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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


KStew & Vogue Inspire the Seeking of Global Soul

27 Jan

We all have wings. Though some of us don’t know why

~Never Tear Us Apart, INXS

We Are Here.

Well, hellllo there, my Majestic Misfits and Rebellious Royals! I’ll address why you haven’t heard from me in over two weeks (and, more importantly how profoundly effective the hiatus has been) in a few moments, but I just wanted to take a deep breath and enjoy being in your company. I hold deep and sincere gratitude to you for your patience and understanding. And you must know that I have missed you all. In a very experiential, existential way. And I’ve missed your clever, hysterical editorials on all things K/R/Twi/Bliss/Other related. So, this is me, before commencing this week’s essay, bowing down to you in humble appreciation. And I look a little like this:

One thing that has become dazzlingly apparent to me recently is The Bond. There is a bond now. We all have bonded over our admiration for Kristen and Robert. Regardless if this is an almost 3-year journey (raises hand) for you, or if this is your first glance at a blog you discovered after typing in the words “Kristen” and  “Stewart”  in a Google search, there are a great many of us who share in a feeling of unity in this vast community, this fandom. We have invested at least a sliver of personal interest into a twenty-year old woman who is navigating the peaks and valleys of living, loving, doing and being. How has this bond manifested for me? Well, first, I had the opportunity to spend some face-to-face time with one of my Cyber Sisters, Missy/Brothaa last week. Nothing cements camaraderie like ingesting copious amounts of pasta and alcohol before running around town to random bookstores and liquor stores seeking VOGUE Magazines. While the gentleman behind the liquor store counter double and triple checked with me as to whether I “really wanted to purchase all four copies of the same magazine”, Missy didn’t bat an eyelash. Instead, she squealed and did the soccer-announcer -screaming-GOOOAAAALLLL-Dance with me when we spotted it.

CLEARLY a productive night

How else did I glimpse the awesomeness that is the Fandom Community? The emergence of more clear and powerfully positive voices speaking up in support of Kristen, Rob and the greater picture. A friend of mine, M, aka one part of the blogging team @DrownInIt wrote an eloquent essay on the joys of participating in this fandom. Check it HERE: How KStew Changed Fangirling. One of the many points M highlighted in her essay is the sheer exhilaration and honor she feels in meeting fellow intelligent, and creative voices among this fandom. I personally can attest to the genius and almost crushing generosity of Kristen Supporters, if Musings’ Readers are any indication. I’ve long-held the opinion that Musings Readers are the wittiest, bravest and most brilliant of all the fandom (bias schmias), but as I stumbled around uncertainly these past couple weeks, I became convinced that MOO’s Readers are DIVINE. Here is where I turn my adoring gaze upon Matt B and @Dano328/OpyTaylor for their impeccably timed, kind words of encouragement. You both unknowingly contributed to the saving of Musings.

TRUTH TIME. I experienced a moment in which I contemplated the discontinuation of Musings. Without going into great detail, I have had some pretty stressful 3D experiences including another bout with a painful sinus/flu-like sickness, a major setback in the financing of The Magical Little Practice, and some family issues to attend to. Plus, with my inability for succinct storytelling, I had written essays averaging 3000 words every week for seven months prompting self-care (coming from the consta-sick girl) and perspective-expansion, and I wondered if maybe I’d over-stayed my welcome. Quite serendipitously, The Universe sent me several encounters with synchronicity, impeding my too-hasty, and not-quiet disappearance. Synchronicity in the form of emails from rebel poets (@DANO328 and MATT), MidWestie Visitors (winks at Brothaa), inspiring Blog posts (@DrownInIt), Team Other Captains who used SHOUTY CAPS (ahem, CC) and soothing words and pictures (My girls Bouffant & Buff). And just in case I truly didn’t get the memo, Synchronicity sent an Angel….

VogueStew bestows grace

These encounters with friends, Readers, fellow fans (The Bond), and our Reigning Other Queen Kristen reminded me of the agreement I’d made with myself, and with Others. In essence, I was re-introduced to my Blissful Path, prompted to expand my perspective and revisit my Sacred Contract. This Contract, as defined by the awe-inspiring author and medical intuitive Carolyn Myss, is essentially the understanding and implementation of our greater functioning. Our Path. Our higher purpose. Our Soul’s Work. Basically, the reason ‘Why We Are Here’.

We have established these agreements with many people in our lives–past and present–also with our higher power however it is named for you, and with ourselves. They are compiled of anything and everything and influence anything and everything: Romantic relationships, friendships, family relations, career choices, money management, artistic expression, fandom communities, and society. SISTERS. BROTHERS. MOTHERS. FATHERS. LOVERS. HEALERS. TEACHERS. PARENTS. STUDENTS. WARRIORS. LEADERS. OTHER.  Jungian scholars may refer to these as “Samples” and patterns as informed by Archetypes. My Divine Agreements are with my soul mates and beloveds, and with my hope to provide healing and empowerment to people through my fledgling psychotherapy practice…and through Musings. All who enter into a Sacred Contract acknowledge that we are accountable to not only ourselves, but to others, and to our environment, to ideas much larger than just us as individuals. We agree that we have communion with the Global Soul.

The Fairest Philanthropy

Raise your hopeful voice, you had the choice. You’ve made it now

~Falling Slowly, Swell Season

Contrary to popular assumption, the desire to connect to the greater collective (also creating spiritual and emotional transformation) is not always motivated by tragedy or loss. It can be inspired by a particularly beautiful line of poetry, or introduction to a soul mate, a sunset, a movie, an inspiring business discussion. Or by an issue of Vogue. It was quite the celebration once we learned that Kristen Jaymes Stewart was going to be the February Cover Girl for Vogue, as our Rebel Queen broke through the barriers of Unconventional Beauty to grace the front of such a culturally iconic publication. And when the first photos from the shoot began rolling out, I, along with millions of others gasped at the majesty.

I may have cried a little over the Outtakes and the Behind-the-Scenes Video. . .

But it was the accompanying article that truly plundered me, leaving me speechless. Interviewer Eve MacSweeney managed to capture our Majestic Misfit’s quiet but still-blazing intensity, intelligence, kindness and other-worldly aestheticism in print, accomplishing what so many journalists have attempted before but could not entirely deliver. Kristen’s now-famous Mexican Tortilla Soup had been alluded to in the past by colleagues and costars, but Ms.MacSweeney enjoyed a first-hand observation and consumption of Ms Stewart’s culinary prowess as the actress prepared (in her “friend’s” kitchen) and served the famous Soup along with pulled-pork sandwiches. We all knew that KJ Stewart (of course I squeal just a tiny bit that Kristen and I have our initials in common) is a voracious reader, but the Vogue journalist received an updated book list directly from the source. Kristen’s nightstand is piled high with literary gems including Columbine by Dave Cullens, a study of extreme Mormonism and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. OIC. Light bedtime reading.

legs

This interview became my favorite interview in direct correlation with two very essential responses Kristen gave. First, when Ms. MacSweeney alluded to our favorite Featured Rebel and Poet Warrior, Robert P, Kristen addressed but closed down further discussion entirely by saying,

“It’s not my job.”

This was an impeccable answer.  The best answer Ms. Stewart could have EVER given. She clearly indicates that she will fiercely protect her private life, all while shooting down any outlandish charges that her relationship with Mr Pattinson is a PR stunt. Her relationship with him is not available for monetary capitalization nor voyeurs’ entertainment. She granted this interview to a world-renown magazine to discuss her work. BOO.YAH.

The second response that rendered me dizzy simply was Synchronicity nudging me to sit the fuck down and revisit my resolutions…Review my Sacred Contract. I believe I heard angels singing.  Kristen has perhaps glimpsed her own Sacred Contract, as she is realizing the great influence she has (She’s on par with She-Ra). Not only is she greatly admired (translation: adored, lusted after, coveted, worshipped, idolized) by esteemed colleagues and cohorts, but she has the unwavering devotion and attention of millions of readers, and movie-goers, thanks to her work in the films Twilight, Adventureland, The Runaways,and Welcome to the Rileys to name a few.  That’s such a daunting concept. And yet, Ms Kristen finds herself concerned only with the happiness and approval from fans of the Twilight books….She’s also considering what to do with the pile of cash she’s acquired as a result of her film work. She is a lovely, successful, and shy young woman shaping a plan to contribute to society, benevolently aiding a cause she feels “most connected to”. Kristen’s work for the film Welcome to the Rileys in which she played Mallory, a teenaged runaway  working as a stripper/prostitute, illuminated Kristen’s Contract. She wants to contribute to the Global Soul via the creation of safe places for people seeking recovery and rehabilitation…in the form of a Halfway House network.

*Cue Angels’ glorious chorus. Cue KJ’s weeping*

I was already an ardent admirer of Kristen Stewart. I already inherently, instinctively believed that she was a compassionate, intelligent, and gentle spirit. But when I read about Kristen’s desire to build a network of  halfway houses, my respect for her grew exponentially …into a kind of reverence. I have spent over ten years working with the population that Kristen wants to assist. My clients are children, women, teenagers and families who were victims of abuse, poverty, substance abuse and disenchantment, and every one of them sought a quiet moment of respite and a kind word of encouragement to continue forward, when all they really wanted to do was fall back. But since mental health and soul rehabilitation are the bottom-rung of priorities when considering the piecing together of state and national budgets, there are no resources to finance counseling or social services. I lost my job as a psychotherapist and manager over a year ago due to the severe budget restraints. And now this beautiful, compassionate artist wants to contribute to the reinstatement of safe havens and encouragement for people who are in dire need. Her Halfway House Network could enable the hiring of gifted counselors thirsty for work and eager to help to the millions of people just struggling to find their next meal. What other twenty-year old do you know does this? To say that I am stunned is an understatement. I am absolutely astonished.

Didn't I tell you that Buff and N are MAGICAL together? Recognize. Courtesy of Buff&N Collabs.

A New Musings Mission

You’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true

~Richard Bach

So, let’s recap shall we? In my unplanned, unexpected two-week hiatus from Musings, I got pretty sick (again) and in the midst of addressing illness, family stuff and business planning, considered closing down this blog. Ah, but The Universe had other ideas for this restless Other Queen-in-training. The Bond simmered and surged, other strong voices joined the fray, and letters arrived from  gentlemen who provided exactly the right words to soothe at exactly the right time (bows to Matt and Dan). My beloved and insanely gifted husband N was promoted at work (we have a roof over our head for another month! We have cable again!). A Sister came to my city to have cocktails with The Beats ..and me…And Kristen Stewart made a connection with the Global Soul through a very beautiful and compelling photo shoot and interview with Vogue. Did I cover everything?

Here’s where I tell you about the revitalized, reinvigorated, re-inspired Musings Mission. *bouncing on my toes in excitement* Encouraged by Kristen’s incredible philanthropic visions, and with Carolyn Myss’s guidance on seeking my own Divine Agreement (or Sacred Contract), I’ve decided my mission is two-fold. First, I am going to continue to write Musings. That’s right. You’re stuck with me, kiddos, all my rambling and musing just needs to go somewhere…Writing MOO makes me happy, and it satisfies my desire to communicate, empower and embolden fellow Misfits to find their true Home, their Bliss. The continuation of Musings provides support and encourages our Reigning Other Queen Kristen to KEEP GOING, KEEP GOING, KEEP GOING as well. My hope is that we can all pursue our Bliss, and seek connection to the Global Soul through connection and compassion with Others. And besides, I get to post pretty pictures of Kristen and all the Royal Rebels who light the path and persevere. I like pretty pictures of Royal Rebels….

The second tenant of my New MOO Mission–Shall we call it THE MOO MISH?–entails: My offer of anything within my power and scope of abilities to our Reigning Queen Kristen’s disposal so she can implement her  own Sacred Contract. I created and managed small counseling teams while I was at BastardNation, a company that truly released and liberated me when budget cuts sliced my position out. Now I’m free to contribute to projects that inspire me–Like Kristen’s vision. Her vision is very close to my own: Guide, provide safety, health and empowerment of self.  I would love nothing more than to contribute my skills of clinical psychotherapy, supervision and program management to helping Kristen build a Halfway House Network to help Others start their healing journeys on their own paths towards health and …home. It’s kinda what I do already in my teensy tiny almost-there practice, and in my weekly ramblings with you beautiful Misfits…So why not contribute the goals of my Sacred Contract to someone else’s goals for the betterment of The Collective Good? *shrugs*

So, my Loveliest of Lovelies…here we are, already at the end of the first month of a new year. Its only the second Musings of 2011 and I do apologize for the unannounced delay in posting. But I am eternally and wholly indebted to you all for your unbelievably inspiring support and love for Musings, for your passionate defense and support of Our Reigning Queen Kristen and all the Featured Royal Rebels highlighted each week. I thank you for your enthusiasm  and courage in Embracing Your Other and following your Bliss….for remaining so positive in a roller-coaster of a passionate fandom, and for modeling true UNCONVENTIONAL BEAUTY ….I am honored to be amongst you deliciously odd, awkward, unusual, unique, and brilliant beings.

WE ARE OTHER.

KRISTEN IS OTHER.

OTHERS SEEK WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE GLOBAL SOUL.

EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.

Question: How have you been inspired in your Otherness to recognize and honor your Sacred Contract?

A/N: Well, this essay was a bit of a departure from previous posts, but essentially it is a love letter from me to you, to Kristen, to Others. I do hope to post next Thursday as per the usual schedule, but I may take longer if 3D life keeps throwing the curveballs at me. Next time, we’ll show love to our male Rebel Royals. Perhaps Viggo Mortensen (First OTR, now perhaps Snow White?) Garrett Hedlund? Javier Bardem? … We’ll see who jostles to the front of the line…

Oh!  And I’m going to a Bobby Long concert next week too. *happy claps*

Also, I updated the About KJ Page. Leave some answers to the sentence completion in the comment section. LOVE hearing what you have to say!

I’ll be making some changes to the site’s appearance as well, and adding a new page or two perhaps…I’m hatching a diabolical plan with Buff (i.e. poking and annoying her til she breaks).

Part 2 of the New MOO Mission is in discussion with my best girl Bouffant, and our Team Other Co-Captains Buff and CC.

I’ll letcha know on Twitter of progress and updates for The MOO MISH. . . @MusingsOnOther. . . You know me. I’m the one who is Not. At. ALL. SUCCINCT in my descriptors of love for Kristen, Rob and our massive Majestic Misfit Royal Court..

THANK YOUS, LOVE, LIGHT, GROPES, SNUGGLES and NUZZLES to:  My Sister Puss. My dearest Bouffant. Cynically Convy. Buff. @MyCleverAlias. Nail. Missy. Iris. @RobKris13. Possum Besties Justice and Ophelia. And As always: My Cyber Sisters and Readers.

…..and to the FF authors who have owned my unfocused ass this week: BrattyVamp, RochelleAllison, 107YrOldVirgin, MissBettySmith, KrisSalvador

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTERS INDIA & BEANAI!


Revisiting Resolutions

13 Jan

Hello and happy 2011 to you, my lovelies! I hope this finds you well, healthy, rested and reinvigorated for the new year. How were your holidays and where were you when you welcomed the new year?  To many folks’ delight, we discovered that our Reinging Queen of Other created a bit of a tradition for herself, returning for the second year to the Isle of Wight with her partner Robert to observe the start of 2011. While a few accounts popped up online through various social networking sites, it was gratifying (at least for me) to know that Kristen, Rob and their Britpack friends (Tom Sturridge and Sam Bradley among them) were together, in the company of beloveds to welcome the fresh canvas of a year, essentially undisturbed. Well, almost. Undisturbed until an “aspiring actress”, a proclaimed “fan” approached Kristen and Rob while at a pub, and asked to take a photo with them. After a few moments of discomfort, Our Royal Rebel Kristen politely declined the picture, but she ultimately conceded  (perhaps a re-evaluation of the situation) and posed with the fan and Rob. It appears, at least to me, that both Kristen and Rob (who was feeling a bit under the weather at the time)  knew exactly what would happen once the picture was snapped. Check their facial expressions:

And our peaceful vacation is over in 3...2...1...TWEET

Sure enough. Said “fan” logged onto her Facebook, posted the picture (the original snapshot included the fan in between our Rebels) and she shared her thoughts on her encounter with The Pretty. Well, I think we all know that Facebook has something close to 600 million users, with half of those folks boasting Twitter accounts as well. The picture, the pub’s name and location, and this “fan”‘s encounter were public in mere moments, and one could almost hear the very new and delicate family tradition of Isle of Wight for Stewart, Pattinson and BritPackers alike shattering. I would not be at all surprised if the second annual IOW New Year’s Tradition is now The Posthumous New Year’s Tradition. It was especially sweet  (sarcasm) when the “fan” indicated that Kristen was “ungrateful” and  that Kristen shouldn’t be an actress if she didn’t want to deal with people seeking pictures and autographs. Chatty Fan was completely oblivious to any hypocrisy, since she in fact, did get a picture of both Kristen and Rob and yet she appeared less than gracious about it all. It is in those moments where I find myself shaking my head in wonder, and also silently congratulating Kristen and Rob for maintaining patience and grace when neither is granted to them.

*IOW traditions drift into the sunset*

I get it. We hadn’t seen a current photo of either Kristen or Rob in many weeks, but Kristen in particular had been her usual NinjaStew self for months. KStew Withdrawal Symptoms had set in steadily, and the remedy included revisiting previous photo shoots, or listening to the Eclipse Commen-tree on loop. Of course, since that gracious “aspiring” thespian included her location in her Facebook recounting, fans and photographers alike grew brazen and more pictures surfaced from Kristen’s brief holiday (they had about 3 days on IOW before flying back to Baton Rouge for Breaking Dawn filming). Included in the photos that emerged from that weekend is what appears to be a nuzzle-and-kiss exchange between Kristen and her beautiful consort. I couldn’t help but wonder if theIOW weekend was an indicator of the sparkling, dramatic year ahead.

The Chosen

So for New Year’s Eve and Day, do you find yourself meditating on your plans for success and health for the approaching year? Do find yourself with a clear resolve for improvements and positive challenges? Sometimes a kick-start in motivation is required to pursue our resolutions. For instance, I realized I needed to find a way to pay for our satellite TV services to be reinstalled because the digital antenna we have now is a monstrosity and we have a scrambled picture and stuttering audio every 15 minutes if the city train passes nearby. What was the proverbial slap in the face that solidified my assessment? In the near-unbearable first 95 minutes, where the scrambled picture was a welcomed relief, I was most annoyed  that the last 25 minutes of the People’s Choice Awards were intermittently smeared and blocked here:

oh. MY.

And…here…

Whatcha lookin' at, Rob?

Annnnd here…

So telling, this photo. I see a bubble.

So we need a new cable option, we needed a different system months ago, really. The Golden Globes are this weekend, I don’t know if I can handle the scramble-screen nightmare. Luckily, I have my trusty, sexy MacBook Pro and a strong wireless signal and I didn’t miss out on some of the jaw-dropping reminders of why Kristen is and forever shall be, Queen. She was chosen by The People as Favorite Movie Actress after all. *eyes glaze over*

I am not saying anything that hasn’t already been mentioned elsewhere, everywhere, over a week ago. But I personally think Kristen has NEVER looked more stunning. I’m admiring the uber short hemline of her golden Reem Acra dress, accentuating her un.be.lieveable legs; I’m also applauding the stylists responsible for the flawless tousled, sultry hair and makeup she’s rocking; I’m charmed by her soft, halting words and humble acceptance speech:

Thank you so much! I’ve never been to The People’s Choice Awards, so it’s very exciting. But I’d always thank the fans..uh, I mean, I know I’ve said this before, but we share the stuff like this …(holds up pretty award to the audience) Awesome. You guys did it again. It’s very cool (camera pans to Rob’s adoring gaze on her from the audience). We’re shooting Breaking Dawn right now (audience bursts into cheers), and it’s going really well, we’re having a lot of fun. We’re working with the coolest people and it’s always surreal to be in moments like this…I was a vampire this morning in Baton Rouge…”

I didn’t get to see all of this in tact the first time, per usual, as the train barreled through in the middle of her speech, but with the beauty of YouTube, I was able to catch glimpses of The Greatness.

such joy. and color coordination. usual.

Unfortunately, like IOW, like always, the detractors and vultures, as well as the insecure, and the petty-voiced emerged from the shadows, despite the lovely night full of positivity (um, ok, only the last 30 minutes were truly tolerable). The BullShit People and NonSensicals were combing through the show’s video footage and pictures with weary eyes and toxic mouths, filtering through a loathing haze: comments indicating Kristen was too this, or not enough that, throwing around the usual familiar words and phrases: “awkward”, “cold”, “insecure”, “favoring Taylor, while ignoring Rob”, “weird”, all while she spoiled the movie” with her mention of being a vampire in Baton Rouge…Even “expert analysts” offered up opinions that were manipulated for an unkind agenda and published online as if accurate and unbiased. A’ight. Shut it. Because, again, like IOW and in countless situations presented, Kristen and Rob gave for the fans and were genuine, poised and graceful, even while they knew they were under fire. Thats Royalty, my friends.

New Resolve, New Vision

There are appropriate responses to the BullShit People, in Kristen’s life, in our own lives. To address some of Kristen’s critics, I feel it’s helpful to share some of my own discoveries in this two-week self-imposed withdrawal period. The Kick-Start to motivation, I mentioned earlier? Yeah, so I need a new cable service. But I also needed a mirror.  Remember the video interview conducted between myself and a psychotherapist search engine/advertising company a few weeks ago? Some of you lovelies imparted wonderful advice for me re: posture, colors to wear, colors to avoid (RED), the importance of eye contact….um. Yeah. I received the first round of edits back last week. I’m trying to hold back tears as I’m typing, I’m still so traumatized.

that was me, except I was wearing red and had my too-wild hair down

You know how startling it is when you hear your speaking voice for the first time in a voicemail? Have you experienced how awkward it is to watch yourself on a video screen, say in a home movie, or on your phone’s movie application?  I had a couple weeks to prepare for this forty-five minute interview in front of a small camera crew speaking about a topic I am familiar with and considered an “expert” in. When I arrived at the set for the filming, I felt pretty confident and calm. There was an issue with the background screen, hence me changing from a neutral toned sweater to a RED sweater, but no big, dramatic deal. We flowed. My interviewer was extraordinary and knowledgeable, and I was very comfortable with him, forgetting the camera was on me. I felt solid and grounded for the entire process, except when I blushed because the cute, nerdy AV guys were very complimentary. #ILoveNerds

A pic found off the greatest website ever: Awkward Family Photos. New Game: Spot the Other and give a fist pump

All right my interview video wasn’t  quite that awkward but this picture (along with the link to Women’s Day magazine) showed up when I googled “uncomfortable and awkward” and I had to share it. Let me tell you, these lovely folks have better hair and posture than I do in my video. My hair was too-long and a mass all around my big head, I was leaning to the side and speaking in some moments with a lisp…kay, what the fuck? I don’t have a lisp, and I am not cute like Drew Barrymore who does have a lisp.

My point is this: I had a couple weeks to prepare for the interview and take into account what you experienced folks advised for me. I am a confident conversationalist and I am knowledgeable in my area of study, which was the topic of the interview. The 45 minute interview was expertly pared down to 3 and half minutes and I sounded assured and knowledgeable….but  I personally  thought I appeared dreadful.

I had ample prep time and an editing team for my on-screen debut, and I still sought out the blemishes, the mistakes, the uncomfortable, my own private eye.  After the third viewing, I dried my tears and noticed that my makeup in the video was well done, and that my words were important and welcoming, and that my dress was nice…And how great is it that I have started my own tiny business and I have this great moment to share my work with other people?……See, I had time to review and acclimate, get comfortable with this re-evaluation, re-envisioning…

On the contrary, our Royal Kristen Stewart, having worked many hours on a film set, hops a plane with her 2 costars Rob and Taylor and flies across the continent from Baton Rouge to Los Angeles that same day to attend an award show that could be called abysmal at best for less than forty-five minutes. She did it for supporters of the Twilight Saga. And she did it with stunning grace and style. And in 15-Inch Heels no less. She looked incredible, and she was charming, sweet and humble. Rob didn’t have to come to the show (he didn’t win in any of the categories he was personally nominated in) but he was there. He was there to support the movie but more importantly to support Kristen. And yet people complained. People found the cadence of her speech, facial expressions or the direction she leaned offensive still and attempted to tear her down, tear down her relationship with Rob.

My request of those critics?? Video tape yourself wearing 15-inch heels walking up slippery steps in front of millions of people to give an endearing acceptance speech.Be sure to do it once you step off a plane after you’ve flown for 6 hours, ok?

We all have our Awkward Photo/VideoFace, my friends, but most of us are not forced to reveal it on live television and in front of esteemed peers (Ohai, Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp!!). Keep the perspective, everyone. We Others consistently work for this, and are appreciative when our Reinging Other Queen models such poise and grace for us.

Not too shabby, eh?

So after my own kick-start, I picked myself up off the floor and didn’t wallow for too long, though admittedly, when on holiday vacation and surviving familial drama hasn’t worn a gal down, then a stark video of herself with Yeti hair sure can cause some stumbling.

An addendum to some personal resolutions as direct response to my video viewing/PCAs viewing:

1. Cut the hair I have, it looks fabulous, and my hubs N flirts with me in an outrageous fashion lately. I like it. A Lot.

2. Sit up straight because it looks as if I’m folding in on myself or leaning to the side, as if I’m ashamed. What am I hiding from? I’m a knowledgeable, articulate girl! Slumping is distracting.

3. Remind myself that while I have my demons to struggle with, so many Others do as well. We are Other together.

4. Continue to keep things in perspective. Of all the perceived shortcomings and imperfections I can spot in myself and others (though our self-criticism is the loudest and most damning of all voices) there are far more favorable, felicitous and more encompassing matters that deserve my attention. So while I may not like my hair or my facial expressions in an advertisement video, the fact that I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to make an advertisement video transcends. And I live in a world where major things are happening: floods in South America and Australia, a fierce Congresswoman fighting for her life and babies being born *Waves to @Ophelia2010‘s beautiful Royal-Rebel-In-Training*.

Let’s chat a bit about how these Unconventional Beauties remind themselves to keep perspective and stay on course, shallll we??

Featured Royal Rebel: Natalie Portman

This exquisitely lovely Rebel has long held a place in my heart of hearts. She is only two years younger than I and I feel that I’ve grown up always conscious of her work in film and in the world in general. While she was known to the world audience as Queen Amidala (See? She was crowned royalty from the beginning) in the Star Wars Prequels, she had already gained traction and critical acclaim  (and my undying devotion) for her debut role as a 12-year-old orphan-turned assassin’s assistant in the glorious movie Leon (The Professional). She was only 12  and starring opposite esteemed actors Jean Reno and Gary Oldman. It was with her appearance in 1996’s Beautiful Girls–where she played a young neighbor with the an ancient soul of a poet opposite Timothy Hutton–that I realized this luminous girl was destined to join The Greats in the film industry. Of course, I am simply an audience member, not a film critic, nor an actor. So my assessment and grand statements stem only from my response to her presence and charisma on screen, and over time, from my admiration of unconventional choices she’s made  as a person and a woman that highlights her supreme Royal Otherness.

Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Natalie is the only child of physician father and artist mother. When Natalie was 3 years old, her family relocated to Washington D.C., and subsequently to New York where she spent her childhood. At age 11, the luminous Ms Portman was spotted by an agent while she was at a pizza parlor, and encouraged by said agent to pursue modeling. However,  Natalie declined the suggestion, choosing instead to concentrate on performance and acting. She had been enrolled in dance classes since she was four years old and performed in local troupes when she was not in school. Already at such a young age, our Featured Rebel was displaying her propensity towards Otherness, and traits that she shares with our Reigning Other Queen Kristen began emerging: ambition, dedication, determination, focus. Natalie reports, “I knew what I liked and what I wanted, and I worked very hard. I was a very serious kid.”

Her focus and passion simply informed her future choices. An animal rights advocate, Natalie chose to be a vegetarian when she was 8 years old, and became a vegan in 2009. She does not eat animal products or wear fur, feathers, or leather. While her star was rising, Natalie decided to only film movies during the summer breaks while she was in high school, and skipped the premiere of Star Wars: Episode 1 so she could study for her final exams. In one of many rebellious, Other moments, Natalie has said,

“I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star”

Well, she’s managed to be both. In 1999, Ms Portman began her attendance at Harvard University where she pursued her interest in foreign languages and ultimately earned a degree in psychology. Before her freshman year at the Ivy League University, Natalie had already had completed roles in six films, including Heat and Anywhere But Here. She adhered to her decision to limit any filming while she was enrolled at Harvard, with the exception of her work in The Star Wars prequels. She did, however, work alongside legendary actors Kevin Kline, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep in a New York City Theater Production of The Seagull.

In an age of over-tanned, siliconed, consta-smiling contemporaries, Natalie turned the opposite direction and sought enhancement of her intellect. She dropped out of the entertainment industry to study and research enzymatic production of hydrogen as well as frontal lobe activation, both studies earning the esteemed honor of publication in professional scientific journals. Um. How sexy is THAT? Verra verra sexxah, if you ask me.

Serio. How hot is THIS?

After her graduation from Harvard in 2003, Natalie began to seamlessly appear in films again, balancing independent (read: transcendant) projects such as the splendorous Garden State and the Award-Winning though heart-heavy Closer (for which Natalie was nominated for her first Oscar Award). She is a supporter of antipoverty movements and promotes micro-lending to assist financial support to women who own businesses in 3rd-World countries such as Uganda, Guatamala and Ecuador. She refers to herself as “boring” and admits that there is “so much else to do in the world…to just do films would limit my life.” She relishes that she has close girlfriends now, and that she sees them every day to enjoy mundane activities such as hiking, museum attending, having lunch. She humbly deflects the immense praise raining down upon her for her the dark, stylish horror-amongst ballerinas film Black Swan. Natalie is on every prestigious watch list imaginable and is the front-runner for an Academy Award nomination and win. The story of Black Swan could really symbolize Ms Natalie’s own story: acknowledging, confronting and embracing all facets of herself to reach her highest creative potential, her highest self, her authentic self. The Scientist, The Poet, The Student, The Actress, The Daughter, The Woman, The Child, The Advocate, The Rapper…?

Please tell me you’ve seen Natalie’s outrageously hysterical SNL Digital Short in which she is the scariest, most bad-ass rapper with Andy Samberg as her Viking Sidekick? Puh-LEEEEEZE tell me you’ve seen it! If you havent… Well, Here You Go:

CLICK THIS PIC for Natalie to go gansta on your asssss. You won't be sorry.

So as Natalie progresses into this new phase of life–she and her Black Swan choreographer/ballet dancer fiance Benjamin Millepied are expecting their first child together–she will continue to gracefully, gorgeously, seamlessly meld the facets of who she is, all the hats she wears together as one. Living it, being her “fullest self”, as she calls it. Because Natalie Portman feels that living and being her “fullest self” is the most difficult, therefore the most pleasurable existence, she is Rebel Royalty.

Offenses of Otherness:

*Prefers getting an education over acting

*States that recognition for her work is lovely, but not important. At. All.

“The moment you believe the idea you’re above anyone else, is the moment you need to be slapped in the face”

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

After her regal and award-winning appearance at The PCA’s, Kristen literally hopped onto a plane with Rob and Taylor and flew back to Baton Rouge to continue filming the last two installments of Breaking Dawn. With the start of a new year, it’s only natural to wonder what our Majestic Misfit’s future plans are. We know she is scheduled to film BD until approximately May/June of this year and promotion for the final installments will continue through 2012. But will our girl decide if her next role will be another art-house Indie or a studio film with risk-taking, unconventional directors?

First still from BD. *bowing down to Bill Condon. Again.*

The Publication Vulture online  spoke with producers and agents regarding Ms Stewart’s uniquely powerful position as a successful franchise actor with Indie cred in an article from October 2010. It is no secret that our Rebel Queen is well-respected and well liked by her Hollywood peers. A top agent interviewed for this article reports that Kristen possesses “depth” and scope that is “highly unusual” for her age and a rarity in comparison to her contemporaries. But could her decision to do a commercial, studio movie after Twilight wraps prove harmful? Or would that route be the key to her success?  These are the musings of the Vulture article author. This is where I feel Kristen’s feisty and stunning uniqueness, her Otherness emerges. How “success” is defined is subjective. Success can mean drawing a large crowd at the box office. Success also can mean that the actor feels a personal affinity with the role chosen. Kristen has always shown a tremendously accurate instinct in choosing her roles. She also has never picked a project featuring a character to whom she cannot relate . In the fantastic Flaunt interview of Issue 109, the enchanting actress says:

“People want you to be so over the moon for the position you’re in, that you have no principles, no sense of the world around you…Well, I don’t want to be that”

Our Misfit Rebel Kristen does not choose projects based on an obvious Pay Day or box office clout, nor fame. She seeks work that satisfies her genuine, inquisitive, nature, and she is curious as to how the role can be expressed through a particular filter–knowledge– as a young woman in today’s society. The analysts at Vulture wonder how she can bridge her talents as a dramatic actress in tiny films to an audience-garnering “movie star”. And while it’s understandable as to why industry insiders are encouraging Kristen to pursue bigger-budgeted films, these analysts don’t seem to truly account for our feisty Queen’s propensity towards the unexpected.I don’t think they get “it”.  Kristen does not seek fame,  nor does she petition for the Popularity vote  (although she is Musings’ Ambassador of Other, but that’s because I nominated and elected her. *shrugs*). She does not desire the title of “Movie Star”. She dislikes labels altogether quite frankly. Instead Kristen Stewart quests for a visceral connection with the characters she chooses to portray, and admits and accepts that it’s could be either a “hit or miss”  with an audience. It’s her willingness to take risks, but unwillingness to sacrifice authenticity and principals that assures me. When and if she’s approached a cross roads in this new year, she will simply push forward in her journey for genuine and meaningful connection. Something tells me Kristen Jaymes will be juuuust fine. Whatever project she does participate in next, I imagine I’ll be stunned and inspired, as always.

Offenses of Otherness:

*Unwavering dedication to the protection of her personal life.

*Views fame as the least important of values derived from work.

“The perception of me that I don’t give a fuck…Could not be further from the truth”

Well, Lovelies, as this first Musings for 2011 winds to a close, the reveal of  Kristen’s new VOGUE cover emerged….Let’s take a reverent moment of silence together now…

Today we spoke of living life fully and reminding ourselves to re-evaluate and perhaps make adjustments to our goals for the year if it means we’re still in touch with perspective and pursuing different modes of obtaining and embracing Otherness.  I needed this two week break to remind myself (and watch a video of myself) that I had a vision, a path for this year. Stay the course. I’m still on the Royal Court float, even when it’s bumpy.

Natalie Portman is enjoying the fruits of merging her many facets into one strong, independent, thriving beauty. Because she seeks challenges outside of the options placed in front of her, Natalie is an Majestic Misfit and Rebel Queen.

Kristen Stewart is blessed with opportunity at a crossroads. She may not have to make any adjustments to her plan this New Year because she has already achieved personal and professional success, no matter how it’s defined. Because she continues to march through the crossroads (standards, expectations) on an unconventional route, Kristen Stewart is our Reinging Other Queen.

Natalie is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others recognize the importance of revisiting resolutions.

Embrace your Other.

 

QUESTION: Are you a resolution maker for the New Year? What triggers you to re-evaluate resolutions and goals?

A/N: Ok Loves. Next week (and maybe sooner, because Kristen Goodness is BLOWING UP these days), we’re talking biggies: First Loves, First Loss, and  the glories of Risk Taking. You know why.

There is so much love for you, those who have stuck with me these past 6+ months. Your letters, emails, tweets, subscriptions, comments…they humble me and make me cry. You own me completely. It’s going to be a fantastic year, I think. Yours, KJ

The Season for Perspective

16 Dec

Well, my Lovelies, it’s that wonderful time of year. Christmas, Hanukkah, NYEve and New Year’s Day…New resolutions, frenzied shopping and oh my goodness the sweet treats! The carols! The lights! The movies and music! The fudge. The old-school TV specials! (Did anybody else watch It’s A Yogi Christmas? ‘Heeeey, Boo Boo’, says Yogi Bear, not Rob via the Eclipse Commen-tree). **PSA ANNOUNCEMENT: This is the first of many, many references to Robert Thomas Pattinson I will make in this post. For those of you “fans” who write me to yell at and insult me for even alluding to Rob on what you think is  supposed to “only be a Kristen Blog”, you have been warned. Perhaps you might want to skip this post. Because I’m going to talk a lot about  Our Reigning Queen Kristen in addition to her professional and personal mate Robert, who is also a Featured Royal Rebel and Ambassador of Other.**

Well,  I’m typing with cold, stiff fingers today since N and I try to keep our utility bills low by running the heater only when necessary (blue lips, chattering teeth), but we’re blessed in that it rarely gets to that point. I won’t dare speak about “cold”, since as a Cali native and resident, I may not truly experience the cold that say, my friend Sav does in Ireland, or my mid-westie Sisters. They’ve IM’d or written emails this week indicating their thermometers say it’s -10 degrees F. I have no idea what that means. Seriously. This is what I’m hearing: “It’s cold, fuckers!!. I know this because my eye lashes froze, and my car handle broke off, and I have to shovel snow off the driveway…but my teeth are chattering too hard and our power went out…and..and…”

Ok, even FrozenStew trumps all. Recognize.

So I’ve been pleased that NinjaStew has managed to stay under the radar per her usual stealthy self. It isn’t about what we want for Kristen and Rob. It’d be lovely to glimpse her beautiful face again sure, but I’m much happier knowing that she is immersed in work and remaining out of the limelight because it’s what she prefers. And that’s what today’s essay will be about: Refocusing. Shifting lenses of perspective from which we view our surroundings, ourselves, Kristen and our fellow Others. While we may be hankering for a glimpse of our Reigning Other Queen and her Deliciously Handsome Poet Warrior, Kristen and Rob have both made it abundantly clear that they prefer to proceed through their daily existence with little to no attention paid to them. Of course, they acknowledge that they have extremely high profile professions, and there are public appearances and press junkets they are required to attend for the J-O-B (but oh how we appreciate how well they clean up). . .

But both Kristen and Rob, though Kristen more adamantly, express their hope of keeping their personal lives private, and separate from their work world. I think it’s good to be reminded of this about our Reigning Royalty. So how are we going to prompt ourselves to keep perspective?  I suggest we bring awareness back to basics and…oh, yes. LOVE. We’re gonna talk about LOVE today.

Why? you may ask. Well, for a few reasons. . .

1. I keep saying I’ll write about Love for Musings. Just trying to keep my promise.

2. It’s the holiday season, and it’s not uncommon to become overwhelmed with all the details: food, shopping, party-planning, work stats, obligations, bills, being nice to family  members you really despise, the influx of memories. And why  do we decide to gather, celebrate, sing, cry or passionately argue, laugh, and dance  at all? Oh yeah. LOVE.

3. It’s the end of another year in this nutty but passionately colorful fandom. While there are several subsets and sub-subsets of support for Twilight, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, what is the common denominator of it all? LOVE. See, whether its love of the original Twilight books and the spin off into the outrageously addictive Twi Fan Fiction; or whether we’re drawn to the movies and therefore the actors portraying young protagonists navigating timeless and somewhat obsessive and  passionate feelings for one another…it’s L-O-V-E.

4. We need the reminder of what it’s about every now and again. That perspective shake up I talked about earlier, we need it. We forget it. Even though it’s all around us.

:::CASE IN POINT:::

This week, a picture was–regardless if by accident or not–released online featuring our Royal Rebels Kristen and Robert posing in front of a Christmas tree with Rob’s parents in what appears to be the living room with a European-style layout and design. Rob, with a mane that rivaled a Serengeti lion’s, had one arm around his mother and another arm wrapped around Kristen with her shorter, black bob, their fingers interlaced on her shoulder. The picture is clearly from last year. The picture clearly intimates several loving factors:

a. It simply solidifies and confirms the Paris hand-holding pics that had been scooped the previous month, Nov ’09. They are continuing to display their affection for and with each other.

b. It was a year ago. Friends, from my observations over the past two years, Kristen and Rob have given every indicator that they’ve been close and quite fond of one another for so much longer than people really understand. And yet. . .there are still folks who doubt they are an authentic relationship. #Nonsensicals

c. Rob’s parents were in the picture with them. At Christmas time. Who do you spend your big holidays with? Your family. Whether by blood or by bonds of friendship that are just as potent as blood, holiday gatherings are amongst family. To me, this picture indicates that Rob and his parents consider Kristen, apart of their family.

It was a lovely picture, but I did not post or retweet it because I felt that it was clearly a private moment not meant to be seen (consumed, shredded) by the public. But even in the minute of looking it over, I could identify the tell tale signs that Kristen and Rob (and his parents) were both so very happy.

Then my feelings of foreboding and sadness flooded in because I don’t think the Pattinson Family’s private photos should be open to fodder and dissection, nor Kristen or Robert’s personal lives. And then the drama unleashed. High profile “fans”/”shippers” in the Twi-fandom began publicly bashing and shaming other fans for enjoying “the private” photo too much, all while claiming that they’ve possessed it for many months prior, this private family photo mind you; and, the division between “Insiders” and “just regular fans” was ripped farther apart (because didn’t you know that there is a hierarchy of fans in this community? *inserts sarcasm*). Websites/blogs were publishing the photo so fast that before you could say, “Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn” (and let’s face it, that’s a mouthful too, but whatev), the tweets grew to the tens of thousands. The tweets posted were  public arguments about who had the right to publish which photos and when….annnnd the insults were traded, and standoffs were initiated, “judgements” handed down. Uh, WTF JUST HAPPENED??  Where did the semblance of perspective disappear to? Did Rob and Kristen really trigger a Twitter War with a Christmas photo?? So the focus was lost, the perspective had shifted so far away from the original idea of supporting a couple of awkwardly charming, shy and gifted artists who loved their craft and have love for one another.

Rob to Kris: Maybe if we stand here really quiet and still, the masses will run right past us and not notice. Kris: Good plan.

Suddenly it wasn’t about the love anymore. Overlooked in the petty fighting was the message depicted by that private picture: The family love. The loving relationship that Kristen and Rob more visibly share. The love of love which brought many of us into this fandom in the very beginning, years ago. Suddenly, it was like the Twi Fandom and Twitter had begun enacting the battleground  strategy that propelled the plot for Eclipse: Who can wrestle control of as many “red dots”  (followers, fans) as possible? Who is faster at posting an exclusive photo? Who has the most followers on Twitter (because that number indicates almighty TRUTH of a person’s status and level of integrity amongst the fans, right?)?? Whom is entrusted with “insider” information? Nope. I’m not hearing anything about the privacy and protection of Kristen and Rob or their families in these fights, except maybe to further their own agenda.

:::A SHIFT IN PARADIGM:::

There are a few ways we can help out our Fellow Majestic Misfits and balance out the focus, and return to the basics.

1. Honor the request for personal privacy; Focus on the work. Ok, so you all know obviously, that I support Kristen and Rob  (separately and together). I am concerned by the shift that some of the better known “shippers” in the community have undergone in the past year. It feels that the focus has drifted and it’s no longer about simply celebrating the careers and personal happiness of two artists who are intelligent, unconventional (i.e. OTHER), and refreshing. So if it’s not about which online community is most popular or the most inside, then the interest swings towards their personal, private lives.  Is it any wonder that Rob and Kristen have to put on their armor whenever they step outside their work or homes?

There is such joy in listening to the Eclipse commentary (or, “Commen-tree”, says Rob) these past weeks. But in the very beginning of it all, in the great Twilight audio commen-tree, Kristen told Catherine Hardwicke #TeamChattyCathy and Rob that when she would do her on-set schoolwork (since she was a minor, under 18 at the time Twilight began filming) in classrooms at the school that served as Forks High School, people (the school’s actual students?) would constantly knock on the port hole, the small window in the door, when she was  trying to complete her work. She effectively described it as feeling “like a monkey in a cage”. How much do you want to bet that the feeling [like an animal on display] has increased tenfold for Kristen? Colleagues and friends of our Queen Kristen and her equally Rebellious Consort Rob never comment to the press with their editorial on Rob and Kristen’s personal relationship, but rather, draw praise and accolades for their professional successes.

Kristen’s On The Road costars Garrett Hedlund (yum) and Amy Adams (another lovely ginger with immense talent) both had wonderfully kind compliments for Kristen:

“Kristen is incredible. And in this, everyone will see how hard a worker she is, and the devotion she puts into her work. Her performance [in On The Road] is going to be exposed highly” ~ Garret Hedlund

Amy Adams says:

“[Kristen] is awesome. I’d seen her since she was in Panic Room, and knew she was fantastic…Thought she was wonderful in Into the Wild. The girl’s got some chops! And on top of that, she is just really sweet.”

OHai, beautiful StrawberryStew!

And Robert’s new movie Water for Elephants is earning favorable and promising reactions to the just-released trailer for the film. *TAKES A DEEP BREATH* Dude. The trailer for WFE is unbelievable. It’s gorgeous and feels epic. Sit down for a minute and give yourself a gift of the WFE Trailer… HERE>>>>WATER FOR ELEPHANTS TRAILER . His costars, both Oscar-Winning actors, Christoph Waltz and Reese Witherspoon offer commendatory reviews of Rob’s performance as well as his personal character.

Christoph says:

“You’re going to see Rob in a whole new way, a good way. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he were to receive an Oscar nod for this role.”

Reese says:

“He [Rob] is a very sweet, kind man with the nicest family. He worked very hard on this movie and looks great in it too. He’s going through such a weird  life experience right now, but handling it so beautifully, and with such grace.”

2. Remember that we are ALL Other together. This is where I’m gonna drop the L Word (also an excellent though now completed TV show) again on you, my friends. Another thing we all have in common, aside from our ravishingly unique inner and outer beauty, is that we have one, two, maybe twenty  or more people we care about. I encourage us all to remember what it is like to love someone: A spouse, partner, friends, roommates, boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, etc…. I personally would throw myself in front of a bus if it meant saving my beloved Monkey niece from feeling pain. You parental units out there know exactly the level of sacrifice you would make for the LOVE of your child. Is it too far-fetched to think you might want to protect your loved ones from physical plus verbal and emotional stressors? Is it too ungainly to believe that Kristen and Robert feel this passionate protectiveness over their own hearts and physical well-being, in addition to each others’?

3. Bring it back to YOU. As always, I remind myself and my fellow Misfits to find the courage to look in the mirror, to ask myself what I can control and contribute in this fandom and in my 3D life. I can’t control how others behave publicly and in their personal lives, but I can do something about how I am representing for Otherness. If I am reacting passionately and emotionally to something happening in the Cyber World, or in the Twi Fandom, I stop myself and wonder, “What is this? What is happening in my life right now that is effecting how I view this situation?” And with a little quiet time,  withdrawal from being online or engrossed in a project, I find my answers. My own relationship, my own job, my family, my financial matters or my pathway to Bliss have been neglected.

While this Kristen & Rob Christmas Picture drama erupted in the online fandom the other night, I removed myself from any debates and checked my emails. It turns out I had received an email from a work colleague from a counseling agency I used to work with a few years ago, back in my home town. I learned, to my great shock, that another former coworker of mine was in a horrific car accident a couple days ago and she is in critical care at a hospital. Her husband, her love, a man I believe was her soul mate, was killed. He was only a couple years older than I, in his early to mid-thirties and desperately in love with my friend who is now a young widow. The whole of my former agency is devastated. They had been married only three years.

Yesterday, my good friend called, appropriately so, @TrueLove was laid off from a prestigious legal position that she’s held for many years. A week before Christmas. She’s a mother and a wife and a skilled professional and she, like millions of us, are unemployed.

My husband N and I are  preparing for our second interview with U.S. Immigration to review N’s status as a permanent resident here in the U.S. (Note: See the movie Green Card  for immigration shenanigans!)  I was going to tell you all our story, it’s pretty incredible, but perhaps I’ll give the details another time. I’ve spoken a lot this essay. But I can say that N and I have experienced challenges of scrutiny, naysayers and great concern because of the way we met, and how we “courted” and the exotic ways we tried to fight to keep a relationship alive when we were never on the same continent together. We’ve been married for over 2 years now, and we’re still under the magnifying glass because N comes from a country that is placed on  the “Red Flag” list.  (i.e. threat of terrorism due to Religious affiliation).

So seriously. There are enough real-life, unbelievably profound events occurring as we speak. Does a Twitter popularity contest or the curiosity about the personal lives of two young artists –who don’t want the attention anyway–take precedence over life, death, family, unemployment and immigration issues?

PERSPECTIVE.

So the picture above, of the beautiful afterglow? That was taken by N. He is an extraordinarily gifted photographer, today taking a leap in following his own bliss. *If you’re interested in seeing more of N’s photos, contact KinoPhotography@gmail.com. He’ll link you to his gallery that we’re in process of setting up*. We didn’t even know he was so gifted in photography until he came here to The States almost 3 years ago, and began playing around with my point-and-shoot digital camera. So here we are, encouraging each other to follow our Bliss.

It is here that I’d normally move on to introduce the Featured Rebel Royal for the week. But I think the two Majestic Misfits we’ve discussed today already beautifully illustrate my Musings on the good practice of keeping perspective…and LOVE. I’ll happily give them free reign of Musings this week. *cheesy grin*.

REIGNING OTHER QUEEN: KRISTEN STEWART

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

ROBERT IS OTHER.

KRISTEN IS OTHER.

OTHERS DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE LARGER PERSPECTIVE.

EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.

 

QUESTION: How do you prompt yourself back to YOU in order to maintain perspective?

A/N: I have updated the Sentence Completion Activity in the ABOUT KJ section…check it and leave some of your own answers if you feel inspired to do so! For next week, I will post a Holiday Edition of Musings with a new Giveaway that will have very much to do with PERSPECTIVE and The Pursuit of BLISS (pssst, check N’s photography). We’ll talk holiday traditions, and a Kristen Stewart 2010 Retrospective…

CC over at KSIBTU is asking you to send in pics of how you and your city shows Holiday Spirit (and how of course, Kristen is far superior to all-KSIBTU after all). Send yours into her! Here are mine that I’m sending… See you next week, Lovelies!! Always, KJ

This beautiful wooden, painted train is carrying large, colorfully wrapped presents. It is beneath a ginormous, decorated Pine tree placed on the center divider of a major street. Can you see the traveling Other Tiara?

T-Rex can be found among the giant Snow Flakes of the Science Museum

You Already Know

2 Dec

What happened to fury?

What happened to accuracy

or accountability?

What happened to kindness?

What happened to teenagers kissing, instead of blogging and dissing?

What happened to teenagers marching and refusing

Instead of exploiting and using?

I say let’s speak it

Let’s fight it.

Let’s right it.

It sucks but it’s true.

It’s you and me, baby.

~You Tell Me How To Be a Girl In 2010 by Eve Ensler

Well, my dears, we’ve somehow moved to December…How did this happen? I hope this week finds you lovely folks sated and in the throes of preparing for family gatherings, consumption of obnoxiously large meals; scoping out too-sweet-to-ignore-sales and observing spiritual and religious traditions of great importance to you and your tribe. Last week, you all sent such wonderful declarations of gratitude in response to my own list of thankfulness, regardless of whether or not you were apart of a culture that celebrated Thanksgiving as we Yanks do. Musings enjoys readership from all over the world (it rocks my socks off when I get notifications or a tweet/email from readers from faraway, exotic locales such as Bulgaria or South Korea for example) and last week we all joined in for a moment of gratitude for our Reigning Queen of Other Kristen Stewart and her beloved. It was truly an awesome, extraordinary experience. As usual, I bow down to you all for hanging with me in this colorful quest towards embracing Otherness and celebrating it as it resides in Kristen Stewart, in our peers and family…in ourselves.

Kristen’s excited for all the Otherness-Embracing too.

Ms Stewart has embodied vintage NinjaStew for the past couple weeks, in the aftermath of Braziliapalooza. She and her rakishly handsome partner were able to fly under the radar and spend Thanksgiving undisturbed, or at least, out of the public eye. There were moments of contention amongst the stalkers exuberant fans as different sources placed Kristen and/or Rob in four or five different locations ranging from Los Angeles to Colorado, Baton Rouge or New York over the holiday weekend, though one picture, clarified Rob’s location: In L.A., at a vintage guitar shop he has frequented previously. And we all know if Rob’s in L.A. on holiday, and Kristen’s on holiday, with an opportunity to be near her family, then they’re most likely together. They’ve  managed to master  The Stealth with their arrivals and departures to and from The City of Angels.

So much WIN in this picture. Beautiful new guitar. Beautiful old LB Hat. Rob.

A GIGGLY NARRATIVE

However, as it’s happened in the past, when there is a lull in NEWS from the K & R Camp, the natives get restless. Those of us left clamoring for glimpses of The Pretty revisit former interviews, images from now-legendary photoshoots (*cough* Harpers Bazaar, Interview, Nylon *cough*) and re-watch movies to take the edge off. Which movies do I watch when I need a shot of Lovely Kristen? Adventureland and Twilight with commentary (duh). So this week, partially due to my need to recover from the holiday weekend, what with illnesses and judgmental relatives, and also partially due to needing to fill my quota of Rom-Com/Holiday Movie viewings, I found myself hermitting. I pulled a NinjaStew if you will: watched movies, baked cookies, grabbed some ZZZZz’s; read copious amounts of fan fic and viewed Twilight with commentary (duh). Perfect timing, of course, as December 4, this Saturday, the Eclipse DVD drops in stores and arguably the most anticipated extra among the coveted special features is the audio commentary of the film delivered by the film’s leads: Kristen and Robert. OH. YESSSS. We didn’t have this luxury of the comedy duo known as Kris-and-Robert-Variety-Hour for New Moon. And even with Twilight, we were graced with the lovely, locquacious Ms. Cathy Hardwicke in the room with our Royal Rebels. Nuh uh. Not this time. Eclipse boasts a narrative featuring long-distance chatting and giddiness as Kristen was in Montreal filming On the Road, and Rob was in Los Angeles having wrapped up Water for Elephants filming. It was about the time, if you’ll recall, that Rob and his bestie Tom Sturridge (whom I ADORE and watched Pirate Radio during MovieFest last weekend for my #TeamTommy fix) were spotted on at least two separate occasions at In-N-Out. Perhaps this jogs your memory:

Try to catch me Ridin Drrrty

*Small Spoiler*–as I know several folks holding out (admirably, I might add) to listening to the commentary before the DVD release–Robert commences the narrative while munching on an In-N-Out burger. This act taunts Kristen who is far away from her hometown, her significant other and the obscenely delectable aforementioned burger joint at this point in time. While Rob munches on his burger, and notes aloud he has a second one awaiting consumption, Kristen reports that she is “harboring hostility” that Rob is enjoying such yummy goodness without her, but also publicly and audibly. So this is all within the first 5 minutes of the commentary. *End of Small Spoiler*

I personally think Kris and Rob should take their chemistry and comedy act on the road. They are magical and create a joyful synergy together. I would love listening to their running editorials on daily life: Taking out the trash, breakfast foods, wigs, and relationship advice. If you haven’t listened to a commentary by Kristen and Rob, I suggest you drop what you’re doing and pop in your copy of Twilight and get on that goodness, because come Saturday, Version 2.0 Bigger, Better, Gigglier is ON. You won’t be sorry. It’s especially nice to “witness”–or hear–a relaxed, comfortable and unguarded Kristen Stewart. All the qualities we admire in our Reigning Queen are expressed: intelligence, awareness, humility, compassion, humor, articulation, giddiness, respect and generosity for colleagues, knowledge, kindness…and affection for Rob.

You can actually HEAR this in the commentary

YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT TO DO

Commentary greatness and my personal Recuperation MovieFest aside, I also revisited previous interviews that Kristen gave in the past year as I formulated this week’s Musings. I stumbled upon a January 2010 interview that Kristen gave to British Fantasy Society’s publication Dark Horizons and per usual, I was stuck by the poetry and synchronicity of the moment. Kristen spoke about the theme for this essay, before I had written my thoughts down. I just kinda knew. Every week, my process for writing Musings varies. Often, I take cues from what is happening in Kristen’s life for an opportunity to reflect and weave the event into a theme that is evident in the fandom, or in society as a whole…in our lives. This week, in a reversal of fortune, the theme for Musings presented itself through a personal experience in my own life. Afterwards, I found an interview in which Kristen alludes to a parallel experience. Yet another reminder that we really are all not so different, hmmm? Others together.

I encountered a rather jarring situation which had me pondering (“long-thinking” as my friend @ellelala refers to it) subjects such as intuition, resilience and self-preservation. And Kristen, speaking to Dark Horizons interviewer/author Paul Fischer, spoke of adversities she faces as a professional,  self-preservation and awareness.

“For me, the biggest adversity I face is The Bloggers….Suddenly, I can get anyone’s opinion at the click of a mouse. [Hearsay via media] is sometimes really very destructive…”

This statement of Kristen’s has me recalling the pervasive and destructive feedback she received (without having asked for it) when the pictures of her wearing her bikini while filming the honeymoon scenes in Breaking Dawn hit the world-wide-web. As I reviewed last week, pictures like this—

…unwittingly and unfairly triggered bloggers, and sadly this includes a handful of Fanfiction authors, plus anyone with access to the internet and a public “entertainment  news” site to give their opinions on Kristen’s physical form. Whole posts were dedicated to zooming in and analyzing Kristen’s anatomy.  More alarmingly, a rather unethical, smarmy “reporter” from a Brazilian reality TV show posed as a crew member and  breached set security to videotape/screen capture images of Kristen and Rob on the set of Breaking Dawn, during private moments when the film cameras were not rolling. The undercover TV reporter was in an uncomfortably close physical proximity to Kristen. While I only glanced at perhaps two images from this event (I declined to look at the video or the screen caps before they were seized by Twilight’s production company, removed from the internet), I felt a heavy ball of dread in my stomach and a concern for Kristen and Rob’s physical safety. Sheds a whole new light on Kristen’s now famous statement comparing paparazzi intrusions to feelings of “watching someone get violated (raped?)” doesn’t it?  So there it is, my Musings topic: Intuition and self preservation, or rather, the moment our intuition (aka our inner voice, our body’s protective system) kicks in and sends us warning messages for self-preservation and survival. Fight or Flight.

whispered the still, small voice

A personal story:::  Just a couple nights ago, I was home alone as N was away working. It had already grown dark (as it does in these days of Late Fall/Winter) and I was tucked away in bed reading and making notes for advertising the Magical Little Practice. Suddenly a series of loud, consistent knocking reverberated through our tiny studio of hardwood floors and little insulation against the unusual cold for this time of year. I was completely jarred upright. I did not like the sounds of the knocks on my door. I immediately tensed up, pulled the covers tighter around myself.  Every fiber of my being was yelling at me to NOT ANSWER THE DOOR. We don’t have an adequate peep-hole in our front door because the door is covered in sound & weather-proofing material at this time (N has since remedied this, as a result of this event), so I couldn’t stealthily make my way over to peek on my unexpected “visitor”. I immediately texted my husband and asked if he was expecting a delivery, or any visitors. He quickly texted back, “NO”. The knocking ceased for about a minute, but then started again. Loud, rapid, jarring raps (almost could be called pounding) against my front door, but no verbalizations, no one calling my name out, no texts announcing an impromptu visit from friends or family. I quickly deduced that this person was not familiar. Our little studio is one level apart of a larger house, and our front door is not visible from the sidewalk. The only way someone would know where our front door is, is if they’ve stood in front of it before, or they are actively seeking it out. Minutes, maybe five after the second and third rounds of sharp knocking finally silenced, I, against my intuition and bodily warning signs, cracked open my front door.

And saw…nothing. But my inner ninjaturtle  was screeching in my ear, demanding I slam the door shut, bolt it, chain it, and go back to bed, because something had been there just minutes earlier. So I slammed the door shut, and bolted it. After exchanging a few texts with N about what happened, I catalogued the event as a slightly unsettling, but otherwise not-unusual category.  I didn’t recall the warning signs until later. The signs, as I mentioned before, are produced when our body and our deepest soul recognizes what is happening long before our brain does. In his incredibly resourceful book called The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker urges us to listen to our intuition, and our body’s physiological need to continue existing. Why am I discussing this book right now in the middle of my weekly tribute to the Royal Rebel Ms Kristen Stewart?

Well, for one thing, I received a pretty sobering email from my mother, a day or so ago after the FORCEFUL KNOCKING INCIDENT. The letter outlined information regarding Mom’s friend’s brother, who needs a professional counselor to talk to, possibly through The Magical Little Practice. This brother, for safety purposes we’ll call him D, was the only witness in the case of murder. D had seen a man RAPIDLY, LOUDLY POUNDING ON DOORS of several different apartments in his building. The Knocking Man(iac) came to D‘s door too. D did not answer his door. Something inside of D warned him against doing so. Unfortunately, tragically, D’s neighbor did open her door. D’s neighbor was murdered last week. Thanksgiving holiday.  The murderer has been identified and is in prison.

DEEP BREATH. Are you hanging with me? I needed to tell this story for a few reasons, one, to process the sanctity and briefness of our time here in this world; and another, to pay homage and condolences for a woman to lose her life in such a horrifically violent way. Finally, I wanted to say this: We are entrusted with personal security systems within our minds and bodies and hearts, to protect us against people or things willing harm against us. The term harm encompasses destruction on many levels including emotional, psychological, spiritual as well as physical. I truly believe there is goodness out there, but I have witnessed darkness as well, in my profession working with the mentally ill, and simply as a human being, seeking knowledge for living in this world. De Becker’s book The Gift of Fear outlines and urges us to be aware of physical warning signs of danger–increased heart rate, an attacker’s body language, an attacker’s verbal language–as well as internal signals–our intuition, our instincts, our awareness.  I believe that De Becker’s guide also could and should be applied to awareness for emotional and psychological attacks as well. Kristen Stewart, our Reigning Queen, is subjected to and vulnerable to all of the above: Emotional/verbal, psychological, and physical attacks.

You’ve witnessed it, my friends. We all have: The Cyberbullying of fellow “fans”, heated arguments between Nonsensicals and Shippers (a name, which, for the record, I’ve never enjoyed or used when describing my support of Kristen and Rob), anonymous commenters degrading, insulting, mocking, writing letters about, publicly discussing and bashing everything regarding Kristen Stewart. Interspersed in these public ‘discussions’ are threats of physical harm, but more shockingly obvious are the verbal, emotional and character abuse unleashed on Ms Stewart. Guess which type of abuse is harder to recover from? OH YES. Countless psychological case studies have proven that people (women AND men) seek counseling support for the destruction of emotional/psychological/character abuse they experienced. Bruises and broken bones, while painful and horrific, will heal up again. Low self esteem, low self-worth, anxiety, depression and addictions can last lifetimes.

So what does a Rebel Queen do to preserve herself?

REBEL TIPS FROM REBEL QUEENS

I draw from my studies as a psychotherapist, practicing self-soothing techniques (meditation, playing music), self reflection and also, knowledge I’ve gained in my own experiences of being in danger. Aside from the clenching stomach, the increased heart rate, and the inner guide screaming in my ear to back away, back away!, I also hold first-hand knowledge of experiencing a fight-or-flight choice. I vaguely addressed once in the Musings essay titled  Finding Your Voice and The Courage to Sing Loudly, my own experience of having a man break into my apartment with an intent to assault me. I know my own instinctual drives were roaring loudly, and in my quest to fight and self-preserve, an eerie calm flooded my bloodstream and I could hear myself strategize survival.

Kristen’s survival plan has formulated based on her extensive experience in show business, as well as her observations of her peers and role models. “…a really, really, really thick-developed armor” is in place for Kristen’s friend Joan Jett, as Kristen tells Dark Horizon. “It’s a self preservation thing..she’s a survivor”. Kristen is referring to Jett’s ability to cope with emotional attacks at a time (during the 70’s and early 80’s) when the public would say and do anything in person (versus via cyberspace, which hadn’t been invented yet) to give their opinion of performers and public figures.

Kristen’s adversaries are the bloggers, The Bullshit People, the judgmental, the faceless, Screen-Named though anonymous attackers with an exorbitant amount of time on their hands. Also on the rise are a group of “fans” (who, are really another brand of not-really fans) who view themselves as supporters and defenders of Robert, and trash Kristen at every opportunity because they believe she is “unappreciative ” of Mr Pattinson. Though, I’m pretty sure there is more evidence of a mutual adoration between Robert and Kristen than the contrary…Liiiiiiike…..

Annnnnddd….

So there have been many ways that Kristen (and through her, for her, Rob) has offensively protected herself.

KRISTEN:

  • OWNS what is HERS. No apologies.
  • Keeps her private life PRIVATE
  • Declines joining any social networking sites
  • Keeps a close-knit circle of family and friends as her support system
  • Does things because she chooses to not because she is told to.
  • Employs her internal BULLSHIT DETECTOR
  • Looks the woman in the mirror straight in the eye~she knows and trusts herself and her instincts

And what can WE do as fellow OTHERS and Majestic Misfits to Preserve and SAVE our Fellow OTHERS from destruction?

WE OTHERS CAN:

  • Respect Privacy  and personal lives, especially if it is at the request of an Other
  • Refrain from getting pulled into petty fights on any social networking sites, with other supporters
  • Remember to USE WORDS WISELY–any bashing we do publicly, paints us in certain light as well
  • Remember we are ROLE MODELS in the community to people of different ages, cultures & backgrounds
  • Know and check in with our close-knit circle of family and friends frequently-they are who support us
  • Remind ourselves that if we “support” a Rebel Royal, we support their choices for happiness
  • Continue to EMBRACE OUR OWN OTHERNESS
  • Remember that WE ARE ALL OTHER

FEATURED REBEL ROYAL: CLAIRE DANES

I know I’ve had a lot to say today…But I did want to make some time for a modest introduction to an Other who has managed to walk outside the periphery of convention while in the public eye. Inspired by a musical selection on last week’s playlist, Late At Night, by Buffalo Tom, and the squeals of recognition from fellow AngelaChaseIsOther Supporters (looking at YOU, @DrownInIt), I decided to feature a Rebel Royal that I’ve grown up with: Actress and dancer Ms Claire Danes. Ms Danes was born in Manhattan, New York City, New York to a artist mother and computer consultant father. She attended Yale University for two years studying Psychology before stopping to return to film making. Attending a performing arts school while growing up, Claire whet her appetite for performance through modern dance and theater first. She was thirteen when she was a guest star on an episode of Law and Order. She was only thirteen when she auditioned for and landed the role of Angela Chase in the seminal and profound television series My So-Called Life. When the show was picked up for more episodes, Claire was fifteen years old, playing 15-year-old Angela. Angela Chase completely embodied the heartbreak and steadfast optimism of an OTHER as the short-lived TV series chronicled awkwardness, tension and disagreement with the parental units, crushing on the beautiful mysterious musician at school, side-stepping the lovelorn advances of the boy next door. But alas, a story this heartrending was perhaps only fated to last but a brief time, and after 19 episodes, My So-Called Life was cancelled. It did, however, maintain a cult following.

Particularly gifted at playing awkward, gawky, angst-ridden teenagers, Claire received her first Golden Globe and Emmy Nominations of her career when she was just 15 years old for her work in My So-Called life. She won the Golden Globe. After My So-Called life’s cancellation, she transitioned into film work and her star rose to quick heights with her role alongside high-profile actors such as Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon and Gabriel Byrne in the film Little Women. In 1996, Claire’s celebrity and critical acclaim rocketed to the stratosphere when she appeared as Juliet opposite Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Claire continued to work steadily through 1999 with her roles in The Mod Squad and Brokedown Palace but she left acting to pursue her degree at Yale. When she returned to filmmaking in 2002, Ms Danes chose quirky, thoughtful independent film projects such as Igby Goes Down and paired her work with larger-budgeted films such as the Oscar-nominated film The Hours, in which Claire portrayed Meryl Streep’s daughter.

Baz Luhrmann called Ms Danes, “This generation’s Meryl Streep”, and her poise and confidence has earned her admirers in her many impressive colleagues and co-stars such as Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola and actor/musician Jason Schwartzman..and she is the muse for or the subject of at least four songs released by several indie or alternative rock bands. She has experienced the backlash of publicity when she became romantically involved with her costar Billy Crudup at a disadvantageous time, and in 1998 she was publicly condemned by then-Filipino president Joseph Estrada when Ms Dane’s comments about the poor conditions of the Manila, Philippines film set for Brokedown Palace were taken out of the context to which she meant. She later advised that she had only been shown the “darker, underbelly of the City of Manila”, and did not mean any disrespect to the country as a whole nor to its people. The Filipino president deemed Ms Danes’s comments as “irresponsible, bigoted and sweeping statements”, to which she issued a public apology to the city of Manila, Philippines in addition to an official letter of apology. How has she coped with the adversity? Like Our Reigning Queen Kristen, she has learned from past experiences, and has opted to keep her private life private, declining to speak publicly about personal relationships; and she freely gives clarification behind any misconstrued statements in interviews.

WHO do you notice first in this picture? Our Rebel Royals FTW

While teaming with Offenses of Otherness, I’ll highlight an abbreviated list: She knew from  a young age that she wanted to be an actor. She kept a focus on her goals for performance and dance, and surrounded herself with supportive friends and family. Now 31 years old, with more than 25 films under her belt, Claire is married to actor and costar  Hugh Dancy, whom she met on the film Evening. She is just coming off the success of her Emmy-Award Winning performance in the HBO Movie Temple Grandin, in which Ms Danes portrays the ultimate Other: Temple Grandin. Temple Grandin is an American Doctor of Animal Sciences and a University professor with high-functioning Autism. Dr Grandin is the inventor of The Hug Machine, a calming deep pressure device designed to soothe hypersensitive people who experience Autism Spectrum Disorders. Pretty awe-inspiring, right?  Claire states that the point of acting is to share and connect with others, and she is aware and grateful for the ability to have a career doing what she loves most.

OFFENSES OF OTHERNESS:

*Willingly walked away from the business of acting to empower and remind herself who she is as person.

*Believes that fame is not a reward for working hard. Doing what she loves (acting) is complete fulfillment, the reward.

*Is extremely forthright and confident when she speaks her opinion.

REIGNING OTHER QUEEN: KRISTEN STEWART

I think we’ve established in this epically long Musings that our Reigning Queen of Other is a role model and pioneer. She has managed to cope graciously (even when her detractors are attacking her) by forging onward and continuing to partake in the craft that she loves. Kristen has an internal compass that guides her steps along her path of authenticity. She already knows what she’s doing. And it’s been absolutely miraculous to witness her journey thus far.

OFFENSES OF OTHERNESS:

*Unapologetically independent

*Strives for improvement of her craft and self, not for notoriety.

*Continuously cultivates self-awareness and strives for self-preservation.

~

CLAIRE IS OTHER.

KRISTEN IS OTHER.

OTHERS REALIZE THEY ALREADY KNOW WHAT TO DO.

EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.

* * *

Question:   I can think of several times when I overrode my instincts and suffered the results. I also can think of the times when I trusted my inner voice and was elated with the results. Can You?

A/N:

PHEW. This was about 4,000 words long. I have been struggling to process so many things these days, and I guess it has manifested in the longest Musings… ever. Thank you for hanging with me through this. Truly.

I wanted to thank my good friend @MissBettySmith, the brilliant author of The Gentleman From Washington State and Full Disclosure (my fave), with whom I shared a too-brief lunch today. In her latest update of TGFWS, Betty very clearly defended Kristen against people who are hell-bent on tearing down our Reigning Queen Of Other. Betty has a devoted following, with thousands of readers of her stories, and she is aware that she is accountable in how she expresses her values and uses her words . She is mindful of her many readers’ different age brackets, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. THANK YOU, BETTY!

Love, light and strength to my friend TEBBY and to my sister PUSS.

“Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are”~Henry Van Dyke

We are role models. We have voices. We have instincts to trust. We are Other. See you next time, my Majestic Misfits.

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