Tag Archives: challenges

The Risks and Benefits of Expression & Introspection

10 Mar

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

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

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

Then there’s this: *cue soaring heart*

The Fairest of The Fair

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

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

Its not even funny anymore. I flatlined weeks ago.

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

One extraordinarily beautiful girl:

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

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

Risks & Benefits

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

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

I just need a moment of quiet...

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

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

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

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

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

Let the healing...begin.

Featured Royal Rebel: Helena Bonham Carter

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

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

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

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

Offenses of Otherness:

Successfully balances independent projects with blockbusters.

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

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

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

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

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

Offenses of Otherness:

Does not desire celebrity nor fame.

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

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

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

Helena is Other.

Kristen is Other.

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

Embrace your Other.

*   *   *

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you next time, loves. xo, KJ

Homage To The Firsts

24 Feb

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

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

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

Arts and Crafts Time

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

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

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

Back to the Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIRST FALLINGS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things can swing from THIS…..

Rainbows, Unicorns and best friends forevsies

to this….kinda quickly

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

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

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

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

“WHY DO STARE AT ME SO MUCH? WHY?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of the brilliant Tumblr by absofreakinlutely

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

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

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

Fandom4saa.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

(c) absofreakinlutely tumblr

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

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others do not lose sight of the significance of Firsts.

Embrace your Other.

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

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

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

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