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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

All That She Is

19 May
A/N: Images seen here are not owned nor created by (c)MusingsOnOther. Today’s essay is unbeta’d per usual. Forgive me any mistakes or imperfections you may find. But that is how I roll. This post is a long one. Make yourselves comfortable.

“You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you”

~Stevie Nicks, Silver Springs

I hope this new MOO finds everyone well. Did all you incredible Mothers, Parents, Aunties, Mentors, Providers, Caretakers and Grandmamas have a lovely Mother’s Day? My hope is that you did. I was able to pull off an impromptu visit down south with my own Mother, spending treasured time with my immediate family in the same city, which is a first for us, in a very long time.

In Royal Rebel news, it has been a pretty quiet, sighting-less week of our Stealthy pair, our NinjaQueen and her Royal consort. And it makes me happy. Between his punishing world promo-tour for Water For Elephants, the six months of international gallivanting for Breaking Dawn filming, plus recent birthdays for both of them, any quiet, unduh-covah time they can grab right now is probably sweet, sweet salvation. And it probably isn’t long enough, this break. Rob returns to work, starting the gritty, raw film Cosmopolis at the helm of esteemed (and frankly, in my opinion, really cool) director David Cronenberg (History of Violence, Eastern Promises) on May 23rd in Toronto, Canada (where he and Kristen have been spotted walking the infamous puppy dog Bear on more than one occasion).

I’m ridiculously eager to watch this project unfold, if anything for its stark difference in roles for Rob. Hello, apathetic billionaire-business man seeking connection through increasingly self-destructive ways….How fun does that sound??

Ok, how ’bout now?

My name is Eric Packer. I need a haircut. And financial advice.

We’ll talk more about this film as it progresses, okay?. . .The little “break” time that Kristen may be enjoying now isn’t all that much longer for her either. She is scheduled to begin her work on the small film K-11 soon, as well as preparation work for Snow White and The Huntsman. We received the great news that the titular role of The Huntsman was finally cast (well hello there, Thor) last week, but also the nice surprise that the film will be released six months sooner than originally projected. Filming begins in August, and the premiere is scheduled for June 1, 2012. A summertime kickoff by our Reigning Other Queen! So while our Royal Rebels are under the radar, hopefully grounding and recuperating in privacy, we are not lacking reasons to celebrate their growth and successes and remember why we began admiring and supporting them as artists in the first place.

Oh, for Pete's sake, that's just ridonk pretteh.

 What the Fangirl Learned

“Did she make you cry, make you break down, shatter your illusions of love?” ~Stevie Nicks, Gold Dust Woman

For today’s topic, as the first discussion in this new feature, I had planned on discussing a woman’s incredible capacity to love wholly but also to acknowledge her capacity for destruction (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not) in her passionate wrath. I was going to explore some of the themes I saw in our own community, in our fandom, because I’ve met the most incredible women, brilliant women, as a result of being a Kristen and Robert supporter. Conversely, I’ve observed in public venues no less, the most shocking behaviors emerge from my fellow sisters.  *This was the last section (the Fangirl Learned) I needed to complete today (I write MOO in all kinds randomness…the Muse visits when she is damn well ready, y’know?). But since receiving a phone call that I’m detailing down below, I may re-work how to address this topic…

The (M)Other Within

*ANNOUNCEMENT*  

Remember when I told you lovelies that while I have no money, I do have time and skills to contribute in these dire hours? I literally received the phone call right now as I’m finishing up today’s post. I have been cleared for and accepted onto the Red Cross Disaster Response Team as a therapist. I’m deploying out to the Tornado/Flood Zones back east (Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina-esque areas) next week to administer frontline counseling and emotional support to the tornado and flood victims. Its looking like  it will be Tues or Wednesday when I fly out. I will be gone for at least 10 to 12 days and could potentially remain out in the field for up to three weeks per cycle. *side note*  Even if I leave on Tuesday morning, I’ll still have been able to see SAM BRADLEY perform the night before. PHEW! A girl still has a couple of #priorities.

The American Red Cross

So while I’m away for potentially the next 2 to 3 weeks, I’ve asked my fellow Team Other Captains (CC, Buff and a behind-the-scenes technician Bouffant) if they wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on MOO and perhaps contribute some of their brilliance to continue the support of Otherness in my stead. The wonderful gals that they are, of course, all stepped up immediately and exuberantly. So I’m going to thank you amazing Readers in advance for welcoming them warmly and wonderfully as you have in the past when they’ve contributed. And besides, CC and Buff already have their own mass followings (because they’re geniuses and I kinda hope to be a little smarter just by associating with them). My friend Starlust may contribute a written piece as well. She has been my  good friend since the very beginning and I trust her with heart and soul. You will too when you meet her.

This leads me to discuss what I had hoped to, even before learning that I was going to deploy. Look back to one of the earliest Musings ever. I wrote an essay called Aphrodite and Kristen Go Against Code  <—–click it to check it, yo. I responded to the Entertainment Weekly preview of the roundtable interview that Kristen, Rob and Taylor did in promotion for Eclipse.  Remember this hotness??

The Musings  written in response was almost one year ago, on June 24, 2010. What did I see at the bottom of the brief EW preview back in June 2010? Within moments of going viral, the preview had already garnered nearly one hundred commenters’ reactions to the excerpt and these comments were quite criticalNo, worse. The majority of comments were cruel and hatefulI won’t go into specifics because I don’t have the energy nor do I want to taint this supportive Kristen and Rob site with anything remotely negative. But I will share my observations. The majority of commenters both critical and supportive, presented themselves with female monikers. And the harshest, most cruel of the comments were from women. Women who reported they were mothers, professionals.  Also, I noticed that most comments were disproportionately supportive and defensive of Rob, but were incensed and enraged towards Kristen. She was torn down for anything from her physical appearance to the way she phrased her responses. In those commenter’s eyes, those predominantly female commenter’s views, she could do nothing right. The need to tear others down to feel imposing and powerful and bigger has perhaps been an evolutionary trait, leftover from our earliest days on earth–survival of the fittest…but the way that women attack is especially fascinating and …disturbing. 

Today, in 2011, when I watch my Twittah timeline and scan the PMs filled with updates from around the fandom, I notice that the anger and resentment towards our Reigning Queen has become more specific and therefore illuminating about the folks who spew the Haterade. After witnessing success after success for Kristen as a professional and as a woman, her Critics–the Bullshit People as she dubbed them last year in an interview–grapple with any new angle from which they can attack.

Their options are becoming pretty limited.

Criticizing her relationship with Robert as publicity-driven holds little weight since Kristen’s professional and critical success has only increased in the past year, what with the ovations from film critics and audiences flooding in for her work in stellar performances in The Runaways and Welcome to the Rileys (Example: MIFF Award–to be addressed in a bit).  Plus there’s Robert’s direct statements in interviews that his relationship with Kristen is in no way calculated or “nefarious”. So the anti-Kristeners focus on…her abilities to walk young Bear…??

This gangly, awkward, beautiful creature caused major damage to the Bullshit People's campaign. Powerful little guy.

 And instead of calling Ms Stewart some of the degrading and hateful names they’ve given her over time, many Nonsensicals simply refer to her as “That Girl”, which in the scheme of things isn’t the most horrendous, not compared to what they’ve called her before. Also we have identified some of the boldest of the BullShit People in the past year. Kristen and Robert have names and information about the particularly heinous of the Unhappy Ones. When attackers are no longer faceless, offensive plans can be created. Kristen and Rob’s incredibly good-looking effective security teams have been quite active and occupied this year.

Another shift I’ve noticed over the year, is a growing, greater compassion emerging in this fandom. Perhaps it’s because we have been in the trenches together now for several years. We have created friendships and support networks and camaraderie. We have faces and voices to names…This again, is in that universal movement to remove the masks we wear, and efforts made to consciously embrace our Otherness. We’re finding we have so many more commonalities than differences.

Last year, my Welsh Muse Kathryn wrote me a poignant letter detailing her journey embracing her Otherness and it was in embracing her abilities to be a new M0ther. It was in her exploration of what motherhood meant for her that she realized she was truly embracing her authentic self, quirks and oddities and all, that she already had the propensity to accept herself in all that she is. She was similar to me, in that she hadn’t planned necessarily on having children, opting instead to focus on pursuit of bliss and career and expression. And yet now she’s all of those things: beautiful, kind, compassionate, artistic, and a Mother. (I miss you, K).

When we sit down and examine all the ways someone can be “motherly”, we conjure up feelings and associations with universal, human qualities such as:

LOVINGNESS…DEVOTION….PROTECTIVENESS…CREATIVITY….COMPASSION…SELFLESSNESS…KINDNESS

When I survey the descriptors above,  I don’t feel as defensive of  my near-certain decision to not have children. Believe me, society and peers are pretty critical (i.e. harsh and judgmental) about people who decide to not have children too. One of the most incredible things a couple of my Cyber Sisters Nail and Mari have said to me in the past few months involved the employment of my favorite strategy: REFRAMING. They said,

“You are mothering and providing, even if you’re not technically a child-bearer. You give nurturing and compassion and protectiveness to your clients, to your friends…and to MOO Readers.”

See? We all gotta do a little reframing sometime. And I can see this next step on my path in my work for Red Cross is an extension of that concept. I do carry a wish that as we each evolve and thrive and stumble and then pick ourselves back up again that we are finding, that there is less of a need to deconstruct or tear Others down coasting on fear or ignorance. Because we’ve gotten to know each other a little more. Our (M)Otherness has kicked in, perhaps?

Anyway, in light of the somewhat unexpected events occurring in this moment, I won’t delve further today into the reasons why, psychologically or emotionally, women behaved in appallingly harsh ways over the past year. But I certainly can appreciate some of the improvements and changes that have occurred …and I can pin some hope that the changes have made due to steps closer to embracing Others’ Otherness.

And lets take some time to get to know and then celebrate these incredibly brave Unconventional Beauties, shall we?

 Featured Royal Rebel: Stevie Nicks

Stephanie “Stevie” Lynn Nicks, called everything from eccentric, legendary, a gypsy, a witch, a sorceress, and a poet, since her debut in the music industry forty years ago, is the epitome of Other to me. I have my own fascination and adoration of her, have since the early 1990’s when I accidentally stumbled upon a music video on VH1 called “Gypsy” and then later heard songs from the Fleetwood Mac live reunion tour “The Dance”. I didn’t know it then, but with a few bars of the haunting song “Silver Springs” soaring from my car radio’s speakers, I had encountered music’s Other Royalty.

A little background: Stevie’s grandfather Aaron was an aspiring country singer, and from the moment Stevie could speak, she was singing country ditties and picking out melodies on a guitar which was handcrafted for her by said proud granddad. Stevie credits her grandfather for teaching her to love music and for inciting her passion for songwriting and musical crafting. It was at a northern California high school that she met a singing-songwriting-guitar-playing boy named Lindsey Buckingham. Stevie and Lindsey immediately forged a strong bond which would ultimately prove to be an outrageously productive musical and intimate partnership. Stevie tells The Guardian (UK) that she believed joining the band Fleetwood Mac in 1975 was predestined, but that upon reflection, she ventures that Lindsey Buckingham feels the opposite.

You have NO idea how loud I screamed when I snagged this vinyl off Ebay years ago. Yeah, and they're nekkid.

At the start of the year 1975, Stevie and Lindsey (apart of the rock band Fritz) had already been cultivating a small, devoted following in San Francisco, CA. Their time with Fritz granted them once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to observe and learn from rock legends Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, both for whom Fritz performed opening sets. When Fritz disbanded, Stevie and Lindsey became the duo “Buckingham Nicks” and recorded their one and only debut album by day, and worked as servers, house cleaners and carpenters by night. The album did not meet commercial success, and the duo was dropped from their record label. Meanwhile, British blues band Fleetwood Mac had just parted ways with yet another guitar player and as the now-legendary story entails, Mick Fleetwood, the group’s co-founder and drummer approached Lindsey and invited him into the band. However, in a serendipitous exchange, Lindsey refused to join without Stevie, saying, “We’re a packaged deal”. So the California hippie kids joined the British Blues Crew.

And so it began. Fleetwood Mac 1975

Ok, novels and ever-expanding Wikipedia entries can barely cover the expanse of this Majestic Gypsy’s forty years in the music industry, and I will not attempt to reiterate the glorious peaks and valleys of Ms Nicks’s life here today (but sit down with me in person and I’ll happily chatter on with you about my adoration for her). But I can try to highlight a few reasons why she, for me, is a true Rebel Queen.

Of course we cannot overlook Stevie’s distinctive, raspy-growly voice, her whimsical, journal-entry intimate lyrics, and her propensity for flowing, ethereal dresses. And it’s quite a testament to her artistic influence when she can count among her legions of fans some musical greats such as Billy Corgan, Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow, Courtney Love, Adam Levine, and Taylor Swift to name a few.

In days long preceding concepts like Stalkerazzi, Twitter and Celebrity Rehab, Stevie Nicks navigated the pitfalls and customary practices of a Rock-and-Roll lifestyle in an extremely human, relatable manner. There were the drugs–she had a ten-year cocaine dependency stemming from early days with Fleetwood Mac, and then in the late eighties through early nineties developed a harrowing addiction to prescription medications, namely Klonipin which she weaned from after a painful near-fifty day course of rehab. There were personal tragedies, including the death of childhood best friend Robin Snyder who succumbed to leukemia two days after giving birth to Stevie’s Godson Matthew; and there were the emotional and physical illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, depression, anxiety and weight fluctuation (which was relentlessly criticized by critics and “fans”). And then there was the love. Always the love.

“In ’75, ’76, we were beautiful, fast,  sexy, love was everywhere and we were moving from person to person. That’s it. Love was around every corner”

Of course there was/is her musical and personal soul mate Lindsey Buckingham, with whom she shares an “Edward and Bella-like” love, but there were many other lovers and inspirations famous and not-so-much (including her Fleetwood Mac band mate Mick Fleetwood, Eagles rockers Joe Walsh and Don Henley; music industry legend and current American Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine). Her relationships with these men informed and influenced her songwriting and musical creations engendering some of rock and pop music’s most famous songs…ever. We’re talking songs that have permeated our collective consciousness. For instance: Landslide has been remade or covered by everyone from The Smashing Pumpkins, Tori Amos, and The Dixie Chicks, to, recently, Gwyneth Paltrow on an episode of Glee). Last week alone was a Nicksapalooza with Glee dedicating an entire episode to Fleetwood Mac’s seminal and legendary album Rumours (which detailed the band’s scandalous divorces, break-ups and affairs with each other and as a group).  Also, my new favorite TV show The Voice featured competitors singing Stevie’s song Leather and Lace and in conclusion Maroon 5’s frontman and Voice Coach Adam Levine reverently declared, “Stevie Nicks is The Greatest.”

At 62 years old, the woman is showing no signs of stopping. In fact, she just released her newest solo album, her first in a decade to the highest reviews of her career. She admits to an obsession with The Twilight series and even wrote a couple of songs on this new album inspired by Our Reigning Queen Kristen’s portrayal of a broken Bella Swan in New Moon. Ok, seriously. How do you not LOVE that???

Stevie Nicks has your back, Bella!

Ms Nicks is about to embark on a tour to support the new album titled In Your Dreams, but also a world tour with Fleetwood Mac in 2012. Perhaps my admiration for Stevie Nicks stems from her grace in managing conflict and life while in the public eye. Perhaps it’s because Stevie struggles with body image, insecurities, relationship concerns, and anxiety, channeling angst into catharsis byway of songwriting and musical performance. Maybe it’s because the tambourine-shaking, leg-warmer-wearing, spinning, whirling songstress never compromises her beliefs or ambitions when all of society pressured her to.

Stevie’s new album sounds more like vintage Stevie than ever, recalling early Fleetwood Mac rocker sentiments while also preserving her poetic whimsy. Admirably, she rebuffed traditional gender-specific expectations when she was younger (she was a lady of rock in an arena of men) and later regarding marriage and motherhood in order to pursue “freedom in following [her] art.” I can relate on such a basic, visceral level to this decision, as I’ve shared with you all earlier today. Because Stevie twirls through very personal and genuine tribulations gracefully while wearing 4-inch platform-boots and diaphanous dresses that Couture designers have tried to emulate since 1975, she forever is a stunning Queen of Other.

Offenses of Otherness:

*Emphatically celebrates her feminine divinities: love and beauty

*Invites an intimate and realistic connection to her personal heartbreak and struggle

*Opted out of the gender role expectations of marriage and motherhood

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

While we may not have seen Ms Rebel Queen herself in a while, we have been gifted with a few wonderful events that are pretty spectacular all the same. From the interview that keeps on giving, i.e. Uk Elle, we have some more “outtakes“…And good gracious, I do not envy the photo director who had to make the final cuts on these beauties…

The prestigious Cannes Film Festival is wrapping up this week and while this landmark annual event is designed as a showcase for new and developing films, it is a coveted  forum for filmmakers to exhibit and sell projects based on their artistic quality to distributors from all over the world. This year, a six minute trailer from one small but mighty film was shown to a Cannes audience of potential buyers.

According to attendees, after watching the diminutive six-minute trailer, buyers rose to their feet, passionately clapping. With the warm reception of the highly anticipated Francis Ford Coppola-produced project, On The Road has emerged as prevalent and desired today. Now. This adaptation from the book about restless souls seeking the elusive “It” to soothe post-war disillusionment has been anticipated for something like 30 years. Director Walter Salles and his outrageously gifted cast wrapped filming in the fall last year, and the news of positive reactions to the short film teaser gives us one more reason to hope that we will be seeing Sal, Dean, and Marylou on screen very soon. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this movie. If I did, it would sound something like this: $#!(*$*@#@&!@#!)&%//!!

nope. Not even close to getting old.

Hmmm, what else? Our Reigning Other Queen has had quite the week, as we’ve said. Even though we haven’t laid eyes on her since we saw her in New York, we have had plenty o’ reasons to rejoice. At another International Film Festival, Milan this time, another one of Kristen’s films, or more specifically, Kristen herself was the toast of the town. On May 11, we learned the news that Ms. Kristen Jaymes Stewart received the coveted honor of being named Best Actress at the Milan International Film Festival (MIFF) for her portrayal of the electric, vibrant, almost “feral” but vulnerable teenage stripper, Mallory in the effecting Welcome to the Rileys.

Congratulations, Kristen!! 

ICU dedicated actress with the bruised up legs and arms

One might observe that being called “THAT GIRL” as almost complimentary…? That Girl has been named Elle’s Woman of the Year…That Girl has a Young Hollywood Award, several MTV Movie Awards and a BAFTA. This same lady has the respect and love of legendary colleagues and filmakers. Ms. Stewart may very well be one girl who doesn’t really need introduction. She doesn’t need a label to garner praise and respect and prestigious awards. She does after all, make a living dressing up and portraying everybody else other than Kristen Stewart. But it’s still wonderful to watch as the authentic, grounded, intelligent, witty, kind, dedicated, compassionate, articulate and talented woman named  Kristen Jaymes Stewart continues to follow her genuine path, and embrace her royalty and Otherness.

Offenses of Otherness:

* Celebrates her feminine divinities: compassion and protectiveness.

*Unapologetic about displaying confidence, assertiveness and independence.

*Spurns the idea of downplaying her intelligence or genuine emotional response.

*  *  *

Stevie accepts all that she is. And is Other.

Kristen accepts all that she is. And is Other.

Others accept themselves and all that they are.

Embrace your Other. 

*  *  *

Notes: 

Wellllll. This one was long and it was all over the place, I realize. There were a lot of Royal Rebel events that occurred, on the sly, as well as over the course of the WFE promo tour….And in tying it up here, I struggled to organize and address all the goodies as well as the Otherness stuff.

Thanks for hanging with me, everyone. It’s been a crazy few weeks and now it’s gone outer limits with this new Adventure I’m heading on in a matter of days.

I don’t know exactly where I am going to be stationed on this assignment. I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be there. I don’t know where I’m sleeping. I don’t know if there’s a consistent stream of electricity and I doubt there will be steady internet connection. I don’t have a good set of work boots since I gave my Doc Martens away last year. But I will communicate as often as I can with my girls on Team Other, and maybe through Twitter if I can get a signal. I’m  @MusingsOnOther . . .

I DO know that this has always been my life’s hope–to combine humanitarian work in the fields. Its why I became a therapist in the first place. I am ecstatic and nervous and proud and scared all at once. I totally told @DeeDreamer16, @Kate_Suena, @KStewsbtrthanU and my CyberSisters today that I “want to vom right. NAO.”

Oh. And I also know that I kinda love you all. Madly.

The pristinely talented and lovely author @PrimaryColors1 (Firefly in Summer) is already out there on site in Alabama donating, transporting supplies, giving water to workers and folks in shelters on a daily basis. Consider donating time or money to assist the victims of the Tornados and Floods. Every little bit helps, especially to folks who have lost everything.

Talk to you laters, Lovelies. Until then, be well and be kind to one another. We’re really all Other together.  Yours, xo, KJ 

More:

This Essay’s Playlist

Trampled Rose ~Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

I Shall Believe ~Sheryl Crow

Starlight ~Muse

Gold Dust Woman ~Stevie Nicks

Winter Winds ~ Mumford & Sons

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

As I Do, I Honor

7 Apr

*Placing hand above eyes to soften the bright, stunning glare of the sunshine emanating from New MOO* Well HEEEEEEYYYYY there my gorgeous Misfits!!! How are you? Well, I must say that it sure looks like Springtime  has come to this little pocket of ours in the community. Please give love and props to my brilliant and fiercely creative friend @Buff_82 for the new look of MOO. Perhaps tilt your face towards the computer and bask in the balmy light that streams from the screen…It warms me every time I pull it up to edit or review. Buff had worked on the new banner and theme for Musings, while also revamping KSIBTU (which you’ve undoubtedly seen and wept over due to the gif-Banner Buff created). I had already posted the new essay, so I didn’t warn any of you about the change. I mean, I didn’t know about the new banner until I received a text from Buff the day after I’d already updated the new essay. So it was a surprise to me as well, and it was a much needed blast of sunshine, quite honestly. That particular afternoon had found me worn out and at the beginnings of what would be a very tough week. Overall, much has occurred since we convened last! So let’s catch up, kay? Today’s essay will briefly review some of the revelatory lessons I learned over the past two weeks, and also to make a big, big deal out of the fact that our Reinging Other Queen Kristen is having a birthday this weekend #LetsDoThis

Hey, Pretty Girl, I hear its your birfday?

Lesson 1: The Circus Can Be Spectacular

So currently, we find ourselves in the midst of a promotional blitz for what I think will be a visually stunning and whimsical film. Water For Elephants is to set for release April 22, and I don’t know about you, but based on the clips and screen caps I’ve seen, I think the film will do this enchanting book fine justice. Reese and Rob were on the cover of Entertainment Weekly released a couple Fridays ago, and as tradition compels me, I relied on the eyes and ears of you lovelies out there to guide me to my copy of the magazine. I eventually found mine in Barnes & Noble, one of the last 4 copies, all of which were shoved behind Popular Mechanics (bahaha to the tricksy little elves thinking I’d be deterred by a service magazine covering topics of home improvement and auto maintenance. Pfffft.) in the final minutes before the store’s closing. This was the seventh store I tried, btw.

While I was at Barnes & Noble I also picked up a copy of Water for Elephants the book (the edition with the movie poster as it’s cover, of course) with the intent on giving it to my Sister-in-Law Puss who was experiencing a painful flare up of massive, scary proportions these days, results of the autoimmune illness she suffers. I gifted the book with an agenda, though. Puss hadn’t read the book yet, and if anyone deserved a little escape from reality it was my sister. Ever hear of Cerebritis? Google it. Those who experience it absolutely are entitled to mega-healinglove in the forms of Jacob Jankowski and the gentle, graceful Elephant named Rosie. Well, and pushing my agenda–and I’d do the same with all of you if we lived somewhat close to each other–but I am seeking a date for the WFE premiere on April 22. My Sis has some great specs. ❤

LOVE.

Lesson 2a: As I Do, Not As I Say

So with my Mother in town, my Sis out of commission while she recovered from an episode from hell (the day Buff texted me to surprise me with the MOO Banner, I was at the hospital with Puss unexpectedly), I found myself as acting cruise director in charge of entertaining my mother who was in town while simultaneously hanging with my one of my favorite people EVAH, Miss Monkey. My three-year-old niece is precocious and a genius. She’s at that stage where she is testing the perimeters of protection, and also where she picks up every single cold that goes around the playground as well as every word or song she hears. She jumped on the bed and chanted, “WHO LET THE DOGS OUUUUT? HOO HOO HOO HOO!” when I was trying to put clean sheets on it for my mother to sleep in.

Well I have a sailor mouth on me. And I don’t edit much except when with Clients or around children…and my mother. Clearly, when I find myself emitting colorful language or editorials, it’s sage advice to not do as I say, but more as I do (given that I’m monitoring my impulsiveness, and respectfully). A rainstorm took over the whole weekend of my mother’s visit and during Operation: Let Sis Rest and For The Love of God Distract Monkey (OLSRFTLOGDM has a ring to it, no?), and so we had many changes of plans and encounters with erratic drivers in the city, damp clothing and growling stomachs on several occasions. My guard was down and I let a few F-bombs fly here or there…I may have said something about having things stuck in my craw or the sand up in the culottes….whatev. My mother then may have full-including-middle-named me when Monkey began exclaiming “Oooh that guy is stuck in my CRAW!” from her car seat.

So suffice to say, I had a healthy reminder of my own perimeters and limits while my niece and my mother were my constant companions. I had to constantly employ my awesome ignoring skills so as not to inject my own KJ-isms into my impressionable niece’s already colorful expressions. No, that guy is not stuck in anyone’s craw. No one has anything stuck anywhere, mmmkay?

Kristen is waiting for me to get a clue.

Lesson 2b: As I do, I Support

Monitoring the filth that spewed from my mouth is just one tiny aspect of carrying social responsibility. Those of us among the fandom, even on the periphery, have heard about the massive leak of Breaking Dawn pictures and video in which, holy mother, we witness Bella and Edward consummate their new marriage. We see those emo, tortured kids let loose and, as Rob pointed out in his WFE press conference interviews, behave as a happy, normal couple for once! Remember how spectacular it was that we caught a little bit of the blissfulness when the Rio pics began surfacing:

The leaked pictures, however, incensed such a passionate debate amongst this already sometimes overzealous community that everything discussed sparked soap box rants, judgments rendered, tension amongst friends, and public spats highlighting hypocrisy and artistic integrity. I found myself primarily concerned about the filmmakers (editors, directors, actors including our Other Queen Kristen and her mate Robert) and the sadness that surrounded having unfinished, raw creative projects stolen from them. It was just how I dealt with it all, mind you.

My mind and heart went directly to the place of remembering what it was like having my diary read by my boyfriend when I was 19 years old. RAGE. HUMILIATION. Also I imagined the mortification I’d feel if I had the first draft of my thesis stolen and handed to folks armed and hungry, their red pens in hand. I thought of my friends who are artists like @JHiggs86 and @ellelala and my dear Welsh Muse and Manager Kathryn; as well as writers and musicians trying to get their work seen, heard, published or sold, but having that option stolen from them. This week, Robert made it clear that people are affected.

So for me, what felt right, and in implementing my practice gained through Monkey-monitoring earlier, I did not retweet or reblog or further enable the widespread distribution of the stolen images. I never do anyway– as you guys all know, I try to avoid posting any pics taken in which the unsavory paparazzi-vultures would earn money from Kristen’s personal life, discomfort or when she was unaware. There were moments where I felt tense, sad, and ineffectual this week, especially as leaked images continued to surface over several days. But I continue to monitor whether my actions were congruent with my hopes and beliefs and in support of our soon-to-be-birthday girl. So that’s that. And it’s just how I decided to bring it back to the main reason why I’m here at all, Musing away. . .

She is affected by it, even if she doesnt show it.

Lesson 3: How I Feel About It

So interwoven in this incredibly busy and emotional couple of weeks, I also have been pursuing work again. I am still running my (very tiny) Magical Little Practice, and I do still hope to expand it, but again, until I’m called into duty to work alongside our Majestic Misfit Kristen in her philanthropic aspirations, or until Clearinghouse Sweepstakes shows up at our studio apartment with one of those big-ass checks, I’ve gotta get back out there. N and I don’t live above our very modest, modest (i.e. broke as hell) means, but we do have basic expenses to cover.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs places shelter, along with water and air among the foundation of physical and emotional health. And I’ve been blessed with those core necessities, but we’re toeing the line in a couple areas. So I need to ensure we’re a little more solid.

But JFC, it’s soul-wrenching labor to search and apply! I’ve been working since I was seventeen years old, and I never went without a job until the layoff from Bastard Nation nearly 2 years ago. Given the shaky economy and minimal respect my field receives, finding work is depressing and similar to a Dark Night of The Soul: draining, tedious, exposing, emotional.

..just lemme lay my head down for a sec..

See, I was describing the process to my beloved Bouffant the other night, and she is experiencing a similar situation in which, essentially we have to audition for judges for the position we desire. In the psychotherapy field, we freaking have to analyze, describe, ponder and then fucking emote about very personal questions: just in the cover letter. I’m not even talking about the interview or even the application form. There aren’t application forms in counseling psychology jobs. There are, however, entrance essays about life struggles and childhood traumas written just per chance someone may want to meet for an interview. And then the interview. Ninety minutes of  how do you feeeeeel about that? (insert into blank: suicidality, homicidality, cross-dressing, politics, teenagers–gasp!). And after the many essays I wrote this week, I am refreshed in the knowledge that I do have convictions and concerns and values that I adhere to and strive to maintain.

Ahh. There I am.

Do Kristen and Rob and all our featured Royal Rebels feel as compelled to impart such personal information in the name of their craft? I wager they save the profound emoting for their preparations for their job which is acting, performing, and connecting. While my work hinges on connection and honesty, I certainly can sympathize with Kristen and Rob as they bounce between “journalists” (though Elle and Vanity Fair as of late have wandered away from the title) trying to convey their passion and interest in their work as well as their personhood and values all within a short window of time. There are some vulnerabilities and risks taken in these interviews…much like my onion-peeling discussions with company directors, vying for work to peel back other people’s layers.  Plowing onward. Thanks, muchly, those of you who send me good thoughts and vibes on my search. It makes a huge difference to know that people are rooting.

Lesson 4: Honor Thy Queen

Well, this is really my favorite lesson of this week. Our Beautiful Rebel Royal Kristen is turning 21 this Saturday, April 9. One of my dearest friends in this world *blows kisses to Ree* shares her birthday with Kristen, which is further confirmation (not that I need any) that Kristen is a unique and exquisite spirit. My friend Ree is the gentlest, kindest soul with a deep love for animals, her family and friends, much like our fair Other Queen, non? I guess April 9 is BirthDay of Good People Day.

This week, Kristen is working on the Breaking Dawn set, filming the highly anticipated wedding scenes. Making a full circle in a way, Kristen celebrated her 18th birthdayin the final weeks of filming Twilight.

If she wished for success and love, I'd say the Birthday Gods provided

Her 19th birthday found her in the parking lot of Forks High School as she and Rob filmed scenes for New Moon–for Bella’s birthday. On the DVD special features, Kristen says to the camera, “Today is my birthday actually!” They went out with their friends/fellow castmates that night for dinner in Vancouver. Dude, remember Jackson’s mohawk?

ICU SmileyJohn. Also IC Rob diverting attention away, Jackson holding her hand.

When she turned twenty, NinjaStew was alive and well. She had flown unseen over to Europe a couple days before her birthday, and when she finally did surface, on April 11, she was in Budapest (where Rob was filming Bel Ami), and she did not travel back to the States alone. Think #MatchingSambaAddidas, Rob looking over his shoulder about 4 times in the span of 15 seconds to ensure Kristen followed him closely through the throngs of camerafolk. . . I’m opting not to post pics from that night, because Kristen and Rob both appeared uncomfortable and affected by the huge crowds awaiting them at both the Budapest Airport and at Heathrow where they arrived for a layover. But I will pay homage to the backs of the boys who protect the precious:

This year, as the Vancouver Breaking Dawn set appears better protected, we may not see the Birthday Girl at all, which is perfect, because I’ll go on a limb here and guess that a private, low-pro birthday celebration is exactly what Kristen would prefer anyhow.

Joyful Birthday Girls are Joyful

How are you going to acknowledge our Reigning Other Queen’s birthday? There have been several projects out there asking for y’all to send in your birthday cards and greetings for compilations:

or to donate to causes that Kristen supports:                                                **click on any of banners for the redirect

We continuously honor the lovely Ms Stewart by supporting her work and her modeling of  how to embrace her Otherness and while also exploring ways to embrace Otherness for ourselves. We honor Ms Stewart through our fist pumps in solidarity at any awkward, quirky and unconventional behaviors that she or our fellow Others may exhibit: stumbling, stuttering, pausing? FIST PUMP. FIST PUMP. HIGH FIVE. We honor her when we continue to seek coexistence and collaboration with Others within and outside the fandom.

I will continue to praise and support Kristen Jaymes by posting positive essays celebrating Unconventional Beauty such as hers for as long as you kind folks will tolerate me. This month, I also have donated to two causes that work to provide services for causes that are close to my heart and that Queen Kristen herself supports: The awareness of Sexual Assault via Take Back The Night and Fandom For Sexual Assault Awareness

As well as an organization that encourages us to find our voices and raise our hands:

Annnnnd, our Other Queen may be receiving a small token of gratitude for reminding me of MOO’s inception, and how it all began with a Homecoming Queen Nomination for the category of OTHER and the inspired (no not really) ad campaign:

It has been an eventful couple of weeks for shizz. But incredible moments of revelation are slowly encompassing me and motivating steps forward. Despite Job Auditions, various people and moments stuck in craws, pesky brain swelling, and unfortunate picture leaks, there are far more favorable and noteworthy events to counterbalance. Like the critical acclaim Water For Elephants is receiving. And how Kristen will be wrapping up Breaking Dawn soon and begin preparation on her next project: Either K-11 and/or Snow White and the Huntsman. Plus the promo will fire up for On The Road. Also good: figuring out through extensive questioning and reflection, that I. am. here, and perhaps tentative, but still behaving congruently with my  values. I do what I say, say what I do, even if it takes writing a few intimate essays or  working through tension amongst cohorts in this passionate fandom for me  to reacquaint myself with those values. A great thing? Acknowledging, celebrating (maybe even doing the Running Man or the Roger Rabbit?) the birthday of a regal, beautiful, Muse.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KRISTEN!

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others know that saying and doing is congruently being.

Embrace your Other.

* * *

Questions: How do you like the New MOO look? How have you ensured your values and behaviors are congruent? Where were YOU while our Other Queen was turning 18, 19, 20?

A/N: Thanks for hanging with me through the swells and falls of my posting schedule, my loveliest lovelies. Very specific squeezes and hair-playing go to My Sister Puss, the obscenely talented and patient @Buff_82 and for pinch hitting and mid-day reassurances Bouffant.

Thanks to CC (@KStewsbtrthanU) for batting theories, thoughts and randoms at all times of the day thru nearly all communicative devices with me.

And great LOVE LIGHT AND RELIEF to my Possum Bestie @Ophelia2010 (Aai) and her beautiful, resilient, gloriously gorgeous Baby Girl. We could all learn to take stumbles and bumbles gracefully and as resiliently as these girls.

See you next time. All my <3, KJ

The Risks and Benefits of Expression & Introspection

10 Mar

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” ~Joseph Chilton Pearce

Greetings, my fellow Majestic Misfits! Before I dive into this week’s essay, I wanted to mention a couple things. Firstly, please accept my apologies since I did not post this weekend as I had hoped to and even purported that I would. Some of you know that I’m recovering from a 3-week long flu-bronchial something-or-other and I’m still dodging bouts of tiredness, especially since I’m back in full-force trying to build a clientele for my tiny psychotherapy practice. I’ve decided that I’m not going to give such explicit statements such as: “Musings will post this weekend”. Instead, I’ll rely on the posting schedule I have always had…Thursdays are meant for updates, whether weekly or bi-weekly. However,  if something comes up, I’ll let you know, as I have lately, when I’m running behind or if I need more time (like today). Cool beans?

Secondly,  a sweet friend *waves at @JRollin5* advised me last week that because she catches MOO updates on her phone, she doesn’t benefit from the music playlist each week. In fact, she didn’t know that there was a playlist! I may have to release Volume 2 of the MOO Mixed-Tape Love Letter soon here, because oh mah gah, if anything has been present these past weeks, its been THE MUSIC! A few of you have asked me what influences the playlists for each week, and my answer is: these songs are either connected to the Featured Royal Rebel or the theme for the week–often times, both. I listen to the same playlist while I’m writing the essay and I find the songs often inform the tone of the whole post. Plus, our Reigning Other Queen Kristen reports music as essential, and her musical sensibility is genius. And we celebrate Kristen’s sensibilities here in Otherland, so….

Then there’s this: *cue soaring heart*

The Fairest of The Fair

Perfect segue into the check-in with our Royal Beauties. Last week was a glorious week for those of us keeping an eye on the happenings of a certain pretty, Rebellious Partnership, yes? In last week’s Muselet, we were still acclimatizing to the newly released Vanity Fair in which Rob posed for legendary photographer Annie Liebovitz. While the pictures were beautiful (awaiting more OUTTAKES , pleeeeease!) the interview portion, though not including any unknown information, left me feeling unsettled and wistful. I also felt the “journalist” who conducted the interview (allowing for faulty “facts”) operated with an agenda. She even asked the tired and unoriginal question pertaining to his relationship with our Other Queen, Kristen, after she wrote a sneering paragraph scoffing at other interviewers who have tried to obtain the same information (“Oprah couldn’t even get it out of them”). Well, her exclusivity-seeking fell short, and when she showed up on something like seven Entertainment News shows hooking interest about Rob’s non-denial denial she revealed to me just one more person clamoring for a piece of the magic. The very folks that Rob and Kristen need protection from.

Well, opportunistic writers aside, luckily there were other bright spots in our Rebel Royals’ week. Rob still shared a glimpse into his insatiable thirst for knowledge as well as his personal experience of living under a microscope.  And we were reminded that his new movie is going to be …well, gorgeous. Gorgeous in all ways: cinematography, set design, costumes and story. I am still trying to pick myself up from the floor where I had fallen due to the new Water For Elephants screen caps and the official trailer for the movie: Water For Elephants International Trailer Holy Jeebus. Distract me, distract me!!!

Its not even funny anymore. I flatlined weeks ago.

Now let us please, please, pretty please talk about our Majestic Kristen’s spectacular news of the week shall we??  After months of speculation and weeks of the curiosity operating at a fever pitch, it was announced by the film’s producer that our own Majestic Misfit Kristen Stewart is going to play a Rebel Royal Original, Snow White, in the movie Snow White and the Huntsman opposite the insanely beautiful Other Rebels Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron. People may have been skeptical. I am not one of those people. I screamed in delight when I heard Kristen was considering the role of Snow. Ok if it is too hard for you to envision, let’s break it down:

One extraordinarily beautiful girl:

Who is known across the land as being kind and compassionate. Also known to be an animal lover and a bit of a goddess in the kitchen. Loquat Pie anyone?

She’s next in line for the throne (there’s your Royalty), but she has many, many detractors and critics fueled by jealousy and insecurity. Members of her own family send henchmen after her for Goddess’s sake! Forced to hit the road and kick some ass (not to mention defy the age-old gender stereotypes of the hapless, helpless woman awaiting rescue), all while sporting fierce fashion wear? She ain’t your grandmammy’s Damsel-In-Distress, yo. Who ELSE could portray such a Rebellious Beauty? No One. This Is KRISTEN’S ROLE.  In this medium, our Queen of Unconventional Beauty will model for a new generation what it means to defy decrepit gender roles and also respond to the women-against-women destruction in our society and in this fandom. On your knees, kids. Bow down to what could potentially be a great thing.

Risks & Benefits

“If you want to work on your art, work on your life” ~Chekhov

Kristen is reportedly fielding numerous incredible projects, unsurprisingly. Her reputation for professionalism and the brilliant embodiment of the characters she plays (Read: The Runaways,The Cake Eaters) is paving the way for what could be an astoundingly deft and unique career, not to mention one of longevity. Her confidence and focus on piecing together her career plan is not lost on her partner Robert. He admires her propensity towards clever role choices, and also exudes the sense that he is testing the waters for his own path. Which is normal and expected. He’s only 24 for goodness sake. Typical twenty-four year olds are just outside of completing college or are experiencing the glories of jobs and internships. Rob and Kristen have been handed cash and fame and are being hailed as having “hit it big”, but they’re not even a quarter of a century old. It’s a lot of pressure. Knowing and pursuing what “we want to do” is stressful (even when it’s a good stress, stress is still stress), daunting and potentially disheartening. I sense a little overwhelmed-ness from Rob when I read that VF article. These very valid feelings could be there for him, but I still am wary of the VF interviewer’s not-exactly-supportive influence on the story. Regardless, I understand those feelings well.  And in questioning my career path and goal for this world, I recognize there is the risk of discovering I am not exactly happy or actually doing what I had initially set out to accomplish.

I just need a moment of quiet...

Luckily, Rob is blessed with several gifts and he has the capacity to explore many avenues in which he can utilize them. He is granted versatility and really, opportunity to soar. He could be a musician, songwriter, movie producer, screenplay writer, and he has dabbled in all of these fields already. But for him to declare aloud that he feels limited to representing a sparkling vampire for the next ten years indicates he’s aware of the long-term effects prompted by his particular profession, and he’s questioning these effects. Is it enough to discourage him from exploring his other talents? I hope not. I hope he pushes forward and pursues all of his interests, refusing to be pigeonholed.

Yesterday I met with a new client for an assessment appointment at the Magical  (though flailing, is still magical in its intent) Little Practice. One of the forms, among the confidentiality agreement and consent for treatment forms discussed in an intake appointment, is a form outlining the Benefits and Risks of Therapy. This concept, of the risks involved with introspection and discovery serves as a cautionary moment. Because, as the Chekhov quote above notes: we must do the work that comes with living authentically, creatively, expressively. Work on art, work on life. And it might not always be pretty.

Have you found this to be true? When you decide to participate in inquiry and introspection (whether it be to look for a new job, pick up a new hobby, start a new relationship, or start receiving therapeutic support), and specifically self-improvement and career aspirations, do you feel that rush of reactions? Excitement for the adventure; or, anxiety and grief in stepping away from the familiar; joy at exploring a new project?  Are loved ones in your life discouraging your leap of faith or change in direction? Or are they cheering you on with well-wishes of, “do whatcha gotta do, brother” ? The point is, not all feelings and emotions in reactions to a confrontation of uncertainties of goals are pleasant. I tell clients that as they embark on their journey of self-reflection and mental health improvement that it often gets darker before the sunrise. It can be intimidating to look in the mirror. Introspective folks might experience feelings of resistance (which is synonymous with fear) and may employ all sorts of creative strategies to sabotage our own plans.

I find myself in an interesting position these days. I am re-evaluating and gathering courage to jump back into the job market after a near-two-year hiatus. “WHAT??” You may screech.Wellllll…I have’t been able to sit down with my musical engineer to record the demo I had planned for last fall. But I have become a small business owner and tried my hand at becoming an independent practitioner as a therapist despite the abysmal state of this economy and the stigma attached to mental health improvement. But  for one, it’s a tedious, time-consuming process to build regular clientele who are willing to talk about their emotions (quirks eyebrow. I get that), and for another,  people don’t have any money to pay for services. Suffice to say, my little practice is on the verge of extinction, six months after opening day, and I still need to pay rent, and buy all the Top Ramen N and I consume for sustenance. While N is flourishing at work and fast-becoming the It Boy in his restaurant chain, I am a handful of weeks away from discontinued unemployment checks. Bottom line: This Other-Queen-In-Training has gots to get herself a J-O-B.  At least until the practice picks up steam, or until HRH Kristen contacts me and takes me up on my offer to help build the Halfway House Network…

Oh there is resistance, my friends. There is a cannonball sitting in my tummy. I am unsure. I have faith I can move forward but I also feel the fear. I have identified myself for the last decade as a psychotherapist who whole-heartedly pursued the requirements to become so. But after the disillusionment of BastardNation, I lack the confidence and desire to return to the corporate world. Fortunately, I, like Rob and Kristen, have been blessed with aptitude in a few areas: I can teach, I can create and perform music, I can babble and type these ramblings out to share with you kind folks…but can I do something with these skills? Am I brave enough to do something about it? After numerous pep talks via friends from around the world (Countless gratitude to @Kate_Suena in Canada, and my Aussie Besties @Ophelia2010 & @Justice_Aussie, along with my Cyber Sisters) I feel that I can. But…not gonna lie, you guys, there could be a resurgence of EMO-KJ with all these warring reactions of joy, exhilaration, frustration and insecurity. But perhaps I can look forward to donning a new work uniform soon?

Let the healing...begin.

Featured Royal Rebel: Helena Bonham Carter

While I’m not exactly speaking about reinvention, I have no problem encouraging it. At the very least embrace the idea that your uniqueness and colorful choices on career, clothes and the people you choose to surround yourself with can be your defining characteristic…Like this gorgeous Rebel. British actress Helena Bonham Carter, or HBC as I’ll refer to her occasionally, is the pinnacle of interesting and unconventional. And she does not care how she is perceived. She does not care how odd or unusual she presents, and perhaps that’s why we remember her…revere her…adore her.  We know her as a Queen already, on so many levels, and in many of her film roles (Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Hearts). It’s only natural that she’s featured on Musings’ Other Homecoming Court.

Helen’s first brush with acting occurred when she was sixteen years old, performing in a television commercial. She reports no formal acting training. She began her career when she entered herself in the British Acting Directory Spotlight with her winnings received from a writing contest. As she has stunning charisma, it is not surprising that Helena comes from a family of a prominent political background. HBC’s paternal great-grandfather H.H. Asquith was Prime Minister of the U.K. (1908-1916)  and her paternal grandmother Violet Bonham Carter was a famed political orator. Helena’s mother’s lineage is also impressive: her maternal grandfather was a Spanish Diplomat who was recognized as Righteous Among Nations for rescuing thousands of Jews from the Holocaust during the Second World War, her maternal grandmother was a Baroness and her great-aunt was a famous French Philanthropist. Her great-uncle, Anthony Asquith is Hollywood Royalty: he was the director of the films Pygmalion and The Importance of Being Ernest. Truly she’s a Royal who defies convention, the epitome of Royal Rebelliousness.

Her royal blood lines might not be as well-known to this generation, because we’re already preoccupied with her rule on film screens. An actress since the mid-1980’s HBC has appeared in over 60 films and made almost 30 film, television and radio appearances. The ingenuity by which she’s crafted her long and respected career cannot be denied. She has portrayed several twentieth-century “corset queens” beginning with her roles in Lady Jane GreyWings of The Dove (For which she earned an Oscar nomination along with SAG, Golden Globe and BAFTA nods)  and Howard’s End. But her remarkable versatility is what resonates strongest with her admirers. She has played Don Johnson’s girlfriend on the 80’s iconic TV classic Miami Vice, as well as Queen Elizabeth in the her most recent success, in the sublime and inspirational The Kings Speech (for which she was nominated for her second Academy Award, and for which she won a BAFTA). Somewhere in between those roles she has participated in such memorable films like A Room With A View, Twelfth Night, Fight Club, Frankenstein, Mighty Aphrodite, Harry Potter Movies 4 through 7, and four of her partner Tim Burton (And fellow Majestic Misfit)’s films including: the surreal (and my fave) Big Fish and the awesome Sweeney Todd.  HBC’s mother Elena is a psychotherapist (*fist pump in solidarity!*) and Helena has paid (and may still) pay her mother to review scripts with Helena to uncover the “psychological motivation behind a character” before she decides to take a role.

In 2009, HBC was named in the  Times’ as one of the Top 10 British Actresses of All Time . Not too shabby, eh? Perhaps the fact that she can wear mis-matched shoes and constantly top fashion magazines ‘WORST Dressed’ List is meant to truly illustrate how this talented, cool, unaffected beauty embodies Rebel Royalty at its finest. She has reported often that she is tired of the labels as “Prim Edwardian” and instead wants to “shock people out of it”. I simply adore her insistence on living her life her way, despite cautionary advise or the blue blood lineage. She doesn’t match shoes when on the red carpet. She hasn’t married her long-time partner Tim Burton, and she does not live in the same home with him, even though they have been a couple for ten years and have two children together. Instead she and Burton live in adjacent residences, connected by a hallway. Awesomesauce.

Offenses of Otherness:

Successfully balances independent projects with blockbusters.

Does not adhere to industry standards of “fashion”. She creates her own.

“I’m the kind of actor who has ventured into escaping from me.”

Ahhh well, we’re wrapping up today’s Musings on the risks and benefits of taking the leap towards introspection and reinvention. Rob became a little introspective in his Vanity Fair interview and it could possibly be the key to his liberation. Kristen, our Reigning Other Queen knows she wants to be an actress and the film projects funneling her way imply, at least to me, the potential for Greatness, despite the fact that she’s taking on yet another iconic role of which she will single-handedly redefine the antiquated standards attached to it. Pfft. She can do it for a Disney character. She schools us on how to question and pursue change daily.

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

She’s back in Vancouver with her friends and colleagues from the Twilight Saga, and even though she has HottieBodyGuard and Agent Security Blanket John, she is proving day in and out how stealthy she can be. Her focus, as Robert says, is on her career trajectory as an actress, as it should be, because girlfriend is goood at her job. She reports knowing she wanted to be in the business ever since she was a little girl, growing up on sets where her parents (TV producer father, screenwriter-director mother) worked. Our Reigning Queen has the ability, like our Featured Rebel HBC, to lose herself in a character, becoming almost unrecognizable. We did not see a trace of our Valley-girl KStew beneath the heavy eye liner or shoulder pads in The Runaways. Nor did we see her in the battered but resilient Mallory of Welcome to The Rileys. However, if our girl wants to write or produce or compose screenplays, as she has said in the past she’d like to try, I can’t see anything holding her back from exploring those avenues as well. Her ability to be versatile, open and courageous reminds me that there is possibility for longevity and fulfillment in anything.

Offenses of Otherness:

Does not desire celebrity nor fame.

She does not adhere to industry standards for “fashion”. She creates her own.

“When I go onstage to accept an award, they think I’m nervous, uncomfortable, and awkward—and I am—but those are bad words for them.”

All right my lovelies….We talked about the beautiful stills and trailer from Water For Elephants and about the fantastic news that our Queen Kristen will actually be Queen-in-training Snow White on the big screen. We talked a little about the beauty of versatility and the courage to question ourselves and our paths. We talked about job hunting (which I don’t think Kristen nor Rob nor HBC will struggle with) and the resulting emotions that come from doing the introspective, clarifying work…emotions of elation, as well as melancholy and irritability. But that’s ok, whatever it is, however it presents itself. We all still hold our spots on the Homecoming Court for Otherness.

Helena is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others realize that to work on their art, they work on their lives.

Embrace your Other.

*   *   *

QUESTION: How has it been for you to embark on new journeys? Have you met resistance? If so, from whom?

A/N: Thanks to JRollin5, MyCleverAlias, Possum Besties Jai and Aai, and my CyberSisters Bellsy and Cheermom and to the always present and brilliant Bouffant. Thanks to Katie for hooking me up with texting abilities. Thanks to my family Puss and Monkey for taking me to the museum  to see the butterflies and the piranhas (in the A-Ma-ZON).

Sending love and light to friends struggling this week: EACNM, BELLSY-BAI, LISA, CHEERMOM…and my dear IRIS ADRIENNE.

I donated to two fandom charities this week for causes near and dear to my heart. Wont you join me?

FandomsFightTheFloods and the charity Take Back The Night through the Fandom For Awareness Against Sexual Assault.

Next week I hope to contribute to the Fandom Against Domestic Violence and Fandom Fights Mental Illness.

See you next time, loves. 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


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