Tag Archives: Culture

Redefining the Learnings of Love

10 Feb

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

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

~John Welwood, Love and Awakening

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

This is like porn. #OfficeSupplyJunkie

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

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

Ohai, Sal. I mean, Sam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love as a Transformative Path

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

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

“I am on United Flight 53 to Maui”

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

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

Swear that youre in it to win it

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

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

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

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

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

All I’ve Ever Learned From Love

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

~ Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, fuck no.

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

Creating A New Definition

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

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

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

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

Featured Royal Rebel: Viggo Mortensen

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

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

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

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

Offenses of Otherness:

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

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

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

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

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

LOVE or CREATIVITY or GUIDANCE or ACTOR or ARTISTIC or HUMANITY  

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

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

Offenses of Otherness:

*Remains grounded about the enormous success of her career

*Strives to channel celebrity into philanthropy

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

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

Viggo is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others create a new definition for expression.

Embrace your Other.

***

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

See you soon. Yours, KJ


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?

Me…but more

15 Jul
Why So Broken?

It seems that (not surprisingly), I encountered many signs encouraging me to re-intergrate aspects of myself this week. Ahhh… Lady Synchronicity appears again. Firstly, you all know that I stumbled quite serendipitously upon the new space for what I refer to as the “magical little practice”. It was a case of Psychotherapist Kj introducing herself to the bliss-pursuing, Other Queen-in-training Kj. Then, on Friday night I went for tapas and cocktails at a Spanish lounge with my beautiful Welsh Muse, Kathryn, to whom I refer to as My Manager. She literally is to me what I believe Ruth is to Stewie. She keeps me tuned in to my path of Creative Living, and talks me up and tries to book me for public gigs (hey a girl’s gotta make the rent payment somehow!). That night (further details in a moment), the Other Queen-apprentice part of me shook hands with the Musician part of me. And both aspects waved a warm greeting to Psychotherapist Kj. The night ended with me handing over my psychotherapy business card to our lovely waitress Kelly who in turn handed it to the restaurant’s manager. My Manager and I set up an audition to sing and play piano as a musical guest at this lovely Spanish restaurant and lounge (cue freaking-the-fuck-out riiiight now). Well, I didn’t stay out too late that night, because I was set to be On The Road with Marble Pole the next morning, early, so that I could meet up with my Cyber Sisters/ Readers of my Twilight group in the center of this state.

So I pondered (it’s what I do, and then I ramble about it to you generous, patient people every Thursday, thank the Goddess): Why do we fragment ourselves? Why do we keep parts of our personalities, talents and interests concealed? My Sisters and Readers had a vague idea of my field of work, but that I did some sort of counseling and I am looking for my niche (i.e. a job). They didn’t know I was a musician or a writer until I began this lovely project–Musings. No one in my family (with the exception of my sis Puss) or on Facebook know that I write Musings; or that I have a healthy admiration for Kristen and Rob (TRANSLATION: I totes crush on them both and have them on my Freebie Five List).

Do you have a separate group of friends who know the serious, work-focused you, and then another group of friends who you speak to about falling in love and raising a family? Perhaps you have another cohort of colleagues that you speak with about shared interests like: sports you play, hobbies you have? Or say…hmmm… Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart? Do your partners and family members know that you’ve seen Eclipse four times already? Do your parents, siblings and co-workers know why they hear a THUD and not surprisingly find you on the floor, unconscious below your desk? Could it be because of these, um, OUTTAKES??

*thud*
Did I lose a few of you just now? Yeah. I thought so. 

Or these??
Her gaze and his smirk burst with secrets, no?

Come Together

With my Twilight Roadtrip weekend and my attempts at pimping out my musical services, I realized that I had initiated The Merge. Cyber Sisters are now my 3D friends. I have faces, voices, facial expressions, perfume and an assortment of sensory associations linked to previously 2D acquaintances. A month or so ago, I met a few gorgeous ladies of The KSIBTU Crew in person even though we’d been “friends” online for some time. After our meeting? These ladies and I have strong personal relationships outside the World Wide Web. I call and write my Sisters and the KSIBTU girls for advice and guidance, just as I ask my Sister Puss and my husband. Though I base my Musings on events inspired by Kristen and her Homecoming Court of Misfits each week, the emails and correspondence exchanged with you all are about the issues we ponder and navigate in OUR lives. So again, I ask myself: Why do we fragment?

Remembering concepts found in all previous book recs I’ve featured here, like Eve Ensler’s I am an Emotional Creature and Marianne Williamson’s A Woman’s Worth, we realize that whether we asked for it or not, we are categorized in society by labels and gender roles. We are expected to take certain actions in fulfilling roles while we’re criticized for being frivolous if we try to embrace unexpected roles or paths. Take a look at all the roles we fill. Um. It’s a shit-ton.

WIVES. MOTHERS. LOVERS. SISTERS. CARETAKERS. COMFORTERS. CHEFS. DRIVERS ATHLETES. PROVIDERS. ARTISTS. DAUGHTERS. CREATORS. STUDENTS. TEACHERS. FRIENDS. SCIENTISTS. ACADEMICS. INTELLECTUALS. PARTNERS. WARRIORS. MISFITS. REBELS. POETS. DEBATERS. DETECTIVES. BLISS-PURSUERS. DANCERS.

QUEENS.

Williamson suggests, as do social psychologists, spiritual healers and medical practitioners, that the key is balance. Only when we embrace all aspects of ourselves are we truly whole. So much energy goes into denying pleasures or attributes that we have. We can be (M)others as well as Career Women. We can be compassionate, nurturing and nonviolent all while being strong, firm, athletic and intellectual. We absolutely can be “pretty” while driving a tractor or truck, debating the virtues of molecular biology, planning the recovery methods of hydrocarbons in petroleum engineering. Likewise, ballerinas may be beautiful swans on the performance stage as well as auto mechanics during the work week. The point is, we don’t have to deny ourselves our talents or interests in favor of social acceptance, although most of the time we do. It’s exhausting to fragment and deny. Its detracting from focusing on the work, the journey in front of us. It prevents us from meeting amazing people with similar interests. It causes us to lose confidence, increase anxiety. Why cause more heartache for ourselves? Here’s what I think: We can have it ALL. Fly the “freak flag”, yo. Take it all in. Merge your many facets. We can, in fact be Chucks- and tiara-wearing Royal Rebels.

 

courtesy of the extraordinary @buff_82

Marianne Williamson and one of my favorite writers, Sonia Choquette, Ph.D, advise that while society programs us to question whether or not we are “beautiful”, we are more vulnerable to the LIE the further we detach from our selves. Our self-awareness, our beliefs, our hopes, our connection with our Higher Power, whatever that may be. And how do we connect with our self-awareness? YUP. By acknowledging EVERYTHING we are. By not fragmenting ourselves. By embracing all of our strengths and challenges. By recognizing, not segregating, owning what is OURS. This is the pathway to bliss, the pathway to authenticity.

“Authenticity: ‘the courage to be imperfect, set boundaries, and be vulnerable’ “

The above quote was from Dr Brene Brown, a researcher, professor and writer on the very important and essential topics of shame, resiliency and authenticity. Thanks to the sublimely lovely @TheUrbanWhisk, I stumbled upon Dr Brown’s amazing work. Check her enchanting messages of hope, courage and authenticity here: Ordinary Courage

This is what we may look like once we begin The Merge and Balance of our fragmented souls:

Yippee! I love salt, Rumi, fanfiction, dance movies and office supplies! 

So how does becoming more You, More Other, More Authentic look in the 3D world? Well, for me, it started with the meeting of my Cyber Sisters and fellow KSIBTU Crew gals…it’s progressed into following the Miracle Bubbles to the Healing Center for my new counseling practice…then introducing myself to the Spanish Lounge’s staff to set up a singing audition…and will probably culminate in me linking Musings to my Facebook pals. Its the small steps towards embracing my Other…I probably won’t wear my I UNF FOR KSTEW tee-shirt to the family wedding I’m attending this weekend. But you can bet your sweet asses I’ll be wearing it for my first singing gig at the Lounge.

courtesy of CafePress and @buff_82. again.
See why she’s a Goddess?

Let’s talk about this week’s Rebellious Royals, shall we? I’m featuring another ginger, kids, I know, big shocker. Why not? The redheads seem to be the penultimate rebels don’t they? Shirley Manson, singer, songwriter, activist, actress certainly embodies all the great qualities of Otherness.

Featured Rebel Royal: Shirley Manson

Not only was a fan of hers and her band GARBAGE for the ten years and beyond, but I simply fell in love her all over again and wanted to give her massive props for her very public defense of our Other Queen Kristen in a Facebook Memo. Quite honestly, if you haven’t been a fan of Shirley’s already, I think now, my fellow Musers and Team Other mates, you NEED to be, simply on principle. Like. NOW. Here’s the link to her full passionate note: SHIRLEY MANSON’S NOTE
And here is an an Excerpt: 

Why are people so turned off by Kristen Stewart?!?!?!
I don’t get it.
I think she’s the best thing about the entire Twilight franchise.
Absolutely.
She’s delicious to look at.
She’s a talented actress.
(I don’t care what anyone else has to say about her acting because I think she behaves EXACTLY the way me and all my pals did around that age of the character she is playing so THERE!)
AND she’s articulate.
And she’s a little shy.
And clearly very thoughtful.
What’s not to love?
I hate it when she gets trashed.
It hurts my teenage self
SAVE OUR SMART GIRLS
SAVE THEM NOW

Ms Shirley Manson lives and works in Los Angeles now, but hails originally from Edinburgh, Scotland. Known for her distinctive voice, her personal lyrics and rebellious attitude, Shirley gained international success and acclaim with her band Garbage in the mid to late 1990’s. She began her musical career as a backup singer and keyboardist for the Scottish band Goodbye, Mr Mckenzie. She caught the eye of record producers who approached her to release an album as a solo singer. In 1993, she released her solo album performing under the name of Angelfish. It was her solo efforts that grabbed the attention of her future bandmates of Garbage. The band invited Shirley to record an album with them. The result was the mega-successful, grammy-winning Garbage. She remains with the band after another three albums. The songs Stupid Girl, Only Happy When It Rains, and #1Crush are among the most recognized songs of the Alternative Rock movement of the Nineties and early 2000s.

Shirley cites a difficult social upbringing for her forays into “rebel life”. According to biography, Shirley was bullied in her first years of secondary school, leading her to suffer depression and utilize self-injurious behaviors such as cutting and substance use. With forays into shoplifting, truancy and delinquency, Ms Manson was largely absent from any form of structured education system.

Beauty Marks: 1. Distinctive voice 2. Female front for an all-male band 3. Honestly discloses personal experiences with low self-esteem, stress and anxiety. 4. Overcame her self-defeating behaviors to become a voice for social issues and awareness of animal mistreatment

Offenses of Otherness: (per Other Hunters, Schoolyard Bullies and Ass Clowns) 1. Wears short skirts with Tall Boots 2. Wears clothing that accentuates her feminine attributes 3. Outspoken in her activism 4. Brutally honest in lyric-writing, citing controversial issues such as self-mutilation and substance abuse.

In addition to her songwriting and fronting for Garbage and her various solo musical projects, Shirley is an acitivist and participant in raising awareness for cancer research for children, several AIDS research groups and PETA. She experienced the heartbreak of being a bully victim, and turned her previously self-harming coping skills into activism. Because she speaks up for the oppressed, overlooked, and misunderstood, Shirley Manson is Rebel Royalty.

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

Our lovely Ms. Stewart has begun Beatnik Bootcamp in Montreal, Canada this week. Gone are the mis-shapen, frizzy Bella Swan wigs, and in their place are Kristen’s natural, strawberry-blonde locks for the embodiment of the iconic figure of Mary Lou in the film adaptation of On The Road. Kristen told reporters on the Eclipse press junket that she has been attached to On The Road for a few years now, but is so pleased and relieved to finally reveal her participation in the story she refers to as her “first favorite book ever”. Already, movie critics are praising the casting of our Other Queen in the role as MaryLou, not only for her impressive status as a result of The Twilight Saga, but due to an observable maturity and depth in her extraordinary acting talents.

Beauty Marks: 1. Reveling in her domestic goddess ways, baking pies for cast mates and press junket interviewers 2. Supports her friends’ projects publicly, despite knowing paparazzi will be there 3. Completely dedicated to embodying all faults and assets she posses 4. Gifted in physical movement: Juggles, golfs, throws spiraling footballs with precision (in 4-inch heels while sick no less! See the now-legendary Jimmy Fallon appearance)

Offenses of otherness (per Other-Hunters, Bullshit People, AssClowns): 1. Keeps composure despite intrusive photographers’ insults as she attends public events 2. Does not confirm or deny her personal relationship with Rob Pattinson 3. Is awkward and uncomfortable 4. Is honest in her reactions, but shy and cerebral in interviews. (This confuses people who want to categorize her by a singular emotion.)

This week, as Kristen prepared to be out of the country and away from her home, friends and family, she made headlines simply for stepping out with Rob to attend a show in support of musician friend Bobby Long. The reigning Other Queen wants to enjoy her limited time with her beloveds. In the aftermath of the chaotic world-gallivanting promo tour, Kristen is preparing to immerse herself in work again, which is something that she not only loves doing, but marks her impressive dedication to her craft. Once she returns from her On The Road filming, Kristen will delve into preparation for filming Breaking Dawn parts 1 and 2. With her departure to Montreal, as usual, the BullShit People, fame whores and Ass Clowns crawl out of the woodwork to concoct wild rumors and speculation.

LIGHTBULB MOMENT: These shit-stirrers who call themselves “fans” may be why some of us try avoid claiming any association with the “Twilight fandom”. And instead attempt to redefine the true meaning of support and appreciation for Kristen, Rob and Twilight. Some of the more extreme (i.e. stalkers, fame whores and embarrassingly delusional) followers in this fandom sure know how to degrade and misrepresent, don’t they??

Talk all you want. We’re still going home together.

While the “fans” work themselves into a foamy lather, our girl Kristen and her Rebellious Partner in Crime Rob don’t appear to bat an eyelash. Perhaps this is the greatest indicator that Kristen and Rob are balanced, un-fragmented, whole spirits: they know each other and themselves well enough; have confidence in their chosen friends and beloveds (did you see how TomStu and Sam shielded Kristen from the Other-Hunters at Bobby’s concert?) to cast away the doubt, nonsense and hate from their awareness in pursuit of their bliss confidently, calmly, wholly.

Smoothing The Splinters

Because I am letting the inner therapist and the neglected musician follow the path of the Bliss-Pursuing Other Queen, I am moving towards embracing my Otherness as a Chucks-and-tiara-wearing Rebel Royal. 

Because she turned her experience of victimization into a distinctive voice in defense of neglected, forgotten and persecuted Others, Shirley Manson is an Other Queen.

Because she adamantly refuses to give into the jeers, insults and rumors meant to tear her apart, and instead keeps her focus on her craft and the path ahead of her; within company of encouraging beloveds who know all of her, Kristen Stewart is the reigning Other Queen.

I am Other.

Shirley is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others know that embracing the whole is the greatest rebellion.

Embrace Your Other.

Question: What can you do to bring your splintered roles, interests and loves closer together?

A/N: Did you enjoy the Special Edition Musings this week, with guest writer Bouffant? Did you let her know here or on Twitter? She’s @Bouffant00. I am off to be in my 3D world, and may even be on a plane as you read this. I am spending time with my family and attending a cousin’s wedding. Then, N and I are flying off to Hawaii for a week with my mother, to introduce her to the islands that are so very special to me. She hasn’t been before. I don’t know for absolute certainty that I’ll post next Thursday per usual. But The Muses are so very unexpected, so I may very well hole up on the patio with a cocktail and babble away at you again. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, please check out my girls’ projects: Visit @Bouffant00 of course, and also @Buff_82. Buff is a goddess, we’ve established this. A photographer and graphic design genius, even though she denies it. Go visit her on Twitter and on FanFic.net as she is the author of Eclipsed Heart (completed) and Redeem Me. Obviously check out CC’s brilliant @KStewsbtrthanu because she’s outrageously gifted and clever, and she’s my sister. Join @TheUrbanWhisk‘s culinary adventure on her gorgeous blog celebrating all things food. See my profile here and peek at the blogs I follow, give love to my girls @Takemetobliss, @Frayo and @Jwink…the possibilities are endless. Many thanks to Marble Pole, Puss, Kathryn My Manager, Julie, and Clog-Wielding Queen. To the lovelies who helped me brainstorm the name of “the magical little practice”: You stun me. Lastly, as usual, my Cyber Sisters/Readers/3D friends, I’ll see you in the morning, like everyday. LOVE YOU.

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