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Molly, Stewie, Me: Times Three

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

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Definition: Beautiful

~Merriam-Webster Dictionary, June 2010

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

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

Molly and Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

BooksDisplay

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

“What are you doing, Molls?” I asked.

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

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

bookstwi

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

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

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Goddess Bless the Mollies in my life.

An Awe-Inspiring Awful

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

Swings

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

KSIBTU Painting

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

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

I Can Do~Helen Keller

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

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

Journals- Keeping Your Memory

Definition: Beautiful

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

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

“Honesty is beautiful.”

SomethingAmazing

Middle School Mixups

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

For us OTHERS.

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

Books fly with imaginations and dreams of the Mad Ones

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

 

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

LOVE photo Lights

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

respect yourself first

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

NylonStew

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

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

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

OTRPremBeautySide

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

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

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

Definition: Other

~Merriam-Webster Dictionary, June 2013

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

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

c: not the samedifferent

PrettyQuote

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Definition: Unconventional

~The Synonym Finder, 1986 First Edition

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

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The Heart Of The Matter

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

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

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

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

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A crown for my birthday celebration with the KSIBTU Crew

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

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

A woman who embodies all the qualities of Unconventional Beauty…

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

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

Molly is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others return to their roots.

Others do their Something.

Embrace Your Other.

***

Playlist

Hero ~ Family of the Year

Stubborn Love ~ The Lumineers

Blue Skies ~ Noah and the Whale

***

MOO Memoirs: BD or Bust Pt 2

13 Nov
A/N: The images displayed in this essay are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr and Pinterest. Click the image for a link to their origin. So very unbeta’d–all mistakes and typos belong to yours truly. Click the button over heee-yah to subscribe to MOO and receive new posts in your email————————————>

Welcome back to the next installment of MooDrabble, my Beloveds! 

The biggest change for me in this film [Breaking Dawn] was that Bella finally gets to be happy …there’s some genuine joy there for both her and Edward.” ~Kristen to The Chicago Sun Times

Perhaps life imitating art? That’s what hits me immediately when I view pictures or videos of the recent tremendous events occuring for our Reinging Queen Kristen as of late. Genuine. Joy.

 

There is a buoyancy and free-ness that emanates from Ms Rebel Queen herself. We explored it a little in the last full-fledged Musings in which the confident, grounded and knowing Kristen Stewart emerged from the pages of British GQ. And maybe, because she feels quite at home while in the UK these days, today’s journalists are finally discovering the authentic, light, funny and warm girl that Kristen Jaymes Stewart truly is. We Other Army Soldiers have known for eons that Kristen’s spirit glows brightly (she is a candle and a mirror after all) but in the three-plus years I’ve been apart of this community, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kristen as light and free as we see her these days. . .

why so freakin' adorable, Kris?

I had wanted to highlight two essential occasions which exhibit this infectious elation that our Majestic Misfit exhibits. Based on your kind responses to Part 1 of the MOODrabble-Memoirs, it seems that while you are overwhelmed with all the great interviews, conventions and press conferences you also choose two standout events of the past ten days that rock your socks off and showcase our Other Queen’s magic. Tell me whatcha think about….

Immortal Beloveds

Being immortalized in cement along the Hollywood Walk of Fame alongside industry legends like Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor and fellow Cultural Icons such as Robert’s Harry Potter colleagues Daniel, Emma and Rupert is no small feat. It’s actually quite extraordinary. Sweet, beautiful Kristen, luminous in her glorious Marios Schwab dress and sky-high Brian Atwood pumps, addressed the gathered crowd of friends, fans and family at the ceremony by saying,

“This is so crazy! I’ve been so enamored …this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life!”

And she is still baffled days later, as she shares in press conference interviews:

Humble, grateful and respectful she is. She understands and celebrates that collective understanding of Twilight is what it is today due to the many hands and minds that contributed to the project. Her gracious humility aside, the best thing about this huge honor from my vantage point was watching our Rebel Queen kick off those insanely sexy Atwood stilettos and swap them for a pair of VANS skateboarding shoes. It was such a vintage, Cali-girl, Kristen move. So very Other.  #OtherOn, Your Highness. Other On.

All. Hail. The. Queen. 

Secondary to a very genuine, very joyous Kristen leaving her Van-impressions behind for us to enjoy for eternity, was the uninhibited expressions of affection and adoration shared between Her Royal Highness and her Warrior Poet Partner in Crime.

Flawless Couple is flawless

And of course, I would be absolutely remiss if I did not note the gravitational pull between our Queen and her King. Not even concrete can stifle the magnetism between Robert and Kristen. In fact it only further enhances their bond. Like, for.ev.er.

The Fiercest Beauty

And before I found myself sitting on the streets of Los Angeles amongst strangers-but-not-really-since-we’re-all-in-this-together…Before I encountered the confusing and somewhat nefarious tendrils of Scummit Entertainment, I was on a plane to L.A., scribbling on Vom Bags and bouncing in my seat in excitement because I was going to see my girls Iris (@Just2CUSmile) and @RobKris13 and I was going to be present for the Black Carpet Premiere for Breaking Dawn! It wasn’t a long plane ride, but it still disallowed any Wifi usage. But as soon as the flight attendant assured us passengers that we could “now use your cell phones if they are readily available”, I turned on my trusty iPhone and immediately scanned my Twitter Timeline after replying to texts.

And my timeline was going absolutely b-a-n-a-n-a-s. And for good reason. The right reason.

O_O

The teaser trailer and some behind-the-scenes video surfaced from Entertainment Tonight around the same time that I was in flying above the clouds. When I saw that the scenes and new banners emerged online, I found myself actually running down the aisle of the plane and through the plane terminal so that I could find a quiet spot to watch the gorgeousness. I nearly sent an enthusiastically-gesturing Russian family–who was convened in front of the bathrooms–flying in all directions as if pins in a bowling alley. I NEEDED  to sit down and watch the trailer in a quiet corner.  And when I did….I wanted to weep with joy and I felt the strongest compulsion to loop the video for always and always on my phone and my computer and my….. So, I may have looped the video. 

This. This is the second happening that I attribute to Our Reigning Queen’s lightness and exuberance as of late. She is involved in a project that she is proud of. She is working for a studio that knows how to promote without the exploitation and disrespect of their linchpins. Kristen told the Twi Convention audience  last week in the Q & A Session that she is playing the ideal role now, as Snow White. She may be physically battered and bruised (as evidenced by the wrist guards and bandages and supportive braces she sports on various appendages on various days of the week) but she reports never feeling more inspired, motivated and challenged by a character before.

And it shows.

Long live The Queen.

* * *

QUESTION(S): What are your thoughts on the Grauman’s Printing Ceremony?

And..The SWATH Trailer?

Are you doing your ideal role/job? 

MOO Memoirs: BD or Bust Pt 1

13 Nov
A/N: The images displayed in this essay are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr and Pinterest. Click the image for a link to their origin. So very unbeta’d–all mistakes and typos belong to yours truly. Click the button over heee-yah to subscribe to MOO and receive posts in your email————————————>

Guise. GUUUUISEEEE. We’ve been trying to keep this sssimple, right? I know. I know. I’m about a week late, and a few days off usual posting schedule, and all the while there has been epic occurrences nearly every single hour for our Reigning Other Queen Kristen and her brilliant, beautiful Warrior Poet Consort Robert. But it’s beyond the realm of reality now for me to keep up with all the updates in our Royal Rebels’ lives, at least these days it is, as we are in the weekend before the World Premiere of Breaking Dawn. 

This post commences an experimental format for Musings, one I’ll use when I’m on the road (as I am now), and/or when the amount of fantastical rebelliousness is off-the-chain-insane and abundant (again, as it is now). You all know I’m a chatty one, and one of my biggest challenges has been to  find a way to Muse On Otherness in a succinct fashion. Um. #BigFATFail

well, when pictures like this surface, how can ANYONE focus?

Well, maybe it’s because it’s obscenely overwhelming to simply pick one or two events to talk about in the sea of greatness during the Breaking Dawn promo tour currently in the works (annnnd do not get me started on the SWATH stills, banners and TRAILER just yet, mmkay?); also, because I have had not one day off since the start of my newest job three weeks ago; and maybe because I’m only able to read drabble fics these days, we’re doing smaller doses of Musings for a bit so as to cover the insurgence of incredible #RoyalRebelGoodness. 

Leeeegggggs

For those of you who don’t know what “drabble” means, it’s simple. Fewer words, posted more frequently, it packs a profound punch, and is often addicting. Basically, I get to take a crack at that elusive succinctness (which I’m already failing at, seeing I’m several paragraphs into ramblings, but anyhoo); We get to see The Pretty; we get to do some Musings On The Pretty, and we get to chat and convene more often!! So let’s get into it. We’ve got a loooooot to talk about in this, my first attempt at MooDrabble

Connecting Again

Here’s the ‘Memoir’ part of the MOODrabble.  Do you know where I am right now? Well, right now, I’m actually visiting my mother and doing my laundry in a bit of a mini-break. I am about to grab some breakfast with mom (after I hit ‘PUBLISH’) and then some friends will pick me up and bring me back to The Nokia Theater and #TentCity, where I had been hanging out for the past few days. Literally. 

I flew from my place in Northern Cali to L.A. on Wednesday of this week. And as I was listening to the supremely awesome Breaking Dawn Soundtrack on my iPhone (in AirplaneMode), I found myself itching to write. It occurred to me how disconnected I’d been from the physical act of writing. Since I started my new (and third) job about three weeks ago, I have not had a single day off. I was not writing anymore. I missed the physiological response of a calm contemplation that usually trickled over me. I was feeling disconnected from this community and my Musings readers and Other Queen Kristen Stewart even though phenomenally wonderful things were happening for everyone this week. When Kristen joined the promo tour, the Heavens rejoiced. But I couldn’t enjoy it with you all.  Hence, the VOM BAG. 

 

Awww, the birth of The MOO Memoirs. I was reading a handwritten love letter from my dearest @DeeDreamer16 while on the plane down to L.A. And not only was I astounded by the brilliant poetry on the stationary in my hands–not that Dee isn’t a poet, she is a sublime writer–but I gratefully embraced the the tranquility that washed over me as I pulled out my own pen and sought out material surface on which I could write. I’ve always written thoughts down on any available resource–napkins, my hands, my mini-journal, sweatshirts…vomit bags. This particular day, as I grabbed the paper sick basket from the magazine holder in front of me, I felt no “Motion Discomfort”. I felt like I had come home. Lovely connecting thought: The first draft of Musings On Other Queens in May 2010 was borne from scribbles on a Vom Bag. It’s almost synchronicity that the birth of MOO Memoirs as I fly towards the site of the Breaking Dawn premiere also manifested on a paper bag designed to hold purged stomach contents. Because it’s purging time, babies.

A Convention of Beauty

We’re gonna talk about everything that we can. The journey to the Breaking Dawn Premiere including my near-altercation with some Russians when I had to shove my way off the plane to watch the newly released #SWATH Trailer…

I mean, seriously. I. CAN. NOT.

…and the adventures I’ve had since arriving here. But we’ll also talk about the amazing week of promotional gorgeousness we’ve witnessed in the days leading up to this stellar weekend.

Dear Kristen, I know we haven’t formally met, but Holy Hell I am beaming with ridiculous pride for you as if you are of my flesh and blood. This is a BFD.

Love, Me

um, hellllo, beautiful

Summation: This first  MOO Memoir is to give you the 411. Musings in smaller increments, more frequently. Cool? It’ll serve as a little road map for the next week too, I hope.

For instance, the next MooDrabble will include the story of my interaction with Scummit event planners and security…and we will certainly pause to gape at:

and

touching feet forever. #thud

and

Annnnd, to wrap up this first post of the series, I wanted to share with you all the glorious talents of my girl @Jhiggs86, purveyor of beautiful KSIBTU Art…

These are the signs I have with me for the Premiere. They are my cues and signposts to Kristen and Robert that I am in the sea of people at the Nokia Theater giving a Rebel Yell of “OTHER ON!”

mesmerized? I am.

So come and find me at #TentCity or look for me on the Black Carpet at the Premiere…Say hey and let’s talk Other and Royal Rebellion and Unconventional Beauty right there on the sparkling (appropriately so) sidewalks of L.A. Live, mmmkay? See you soon!!!

A/N: I Luff you guys. Thanks for bearing with me through this rough transitional time as I hammer out a posting schedule and maintain my sanity…. MOO Memoirs Part 2 later today! xo, KJ

PLAYLIST for THE MOO MEMOIRS 

*Playlist is the same throughout the series unless noted

Acid Tongue ~ Jenny Lewis

We Wont Run ~ Sarah Blasko

Riot Rhythm ~ SleighBells

The Sea ~ Morcheeba

Sail ~ AWOLnation

Young Blood ~ The Naked and Famous

A Light From Within (Part 2): Stories From Joplin

23 Jun
A/N: Most images seen in this posting are not the property of nor created by ©MusingsOnOther. Photos featuring ©Red Cross Disaster Relief in Clinton, MS and Joplin, MO, however, are owned by this author (KJN). Today’s essay, per usual, is unbeta’d and any typos or grammar bobbles are all mine. Also, for whatever reason, PlayList disallowed the Auto-start feature, despite my and Buff’s attempts at usurping.  If the music doesn’t start automatically, and you would like to hear today’s music Playlist, hit PLAY on the player in the right-hand column (below the Twitter Feed) —–>

This Special Edition Musings is my tribute to the incredible souls I encountered over my 13-day stint as a mental health therapist with the Red Cross Disaster Response Team earlier this month. There is an army of Otherness of Rebel Warriors cultivating and swelling in the south. Here are a few of their stories. I am but a student to their sage lessons in growth, faith, balance, compassion, reframing and perspective.  Make room on the Other Homecoming Float for these Rebellious Royals. NOTE: All names of people in the following stories have been changed out of legal/ethical practices of confidentiality…but moreover in a gesture of utmost respect.

“People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

I already knew that in volunteering for deployment that I was going to emerge on the other side, changed. I’ve flown countless places in my life, but never with a mission like this. The three-and-a-half hour red-eye flight from my Cali city to Fort Worth, Texas was slightly uncomfortable as I was wedged in the middle seat between a young man who appeared to be heading on his own mission (I’ve seen dozens of SouthEast Asian men leave their home country to join the working ranks of hard-working Cruise ship staff; I recognized his running-shoes-encased feet and the Royal Caribbean pins attached to his hiking backpack) and an older gentlemen with a Jolly Santa-belly who immediately launched into snores as the plane leveled out at cruising altitude. It was midnight and every single seat on the plane was filled. My laptop was snugly packed away in my backpack in the overhead bin, so I couldn’t access all the fanfic pdf-documents I lovingly downloaded for my reading pleasure. But I did have my iPhone which was loaded with all my music, and I had my copy of Entertainment Weekly with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss from The Hunger Games movie. I also had picked up a couple of actual BOOKS to begin reading in the off-chance I’d get some down time. Thank goodness I had these survival kit items because when I saw that the In-flight movie was Bieber’s Never Say Never I could immediately retreat, retreat, for the love of The Goddess, retreat!!!

I didn’t exchange more than a nod and a brief “hello” with my aisle mates, and I did not feel relaxed enough to sleep on the flight, so I remained awake until we arrived in Fort Worth. Now, you all know I’m a fairly talkative chica, but it wasn’t until my flight into and then a few days later out of Clinton, Mississippi that I was present enough and in the right mindset to actually hold a coherent conversation with anyone else. And oh, my my, those initial conversations were my first indicator that I was participating in something extraordinary.

I didn’t wear the Red Cross vest while on the plane, although my liaisons had insisted I do, so that we volunteers could represent the organization but also identify ourselves to other volunteers in the airports. I was too self-conscious to wear the bright red vest just yet. But I did wear my neck identification. And as soon as I slipped the identifier over my puffy, humidity-treated hair, people began to approach. And talk. And share. And hug. And cry. And change me with their stories.

Unfinished Business

“Hello,” he said to me. I glanced over to see a white-haired gentleman with brilliant blue eyes framed by attractive lines indicating countless moments of crinkling, winking laughter. He gestured to my badge and said, “Thank you”. I tucked my copy of One Day in the seat-back pocket in front of me and turned to my aisle mate at the window seat. Stunned, though I realize later I shouldn’t be, I only nodded my head in acknowledgement of his gracious statement directed at me. The lump in my throat that had been growing prohibited any speech from me just yet. The gentleman, who I came to learn was called Macwore a beige polo shirt with a patch over the left side of his chest. Avoiding any copious staring, I could just decipher the words “Fire Fighters”.

“He always wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest. Now he finally is home.” 

Mac had answered the call and was going to Texas to tame the wildfires that had consumed the western part of the state. Retired for nearly six years, Mac donated his time and services with the volunteer fire fighter association. He and his wife were happy Illinois residents, but they were eagerly looking forward to relocating to the Pacific Northwest, Puget Sound, Washington, more specifically. His blue eyes twinkled when he heard I was a West-Coaster. Then those eyes teared up with an ancient ache when he mentioned his only child, a daughter, who lives in Bellingham, Washington with her 18-month old son. Mac’s daughter raised Mac’s grandson alone since his daughter’s young husband Bryan was killed in Afghanistan 11 months prior.  Mac and his wife hoped to move to Washington to provide support for their daughter and their grandson, and to carry on Bryan’s wishes. Bryan, a fairly new army recruit, had grown up in Chicago, Illinois, dreaming of a time he could live in The Pacific Northwest, near the ocean, the Olympic Mountains, amongst the evergreen trees. After his death, Bryan’s wife ensured Bryan’s ashes were scattered among the Snake River. And now Mac and his wife would move to Washington as well to ensure  their daughter–Bryan’s wife–and her son would thrive. It would begin once Mac returned from his mission to fight the fires of Texas. 

Bryan's home

If this was any indicator of the people and stories I was to encounter the rest of my deployment, I was in trouble. Deeeeep trouble. My plane hadn’t even touched down in Joplin yet, and I was wiping tears and my leaky nose on a paper cocktail napkin in the comforting presence and  kind face of this retired firefighter. “I didn’t mean to upset you,” Mac said to me. “I just wanted to thank you for what you’re doing. There are such good people out there.” Still unable to properly speak, I croaked, glimpsing his Retired Fire Fighter’s Badge: “Yes. There are such good people…everywhere.”

With My Hands

I alluded to it before in Part 1, and maybe in a few of my tweets. But I will say it again now. Nothing, nothing could truly prepare me for the physical destruction left behind in the wake of the Joplin Tornado. I felt better prepared to address and comfort the emotional wreckage, but when I walked through the neighborhoods my first morning out at what’s called The Footprint (where the Tornado actually touched down and carved 12 miles through the city), I was utterly speechless. Any pictures I’ve shown you, or that you’ve seen on the news are pathetically pale in comparison. And certainly, the tales told from the survivors will never, ever be properly conveyed by me, but I will try to the best of my abilities to grant the respect and compassion that these battered but resilient warriors deserve. Because I met a fair share of Other Warriors. Royal Hell-Raisers and Majestic Misfits are prominent in Joplin, Missouri. I was one fortunate little therapist to meet just a few of them. But I will never, for as long as I am included among this plane of existence, forget them.

My first day doing outreach was a scorcher. Approximately 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) and the heavy humidity left me sweating, sticky and sunburned (which is a feat in itself. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve burned in my lifetime). I walked amongst the neighborhoods seen above, having conversations and impromptu storytelling sessions with anyone wandering around or cleaning up, or assessing the unfathomable destruction.

Eighty-three year old Mr. Leland was visiting a friend  just a couple blocks away when the tornado touched down at 5:41PM that Sunday evening. He attributes this visit as the only reason he is still alive today to tell us his story. His house along with his entire neighborhood was completely flattened. When he heard the warning sirens, he and his buddy, who was in his seventies, attempted to duck into the crawl space in the house. Mr. Leland pats his belly and says to me, “I’ve eaten too many fried suppers. I was too fat to fit in the crawl space.”  He held onto the banister along the stairs leading to his friend’s basement and prayed that his four cats were able to escape the violent funnel cloud ripping through his neighborhood.

Leland's neighborhood

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Never,” he says. Mr. Leland escaped with only the clothes on his back and the rings he accrued from long-ago visits to Mexico on his fingers. He reported that all of his cats survived and any thing salvageable in the rubble is packed in his beaten up camper. He settled on a sagging, cracked plastic chair to eat his breakfast–french toast and eggs provided by Salvation Army in a styrofoam takeout box. With a sigh he turns to me, his withered hands gripping a slender tree branch crafted into a walking cane, and muses, “We will rebuild this neighborhood,” and a moment later: “I’m hungry.”

I. Am. Done.

The Ultimate Fighters

“K, I need you. Can you help me connect with this young man here? He’s lost everything. His house, his car, his place of employment. He won’t talk. He…he’s still in shock.” A case worker, Carolyn, pulled on my sleeve, guiding me to a foldout table and chairs set up in a make-shift counseling center in the middle of a convention center/skateboard park. I didn’t know it at the time, but this first meeting with nineteen-year-old Scott would determine the constructs of my role in Joplin. I was named, “Cute Young Thing” by fellow Red Cross cohorts, some of whom were heading into their seventh and eighth decades of life. I became the go-to gal for the “young folks”. To say I was busy is a gross understatement. It became extremely clear, though, that the survivors and wounded of this disaster are not designated to one age group, ethnicity or family background. The grief and pain felt was a universally shared and understood language in Joplin. People who were once strangers moving anonymously side-by-side amid the community were now comrades and co-soldiers from the trenches.

Laura rested her head in her hands while she awaited the case worker to call her in for her interview. She closed her eyes and  began counting her exhalations out. This is how I found her. Slumped forward, murmuring numbers to herself. “Four…threeee….two…one…”

Laura can’t stop crying. She started as soon as she sat down in the fold out chair in that convention center where we Red Cross workers were administering counseling, case work and linkage to financial assistance, home associations, dry goods and medical help. She looked at me when I sat down next to her offering her bottled water and said, “It’s the first time I’ve been able to sit down. And I can feel it now. And it hurts. And I can’t stop crying. I can’t. stop. crying.”

I sat next to Laura and cried alongside her while she spoke of the nightmares that assault her every night when she tries to close her eyes. She simply cannot sleep. It was on her property, in her pond that the body of 18-year-old William** was found, to the heartbreak of a community and nation. Up until the discovery of his body, there was hope that the newly-graduated teenager was found alive, even after he’d been torn from his SUV while driving home with his father. Laura’s nightmares all centered around the discovery of William’s body, sometimes inserting twisted images of her own children or grandchildren’s bodies. Thankfully, her own family members (composed of four males aged 18 through 27 and their families including three grandchildren aging from 3 through 6) were spared, but their houses were not. Laura recounts the survival story of her three-year-old granddaughter and her parents. Granddaughter laid flat in the bathtub, beneath the body of her father as the twister removed their house from its foundation. All that could be heard in the silence after the roar of the storm was a three-year-old’s prayer:

“Please please please please please…Protect Mommy. Protect Daddy….Please please please please please….” 

While the chair holds her upright, and the grief and exhaustion settle over her, this day, Laura is confident that her fiercely brave granddaughter’s pleas were the powerful protectors for her family. She gripped the card with the local counseling center’s crisis phone number on it, counting through her deep exhalations. “Four….three….two…onnnnnnnne…”

My heroes: Search and Rescue

“I guess I fell in love with Joplin. I will rebuild my city. I will.”

Scott wore a thin white tank top and baggy jeans. His blonde, spiky hair was making a point: keep your distance. A bouncing knee, and shaking fingers were the only indicators of discomfort displayed. He tilted his chin up at me when I settled into the foldout chair across the table from him. “Thirsty?” I offered him a cold bottled water. The heat of the day hadn’t yet reached its peak, but it was climbing, and the skateboard park housing our resource center was packed wall to wall with folks seeking aid and resources for rebuilding. Scott waved me off, but not unkindly. He was a handsome guy, and his soft tone of voice and manners only enhanced his looks. He was not exactly sure why he was face-to-face with a stranger talking about the disaster that befell his work place (the twister had completely wiped it out–a casual dining house) and home (“I’ve nothing to go back to”).  I’m not exactly sure what the  catalyst was, but suddenly Scott felt comfortable enough to tell me his story.

He was driving into the parking lot of his restaurant when he saw the twister rip the roof off of the building where customers and several co-workers were inside. He spoke of the single thought that rumbled through his brain: “GET THEM TO SAFETY. GET THEM TO SAFETY”, and how adrenaline must have gifted him with strength to gather four or five co-workers and form a human chain via latched arms. He wound one of his arms onto the piping below the industrial kitchen sink, and held onto one of the line cooks with his free hand…until his vision went black. He later learned that he was knocked unconscious by a rogue brick.

A restaurant on Main street

When Scott finally smiled, I caught a great view of his chipped front teeth. “Is that from the tornado?” I asked.

Scott leaned back in his chair and shook his head ruefully. “Nah, that’s from a fight.”

He motioned to his ear that appeared to be missing a chunk. “So is this.”

He showed me several bruises on his arms, and a gash on his head, results of the flying tornado debris, and several pictures of his demolished restaurant  on his cell phone. It turns out that our young hero Scotty is originally from Louisiana, near New Orleans, where he was moving up the ranks in the Ultimate Fighting world. When he moved to Joplin two years ago, in an attempt  to walk a path less physically taxing, he never believed he’d grow so protective and prideful of this new city. Now, in the aftermath of the tornado, he is determined to rebuild his shattered neighborhood using his own hands. Since relocating to Joplin, Scott has grown fond of rebuilding cars and greenhouses. He had saved his co-workers on May 23 but he himself was also redeemed when he called his family in Louisiana to ensure them he was alive, and for the most part, unharmed. Because while he had felt aimless two years ago, leaving his family and Ultimate Fighting back in New Orleans, he realized he had finally found in Joplin a place for home, a place worth defending.

"No, Joplin is Home now for me," he assures me.

To Have Found Their Way Out

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was a psychiatrist, activist and pioneer in researching grief and loss and dying. She founded the Kubler-Ross Model, otherwise known as the Five Stages of Grief in her seminal book On Death and Dying. The Five Stages explore coping mechanisms and raised sensitivity in the aftermath of great or impending loss, and I found that everyone in the community was experiencing elements of every stage of grief in Joplin, MO.

When I arrived in the city, it was a Monday afternoon, exactly seven days from the original disaster. People were just now shaking themselves out of the shock and numbness. They were feeling the crash after the burnout of adrenaline. While I settled into my sleeping quarters (my army cot was one of seven in a classroom within a large Baptist Church, with no working showers), I was given the orientation about the fiercely determined people that formed a community in Joplin, MO. Every day had been riddled with power outages, new medical emergencies, new discoveries, new losses, and many, many funerals. As you can imagine, there were moments of unfathomable, devastating, horrifying heartbreak…along with glimmers of miraculous, loving, compassionate light. I encountered reframing and perspective-changers with every single hour. I heard shrieking, rebellious yells. I was inundated by OTHERNESS and a wild, unconventional beauty.

While I was profoundly effected by every single person I encountered in my mission, including colleagues and other staff,there are two different stories in particular that I believe were the culprits for literally consuming and then altering my essence, my soul. Both events took place within 24 hours of each other, near my last days of deployment. I couldn’t speak of these stories to anyone for days, weeks afterwards, and not even my husband N understood the profundity of these tales until I shared them with him just three days ago. See, three days ago, I had received a wonderful gift of a massage, and the therapist had started working on my neck and upper back, accessing painful muscle tension that I referred to as “Joplin Knots”. Not at all surprisingly, I cried through the final ten minutes of the bodywork session, and through the time it took for me to redress afterwards.

Our bodies will hold onto grief and emotional unrest long before and after our brains recognize it as grief, for what it is. And while I was in the Grief Stage of Depression in the two weeks after my return from my deployment, I can say that the massage induced my dive into the fifth and final stage of grieving: Acceptance. Which is why I can  now share with you a little of what I saw in the fields.

Angela and Chris  are very young parents. She’s still in her late teens and he has just entered his twenties. They are engaged to be married, after Chris proposed to Angela a couple of months ago. But they will postpone the wedding until later, much later. When I met the young couple, it was under the most horrific circumstances I’ve ever witnessed. She was in a wheelchair covered head to toe in bandages and her right arm was wrapped in a splint and held in a sling. She had two metal pins holding her forearm together before her scheduled surgery in 5 days. He had an angry red gash, held together with staples, in the back of his head, and a swollen ankle the size of a grapefruit. They both came to the convention center for assistance since their home and their car had been completely shattered. They couldn’t come sooner because up until that morning, they were both hospitalized for their injuries. But the loss of their home and even their own physical wounds could not even begin to hint at their utter devastation.

Angela and Chris were at home with their roommate when the massive F5 Twister touched down in Joplin. It was just the typical Sunday evening for the household: Angela tossed around ideas on what to prepare for dinner, Chris watched  TV. Their sixteen-month old son S ** snoozed in Angela’s arms. Afterwards, Angela and Chris could only tell me about the sounds they heard (the roar of the wind) and the agony of impact (from the wooden planks that sliced through Angela’s arm, their roommate’s torso, and Chris’s head). They can tell me that Chris threw his body on top of Angela, the baby and the roommate in the only protective stance he could think of, when they heard the roof caving inward, on top of them. Chris did tell me, with tears streaming, that he saw his two beloved dogs crushed beneath the plaster and debris. But it is wordlessly, that Angela shared the depth of her grief with me. She silently showed me her cell phone, pressed a few buttons, and launched a slide-show featuring a smiling, cherubic, sixteen-month old Baby S.  It is then that I realized  I sat with the heartbroken, shattered parents of the youngest tornado fatality.**

Unbelievably, Angela and Chris’s story grew even darker before the dawn. Stories of ghastly “family” greed (in the form of looting and stealing) and another death of a family member issued an almost lethal blow to their fragility. I sat next to Chris and held his hand when he received the phone call  from the hospital advising him that their roommate had just died from her injuries. That’s about as far as I’ll speak of their experience because I cannot possibly convey how crucial privacy and respect is. However, I can tell you that I spent four hours with this young couple and I am absolutely certain that I’ve never met a more courageous, more beautiful pair of people in my entire existence. And I’ve never cried over clients like I did for Angela and Chris. After my time with the young couple was over, my colleagues Don and Ginny found me curled up in the fetal position, sobbing on the bench in the smoker’s area behind the skateboard park/convention center-turned resource center.

As Angela and Chris recalled the murky horrors of their week to me, there were tears, there were moments of anguish and fury, there was shock, sarcasm and desolation. There were, miraculously, a couple of moments of levity too: I asked Chris to tell me how he proposed to Angela, and it was slightly scandalous. She had another boyfriend at the time. And I can tell you that with the combined efforts of various social, governmental and religious organizations, this young family was able to create and hold a proper memorial service for their beautiful Baby S, they were able to link with housing assistance, and they were able to cover their medical bills including Angela’s impending surgery.

“There was never a night nor a problem that could defeat a sunrise or hope” ~Bern Williams

Quiet Moments of Majesty

Before I share the second story that stripped me down to nothing, I did want to inject a moment to breathe and ground. I know it’s intense. I’m at nearly 4000 words already and this is my edited version! I’m panting and aching along with you, believe me. This is the most difficult Musings I’ve ever written, and it’s taken me nearly three weeks to gather the courage to try sharing it with you. Do you see now why I groveled and thanked you so profusely in the last essay? For providing me with a little bit of lightness while I was away?

To protect the aching rawness I felt, I found myself withdrawing from nearly everybody when I returned from deployment. I was coming down with the flu, of course, and I had just spent about two weeks in the trenches of an emotional battle ground. The grieving process, as well as the time warranted to process the flooding of information can vary in presentation and behaviors, from person to person. We all have our own way of recuperating and recovering from adrenaline rushes and shocks to our systems. It’s crucial that we employ self-care to prevent any destructive propensities. Remember we’ve talked about self-care here? I pulled back from an online presence and began taking long walks in the park each day. I began reading books that I had placed aside. Our Reigning Other Queen Kristen employs self-care by withdrawing from the public eye to cocoon. I imagine she reads voraciously, tries out new recipes discovered on the cooking channels, plays guitar, listens to music. Indulges in her self-proclaimed obsession with her cat Max “Jella”. She hangs with her beloved family. However, when she emerges again, she is exquisitely splendid.

Although her grounding trumps anyone else's grounding.

Just two days after dazzling us in Balmain at the MTV Movie Awards, our lovely Rebel Queen Kristen surfaced in London, England in another strapless mini-dress designed by Balmain, to present GlamourUK’s  ‘Man of The Year Award’ to her On The Road costar and friend Garrett Hedlund. She arrived looking like this:

And then this picture of them:

Makes me almost unbearably excited for….

And while I nurtured wounds, and cocooned away these past couple weeks, the Ambassador of Otherness herself reminds me and everyone else how time away from the race and the chaos can be beautifully rehabilitating. She reminds us that while there are sadnesses and stressors in our world, life will continue to move onward regardless. And …also she reminds us to keep perspective. There are natural disasters of wildfires, tornadoes and floods; great losses as well as great triumphs happening every single day. Do we really have the time and energy to spend on set-stalking and online bullying? Can we instead appreciate that people (famous and otherwise) have a talents and gifts to contribute to the betterment of society without engaging in Twitter fights or online discussion-board-mud-slinging?

I think we can. I know we can. I know we can take a look around us and see the blessings bestowed upon us in forms of family, friendships, faith, work, play and rest. I know we can exist consciously, with an in-the-moment awareness; contributing to society by living joyfully and authentically and honestly.

Take a page from Ms Stewart’s book on Royal Otherness Etiquette: show support and build up your fellow Dreamers and Rebel Royals.

Chris and Kris. Mutual Admiration Society.

Take pride in encouraging Royal Rebels like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and the battered but not-beaten Joplin residents for their pioneering, unconventional ways of being. Let’s stop picking apart how other people choose to live their lives, and instead encourage a little embracing of unconventionality (Otherness= Beauty) within ourselves.

I’m wrapping up now. This is the longest Musings on record, and I’m still planning on sharing one more sliver of Otherworldly Beauty that emerged from Joplin AND I wanted to show you the item for another MOO Giveaway. So hang with me just a leeeetle bit longer, yes?

An Anonymous Grace 

Joanne and her husband Bill were in the grocery store parking lot when the lethal funnel cloud descended upon them. The couple looked forward to sharing dinner at home together, and had stopped at the market to pick up the ingredients needed for their meal that evening. The darkening skies were ominous and there were the warning sirens, but the couple wondered, were they perhaps more about precaution than true urgency? The sudden deafening roar of the winds encompassed the middle-aged couple, and before Joanne knew what was happening, Bill shouted at her, “GET DOWN, ROLL UNDER THE TRUCK! ROLL. UNDER. THE. TRUCK…NOW!” Joanne, stunned and frightened, froze and didn’t  feel the slap of concrete on her shoulders and arms when her husband shoved her to the ground.

“He didn’t know me. He just held onto me.” 

She didn’t have to be reminded to roll under their truck, because the 200 mile-an-hour gusts of wind had already blown her beneath it. She felt the jolt of her own body hitting what she thought was a wall. However, “The Wall” grunted, “OOMPH“, and wrapped an appendage around Joanne’s midsection. He did not let go. Joanne suddenly realized that the “wall” she had hit was really another person. A large man with a huge expanse of a chest had hooked one of his biceps around the front axle of the truck, and wrapped his other arm around Joanne like a vice. And he held on. He held onto Joanne as she screamed and thrashed  in the wind; as she called out to Bill, needing to know his whereabouts…

The Wall held onto Joanne so tightly that her ribs cracked. The Wall held onto Joanne even as they watched Joanne’s husband flip and toss away into the funnel cloud. The Wall hung onto Joanne as she sobbed beneath that truck, after the winds died down and only an inconceivable horror and silence hung in the air. And somehow, that stranger, The Wall of a Man now known as The Man Who Saved Joanne’s Life, learned Joanne’s name, and attended the funeral for Joanne’s husband Bill, five days later. 

So there you have it. This essay was a tribute and love letter to a few of the many Royal Others I met, fell in love with, cried with, and changed with in my little journey to the South. This is me brushing aside pettiness, snark, sarcasm and blame, all components interlaced with fear. This is me bowing down in awe, humility and deep gratitude for the reminders of grace, compassion, resilience, strength and courage in our moment-to-moment living.

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others’ true beauty is a light from within.

Embrace your Other.

*   *   *

An Epically Long A/N including GIVEAWAY Deets: 

**William is the one name I kept as is for this essay. Will Norton was 18 years old, having just graduated from Joplin High School when the tornado winds pulled him out through the sunroof of the Hummer he and his dad were driving. After nearly 5 days missing, his body was discovered in the pond of my client “Laura”.

**Baby S was the youngest Joplin Tornado victim. He was ripped from his mother’s arms during the storm. CNN did a special report on his story.

A NEW MOO GIVEAWAY

A few months ago I found a local mom-and-pop T-shirt making business. As an experiment I made a couple of shirts with a few MOO-inspired phrases on them. I sent one to Ms. Kristen Stewart, Ms Queen Other herself as a birthday gift (A burgundy shirt that said “I AM OTHER“). That leaves just one One-of-A-Kind Musings Tee (made on uber-soft American Apparel fabric, in Women’s Size L) that I’d like to give away to one of you Majestic Misfits.

You can enter to win the drawing for the T-Shirt by leaving a comment answering at least one (or all) of these questions:

1. When did you know you were Other?

2. How do you embrace your Other in your daily life?

3. Have you encountered moments of quiet majesty in unexpected places? 

4. How do you employ self-care? 

I’ll announce a winner in a MOO MEMO posting Thursday, June 30.

*   *   *

Specific shout outs and vice-like hugs to: 

My sister Puss for letting me cry. CC for texting check-in requests. Mari-Pai for asking if I’m ok. Bouffant for talking me through some dark, dark moments.

To PrimaryColors1 and Beammeup_00 for your generous offers of shelter and supplies upon the word ‘Go’.

To MyCleverAlias, Kate_Suena, JRollin5, Mel452, That_Bitch86, DeeDreamer16, ThistleandFi, TakeMeToBliss, Buff_82 and KStewsBtrThanU for checking in on me and cheering me on.

Last but never, never least: Thank you to my CYBER SISTERS & READERS  You provided the most powerful web of support by being your brilliant, compassionate, witty selves.

TODAY’S PLAYLIST (PUSH PLAY)

Look For Me As You Go By ~ The Innocence Mission

Satisfied Mind ~ Jeff Buckley

Price Tag ~ Jessie J feat B.O.B.

I Feel Pretty/ Unpretty ~ Lea Michele & Dianna Agron of GLEE

After The Storm ~ Mumford & Sons

Fix You ~ Coldplay

Happy 1st Birthday to MOO!

3 Jun

Hello my Royal Rebels! It’s CC here.

Guess what?

Today is MOOs first birthday!

simply moo-velous.

 As someone who writes her thoughts down on the internet on a somewhat regular basis, I can entirely understand what an accomplishment this feels like for KJ. While she’s off saving the world (read: in Joplin fighting the good fight), Buff, Bouffant and I have a few words we would like to say in celebration of this momentous (because it is) occasion.

I’m going to go first because we’re doing reverse alphabetical order because IRL my last name is always first.

On April 20, 2010, I received an email from KJ, congratulating me on the completion of my thesis. She ended the email with this:

“Thank you for sharing a piece of your genius with others so we can rediscover the dormant flames within ourselves.”

From the beginning, KJ was thinking. She was seeking. She was talking to me about ‘following bliss’, and after countless exchanged emails… this baby (calf) was born.  I pre-read the first article before it was published, and afterwards I sent KJ an email that said:

“I thought it was brilliant. Flawless. I want you to publish it NOW. “

She responded:

“oh jesus, really?! I was just about to hit DELETE and scrap the whole thing. I thought it leaned towards self-indulgent at times.”

Silly girl had no idea what profound ideas she was putting down from day one. Immediately after this blog got off the ground, it stood on it’s own two feet, got some wings and flew away to the Land of Perfection.

Week after week KJ writes not only about Stew, but also about another royal rebel. I personally love the articles on Judy Garland and Kate Winslet, but I love everything she writes because they pertain to Ms. Stewart. Thank you, KJ, for being the type of fan we all strive to be, and for writing words that are nothing short of inspirational.

So here we are a year later, and my oh my time has flown. I love MOO. I love KJ. I’ve had the very distinct honor of meeting KJ several times, and listen to me when I tell you that she is EXACTLY the same person in real life that she is on the internet. She speaks the way she types. She loves you even harder in person. She emits an aura of generosity, happiness, euphoria and understanding. SHE. REALLY. IS. THAT. COOL. IN. PERSON. And she wears lovely, flowy dresses, and she has luscious, plump lips.

 

KJ? Congratulations. Thank you for pouring your blood, sweat and tears into MOO. You make a difference. You inspire. You create. You encourage. You set a bar and you practice what you preach. In short, you are everything I am not and everything I will never be. But that’s okay. Because you’re KJ. The best. The only. You are THE Queen Other.

Take it away, Buff!

Thanks CC! 🙂 When I think of MOO I think in terms of sunny days, tiaras, music, chucks, and bubbles. Mainly because those are the types of images I’ve dealt with when making banners, etc. So when I sat down to write my blurb on why I’ve loved this blog my head was filled with those images. And you know what? How awesome is that? Sunny days, tiaras, music, chucks, and bubbles, in my opinion, are some of the best things in this world.

in mah head.

Musings On Other had already been birthed from KJ’s magnificent brain before I was ever any part of it and I was thrilled when she asked me to help. A year later, I continue to be honored to be at least a small part. This blog is something I believe to be set a part from anything else that I’ve come across. KJ’s writing is smart, witty, sympathetic, and touching. She always has a way of relating things that makes me go “huh… yeah …wow, that is totally true!”

I adore the way she breaks things down, relating Kristen to not only us ‘others’, but other prominent people as well. I have learned more about some of my favorite musicians and actors than I ever knew before, and always find it so interesting to learn just how much they stand out from their own respective crowds. It’s taught me a lot about myself and the types of people I am drawn to.

I’ll conclude my gushing (sorry this read like a bad book review, I am not as elegant as Ms. KJ.) with something to our true Royal Rebel Queen, KJ. *bows reverently*

Dearest KJ,

Your passion is catching. Even though I have never had the privilege to meet you in person, I can feel it in your writing. It oozes from everything you do. Be it an email that makes me tear up from your sincerity and overwhelming support, or your weekly musings that make us all stop and think.

I appreciate you and what you do more than I can express. Putting yourself out there, sharing your thoughts and opinions is endlessly amazing and brave. Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing what you do. This is an accomplishment that you should be so very proud of. I’ve told you before – you are destined to do great things. I’m elated to know you and call you friend.

this.

 Much love and squeezie hugs,

Buff

Go Bouffant, go! *hands off baton*

I’ve had a ringside seat to MOO from its inception.  I listened as KJ examined her interest in Kristen, to uncover what it was about Kristen that drew her.  She wrote to me:

“There was a great article on Kristen addressing that position she was in: Indie darling juggling the effects of starring in a huge franchise…No one so young has done it before, I don’t think, not with such grace and dignity anyway.”

Agreed.  Then the inspiration for MOO hit:

“My focus will be on Kristen’s resilience and abilities to prevail in setting a new standard and model for beauty for women [people]of all ages.”

Clearly, this was not to be your typical fan blog.  Kristen is her muse, but KJ endeavors to celebrate the Other in all of us:

“my blog will be about defining beauty across cultures, accepting of self-image, the embrace of “OTHER”: that spark that sets as aside from all else, what can alienate us as well as draw attention to us.”

Not the sole I’m talking ’bout

I dig it… close but no cigar

As CC said… profound ideas.  KJ connected with Kristen’s authenticity, her grace in the face of incredible pressures,  her self-acceptance (BTW, Kristen? THAT is inner beauty) and has spent the past year hooking us up.  KJ knows Other resides within all of us.  She illustrates it by highlighting Other well-known artists and by inviting us to share our MOO musings (pssst, CC… Judy Garland? All moi, bebe!).

K, you represent Other to me in that you’re a true free spirit.  When you’re moved by inspiration, you follows its lead.  A year ago, you were moved by your admiration of Kristen Stewart to start this blog.  Today you’re in a convention center in Joplin, Missouri, counseling people who have lost homes, possessions and loved ones in last week’s tornado.

Taken by KJ - Joplin, MO  6/2/11

“Gather out of stardust,
earth-dust,cloud-dust, storm-dust,
and splinters of hail,
One handful of dream-dust not for sale.”
— Langston Hughes
 
I watch you use your gifts of insight and healing to uplift everyone you touch.  And I remain in awe of you.  Can’t wait to find out where you’ll be – literally and figuratively – on MOO’s second birthday.  xoxo, Bouffant

So there you have it. Nothing but love for MOO and KJ. I thought it would apt to end this post with the same thanks KJ once passed on to me because it applies infinitely more to her…

Thank you for sharing a piece of your genius with others so we can rediscover the dormant flames within ourselves.

Congrats on a whole year!!

[CC Note: Please help lift KJ’s spirits and celebrate this incredible achievement/first birthday of MOO by leaving our Queen Other some love. Any posts stick out in your memory? Any favorite featured Royal Rebel? Here’s your chance to return the favor after all that KJ has done for us ❤

Happy Birthday, MOO! And thank you, readers. I know how much you mean to KJ. She loves you with all of her heart and soul. Today is your day.]

[Buff Note: Bouffant went above and beyond and picked out some music for this post.  I was able to get one on project playlist —-> (the first song on the player to the ri-zight) The two others weren’t available.  So, for your listening pleasure, I present youtube links. Yay!

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y M O O!!]

Team Other’s Musings & A Rebellious Beauty Giveaway

23 Dec

A/N: Thank you to everyone who read and commented the past two postings, you all continue to humble and stun me. I am a complete fail in replies lately, and I apologize. I will make it up to you today (at least, I think it’s a lovely compromise…more on The Giveaway momentarily). Also, I’m posting late today, later than I hoped anyway, because it has been an epic battle between myself and the formatting system of WP. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt today because it’s Christmas, and because I know that the pictures in this essay are out of this world, and maybe this site simply cannot handle it…?

Soooooo Happy Christmas Eve Eve, to all who celebrate it, and Happy Winter and end-of-year-goodness to us all. Some of us are digging ourselves out of sky-high snow banks or rowing boats down our streets in response to the copious rainfall at this time. There was only one time in memory in which my streets in my hometown actually, truly flooded and that was when I was maybe 17 years old and the flood control channels had collapsed under the weight of too much rain too fast. Californians, as laid back as we are, uh, we don’t do so well in rainy conditions, let alone floods. My very metropolitan hometown literally shut down and ceased working because people had no idea how to drive or move through flood water. So my brother hopped on his surfboard and paddled through the neighborhood scoping out routes in case of evacuation. It was surreal watching him paddle down our street in chest-high waters.

I grew up in a beach city. This wasn't at all an unusual vision. Not gonna lie, it didn't suck.

Anyhoo. Just a moment of reminiscing there. Which is what today’s Musings will be about. Today is a fond stroll in recollection, collaboration and perspective, like last week. I have decided not to do the Kristen Retrospective just yet, and instead am going to do something a teeeensy bit different: An awe-filled “roundtable” reminiscing and bonding with fellow Others.

Side note: People are so freaking talented.  This pic was posted in kiarolina81‘s photos. I found it by googling “Christmas and Kristen Stewart images”.

Oh!! And we have another  Giveaway! I’m so cracka-lacka excited about it, I can barely contain myself. Not even sure how to hold it together till the end but I hope to entice you with today’s contents…It’s the end of the year, it’s the season of giving and collaboration and L-O-V-E. I want to share  (since Sharing IS Caring) with you all the workings of the most incredible women I have the pleasure of knowing and working with: Team Other.

Musings On Other, aka MOO– Buff and I snicker and make silly jokes of the cow variety whenever we can–is possible because I have an amazing team of ladies who support and prettify my ramblings…You lovelies and O.G. Musings Readers know that Bouffant (A Cyber Sister) and CC (KSIBTU) are the two beautiful ladies who encouraged me to step out and say hello to this crazy-beautiful fandom on Day One by publishing the very first essay on Unconventional Beauty and Royal Rebels:  Molly Ringwald, Kristen and Me. And Buff, because she’s generous, kind and probably pitied me, volunteered to design a banner for my “Kristen Support Project” after I wrote her an email asking her advice on how to create an interesting ‘look’. Because these ladies have been such an essential part of Musings and my journey towards Bliss and supporting Kristen, I am giving myself the gift of conversation, reminiscing, Otherness and KStew to commemorate this First MOO Christmas. Below you’ll find the candid Musings of my fellow Team Other Captains (Bouffant, CC and Buff), recipients of my utmost gratitude and adoration….I answer some questions, but you all have already heard some of my answers either in an essay or  from the incarnations of the  About KJ Page.

MUSINGS ON OTHER, WITH OTHERS

Stunned? Yeah me too. Alas, it's a picture of Queen Kristen...Musing. The first of many Buff & N Collabs. Wait till you see the Giveaway.

MUSINGS ON THE FANDOM:

Q: When did you realize you had become a member/involved in the Twi/Kristen/Robert Fandom?

Bouffant**I’m pretty sure someone chloroformed me, as I cannot recall how it all happened.
CC## I guess I realized I was a member when I received my members only jacket, quite like the one Rob has. Kidding! I guess it’s when I got an influx of emails literally the day after I posted my first post. And then people were so gracious and generous in responding to my mindless ramblings. I was in awe of the reaction. So I guess I gained some readers… and they were involved… and then we became forever involved together—like one big polygamous involvement.
Buff :::I didn’t really consider myself at all in the fandom until I started writing fan fiction.  If anything, I would have said I was a heavy lurker.  But looking back I was enthralled for sure with the Twi world and Kristen and Rob.
KJ<>I was a supporter and reader of the books since Summer 2008. But I think I realized how deep I was when I was in Indonesia traveling to see one of the Seven Wonders of The World last summer. And while I was climbing Buddhist temples or presented with a view of paradise,  I still  kept checking around for  a WiFi connection to see if there were any Kristen or Rob news. Seriously.
Q: What was it that first drew you to Kristen, Rob and/or Twilight?
Bouffant** The twinkle in Cedric Diggory’s eye?  The cut of his robes?  The way he cast a spell?  I just knew Rob had ‘it’, and I’d see him again. Note: I am always right.

I was drawn to Kristen by her demeanor in the Twilight promo.  I liked that she was thoughtful and earnest in interviews, but didn’t take herself seriously.  There was (is) nothing false about her.

My nieces drew me to Twilight.  Although if Rob and Kristen weren’t in the movies, I’m sure I would not have seen more than the first, and perhaps not even that one.

CC## Have you seen how pretty? That’s what. I looked at a picture on my TV of Vanity Fair (THE Vanity Fair) and I thought—fuck—they are too hot for their own good. Throw in a little google and the issue of In Style in 2008 and I was addicted.

Buff::: The pretty. No. seriously.  I hadn’t read the books yet but kept seeing those damned commercials, and I remember thinking they were both ridiculously good looking.

KJ<> Would THIS be the pretty you’re referring to?  Yes. I recall it well.

Q: When you first heard Rob Pattinson’s singing voice….you..…?

Bouffant** Did the aural equivalent of a double-take.

CC# Came? Yes I did.

Buff::: had an orgasm. Can I say that? Actually I had terrible writers block in the middle of writing Eclipsed Heart and I decided to try listening to music while I wrote – I usually needed silence to concentrate, ask my hubs he hated me when I was writing.  But I thought I’d give it a go and I downloaded a bunch of his songs before I had ever listened to them, so I played those and after I pulled myself from the puddle of goo I had become the words literally flew out of my head.  So his voice was a definite muse for me.

KJ<> My knees buckled. Cheeks grew hot. Mouth dropped open. Had to excuse myself from my cubicle…for…a moment…O_OoO0

Q: Best director in the Twilight Saga so far?

CC## SHUT UP. IF BUFF’S ANSWER ISN’T CATHY WE AREN’T FRIENDS ANY MORE. Obviously Catherine. She nurtured the relationship that we fell in love with. It’s the reason we love the Saga.

Buff:::  Cathy

KJ<> uh. #TeamChattyCathy here.

Q:  How has being apart of this fandom changed you?

Bouffant** I vacillate between feeling like a kid again and feeling as old and wise as Carlisle Cullen.  It’s a little dizzying, to be honest… but not so bad

CC##I get the most incredible emails from people all over the world. I love it. Even if we talk only once, I love that people take the time to say hello. I have also sincerely gained some friends for life. I am such a shy person by nature—meaning I don’t like to talk to people I don’t know face to face. So all of these girls come out of nowhere and email me and we develop these relationships that surpass this ‘fandom’ and it’s real. Whereas R/K used to be our focus, it’s all very secondary now.

I care about Jamie’s niece being premature and whether or not Iris was going to get to adopt Bo. They are some of my best friends and I can’t even explain how important they are to me. My faith in humanity has been restored tenfold. Also, I spend a lot less time with normal humans because I am looking at pictures and jotting down my thoughts.

Buff::: I don’t know that its changed me.  I am an introvert by nature, so if you threw all of us into a room I wouldn’t speak half (any) of the shit I tweet, write, etc. But its easier to be out going this way.  One thing I have gained is more confidence in my writing. OH! Duh! AND, I learned how to use photoshop.

 

Q: Who in your personal/3D/Real-life knows your level of involvement in the fandom?  *Big Grin*

 

CC## I consider my KSIBTU girls and bloggie bffs my real life. They all know. The people in my life before then? They have an idea that I like Kristen, but that’s it. It’s not a secret—they just don’t care. I’m sort of glad because I don’t want them to ruin it. I just want one thing to belong to me. I want to keep one thing sacred, and it is. I love the friends I’ve made through this experience. Honest to God, I’m so lucky.



Buff::: Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. BBBBBBAhahahahahahahaha. My husband.

KJ<> I’m slowly but surely merging my 3D world with my Cyberworld/KStew/Rob/ Twi world. Outside of my Cyber Sisters and you lovely KSIBTU Girls, N knows, but doesn’t read MOO. My brother knows I write a little and admire Kristen, but  his knowledge is only to an extent. My SIL Puss and my dear friend Kathryn are probably the two people in my pre-Musings world who are most aware of my involvement. They don’t judge. They join me on my quest to learn more about Kristen and Otherness, and the Featured Royal Rebels with me each week.

OUR REIGNING OTHER QUEEN:

Q: Favorite KStew movie ?

Bouffant** The Runaways
CC## Easiest question ever! #LisaPForever

Buff::: Hmmmm… I’d probably have to say Adventureland because I love that movie.  But there are still KStew movies I haven’t seen (I know – for shame) So I’m going to say the jury’s still out on my fav KStew movie.
KJ<> I think…gah! That’s hard. I’m gonna go with Adventureland. Speak and The Cake Eaters were IN.CRED. WTTR and The Yellow Handkerchief shook me.  But overall, it’s all about Adventureland. #JesseEisenberg #MartinStarr #ReingingQueenKristen #GIANTASSPANDA

Q: Favorite KStew interview thus far?



CC##

I refuse to answer this question. Elle UK, Entertainment Weekly, Nylon

Buff::: Elle UK

KJ<> Elle UK, Nylon, Jay Leno #HankyPankyGame


Q: Favorite KStew Quote?


Bouffant**

Verbal: “I think it’s funny that 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.”.

Non-verbal: The double-finger salute to the paps in Australia.


CC## It’s a tie between, “I feel very faithful to truth and I think when people are afraid of that, they’d rather try and feign cynicism and experience. I am not cynical but I am not naïve either. I take things for what they are,” and

“sincerity seems to be a problem today, but I prefer to be hated than be false and fool people.” She is wise beyond her years. She says what she means and she means what she says, otherwise she wouldn’t bother saying it. I appreciate that. She’s not blowing hot air.

Buff::: They’re bullets, Mofo!

KJ<> I love the quote that Bouffant picked out. So much. I also love THIS (OHai, JHiggs, my love!):

Q: Favorite KStew fashion moment (s)? Steeze?

Bouffant** Converse

CC## Please. Everyone knows this. I’m a broken record. Two words: The Pucci.

Buff::: I do not consider myself a fashionista by any means so I always hesitate to give my opinion on this.  I can tell you what I think was pretty, weather that deems it fashionable I can’t qualify.  My favorite fancy KStew look from this year is Letterman KStew, and the Eclipse LA premier because the cut of that dress? x_x Wowza.

The Goods:

Bouffant**

  • Favorite Holiday Movie: Double feature: Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer & It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Favorite Ice cream flavor: Hand it over, don’t bother me with nonsense about  flavor!
  • Books I’m Reading now: Just finished Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.
  • Last 3 songs listened to on my iPod: The last three songs on Come Around Sundown
  • When I was 8 years old, I was good at… Successful use of Clackers without putting an eye out, counting stars, riding my bike to the top of the hill

CC##

  • Favorite Holiday Movie:  Love Actually
  • Favorite Christmas/Hanukkah Food: I don’t have a specific favorite Christmas food. I love it all. The pasta course is probably my favorite because my aunt makes the best sauce. We also have these stuffed breads that are ridiculous. And Chanukah? LATKES FOREVERRRRRR. With applesauce, please!
  • Number of Homes I’ve lived in: 8
  • Three Random Facts about Me: 1. I never wear the color red;  2. I interned at the United Nations while I was in College and one day got the chance to go bowling in the White House. Swear. I have pictures!;  3. I hate carrots.
  • Fan Fic that OWNS me right now: Ohhhhh KJ what a loaded question. I struggle with ff. I hate almost every story I’ve ever read, due largely in part to the ending. I also hate when people are in the midst of a juicy lemon and scream ‘IIIIII LOOOOVEEEE YOUUUUUU’ as they climax. Hey, have you ever had sex? DO YOU SCREAM THAT OUT? NO. YOU DO NOT. If the man is making you see stars, and I hope he is, you don’t talk!!!!! I also hate stories that are hardcore and then turn into fluffy bullshit after they say ‘I love you’. STOP. Love doesn’t make you brain dead and it doesn’t change who you are. Give it to me hard.So what owns me? These 4 fics are the best of the best right now, IMO. 1.) A Pound of Flesh. She is brilliant. It’s not some mushy pussy fest. It’s hot. It’s erotic, and I love this Edward. One word: peaches. UNF. 2.) True Love Way. It updates daily and it’s so poetic I want to sing. I think that TeamBella is a gift from God. Her stories will break you in the best way. Her fic Closer (and its sequel California Waiting) are two of my favorite stories ever written. 3.) The Cullen Campaign. It’s smart and sassy. And once again, it’s not lame. 4.) Dead on my Feet. It’s hard. It’s real. As someone who has seen a sick young person for so many years… I appreciate the honesty of it all, and the writer doesn’t fuck around.

from SimplyKristen's Tumblr

Buff:::

  • Favorite Holiday Movie: White Christmas because its a classic.  Elf is a close second becasue smiling is my favorite. 🙂
  • Items on your fridge? Pictures of family, my kids’ art work, various magnets, dry erase/cork board with bills leering at me.
  • Mood Today? Happy, Christmas is two days away!!! Fa la la la la LA LA LA LAAAAAAAAAA!!!
  • Three Random Facts About Me: 1.
    My wrists are double jointed – I think – I can turn my hands almost all the way around.
    2. I wanted to be a veterinarian for years until I found out it consisted of more than just playing with puppies all day.  3. I used to score from midfield. (That’s what she said.) No, get your mind out of the gutter….goals. I was a sweeper with a big kick

     

  • Fan Fic that OWNS me right now: Ugh. Yesterday I would have said TLW, which is awesome, but then I read The Plan and it is genius.

KJ<>

  • Favorite Holiday Movie: Love Actually, A Christmas Story, It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf
  • Last 3 Songs listened to on my iPod: Check the Musings playlist. Mostly Christmas, though ALL inspiring with a dash of Stevie Wonder, Joan Jett and John Lennon.
  • Number of Homes I’ve lived in: 12
  • Three Random Facts About Me: 1. I have dislocated both knees at least 3 times apiece. 2. I leave caps off of any bottles I open. Lots of spills in the house. 3. I am a recorded singer on a movie soundtrack.
  • Fan Fic that OWNS me right now: Whoa there. Don’t get me started on FF. But since it was my question…here’s what I’ll say. 1. The Righteous and Wicked– oh fuck. As I my Sister Readers can confirm, as can @takemetobliss & @kate_suena, keep a snack or some smokes nearby for instant oral gratification while reading it. Just do it. UNF. 2. A Pound Of Flesh-I am somewhat in LOVE with Edward in this one. Ok, TOTALLY in LOVE with him. He’s one sexy mofo. 3. Full Disclosure–falling in emo love…my friend @MissBettySmith takes you there. 4. Starry Eyed Inside — I will read anything written by Rochelle Allison. She is poetry. 5. Tunes with Tony Masen is climbing up there. Different, intelligent, part mystery, part adventure, ALL unresolved sexual tension.

Musings On Other:

Q: How do you see Kristen embodying her Otherness?

Bouffant** I have never witnessed a young woman so steadfastly withstand an onslaught of energetic opinion and judgment (pretty much all of which ultimately has little to do with her by the way) and remain confident… and, at the same time, humble.  Being inside herself, and having (because of her youth) somewhat limited life experience, she probably does not realize how inspiring that is.

CC## Kristen is unapologetic and authentic. She owns everything she does, and that is a lot more than most of us can say right now.

Buff::: Her honesty.  That’s the simplest way to put it.  She is honest in her words and actions no matter what the popular opinion, and I admire that.

Q:  One word or phrase that describes the Other Beauties at this “roundtable”

Bouffant says** Bouffant= Hairy ;; Buff= Picturesque;; CC= Merry (Krismas!);; KJ= Tender

CC says## Bouffant= Brave;; Buff= Generous;; CC= Idiot;; KJ= Enchanting

Buff says::: Bouffant= I’m sad because I don’t know Bouffant as well as I’d like..yet;; Buff= _____;; CC= Beautifully Witty;; KJ= Altruistic-compassionate heart and soul

KJ says<> Bouffant= charmingly clever;; Buff= overwhelmingly talented;; CC=gloriously brilliant;; KJ= stumbling forth

Q: How have you embraced YOUR Other?

Bouffant** With gusto and perhaps tipsily

CC## I am me. This is who I am. Take it or leave it. I love myself (most days), and that’s not an easy thing to do.

Buff::: I do my best to hold my confidence and not let outside pressure sway me.

KJ<>I would accept the homecoming queen nomination if it were offered to me today, instead of decline it and slink away as I did over a decade ago.  That’s a HUGE concession.

HOLIDAY MOO MASHUP GIVEAWAY

Ok so I seriously was debating on keeping these prints to myself because I can’t stop staring. But I want to share them with you lovely Readers because you all appreciate and support our Reigning Other Queen Kristen, as well as the pursuit of Bliss and Creativity. Also, you, like me, think that Kristen is Royalty, and that Buff and N (my husband) are a geniuses with what they do (this means they’re both artistically gifted and they both tolerate me. Takes a lot of patience and goodness to do both). And you know what? I agree. So without further ado…Here are the first ever Musings On Other Photo Prints featuring the Blissful collaboration between my lovely, insanely talented husband N and his photography and the brilliant and PATIENT photo editor and visionary, Buff82. Collaborating in the name of Perspective, Bliss and Otherness.

 

 

Dude. I know. I KNOOOOWWW.  Have you collapsed in utter (or udder #MOOHumor courtesy of Buff)  astonishment? When Buff first sent me the proofs, I burst into tears. N looked over at me and then the laptop and said, “Wow.” About his own work! But also because he clearly admires, as do I, the way that Buff took these pictures and made them transcend. A cool piece of knowledge: there are more where these came from. I have at least three other MOO MASHUPS (Buff & N Collabs) to share with you. We’ll see the other Mashups in the next few weeks. I have to share them. I MUST.

Here’s how you become eligible to choose 1 of these 3 photography prints (8×10, matted)…Just pick at least 3 of the questions that Team Other answered above and give your own answers in the comment section below! Easy! You can tell me what you thought when you heard Rob’s singing for the first time, or what your favorite KStew Steeze moment was. Or you can share how you’re spending these holidays, or how you’ve embraced Other in your own life…The possibilities are endless!

I have truly, truly enjoyed having the conversations with Bouffant, CC and Buff resulting in the candid and wonderfully honest answers above, and I look forward to hearing YOUR Musings On Other too. Until next week,  take care of yourselves, continue to seek and celebrate yours and OTHERS’ Unconventional Beauty. Stay safe and enjoy your time with your beloveds during this holiday weekend…. Always Yours, KJ

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Merging the fragments: An Indonesian Wayang Puppet (shadow) & Christmas

WE ARE OTHER.

KRISTEN IS OTHER.

OTHERS KNOW THAT UNCONVENTIONAL IS BEAUTIFUL.

EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.

A/N: I’ll announce 2 winners for the Giveaway next week. Winners have their choice of one of the three prints featured above.

*Give some lovin to Buff at her Twitter @Buff_82 and/or N via email: Kinophotography@gmail.com for their blissful collaboration.

*Thanks for holding the space for Bouffant, Buff, CC and I to jabber about the great things in this world–ice cream, Chatty Cathy and Kristen Stewart. *Let @Bouffant00, @Buff_82 and @Kstewsbtrthanu know if you reacted to their Musings on Twitter…

Muselet: An Other Day

28 Oct

A/N: We’ll call this one a Muselet (a silly one at that), ok, Lovelies? There will be no Featured Rebel Royal in today’s essay, but I will more than make up for it next time, cross my heart. I also am pressed for time as I’m writing this just before I’m to hop a plane for a short flight down to my hometown, to attend a psychology training over the weekend, and celebrate my birthday with family and my hubs, who will fly down just to hang with me for a day or so. Of course, I also plan to squeeze in a viewing of Welcome to the Rileys’ with a couple of girls from the KSIBTU Crew. #Priorities.

Sooooo, hello, my Majestic Misfits, how have you been this week? I’ve been well, though super busy as of late, but nonetheless well. I know it’s been a rather sparse time, in the aftermath of last week’s StewiePalooza,Welcome to the Rileys Press Tour, a.k.a. Kristen. OWNING. IT.  But we’ve had a few little nuggets here or there that help us coast through the week. For one, our beloved bestie Tom Sturridge and one of our  lovely Featured Rebel Royals Carey Mulligan have been seen hanging together outside of hotels, at Whole Foods, whatnot. Oh, and we can’t forget that our favorite Warrior Poet Rebel Mr Rob Pattinson allegedly purchased a bicycle and has been seen riding around the lakes at the university, near  Baton Rouge where he and fellow cast mates are in pre-production for the six-month shoot of Breaking Dawn.


Might be his best bet in evading the set-stalkers

With stellar (insert sarcasm) precision, someone, somewhere has happily tweeted or Facebooked,  or interviewed a store owner to obtain the latest details regarding Kristen and Rob’s location, their possible living arrangements, and food consumed while in Baton Rouge…..And, well, let’s not dismiss the stories of Voodoo Weddings and elaborate Halloween bashes that Rob is supposedly throwing! No wonder the poor guy bought himself a bike!

But I digress. The newest story today purports that Rob is hosting a massive Halloween party for his fellow cast mates (which, I wouldn’t put past him, as he appears to be a very generous guy), in which he will dress up as…wait for it–A Vampire. It feels a little unusual for our notoriously shy guy and his equally shy partner Kristen to be bringing attention to themselves. But it does address the goodness that is October 31, and I’d like to take a minute to discuss this lovely day with you all.
You may recall our lovely Ms. Stewart visiting Jay Leno on The Tonight Show a couple weeks ago. In her interview, she spoke about her family’s enthusiasm for the swiftly approaching holiday known as Halloween a.k.a. The Day of Other or The Day of Embracing All Facets of Self. Maybe The Day the Invisible Becomes Visible…or…The Also Known As Day…?

Our Reigning Other Queen giggled (perhaps Stew Giggles compose the sweetest sounds ever) when she told Mr Leno that her mother, the ultra-talented Jules Mann-Stewart, is a big Halloween buff and that Halloween in the Stewart household is kinda a huge deal, like, a Bigger-Than-Christmas deal. And for several years in a row, Kristen admits to dressing up as, ironically, Dracula.

Mwahahaha! Perhaps Kristen can loan her old costumes to Rob for his party-hosting gig this year?

How bad ass is that? She wasn’t a girly vamp, Kristen cautions us. No, she wore the long cloak and rocked the widow’s peak. Man, KStew is so much better than me. #KSIBTU.  Can I say that I tend to feel the same way  as The Stewarts? Let’s think about it shall we? Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, is a day in which–according to English and Celtic lore–the veil between the OTHERworld and this world is thinnest. The Celts believed the souls of the dead (both benevolent and malevolent) roamed the streets and villages on this night. Family ancestors were honored and invited into the home, as rooted in the Festival of Samhain, but evil spirits were cast away when the celebrants wore masks and costumes of demons. Also? Bonfires. Lots of bonfires involved–to signify heath and home, but also as a cleansing ritual as people would throw the bones of slaughtered livestock into the flames, signifying the end of summer, and the dawn of winter. In traditional Celtic festivals, folks would hollow out and carve faces into large turnips, to place in the windows of homes in order to ward off harmful spirits. Would it look something like this?

um. errr. grrrr...? I'm sorry, I would hardly call this repulsive. Concerning, maybe, but I wouldn't run from the room screaming.

So here’s the deal. There are many perspectives on Halloween, influenced by old cultural traditions, and religious beliefs. Most countries don’t even observe it at all, not as the North Americas and some European countries do, anyway. Halloween in its incarnation today is not the same as All Souls Day (Nov 2) as traced back to the middle ages in which poor folks would go door-to-door seeking food in return for prayers for the dead–although you can see in which today’s Trick-or-Treating customs are rooted. Also, this day should not be mistaken for, though often is, The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) the holiday observed in Mexico and some South American countries in which family and friends gather for prayers and offerings in remembrance of those who have already passed on.

Here is my perspective. Halloween is the opportunity for  us to present the repressed and reveal the hidden, and acknowledge the shadow, recognize the undervalued facets of yourself…One might say it’s the ultimate day to Embrace the Other? Clearly, it’s time to declare October 31 as Day of Other? Well, in my world it is a special Day of Other, because it also happens to be my birthday. *nudges you* It makes so much sense, right???

Again, this looks NOTHING like me. I certainly don't wear aprons.

So it’s true: While I already was self-conscious and awkward and hyper-aware that I looked differently, dressed differently, seemingly formulated thoughts differently than my peers and family, additionally, I endured the heckling of uncouth peers because of the day I was born.  According to these geniuses, I was born on Satan’s Day and that I must be the spawn of  the devil…and that I was so ugly it was no wonder I was born on Halloween, because I already came equipped with my own mask, yadda yadda. Seriously, don’t cry for me, Argentina, it’s cool. Made me stronger and more aware of the Destruction of Others at a young age.

Are we agreed? Shall we declare October 31 Day of Other? You all must see the signs now:  Other-endorsing agents everywhere, opportunities to react in unexpected, unconventional, unusual, quirky, odd and rebellious ways in our every day lives. Signs encouraging you to fly your freak flag and embrace it all…right? There are the endless musicians, actors, and activists that Team Other and I try to highlight every week for you in with Musings, we also have literary heroes like LisbethSalander from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and it’s sequels, and let’s not forget the beyond brilliant  TV show Glee please, all righty?

A brief reminder: while Halloween can be one official day of Embracing Otherness, I still want to encourage you to seek out the unique and extraordinary every other day as well.We’re not making Day of Other like that ridiculous poseur “holiday” Valentine’s Day, now. Nah. Other Day should really be DAILY OTHERNESS, a conscious mantra. Although, I must say I enjoy some of the holiday TV specials that arise as a result of Hallow’s Eve:

Back to Glee for a sec. Have we not talked about this show together yet? I mean, it’s a show about Otherness, outcasts, misfits and rebels set to song and dance for cryin’ out loud!! It has succeeded where poor Cop Rock could not. Just two nights ago, they did their tribute to  Rocky Horror Picture Show, quickly earning itself a spot in my Top 5 episodes ever. Happy Other Day indeed!  All right, we’ll talk more about Glee in future essays. But I just wanted to illustrate how prevalent and relevant Otherness is. It has permeated the collective consciousness in gloriously unusual and creative ways.

T-T-T-T-Touuuuch Meeee

REIGNING OTHER QUEEN: KRISTEN STEWART

Our Reinging Other Queen Kristen definitely recognized at an early age of her exclusion from the “Ordinary Club” and therefore her membership in the Other Category. The sweet girl was not a fairy princess  or a ballerina  for Halloween,  (not that there is anything remotely “wrong” with either of these costumes/roles, they are examples of the more acceptable, gender-role-supportive via our society), she chose a notorious masculine, blood-sucking, erotic, influential, literary antagonist instead. When asked by friend CC of @KStewsBtrthanU: What should Kristen be for Halloween? I replied: Bettie Page.

The defiance of gender roles has nevah looked sooo good

Kristen, according to peers and filmmakers, exudes a strength and maturity far, far beyond her chronological age. Not surprisingly, Kristen was reading books such as Kerouac’s On the Road when she was a pre-teen, and  at 17-years old, she was hand-picked by Greg Mottola to play the conflicted college student Em in the wonderful wonderful movie Adventureland . Most recently Jake Scott, director of Welcome to the Rileys’ reported that despite Kristen’s age (only 18 years old when she was cast as Mallory), he had complete faith that Kristen could tackle the emotional and physical obstacles to portray a broken, near-hopeless teen runaway/stripper/prostitute in his film. She is so unexpected, fresh, unique and unparalleled when comparing her to her contemporaries. Melissa Leo, Kristen’s co-star in WTTR said:

“She was 18 when we shot the movie — almost too young to know all the stuff she does, to get inside something like that. She had the willingness to literally be exposed in the way she was.”

WHEN YOU WERE OTHER

As I mentioned earlier, I had a pretty solid recognition of my Otherness when I was in grade school, and anytime I looked in the mirror (what? I’m Filipino and Puerto Rican for The Goddess’ sake, and my parents and big brother are Swiss-German, it was all kinds of obvs). But between The Great Yearbook Photo mix-up of Junior High and The High School Other Homecoming Queen nominations, I would say that I opened up to my Otherness quotient in the middle-to-late nineties.

Just this week, I was catapulted back to the Grunge Years as I found myself reading a new fan fic called The Ride by the sublime Aylah50 (whose own birthday is tomorrow Oct 29th~HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my fellow Scorpio Grunge Baby!). The story chronicles two people’s trajectory after a very romantic, sensual encounter at a concert by one of my favorite bands LIVE in 1996. Let’s just say that in my nostalgic haze, I could very remember the traces of purple Manic Panic swirling around the drain in my sink as I would dye my  hair and my friends’ hair (if we weren’t using KOOLAID, remember that shit?), hear Trent Reznor’s voice sing of how he gets Closer …to God, see my Doc Martens peeking out from under my floral dresses or completely inappropriate lingerie; I can remember perving on the beautiful tattooed guy behind the  counter of the coffee shop I would frequent….ahhhh. Well that 90’s Flashback and today’s playlist was brought to you courtesy of BIRTHDAY GIFTS TO ME, INC.

Just relax, yo, I was grunge. Not self-mutilating emo.

Ok. So I’m gonna leave this essay as is, right here. We talked a bit about the possible origins of Halloween, birfdays, declaring October 31 an Other Day. We of course discussed the brilliant and rebellious genius of Kristen Stewart and I promised we’d pick up next time and talk about a new Featured Royal Rebel, but we conceded that Other really is permeating our collective unconscious, right? I asked you all to remember where you were when you realized YOU. ARE. OTHER. and I moseyed down Memory Lane and found myself thinking about Nine Inch Nails, LIVE, and unrequited Coffee Shop crushes.

I’ll see you next week at some point, after Halloween, but before the LA SHIT SHOW, a.k.a. Good Times and Birfday Celebrations with The KSIBTU Crew. I’ll want to talk with you all about seeing Welcome to the Rileys as it will have had it’s wide release tomorrow. I’d like to talk about risk-taking, and bliss pursuing, and the ecstasy of love but the absolute agony of loving in the eye of the storm, Cosmology and Spirituality, Body Image and more and more… Until then, enjoy the music, go and read Aylah50’s The Ride, and think a little about when you chose to be Dracula instead of Barbie for Halloween. Have a wonderful Day of Other/ HALLOWEEN/ SAMHAIN/WHATEVER IT IS YOU DEEM IT, but continue to seek and celebrate your Otherness beyond the 31st. I’ll see you soon so we can check in on how that’s going for ya… Take Care, xo, KJ

HALLOWEEN IS OTHER.

KRISTEN IS OTHER.

OTHERS  HAVE A WILLINGNESS TO BE EXPOSED.

EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.

QUESTION: WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE OTHER?

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