Sentence Completion Section on the About KJ Page. If you feel moved to do so, answer the prompts with as much or as little detail as you prefer…

First Job: Our lovely Reigning Other Queen was working at age nine. What were you doing at age nine? Kristen had her first role (non-speaking) in the film Thirteenth Year. Next up came a supporting role opposite Patricia Clarkson in The Safety of Objects.

Of course, it was her first starring role as Sarah Altman, daughter to Jodie Foster in director David Fincher’s (The Social Network) Panic Room that earned Kristen praise from critics and created a friend, mentor, protector and advocate of Jodie Foster. It was Foster who ultimately recommended our lovely Queen Kristen for the pivotal roles to the filmmakers of of Into the Wild and The Yellow Handkerchief.

So while our Beatific Rebel was making business contacts and earning fans among the Hollywood Elite in her first jobs, most other kids her age were enjoying the wonders of being able to write cursive for a year (in America, we learn cursive in 3rd grade, approx eight years old), and maybe, maybe  celebrate participation in a junior soccer league or ballet (my brother Chew was the former, I was the latter).

My first job was at a sporting goods store. Yep. I was seventeen years old, a senior in high school, and helping folks pick out their ideal first pair of rollerblades (and subsequent knee pads and the crucial but overlooked wrist guards). Lookie here, I’m like Bella Swan working at Newton’s Outfitters! Minimum wage was maybe $7/hr which meant I could satisfy my newest obsessions: vintage Levi’s and tickets to Tori Amos concerts.

First Public Acknowledgement/Award: With the breakthrough role in Panic Room, Kristen received the first of four nominations for The Young Artist Award. It was for her role in the aching and beautiful Into the Wild for which Kristen won the award.  She was sixteen years old and enjoying critical praise from colleagues and journalists for her solid, “sensitive performance” in the film. And she unwittingly attracted the curiosity of a certain British musician named Robert. This would be an essential development in Kristen’s professional and personal timeline.

When I was sixteen, I was pretty stoked to be a licensed driver and a junior in high school. I did receive special accolades for my ability to string words together in English classes, and I was extremely proud to have won a scholarship for my essay on an encounter with a drunk driver.

First Encounter with Separation of Self And Other: Ah see, this one is pretty heavy, I think. First realization that we are Other…The understanding that we are “supposed” to adhere to structure and conform to predetermined norms based on our age, our gender, our culture, our school…our family, can be especially shattering. It’s the moment when we realize that we have an idea of who we are, and that idea is challenged by someone or something else. This realization can have such a profound effect at times pushing us into almost existential questioning. It’s the basic acknowledgement that there is judgment, there are structures, and there are rules, and that we don’t want agree. Also, we learn that people can be harsh. This is the time period–commonly in early adolescence, though really it could occur any time, any age–when our bodies, our beliefs, our relationships, our chemical makeup undergo significant changes. Gasp! Suddenly we’re aware of the opposite sex..and body odor..It’s puberty and it can be brutal.

Things can swing from THIS…..

Rainbows, Unicorns and best friends forevsies

to this….kinda quickly

Our lovely Ms Stewart herself spoke once about the cruelty of her peers at her school when she finished filming Panic Room. Classmates snubbed her, made taunting remarks to her and kept her on the periphery of acceptance. Certainly, since Kristen would be away on such long breaks to film, the separation from her peers didn’t foster opportunities to create the bonds that could be there if she were in regular attendance . Hence the beginning of her separateness, The Otherness. She eventually chose to receive home schooling to complete her education.

How anyone could alienate or snub this lovely girl, I do not understand. Oh wait. It's STILL fucking happening!

I first understood this shift from obliviousness to uber awareness of a social order  in the summer between before sixth grade. I was on a week-long trip to Washington D.C., away from my family for the first time, across the country. I realized I had developed a fascination with one of the older boys in our tour group, and he had a “girlfriend”, since, you know, he held her hand as we walked through The Smithsonian. He had darker skin, like I did, but his girlfriend was fair and light skinned, and the contrast in coloring was simply beguiling to me. Remember, I had been raised by a Swiss/German family, so I was used to seeing the exotic contrasts of light and dark when I viewed family portraits. I just hadn’t seen it anywhere else outside of my own situation.

Well, after staring at this lovely boy and his lovely girlfriend for goddess knows how long, the jig was up, and I was about to get yanked out of my self-centered revelry. BAM. It’s not just me anymore. The boy loudly hissed at me, in front of the entire tour group:

“WHY DO STARE AT ME SO MUCH? WHY?”

And when one his buddies joked that it was because I must have wanted to “go around” with him (is that what you called it when you were 10 or 11? Going around? Going Steady?), to my utter humiliation, the boy threw back his head and guffawed. Laughed his stupid head off.

“EWWW. SHE’S YOUNGER…AND SHE’S NOT CUTE”

To add lemon to the paper cut, the following year found me grappling with an assortment of  Yearbook Honors (Most Ambitious, Class Clown, Cutest, etc). A yearbook misprint placed the title of “CUTEST” over my picture instead of “BEST PERSONALITY”–the award I preferred and had actually won. The final weeks of school were filled with people whispering and blatantly disputing the vote. Ah yes. Good times. See a little bit more why I declined the Other Homecoming Queen nominations to follow? I should have known then and there at the tender age of 13 that I could not trust the media and to harden my skin. Goodness. I have so much admiration for what Kristen does every single day of her life. My pain has consisted of having to contend with minor misunderstandings and whispers at my back. Kristen must dart away from Stalkerazzi and is aware through Google that people really, really dislike her outfit from last night, this morning and right at this moment. Kristen Stewart is SO MUCH BETTER THAN ME. #KSIBTM #KSIBTU

First Love: While I’m not versed in Kristen’s personal life, because she’s asked for her personal life to remain private, rightfully so, I feel safe enough in saying she has been a prominent feature in the idea of First Love at least since the casting news was announced that the iconic role of Bella Swan would be portrayed by the seventeen-year-old indie actress… Whether it’s because we’ve witnessed her embodiment of the the quintessential EveryGirl Bella Swan falling in love, or the evolvement of her very unique bond with Robert Pattinson over the years, Kristen Stewart has, for me, represented love in a very relatable, genuine way.

I had crushes that came and went, starting with my 7th grade boyfriend (he was The Edward Cullen of Middle School with otherworldly beauty and charisma) all the way through high school and my first year in college in which I pined for a boy who pined for my oblivious best friend. Of course as soon as he realized I’d do anything to be the recipient any fleeting attention he tossed my way, I set myself up for a world of pain. The less about him the better, perhaps. My brother still holds a grudge against him, and I’m pretty sure the boy reads Musings. As does, occasionally, the boy who I would qualify as my First Love, or more accurately, “The Boy I Think Is Love” because he looked good on paper, but didn’t make much sense anywhere else. I was eighteen when we started dating, but I actually broke up with him once I figured out my shit with the help of that C & C class I took. One more endorsement for introspection and clarifying values, I guess?

First Philanthropy: With the help of the recent stunning Vogue article, we know that Kristen has philanthropic goals that are profound and inspiring. But long before her hopes for building a halfway house network were verbalized, our Royal Rebel has displayed her charitable and compassionate nature byway of her endorsement of raising awareness of sexual assault when she was quite young, age 13, as she portrayed Melinda, a selectively-mute date-rape survivor in the movie Speak.

Courtesy of the brilliant Tumblr by absofreakinlutely

In a move foreshadowing more philanthropic work, Ms Stewart took time to film a public service announcement in 2009  for Security On Campus (SOC) designed to encourage awareness about sexual assault, drawing attention to the frequency it occurs on college campuses. The statistics are pretty sobering: Every 2 minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, and 1 out of 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. Knowledge and awareness of these facts is powerful, and I admire Ms Stewart for contributing her voice and time to the promotion of knowledge about sexual assault.

>>>Click this pic to see Kristen's PSA Video<<<

I’ve watched with growing amazement at the generosity and creativity of Twilight Fanfiction communities in their efforts to raise awareness and funding for charities for relief (Fandom for Floods, for the recent Australian floods; Fandom Against Domestic Violence) and for health and spirit (Alex’s Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer; Fandom Fights Mental Health Issues, Autism Awareness, among many). I wanted to take a quick moment to highlight a charity event that is taking place now, one of personal significance as well as a larger importance society. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April), led by a friend of mine, @Aylah50, and another lovely author @ColdplayWhore are hosting a fandom event which serves to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. This primary prevention approach helps to create environments where people are safe in their relationships, families, neighborhoods, schools, work places and communities. Check out the website (click the badge below) for more information on how you can contribute and lend your voice, as our Other Ambassador Kristen has, to the sharing of knowledge.

Fandom4saa.wordpress.com

First Falling For Kristen: I alluded to first falling into Kristen in earlier posts and on the Origins of Musings page, but I haven’t really spoken to how she became my Reigning Other Queen. I had first seen her in Panic Room but I didn’t realize it was her. It was summertime 2008, and I knew Twilight was being adapted to film. I heard that Kristen was cast in the lead female role, but I hadn’t made the connection yet. I caught maybe 30 minutes of In The Land Of Women on HBO one afternoon, and I remember being struck with the beauty and passion of Kristen’s character Lucy, but again, I didn’t know. Seriously, I should probably have my KristenFan Card revoked right now with that admission.

I didn’t truly get it until I caught a glimpse of the famous Larry Carroll MTV Interviews  (Twilight Tuesdays) in which she carried herself with poise and a grounded-ness that was so refreshing. And then I read the Vanity Fair Q & A and fell in love with her direct answers and her obvious intelligence. Of course, pictures like this, depicting her lightness of spirit and chemistry with Rob…I was breathless.

My championing of this Royal Rebel only increased by leaps and bounds as Twilight was released, as well as the backlash of criticism of Kristen’s interviewing skills, her frenetic energy, her refusal to participate in media training. As I heard all of these “offenses” I was thoroughly convinced that she is the coolest. chica. evah. Uncompromising. Unapologetically genuine. Steadfast. . . .And you? When did you First Fall for Kristen?

Well, as I cautioned, today’s MOO was going to be slightly different in structure and tone. Maybe I’m inspired to chat with you all on a more personal level because I’ve felt further away than usual, with my staggered posting schedule, or maybe it’s the rainy weather. Perhaps the return of Kristen and Rob to Vancouver, wrapping up a film project that has been so influential and integral in our lives these past three years is the trigger. I was curious also how the people who stalk and bash and hound Kristen and Rob in Vancouver can justify their behavior–have they forgotten what it was like to be a young person on a new job assignment? Have they lost their abilities to empathize? Do their encounters with First experiences influence their current actions, or have they forgotten the significance of their Firsts altogether? Just wonderin’…..Or maybe it’s the introduction of AmishRob that has sent everyone into a tailspin? *shrugs*

(c) absofreakinlutely tumblr

Meanwhile, my hope is to continue to remind myself and my fellow Others that as we continue to blaze forth on our paths towards integration and bliss, that it’s a good thing, a healthy practice, to revisit our beginnings. Today’s Musings is the forty-first essay. I’m simply amazed by that. Forty-one essays celebrating Unconventional Beauty, awkwardness, rebelliousness and Otherness…of rejoicing over the epicness that is an actress and Rebel Queen named Kristen.

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others do not lose sight of the significance of Firsts.

Embrace your Other.

*

Question: I’ve tons of ’em here and in the Sentence Completion portion of About KJ. Tell me about your firsts…

*

A/N: For Fandom For Sexual Assault Awareness Info, visit the website: http://fandom4saa.wordpress.com/

See you next week, my lovelies. Thanks for all your tweets, emails and kindness as I was recovering from what felt like Typhoid. xo, KJ

Redefining the Learnings of Love

10 Feb

A/N: Well today’s post is much later than anticipated, but I’m happy to be posting, nonetheless. This essay was written in several different parts, over several different days, from various locations. I started writing when I  was down in L.A. for Bobby Long’s show. But since, I’ve traveled back home and have experienced several events that urged me to keep writing, despite any issues with continuity. In other words, it’s how I roll. Thanks for flowin with me, Lovelies, and thanks for not being too hard on me for being a complete fail with comment and email replies. My goal is to finish them this weekend!…Anyhoo, Let’s go forth, mmmkay?

***

A soul connection is a resonance between two people who see each other’s essential beauty, behind their facades…a sacred alliance, whose purpose is to help both partners realize their deepest potentials

~John Welwood, Love and Awakening

Well this very spur-of-the-moment trip down to my hometown found me in possession of several outfit options for various weather, including scarves and hats, though it is so mild and perfect here in SoCal, I fear I’ll be lynched by those of you in blizzard country experiencing heinous conditions. As indicated, I’m only kinda prepared. I have makeup (which I only really wear when I go out to shows or in meetings), though no makeup remover; my phone and wall charger, but no car charger, which proved to be a hindrance as I charged my phone in a public bathroom at an L.A. shopping center during lunchtime yesterday. I have my trusty MacBook Pro (and charger, yippee!), but not my usual Musings Notebook; no books of poetry and psychotherapy to prompt me, not even a spiral notebook. I don’t even have a pen!  You Office Supply Junkies know WhatImmaSayin when I mention needing the right writing utensil in order to truly produce good work.

This is like porn. #OfficeSupplyJunkie

I am of course struck with inspiration to write and to create after  yesterday’s jam-packed day of travel, good food,  and unbelievably dazzling stills from On The Road. Top the night off with attending Bobby Long’s show at The Troubadour and we’ll call it a good, good day, my friends.

Let’s talk about the just-released OTR stills a minute, ok? Or not. Really, I don’t know that there are words to adequately describe the rush of euphoria that overtook me when I first saw them. I had been away from my phone and the internet for most of the day since I was flying in and enjoying a lovely day of catch-up with @Edmett and @RobKris13. I checked my email/Twittah timeline and saw these pics, each one more breathtaking than the last.

Ohai, Sal. I mean, Sam.

And I nearly caused poor @Edmett to swerve off the 405 as I screamed and showed her this still on my iPhone:

I cant even.... *sputtering*....legs. Garrett. Sam #INeedThisMovieNOW

The  third picture–you know what I’m talking about–features our Reigning Other Queen in a suspended moment of exquisite magnificence. I literally moaned and chanted OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODDESS over and over when I pulled it up on my phone’s decidedly too-small screen.  I had just basically handed our lives over to @Edmett in showing her this picture while crawling through L.A.’s Rush-Hour Traffic. How we didn’t slam into another car in that moment I’ll never know, but MAD PROPS to my friend’s stellar navigation skills. Because…LOOK. AT. THIS!!!

...And if we would have died that day, I would have been ok with that

“… because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn…”  ~Sal from On the Road

Not only is this picture sensual and visceral, and captures our Rebel Royal Kristen in a moment  of oneness with her Inner Beatnik Beauty, but to me this scene depicts exactly what I envisioned the jazz club scenes to look like as I read On The Road so many years ago. Kristen appears glorious as the sweaty, heady, possessed and unfurling MaryLou(Stew). This moment just drips with spontaneous creative expression and liberation. She is completely enslaved by the music she hears, having no choice but to undulate. I will admit to you that I moaned when I caught a glimpse of this gorgeous film still. The Beats, in their celebration of creativity, sexuality, music, prose, and non-conformity were some serious trailblazing Others were they not? I cannot even begin to describe my elation at knowing Kristen is in this movie, along with Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund. It cannot be here fast enough, in my opinion.

Oh, and speaking of magical moments,  let me say how soulful and brilliant I find Mr Bobby Long (singer, songwriter, harmonica-and-guitar-playing, Britpack-rolling-shy guy) to be. He felt all the notes in every cell of his body. With grimaces, gyrations, body-sways, he appeared consumed entirely and I was enraptured. I hadn’t seen him live before, just via YouTube, and I was utterly captivated  by his gritty, passionate voice and his talented guitar-playing.

It also struck me that I hadn’t been to this particular  L.A. Venue for at least three years. The last time I’d been at The Troubadour, I had arrived extremely intoxicated via limousine for a birthday party and a live show. I technically wasn’t single, as N and I were trying like Hell to keep our über long-distance relationship afloat, but it was a darker time in our courtship.

I swear Bobby was on par with me this week as he performed his breathtaking song “Who Have You Been Loving”. The night was already enchanted as I got to spend a teeny bit of time with dear friends (big waves to my KSIBTU Crew Girls Iris & Kim) and  enjoy the company of my sister Mari/Pai, @RobKris13 (whose pictures of Bobby I’m featuring) and @edmett while participating in one of my favorite activities: watching brilliant singer-songwriters perform live.

Love as a Transformative Path

So let me go back to the beginning and  tell you that I knew I was going to write about love and relationships this week, and not because we’re approaching that obnoxious-pink-hearts-and-teddy-bears-day, February fourteenth. I wanted to address Kristen’s admirable poise as she sidesteps the intense scrutiny and curiosity into her  own love life, and I wanted explore the question that arises in relationships in general: Is this relationship worth the struggle?

So while in SoCal, I had hoped to write, severely lacking in notebooks and writing utensils, even as I was bursting on the subject of Amore (Italian)! I stayed in my childhood bedroom while down in L.A., which is peppered with baskets and drawers of little treasures I couldn’t part with. In one basket I found an old journal, started two years ago. There was only one entry in it. It began with the line:

“I am on United Flight 53 to Maui”

To my joy, I discovered that this is my traditional airplane journal entry commencing the start of a new travel adventure. This time, N and I were embarking on our honeymoon. Perfect. Just another confirmation to write about the faith and consistency of love, despite setbacks, challenges, immigration and wild speculation from external naysayers–obstacles that Kristen and her partner Robert have to address nearly every day.

Let me inject briefly with a clarifying statement.  I do not believe in “Valentine’s Day”. I believe in love, I believe in declaring it as often as possible to my beloveds and I believe  in sacred contracts with numerous soul mates (see last week’s Musings). But I do not need a specific day, decked out in cut-out hearts and boxes of chocolate to dictate how I express my fondness for those in my life. So again, I’m not writing about Liebe (German) in reaction to the event that occurs next Monday. Instead, I am writing about  Szeretet (Hungarian) because I believe loving someone is always worth any struggle… And because N and I are going through the next phase in the permanent residency/Green Card process. And because I had a mind-blowing lunch with a childhood girlfriend while I was in town. (Meg is a newlywed, and is discovering who she is as a married woman). . .and because our Reigning Other Queen Kristen and her chosen consort Mr Pattinson are trying to navigate the pitfalls of being in a relationship under the telescopic spotlight amongst cynics, set stalkers, “nerdy bloggers” and the spectacle that is our society’s expectations.

Swear that youre in it to win it

Our Majestic Misfit Kristen is only 20 years old. I know it’s easy to forget this when we witness her stunning transformation into MaryLou(Stew), or when we realize she’s portrayed more sage, battered old souls then most of us have had jobs (most of us. I’m into my twenty-something job since I’ve been seventeen). But it’s true Kristen is just out of her teen years, chronologically. I ask us all to remember what it was like to be in our early twenties, attempting to negotiate a career, decipher what we want to do with our lives, falling in and out of infatuation with the gorgeous kid at our work or in our classes.

John Welwood–author, psychotherapist, and founder of the field that is my doctoral studies currently: East/West Psychology–notices that  most beliefs about love, commitment and marriage have been altered drastically today. Welwood writes in his article Intimate Relationship as Transformative Path, that the definition and function of loving relationships and marriage in particular, were prescribed by family, society and religion, and upheld (supported? Whaaa?) steadfastly by the community. Today, however, perhaps due to cues from television, movies, and new media, the loving relationship has become the wild frontier and almost the exception.

Ummmmmm. So what happens when your “community” is Hollywood, land of the 5-times-divorced-but-let’s-have-a-reality-TV-show-about-our-crumbling-relationship-mentality?  What happens when you’re trying to grapple with social networking sites, Tweets, twits, gossip blogs, camera phones and your own “fans” fighting, plotting and sorta-kinda hoping/wagering that your relationship fails?

It may be frustrating to some, but Kristen and Rob’s policy of keeping their personal lives to themselves is a policy that is effective. The curiosity may be at an all-time high right now, but the rabidity will fade eventually, and the bond that exists between our Royal Rebels is probably only strengthening as they face the challenges purported by being outrageously famous, together as a partnership. John Welwood’s thoughts on long-lasting couples echo this:

“What can sustain a couple through the most difficult times is knowing that they are together for a larger purpose–helping each other refine who they authentically are as people.”

All I’ve Ever Learned From Love

“But all I’ve ever learned from love, was how to shoot at someone who out-drew you.”

~ Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah

I cannot imagine the horror Kristen and Robert must feel when they recognize they cannot even hold hands in public for fear of retribution, of the Vultures swooping in and pecking away at their still-warm forms. I  have great admiration for  how they both have waded through the speculation and obscene invasion of privacy. Could you say you’d handle it with the same finesse? At age 20 and 24, what were (or are–Musings has Readers of all ages, ranging from 15 to 65+) you doing, and how did (do) you view love and intimacy? What cultural, familial or religious factors govern your views on love, commitment, marriage…?

When I was 20, I was a junior in college, just having declared my major for the sixtieth time (Sociology. English. Journalism. Psychology. Music. ) Speech Communication was the winner…for about 1 semester until I stumbled upon Counseling Psychology. I was in the final months of my relationship with my first  boyfriend as an “adult”. I was already experiencing the heartbreak of first love, first loss, the first discussions of marriage, and why or how it wasn’t in the cards for me just yet (if ever). I can’t imagine trying to process these overwhelming emotions while in the public eye, with my face splashed across every rag mag counting down the minutes to my demise.

As Mr. Welwood asserts, times have changed in how society views love and relationships. No one culture or religion views Mahal (Filipino/Tagalog) and marriage in the exact same way. In India and some African villages your soon-to-be spouse is chosen for you and you don’t meet your new honey until a family-chaperoned meal is arranged. In 1950’s America, the ultimate act of love a woman could display is finding a husband for whom she can immediately birth children and tend his home.

I never believed I would get married. I was raised by a spectacularly efficient single-mother and I had no example of marriage to draw experience from. I grew up surrounded by peers who all were married and having kids by the time they were 24, which is great since these girls and guys have always, always envisioned their lives playing out exactly so. I looked upon my future in love as nebulous. Mostly because I couldn’t imagine settling in one place long enough to anyone’s liking–I have expansive dreams of traveling and an impulsive nature to boot–hence the  reason I carry a passport in my purse nearly all the time.

But this is not always acceptable, even today. I have friends who recount to me how patronizing and judgmental people are  because they are single. One of my Possum (aka Aussie) Besties, @Justice_Aussie (Jai) came home one afternoon after a doctor’s visit. The nurse receptionist called Jai …wait for it..“Socially Infertile”. Meaning, she is single, and not able to hang onto a partner, and most likely decreasing any chances that Jai could have children, whether naturally or with some help. My friend Jai, granted, I’m biased, but I still speak truth, is a beautiful, intelligent, snarky, accomplished lawyer in her twenties. For some stranger to offer up her opinion (a narrow, cruel and uninformed one at that) unsolicited, is an abomination. And it rocked Jai’s confidence. My beautiful, strong Possum felt a moment of uncertainty.

Oh, fuck no.

Now. Can you imagine the onslaught of unsolicited opinions that our divine, royal Queen Kristen must receive on a daily basis?

Creating A New Definition

I met my now-husband N when I was single and traveling on a personal quest. I spent 3 weeks wandering through China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, with my mother. Then I spent one week solo traveling through a few places within my Motherland, The Philippines. I was 27 years old (waaaay too old for some people’s liking and waaaaay too single) seeking some understanding of a culture that is mine but little experienced since I was not raised within it. N was working as a dining room steward on the cruise ship my mother and I toured with. We met in Osaka, Japan. It was not Love, or Cinta (Indonesian) at first sight, but it definitely was a bond of respect upon first meeting. After I left Asia, N and I kept in touch with the assistance of modern technology: Skype, Chat, long-distance calling cards. Long, wonderful, movie-worthy story short, despite ungainly obstacles (cultural differences, religious differences, nearly insurmountable long-distances–like all the time; our family’s skepticism, and our respective communities’ concerns), N and I are now in the home stretch of his garnering permanent residency and his green card. We just have to pass this second interview proving that we indeed are a genuine, married couple and have been for the past two years. We’ve worked hard these two years, fought for this, defended this. And we two wanderers just created a love story of unconventional means. But it works. And I have a single journal entry detailing our honeymoon flight to Maui.  SCORE.

So again, I bring attention to our stunning Rebel Queen Kristen and bow humbly at her feet for the incredible strength and grace she endures to have her personal life include one Mr Pattinson. How do we know she’s in this relationship for the long haul? Well we don’t know as an absolute, nor should we, but from what I’ve observed, our Queen has withstood great distances, public criticisms and concerns, meddling film studios and co-workers, stalkerazzi, obsessed and delusional “fans”, all while in the spotlight. They’re defying predictions and excruciating scrutiny, and they’re making it work. And it’s so pretty.

Reminiscent of the fair Snow White and her prince, no...?

Kristen, Rob, and our Featured Rebel have explored ways of creating a new definition of old values. While the idea and concept of Amour (French) is as old as time, the way we practice it, protect it, and live it is all our own accord. Others refuse to be labeled or pigeonholed in one identity, despite external pressures to choose just one definition. Others continue to refuse compliance  to industry and societal expectations in their work and in their expression of values.

Featured Royal Rebel: Viggo Mortensen

This beautiful, multi-talented man not only worked with Kristen in On the Road this summer, but his name is attached to the new film project Snow White and the Huntsman, which would feature Reigning Queen Kristen in the titular role of Snow (if she accepts the offer) and Mr Mortensen as The Huntsman. Viggo alone would be enough for me to want Kristen to do this film. Everything that he produces is just better. He caught my attention first when he was the sexy, hippie vagabond in A Walk On The Moon with Diane Lane, but Viggo Mortensen has been on the scene for much longer than that. He is a Danish-American actor, writer, painter and musician boasting an incredible list of accomplishments and an array of exotic locales in which he lived. Perhaps he is best known for his work as Aragorn in epic and one of my personal favorites: The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (yes I apparently was a geeky fan girl for much longer than you knew), but it was his most recent work in a series of esteemed director David Cronenberg’s films A History of Violence and Eastern Promises (for which he earned an Academy Award nod) that elevated Viggo’s status to glorious heights.

Mr Mortensen always provided glimpses into his Otherness, even from his childhood. His mother is American with family from Nova Scotia Canada, and his father is Danish. Perhaps Viggo was destined to be a wanderer and seeker of more since his parents met while traveling through Norway. The first eleven years of his life, the artist lived first in Denmark, then Argentina, where his father managed chicken farms and Viggo learned Spanish, the language he speaks fluently today and is the language in which he reports feeling most comfortable communicating. His parent’s divorce prompted Viggo and his brothers and mother to return to the States, and he spent the remainder of his childhood in New York. To address his restless spirit in which he reported needing “to define purpose of life” (very appropriate he is in On the Road, no?), Viggo chose to travel and live in Europe, including Spain, England and Denmark after he graduated from university in New York. He held miscellaneous jobs such as truck driver and flower seller until he returned to The States after two years, to pursue acting as a career.

His first film role was as an Amish farmer in Witness alongside Harrison Ford, and since this film Viggo Mortensen has produced a steady string of well-received movies over three decades.  His  film work includes The Portrait of a Lady, Crimson Tide, A Perfect Murder, Hidalgo and Sean Penn’s The Indian Runner among so many others. He has cultivated a career that is highly diverse as well as intriguing and it would take maybe three more pages for me to list his incredible hobbies and rewards. In addition to acting, Viggo is a poet, a jazz musician and a painter. He refuses to comply with Hollywood’s expectations with statements like, “I wouldn’t do any more movies, quite frankly.” He also declined his agents’ suggestions to change his name to Vic Mort. He has been knighted in Norway, he is a published poet and writer, a musician who has released at least three CDs, an accomplished equestrian, mural painter and linguist (he speaks French, Spanish, English, Italian and Swedish fluently). He’s a translator, a hockey buff (big supporter of the Montreal Canadiens), and a skilled swordsman (residual from The Lord of The Rings). And he is a co-parent to a now 22-year-old son, with his ex-wife Punk singer Exene Cervenka (of the band X). Throw on top of that the honors he’s received in being named Sexiest, Hottest or among the Most Beautiful nearly every year for the past decade. He indeed created his own idea of what it means to be an artist. Neither fame nor money are of importance to Mr Mortensen, only the opportunity to express some facet of himself creatively. One of my favorite quotes I’ve read from him is in his musings on being an actor:

“It comes down to the fact that you supply the blue, and other people supply the other colors…and mix them with your blue. Maybe there is some blue that wasn’t there before. Maybe there wasn’t supposed to be any there in the first place. So have fun, and make a good blue.”

Offenses of Otherness:

*Hadn’t pursued the now-legendary role of Aragorn for LoTR until his 14-year old son convinced him to reconsider

*Does not approach filmmakers for new roles, prefers to “wait to see what comes” to him

“Life is short. I like to pay attention while I’m going through it. I will create and filter my own idea of what that means”

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

So in this fairly long Musings on redefining an idea or identity despite age-old expectations, we sidestepped the antiquated Valentine’s Day-like title of Love and discussed different definitions of that ubiquitous emotion, verb, title. We applauded our Majestic Misfit Kristen because she reminds us that falling in Love, and expressing Love “Ninakupenda” (‘I Love You’ in Swahili)  can look very different from what we expect. We all are informed and influenced by our childhood/cultural/religious communities  in constructing meaning for a concept or title, whether it be:

LOVE or CREATIVITY or GUIDANCE or ACTOR or ARTISTIC or HUMANITY  

Kristen also reminds us that only one facet of her being is in-tuned with portraying Bella Swan…Kristen has the means and the courage to embrace her inner MaryLouStew as well. This is doubly and triply confirmed by some of Kristen’s OTR costars: Amy Adams, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund. Maybe (hopefully) Ms Stewart will embrace the true role of a Rebel Queen by the name of Snow White, as well as embody the role of a transgendered prison inmate (K-11) this year. Maybe she’ll take the time she wants to write and direct. Maybe she’ll arrive at the BAFTAs this Sunday with Robert on her arm as she passes the torch of Rising Star to this year’s deserving recipient (Maybe to fellow Others Emma Stone…Or Andrew?). Whatever role or creative plan she chooses to share with us, I do not doubt it will be all Kristen. As she defines it. And that is seriously beautiful.

Role Call: Other Queen? HERE. . . P.S. Thank Buff & N again for this photo/edit collab. Its my very favorite.

Offenses of Otherness:

*Remains grounded about the enormous success of her career

*Strives to channel celebrity into philanthropy

“You should have the opportunity to be more than one person with different people – because you have that within you.”

Go on. Go and challenge what you’ve been taught about expressing yourself, expressing your emotions, expressing your gifts. Take your “blue” and make it the best blue you can. Question and defy the critics who label you “socially infertile”, give the double-bird salute to anyone who tells you that Valentine’s Day must somehow involve paper heart cutouts and flower delivery companies. Remind yourself what it’s like to fall in love, fall out of love; to seek identity and direction and to create a new model, a new culture, a new language. Redefine and REPRESENT Otherness.

Viggo is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others create a new definition for expression.

Embrace your Other.

***

Question: What factors influence your beliefs about Love, Creativity, Expression, Individuality? Do you ever challenge these factors?

***

A/N: Again, I thank you for your patience with me as I try to make peace with a new posting schedule. It may be bi-weekly now for a while as I tackle 3D happenings such as Immigration interviews, MOO Missions and a fledgling Private Practice. The response and support for the last essay was unprecedented and I am stunned.

You read the glorious and genius KStew Is Better Than You, yes? Well it’s KSIBTU’s BIRTHDAY today, February 10! One year ago, CC blessed us with her gift of humor and intellectual sexy and altered everything. I count her among the inspirations and co-creators of Musings. I’m kinda indebted to CC for life because she first found the courage to publish her brilliant and effective defense of Queen Kristen.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KSIBTU!!! To many, many more years of laughter and Cat Quotas.


This Essay is For: Possum Bestie Jai, to my friend and beloved sister, CC of @KStewsBtrThanU, to Ree (my warrior), Megs (I could spend hours with you), Cheermom (You’ve been blessed by Angels) and N (I’ll gladly challenge immigration with you any day, Babylove).

Big thanks to @RobKris13 and @edmett  for an incredible day-long adventure in L.A.

To Bouffant: You’re my brand of Cray-Cray. Love you.

To Mari/Pai: We’ll need to make it a tradition, our girls nights out. Love spending time with you, mi hermana.

To my Cyber Sisters/Readers: Muchas muchas gracias, Te Amo.

Check out the New Resources for Beauty Page….I’ll be adding new material often, and hopefully including links and videos.

See you soon. Yours, KJ


Acceptance of The Good

21 Oct

What an incredible week(end) its been for our Other Queen (and a feast of the senses for her admirers)! We went from having a few obscure glimpses of her dates out with Rob in Los Angeles a week ago (though they both looked incredibly relaxed and happy) to All Kristen…ALL.THE.TIME. I don’t need to break down her schedule for you guys, you were already along the ride with me, and we probably  exchanged a few tweet-moments of “unf” and “ohmahgawd” and THUDs. But because Kristen killed her press interviews for Welcome to the Rileys and completely dominated the night at the Scream Awards, I’m posting the pretty and fist-pumping in solidarity for our Reining Queen’s clear declaration of superiority. Girlfriend OWNED. EVERYTHING.

So, in a flurry of speculation and second-guessing and in defying space-time-continuum, Kristen, Rob and Taylor all were photographed on the set of Breaking Dawn in Baton Rouge on October 15, as the actors were there to begin pre-production on the films. I am placing a couple of pics up for a few reasons: a) Kristen and Rob were aware the pictures were being taken b.) It’s the return of Rob’s LB hat (I have such hometown pride) c.) It’s the return of Rob’s body guard DEAN, and Kristen’s PA and all-around goodness JOHN; hence, a DeJohn Reunion and, d.) Well, a puppy dog is present. And I love big puppy dogs, as does Kristen.

Ok, so we didn’t actually see those BD set shots until a day or two after they happened, but instead, we were shaking our heads in amazement at the thought that Kristen would really fly back and forth from the east coast to the west coast and back again in the matter of 20 hours. See, she was expected to attend (and film) the Spike Scream Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday night, and literally jet back to the east coast for her press junket and press premieres for Welcome to the Rileys by Monday. Well, our girl pulled it off . She BROUGHT. IT. HARD. She was present to accept her award for Best Actress in  Eclipse. When the first images trickled in of Kristen at the Scream Awards….All I could hear was Gary Wright singing Dream Weaver. Legit. Check my Twitter timeline. Friends began sending me YouTube clips of the song, and the bits from Wayne’s World  (Thanks @RKDaily and @DrownInIt!) It was all slow-mo. Bella-Swan-Hair-Blowing-in-the-wind. White confetti (snowflakes, right? not human scalp?) flitting down from the ceiling. Sparkles. And she looked…goooooood. Brilliant. Spectacular.

Ooooh Dream Weaver...I believe you can get me thru the nigh-hiiight

In her white and black trimmed Guishem mini and Giuseppe Zanotti pumps, I personally thought Kristen has never looked more magnificent.  . . .Coming…or going….

oh holy hell.

I think she looked incredible because she exuded HAPPINESS. JOY. COMFORT. GROUNDING. CONFIDENCE. Over the past few weeks, I feel that we’ve had the great honor of witnessing our Queen grow more assured not only in her physical beauty, but also in the public expression that she and Rob are partners, and in the clever choices she’s made for her career. Currently Kristen is garnering phenomenal critical accolades, thanks to her role as Mallory in Welcome To The Rileys. I’ll speak more on the incredible responses to WTTR in just a few.

She brought her A-Game to the press junket. The young girl–who used to fidget, habitually comb hands through her hair, haltingly produce answers since her cerebral side presided over her spontaneous side–was all but non-existent. In the interview chair sat a woman who was poised, open, friendly, and eloquent as she spoke of the  multitude of bruises on her body from two weeks’ worth of pole dancing practice and how it was to work with Tony Soprano (the rather “teddy-bear-like” James Gandolfini).

What led to this shift for Kristen? What factors lead to any of us to exude and express certainty? Referring to the brilliant and accessible The Curse of the Good Girl by Rachel Simmons (You may recall I favor her work immensely, as she wrote Odd Girl Out, about female aggression and bullying, and we discussed  the topic in The Musings titled: Aphrodite and Kristen Go Against Code ), genuine confidence can be instilled when we ourselves  follow, then teach our children, friends and our Crew a few concepts:

 

  • Identify Strengths Knowing your challenges is one thing. I think we all can identify things we’re less-than pleased about with ourselves. We accept too readily that we are flawed. We very easily are swayed by external critics, media messages–remember, Kristen refers to these people as the Bullshit People. No wonder she flashes them the double-bird salute. Why can’t we easily accept that we’re good at something? To believe we excel? That we have talent? That we are worthy? Make your list, my lovelies. Do some soul-searching and have some talks with your parents and  your best friends; re-read resumes and old report cards. Knowing your strengths–whether it be incredible balance, the ability to sing opera, do math in your head quickly, roll your tongue– leads to a feeling of uniqueness, pride and resilience. And KStew Fierceness apparently.

In the About KJ Page of this site, I include a Sentence Completion activity (it’s the group therapist in me, I’ve gotta have par-ti-ci-pation! (clapping hands in time)!! Every 10 to 14 days or so, I change out the questions. This edition includes a question about talents, and I’ve included my answer below…

Talents As An 8-Year Old: Jump roping, playing piano, playing handball, roller skating (on quads, yo. Not blades)

Anyway, the point is: if you don’t know what you’re good at, chances are you were once really invested in and gifted in some arena. Are you still doing those things, practicing those habits that allowed you to excel when you were eight years old? I still play piano, I still can rock the quad roller skates, though sadly, I have not played handball since I was maybe ten. But at least I know that I possessed some ability and interest at one point in my life.

  • Articulate Those Strengths Identifying strengths is an uncomfortable matter for many, but think of it like this: The sooner you identify  your talents and skills, the sooner you can secure the job, the college placement, the friends, the partners , the _____________(fill in the blank), that you desire in your life.

I’ve been responsible for hiring new employees in my field, and I’ve been on countless interviews as a counseling intern and as a waitress, a manager, a therapist, and for apartment rentals. COUNTLESS. I learned very quickly that the minute I show my uncertainty and disbelief in answering the question:

“What can you bring to this company? What are your assets? Your strengths, KJ?”

UMMMMM. Well, I have most likely removed myself from candidacy for the position, because I doubted myself and caused the interviewer to doubt me as well.  The ability to acknowledge and then verbalize your strengths is VITAL.

One day, we’ll perhaps breach the subject of all the jobs I’ve held, and places I’ve lived. It’s good stuff.

  • Accept Compliments Ok. I could write several theses on this subject. I’m going to try to do my best to simplify and summarize. *deep breath*. Say. THANK. YOU. Ahh, see? At the very least, when you feel your immediate verbal  smackdown bubbling from your throat—SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE. The feeling you have to deny  a compliment from others is simply your inner dialogue, your inner Bullshit Person whispering at you that you’re not worthy of nice testaments. Please STOP the negative self-talk. For one thing, people will not say nice things to you if you constantly argue with them. Another, the more you negatively talk to yourself, the more likely you will believe it…and other people will believe it too. Self-fulfilling prophecies are very real. We create our reality, my friends.

Me thinks that Ms. Kristen has had a little practice in a few of those suggestions. Do you see her telling Sean Penn to FUCK OFF because he’s incorrect in his assessment of her acting skills?? Uh. I think not.

When her colleagues and friends pay a compliment to Kristen, even if she doesn’t agree, she shuts her mouth. She doesn’t open the can of whoop-ass. Besides, her detractors and critics would pounce on her for being “ungrateful” if she did counter a compliment, and girlfriend does not have time to play those she-said/they-said games anymore.  So as a result of choosing to use her energy wisely, focusing on HER ASSETS, Stewie can transition from this (at the WTTR Press Premiere):

….to THIS…seamlessly, beautifully, the next morning (leaving Regis & Kelly early the next morning):

And she can confidently declare prideful, genuine, powerful statements like this:

“Unless you respect and like yourself, nobody else is going to”

Yes. That’s right. That’s what Kristen Jaymes Stewart told an interviewer this weekend during the WTTR press junket. She said she learned this lesson while playing the role of Mallory, a broken, but resilient girl. Perhaps  the character of Mallory has helped Kristen navigate away from internalizing the cruel,  alarming threats and criticisms from “fake fans” and Nonsensicals rampant these days. And perhaps Kristen is truly taking these moments of unrelenting scrutiny to OWN. WHAT. IS. HERS.  See how beautiful accepting the good can be?

Let’s chat about another Majestic Misfit who OWNS it, shall we?

FEATURED REBEL ROYAL: JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

I have been a fan of our FRR for at least a decade, maybe closer to two of ’em. For sure since he was a little guy, which means, since I was a little gal, since I’m only two years older than he is. I’ve wanted to highlight his Royal Rebelliousness for some time now, to applaud his transition from child actor to awkward (yesss) adolescent to the thoughtful, insanely talented revered indie actor that he is now. Much like our beloved Ambassador of Other, Kristen, JGL has been in front of cameras, since his age was a single digit (for the record, he was 6 when he debuted in Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It). I feel like I had already known him for years by the time he appeared in  TV’s 3rd Rock From The Sun…ok, confession. I knew about him from his days in Disney’s Angels in the Outfield…anybody else? Any takers? Bueller? He shared leading role status in the beloved 10 Things I Hate About You alongside late, great Heath Ledger (to whom Joseph has some resemblance, no?), and he dazzled, danced, and endeared himself to us in one of my very favorites: 500 Days of Summer (what part of MUSICAL NUMBER don’t you just freaking LOVE??) Oh. And you may have caught him in  G.I.Joe as the nefarious Cobra Commander, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if you bolted straight up in your seat when you got an eyeful of Joe opposite Leo DiCaprio in this year’s Inception.


Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Joe, as he prefers to be called, had early exposure to the pursuit of creativity and expression. His mother ran for U.S. Congress  for California as apart of the Peace And Freedom Party, and his father was a program guide editor for Pacifica Radio (KPFK–ahhhh I feel calmer just having typed out the name of that lovely station–I’m such a fan). Joe’s maternal grandfather is Michael Gordon, Hollywood director (think Doris and Rock in Pillow Talk).

After successfully navigating his adolescent years by attending public high school, avoiding fame, and appearing in a long-running and popular TV show 3rd Rock From The Sun, JGL decided to take a hiatus from acting and attend Columbia to study French, literature, and history. He has been quoted as knowing how fortunate he was to have had success and a job as child, which allotted freedom to pursue interests and education as an adult. He left Columbia after a few years of study to return to acting, and hellllooo provocative and proclamation! He participated in a series of projects such as Mysterious Skin (in which he played a gay prostitute) and Brick (as an adolescent running an underground drug ring) that had critics bestowing accolades and praise, calling him the “rising star” in acclaimed  and quality Indie films (Boston Herald), and “one of the hottest actors in the indie firmament” (New York Times).

Well, ok, I fell in love with the guy truly, when I saw his social media project/ stand against paparazzi: Pictures of Assholes <—Click for YouTube Link… Joe turned the camera on a couple of paparazzi and challenged them to seek awareness of how invasive and destructive paparazzi attention can be to one’s soul. Seriously. Swoon. Just goes to show that folks can be powerful and influential simply with words…and a willingness to talk.

A mirror can be a powerful intervention.

I wasn’t going to write about Joe today, because I just discovered that he is grieving the loss of his older brother David, a photographer, performance artist and definitive Other, who passed away earlier this month. Joseph collaborated with his brother often in projects, and Joseph cites David as an integral partnership and inspiration in the creation of HitRECord.org, his online collaborative production company . Following David’s death, Joe publicly asked artists, musicians, filmmakers and the world to celebrate his brother’s spirit with him. And well, you don’t have to ask me twice to honor a creative spirit.

Guitar player, singer, writer, collaborator, producer, dancer, intellectual, and a pursuer of Creative Expression and Challenge, Joseph Gordon-Levitt embodies the qualities for  Ambassador of Other, so beautifully, that, as with Kristen, I am struck speechless and greatly inspired. P.S. my crush on him increased exponentially after watching this: CLICK—>:::BAD ROMANCE:::

OFFENSES OF OTHERNESS:

*Is not interested in success, nor power or money. Seeks good scripts and personal connection.

*Dislikes the concept of celebrity, and believes the “true” people deserving of accolades are astronauts and teachers.

*Quote: “The most valiant thing you can do as an artist is to inspire someone else to be creative”

REIGNING OTHER QUEEN: KRISTEN STEWART

Though she is our elected Other Queen, Kristen may not have always believed that she had royal characteristics. Some extremely impressive Hollywood personalities have much to say about Kristen’s strengths and majesty, just in case she isn’t sure. Over the course of a singular day obscenely gifted colleagues such as James Gandolfini, James Woods, Jake Scott and Melissa Leo praised Kristen’s formidable talents and even gave statements comparing Kristen’s unique and high skills to those of acting legends Meryl Streep…Marlon Brando…Robert DeNiro.

Director Jake Scott compared Kristen's burgeoning skills to those similar in Meryl Streep

Reviews about Kristen’ ability to act include clips and phrases such as:  “raw vulnerability” ,”fierceness” “heartbreaking emotion”, “incredible uniqueness”, and “the potential to be one of the greats, if not THE greatest of her generation”. Two years ago, if you would have Googled Kristen’s name, you’d see her impressive resume, and the stunning list of legendary co-stars she’s worked with, and you might read that she’s disciplined, focused and even “brilliant”. Two years ago you may have also read that KStew was notoriously shy, awkward and uncertain in interviews and at press junkets. That she would bumble through interviews and project an aloof stance that unsettled journalists. Today, Kristen is sought after by high-calibre, legendary  film-makers as well as couture fashion designers; her name is being thrown around in major awards buzz, and she is landing on nearly every Best Dressed list published. She has a growing bevy of former-co-stars’ admiration and devotion, including James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo; Jodie Foster and Sean Penn, and the list goes on….

Thank you, @tiybor!

OFFENSES OF OTHERNESS:

*Is not interested in fame, nor power, or money. Seeks only the connection of humanity within the character.

*Is able to define and accept her strengths and challenges, on her own, and modestly.

* Quote: “Unless you respect and like yourself, nobody else is going to”

Because he approached paparazzi on the street and held up his own video camera (mirror) to patiently dialogue with them about intrusion of privacy and the price of celebrity, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is not only my hero, he is also a Rebellious Royal.

Because she is able to define, accept and constructively use the feedback about her strengths and challenges, all while in outrageously sexy dresses and heels, Kristen Stewart is our Reigning Other Queen.

JOE IS OTHER.

KRISTEN IS OTHER.

OTHERS ARE ABLE TO IDENTIFY AND EXPRESS THEIR OWN STRENGTHS

EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.

QUESTION: What were your talents as an 8-year-old? Do you use these assets today? If so: How? If not: Why do you think that is?

LONG A/N: **Big thank you to Emma from  @TeamKristenSite for the rec a long time ago for The Curse of the Good Girl. We had quite the book exchange didn’t we?

** Ever since I’ve moved over to WP, I have been writing Musings and publishing without pre-reading nor beta-ing. You’ve all been very kind in overlooking my silly typos and grammatical faux pas. I’m trying to break out of the habit of writing Musings the moments before publishing, and it’s been unsuccessful. The procrastination, unfortunately, is enabling me. Nonetheless, please give a warm shoutout to Buff_82 who designed the Pretty and the Banner for Musings, and ensures that the playlist I create each week is up and running on the site. So thank Buff for The Pretty and The Music.

**I may not publish next week, or if I do, it may not be Thursday. I am heading out of town for a psychology conference, and am planning Birthday Festivities with my beloveds. Basically that means, because of the nature of those plans, I don’t know if I will be here nor there. In this country? Probably. But I cannot guarantee. *giggles*

**WINNERS of The Kathryn LeGrice Originals Giveaway, I hope to get your prints in the mail by this weekend. I’m so pleased that they’re traveling literally around the world…Spreading the Other Love!!

**As usual, I do not mean to diminish the great importance and awe I feel in repeating/emphasizing this: Your letters, tweets and comments completely blow my mind and make my life. Thank you so much. I have responded to all of last week’s comments, and am working through the emails too. But I assure you, I have received your words and I HEAR YOU. I DIG YOU. KEEP ON, YOU GUYS. You’re making an incredible difference out there by pursuing your bliss, embracing your Otherness, opening up to synchronicity, supporting Kristen and Rob!! You are perhaps sparking a Movement-A REBELLION….KEEP GOING!!!

**My Cyber Sisters/Readers: You rock me. I am honored to be in the company of such brilliant, funny, talented women. We’re about to hit an anniversary here soon…CHEERS!

All my love, and see you soon. xo, KJ

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