Tag Archives: Women

All That She Is

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

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

~Stevie Nicks, Silver Springs

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

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

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

Ok, how ’bout now?

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

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

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

 What the Fangirl Learned

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

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

The (M)Other Within

*ANNOUNCEMENT*  

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

The American Red Cross

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

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

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

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

Their options are becoming pretty limited.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Featured Royal Rebel: Stevie Nicks

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

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

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

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

And so it began. Fleetwood Mac 1975

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stevie Nicks has your back, Bella!

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

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

Offenses of Otherness:

*Emphatically celebrates her feminine divinities: love and beauty

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

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

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

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

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

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

nope. Not even close to getting old.

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

Congratulations, Kristen!! 

ICU dedicated actress with the bruised up legs and arms

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

Offenses of Otherness:

* Celebrates her feminine divinities: compassion and protectiveness.

*Unapologetic about displaying confidence, assertiveness and independence.

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

*  *  *

Stevie accepts all that she is. And is Other.

Kristen accepts all that she is. And is Other.

Others accept themselves and all that they are.

Embrace your Other. 

*  *  *

Notes: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More:

This Essay’s Playlist

Trampled Rose ~Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

I Shall Believe ~Sheryl Crow

Starlight ~Muse

Gold Dust Woman ~Stevie Nicks

Winter Winds ~ Mumford & Sons

KStew & Vogue Inspire the Seeking of Global Soul

27 Jan

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

~Never Tear Us Apart, INXS

We Are Here.

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

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

CLEARLY a productive night

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

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

VogueStew bestows grace

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

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

The Fairest Philanthropy

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

~Falling Slowly, Swell Season

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

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

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

legs

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

“It’s not my job.”

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

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

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

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

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

A New Musings Mission

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

~Richard Bach

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

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

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

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

WE ARE OTHER.

KRISTEN IS OTHER.

OTHERS SEEK WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE GLOBAL SOUL.

EMBRACE YOUR OTHER.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTERS INDIA & BEANAI!


Strawberry Confidence & A Little Help From My Friends

1 Jul
Quick A/N: Please forgive the lateness of this Musings. I was out late late last night seeing Eclipse and downing Vodka. And because there is SO much Other goodness to choose from, I needed to narrow down my topics of conversation because you all are already infinitely too patient with my long ramblings already. I know you were up at the Midnight Showings for Eclipse too, so y’all are sleep deprived. Also, a quick moment of stunned gratitude to the now-retired @KStew411 who recommended this blog on their “MUST” list in their departing posts last night. I am shocked and humbled. You ladies will be missed. Good luck on your future endeavors. Lastly, I did not have this post beta’d by my amazing pre-readers Bouffant00, Buff_82 and CC. This one is ridonk late and it’s ALL me. Ok. Onward with the Musings…. 

I’m lonely.

I’m scared.
…Or Desperate for a way
to be awake without faking
to be alive without freaking
to be serious
to be true
to even think of loving someone
when you’re already doomed
You tell me how to be a girl in 2010
…They left it to us.
It sucks but it’s true.
It’s you and me baby.
-excerpt from I am an Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler

Last week, we surveyed and gawked at how cruel and destructive our fellow women are towards each other. We discussed how women were relegated to The Feminine Code and when breaking through that code, you do so at the risk of alienation, isolation and criticism, a very familiar position for our Other Queen Kristen Stewart. But here on Team Other, we realize that “Breaking The Code” earns you a spot on the Homecoming Court alongside legendary Rebel Royalty. This week, I am going to showcase and celebrate the teams of people who serve as support and encouragement for Others as we foray into Code-Breaking territory. Instead of giving anymore clout to the women and critics who tear down Others, let’s focus on the power of alliances and friendships. Because let’s face it: We can’t do this alone.
In addition to my weepy love letter to friendship and support, I must speak of this extraordinary week for Kristen. I want to gush but I’m nearly overwhelmed. How do I summarize the epicness that was The Eclipse Premiere? Can we talk about Kristen’s STUNNING makeover in preparation for next month’s On the Road filming? How ’bout the way her growing confidence and poise translated so beautifully, she was able to withstand and transcend the assault of David Letterman unscathed???
Black (Carpet) Magic Woman
So we know Kristen and Taylor had just returned from their punishing world tour in efforts to promote Eclipse (um, I dont think they have to worry, at time of writing this, Eclipse has already broken the $30Million mark for just the midnight showings only already). So shall we start our review of Kristen’s most Epic week, EVAH? Yessss. The arrival carpet is not RED, per usual, no, our Rebel Royals walk the Black Carpet. 

That’s probably all I’ll post of the Trifecta, if anything to highlight the way Rob, Kristen and Taylor exude genuine affection and love for one another (note: Kristen’s death grip on Rob’s jacket. He anchors her to this Earth at times…See? Support, people)…. and their ability to color coordinate beautifully. Kristen wore a pearl Eli Saab embellished one-shouldered mini dress which received mixed reviews. I can tell you in my most un-educated way that I adored just about everything in her look, but had to warm up to the asymmetrical sleeves (or lack there of). But the lack of symmetry was made up a billion-fold by Kristen’s amazing legs, bare back, her “robust butt” and flawless makeup (Sharpie Incident sidestepped). Ok, really? Why did this night kick start the night of all epicness? Oh yeah. THIS.

uh huh. And THIS.

and really? Weren’t we just waiting for THIS ONE?

Well, we got a million shots of Rob’s openly adoring, loving gaze upon his girl. But THIS one, nearly made me weep. Not gonna lie. I think I teared up just re posting it here.

Rob: I’m here with you. I ADORE you. Kristen: Thank GOD for YOU. I can DO this.

This is a complete 180 from last year’s premiere for New Moon. I don’t think Rob and Kristen were on the carpet (a RED one, mind you) at the same time, let alone anywhere near the same camera lens. This year indicates a major shift. Suddenly we see emotions! Affection! Physical touching! How do I know that this year was different? Well, for one, Kristen, her Royal Highness, displayed and exuded a confidence that we’ve never seen before. And it was GLORIOUS. More on that in a minute. Secondly, I knew the premiere was spectacular because I literally heard the SQUEALING from all sides. I was on the phone with my friend @BellasMommy86 for 5 and a half hours watching the live stream online, she in Florida, I was in Cali. Was exchanging tweets with, and texting, emailing my Cyber Sisters and Readers, and I capped the night off with a conference call with my Team Other/KSIBTU Crew. And that’s really what I want to talk about. The common love that brought us together in this fandom births a stronger, luminous connection…friendship.

Where My Girls At?

I’m going to take a moment to quite candidly tell you that I’ve had a truly difficult couple of weeks. My own personal band of Bullshit People surfaced and were harping away at me for every single thing I did. My physical body nor my state of unemployment were off limits either. Everything was vulnerable to the vultures. In the eyes of my inner critic, I could do nothing right. As these essays are of utmost joy to write for me, they are catharsis, but in my case almost an exorcism. After writing, I feel like I’ve crawled through the entire myriad of emotions: excitement, anxiety, irritation, contemplation, melancholy, release, elation. Last week, as you all know, I was on my cold-tablet high, and feverish. Perhaps the fever burned away the last of my resolve, because suddenly I heard every single critical snarky remark my inner critic and outside forces said to me. For months I’d kept my head held high and refused to give into the dire stress of my current living situation. Nope. Not last week. Much sobbing. MUCH.
Let’s talk about how my female support system saved my ass. The psychological and spiritual benefits of having women friendships and support are vast and numerous. By nature, women simply bond with other women over the exchange of ideas and confirmation of worth. Knowledge and information is exchanged which leads to increased self esteem and perceived control over situations seemingly out of control. Often when women have close female companions, self-esteem and overall positive outlook increases and remain high. Statistically, when women have strong feminine support systems in place, incidences of depression, anxiety and anger are decreased. Cool Fact: There is a society in Indonesia, on the island of Sumatra, in which the women are the tribe leaders. It is a matriarchal system in a predominantly male-led, Islamic-based land. Anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday documents the arrival and maintenance of peace and accommodation in this successful and thriving Matriarchal tribe in her work Women at the Center.  

So The Minangkabau (Indonesian Matriarchy featured) very clearly tout the successful existence of women leading and collaborating. This awe-inspiring society of people is known in Indonesia for their literary prowess, business dexterity, and egalitarian, peaceful coexistence between men and women alike.

We are joined in a common struggle between remaining firm, and assured and authentic versus conforming to society’s expectations of us. We share the daily joys and heartbreak of loving our partners, oh, then hating our partners; loving and then loathing our bodies, relishing in and rejecting our roles in society: caretaker, pleaser, eye candy, mother, child, daughter, sister. We are in this together. And this is my request to rejoice in not only our shared love of Kristen, Rob and Twilight, but also in our strength in union. I ask the feminine critics we visited in last week’s Musings to remember that we really ARE the same. We share the same struggles and insecurites that even Kristen Stewart, Christina Hendricks and Tori Amos experience.

Another amazing book I’m reading that I want to share with you right now: I am an Emotional Creature. It is written by Eve Ensler, writer of The Vagina Monologues. In this amazing little volume of GIRL POWER, Ensler presents essays and poetry using voices of the EveryGirl…American suburbanites, Bulgarian sex slaves, pregnant women… We are ALL Other.

I have a thirst for knowledge and research, so I am always seeking answers, questions and information. Thanks for bearing with me as I share my book recs to you. The knowledge of others is ours for seeking, but one thing I do undoubtedly know: I would not have emerged from the dark nights without the calming, grounding support I received from my ladies. Not only during premieres and Red/Black carpets, but for my wonderful addictions and eccentricities. Not only do I receive phenomenal fan fiction/smut recommendations from my Reader Sisters and KStew411, I’m guided in my search for my YouTube clips and interview publications. The ladies @KstewAngel and my girl Jamie steered me in the right direction so I could get my paws on the Kristen-covered Entertainment Weekly that we discussed last week.
That IS a build-your-own Parfait Station
Because the ladies steered me towards grocery stores and away from bookstores, I grabbed the last 2 copies of EW from a swanky specialty grocery store where people go to olive bars and buy kitchen tongs worth more than my car. The shoppers there don’t have as much interest in entertainment magazines nor in dazzling, sparkly vampires. At least not outwardly. Ok, I lie, the cashier guy actually fangirled a little with me over the Eclipse premiere.
And because my Cyber Sisters/Readers were holding my hand and drying my tears while I sobbed at my failures in life, I was available on chat and email when the new pictures of Kristen and her Slammin Confidence surfaced. HELLO, STRAWBERRYSTEW!

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

Her EYES. Mah. Gah.

Of course, we saw the debut of her lighter locks (preparation for On the Road filming) as she stepped out of her car in New York before becoming David Letterman’s target;  but, we got to see some luminous Stew at the New York Eclipse Premiere later that same night. I do not know how it’s possible, but I think Kristen has grown even more beautiful in these past 3 weeks alone. YES. It’s her assuredness in herself. She seems comfortable (finally) in the knowledge that she is OK. She’s articulate, intelligent, quick-thinking, and charismatic. Only now, I think she may actually believe it herself, just a teensy bit. 

The catwalk called. It wants its runway model back pronto.
Not really going to talk about David Letterman. Other than to say that I usually don’t mind Dave’s crochety, dry humor, but the night Kristen came on to his show, he was a TOOL. Another mark of Kristen’s new solid self-possession, was that she emerged from Dave’s condescension and awkwardness as the adult in the interview. She was poised, mature and she steered Dave away from any politicized land mines, all with grace, and snark. She even gave a little back. “Um, I dunno, Dave. What’s a WUFF?”

Oh, Letterman, you petty, simpering man. I’m Team Coco.

This post is all kinds of Other today, friends. I’m going to switch up the Featured Rebel section a bit, but no worries. A little variety has never hurt anyone right? I’ll finish gushing over Kristen and her epic week, and then introduce this week’s Royal Mention. Oh yes. I’m talking bad ass Mofo Feminine Queen Extraordinaire: Ani DiFranco. I said it, bitches, I did. But let’s review some more KStew Beauty shall we? I must mention only in passing (though it breaks my heart to do so) that the night after The Black Carpet Premiere, Kristen was at the LA Film Festival promoting Welcome to the Rileys’. She looked beautiful, confident and proud. And the movie itself? Mah. Gah. The reviews pouring out for the little indie are brilliant. But the reviews specifically for Kristen?? Staggering. I’ll talk more about WTTR in future essays, because I truly believe that the subject matter and Kristen’s recognized genius in her role combine to make a movie that will be…extraordinary.  

Beauty Marks: 1. Fascinated and committed to the joy of doing her job. 2. She is humble and almost extremely uncomfortable with compliments. 3. She gets by with a little help of her friends (hi, Ruth, publicist extraordinaire; Taylor and Rob on press junkets; PoutyScouty for musical roadtrips) 4. Not afraid of embodying her new role: cut, dye, shag or pole dance, she is GAME.

Welcome to the Rileys. Welcome to my adoration of you, Stewie
Offenses of Other-ness: (Per Ass Clowns, Witch Other Hunters and Bullshit People):
1. Refuses to be bought off (She turned down “ridiculous” amounts of money offered by Summit and cut her hair for The Runaways anyway) 2. Refuses to give nosy journos any details about her personal relationships (“I’ll never tell. Because once I do, it still won’t stop. People will still want specifics.”) 3. Uses metaphors and the English language in a correct and articulate way (Breaks Feminine Code by publicly seeming too smart) 4. Declines all offers to be on the world wide web. She calls Twitter Twatter, Mofos!!
Featured Rebel Royal: Ani DiFranco

Born Angela DiFranco, Ani is a musician, writer, defender of social issues and politics and all-around Bad-Ass. She plays “staccato” guitar in the realm of folk contemporaries, blurring the line between folk, rock and alternative. She openly claims to be bi-sexual and writes about her relationships with both genders. She is tattooed, aggressive, sexy and charismatic all in one small package. Her voice is melodious and heartbreaking even while screaming over complicated and mesmerizing guitar playing. Many of her songs are concerned with contemporary social issues such as racism,sexism, sexual abuse, homophobia, reproductive rights, poverty, and war. She cruised onto the music scene in the early 1990’s with her albums Ani DiFranco and Not So Soft (Such a perfect title for another Musings. dude). She cemented her goddess and Other status (in my opinion) with her trailblazing creation of her own record label Righteous Babe Records when she turned down lucrative recording contracts to write and produce music on her own terms.

 

Beauty Marks: 1. Received the Woman of Courage Award for her contributions to the awareness of feminism 2. Writes autobiographical songs about controversial subjects: sexuality, war, inequality and racism 3. Played local bars and pubs with her guitar teacher since she was aged 9 4. Created her own recording label to make music on her terms.



Offenses of Other-ness: (Per Other Hunters, Critics and BullShit People): 1. Openly expresses her sexuality 2. Blurs the lines in music styles and Gender Roles (is she a folk singer? An alternative Angry Woman? Is she gay? Why did she marry men and have a baby? ) 3. She turns down lucrative, expensive recording projects if it compromises her vision.

ICU, Joyful Girl

Ani was a prodigious musician at a young age, and she speaks her truth. Per Wikipedia, “the combination of personal and political song-writing is somewhat the upsurge of Ani’s early popularity among college students, particularly those of the left wing, some of whom set up fan pages on the web to document DiFranco’s career as early as 1994. DiFranco’s rapid rise in popularity in the mid-1990s was fueled mostly by personal contact and word of mouth rather than mainstream media.” She has openly discussed her expansion and broadening feelings on topics such as religion and sexuality, and as the years progress, her open-ness has only grown more inspiring. She became a mother in 2007 and has told live audiences that motherhood has effected her views on religion and feminism. Because she is so open minded and willing to challenge her own convictions publicly and gracefully, Ani diFranco is an Other Queen.

Get By With A Little Help From Friends

I let my inner critic, my personal unemployment agent and carb-mongering snark-conscious rip me a new one this past week. I began to doubt my convictions in moving forward when I heard from my beloved husband that my creative pursuits caused dissension and concern. But, by turning to my ladies, my sisters, my fellow Others for guidance, a shoulder to cry on, a drink to share with, a quickie IM, directions to the nearest Kristen-covering EW, I recognized my strength in numbers. We Others need to remind ourselves and each other that we are ALL Others, and we are strongest when united. Separate we fall, united we stand. Because I rely on you brilliant Rebels, Misfits and Unique kindreds to calm my inner uprising, I am an Other Queen.

Ani plays hard, abrupt, staccato passages on an acoustic guitar. She promotes independence, honesty and courage in herself and other women with her music and lyrics. She willingly admits her own convictions are challenged, and remains open to expansion of ideas. Her record label’s name Righteous Babe alone puts her on the Homecoming Court.

Kristen showed us on Lopez Tonight that she juggles, golfs and cooks Mexican Food for large family gatherings. She rocks one-shouldered dresses and two very different colored coifs. She wears Chucks and black cocktail dresses to movie premieres and press junkets. She holds on for dear life to her friends and supportive system, and claims they are who keep her grounded and earth-bound. All these reasons just further concretize Kristen as our reigning Queen.

I am Other.
Ani is Other.
Kristen is Other.
Others create harmonious tribes.
Embrace your Other.


See you all next Thursday. Maybe sooner, because we need to DISCUSS ECLIPSE. WE MUST.

A/N: ONE BIG ASS THANK YOU TO THE OTHERS WHO PULLED ME THROUGH THIS WEEK: My sister Puss who may need to barricade me in my bed again, to prevent me from running away. Julie (Constant) for checking in with me each day and encouraging me to cry. My dearest Kathryn L for teaching me about (M)othering and for helping me sing. In public. To @Jittpattzing for sending me the article about Kristen and Rob that decidedly was ANTI-OTHER and then raging with me over it. To @Kate_Suena and @Evalola80 for writing me the most exquisite emails in my darkest hours and showing me the silver lining. @Buff_82 for the pretty. To the KSTEWSBTRTHANU Crew for texting, calling and tweeting the epicness of KStew’s Royal Tour this week, and also sending me pictures of demolished desserts. To @Just2CUSmile for texting me her love even though she was in NYC with the rest of the KSIBTU Crew. To @BellasMommy86 for giving good phone and plotting our careers as the next great Entertainment Correspondents. To ProRobsten, my sister, for trying last minute to get me to L.A. and to @KimmCarr for trying desperately to step in and take it for the team in the final minutes. To @Bouffant00 for everything. Special shout outs to Teb (for helping me find my inner-Kj) and OJ for showing us how to transcend difficulties with grace.  Possum Besties A and E–love you. @MissBettySmith thanks for being on standby for magazine patrol. See you tomorrow. xo To my Cyber Sisters/Readers: YOU YOU YOU are my muses.

Finding your Voice, and the courage to Sing Loudly

10 Jun
The Sound of Your Voice

When I refer to the “Voice” I’m referring to the essence of how we communicate–the words, intonation–what we think, believe, hope for, aspire to. Our Truth. The Voice can be the culmination of one’s heart, one’s passion, soul, dislikes, likes and weaknesses. Scholars of religion may call this your soul, or your connection with your Higher Power. Psychologists may call it your personality. Purveyors of metaphysics and nature may call it your ki, essence, or being.

*BOOK REC ALERT* “A Woman’s Worth” author and spiritual lecturer Marianne Williamson speaks of finding your voice as ‘owning your passionate nature, allowing for love and inspiration to thrive’, and I’ll add, allowing it to permeate one’s outer shell, shine through.

Don’t you look like this when you stand on windy cliff-sides?

I had not planned on writing about the “controversy” that KStew found herself ensnared in last week. But when I witnessed how Kristen struggled and triumphed to not only find her voice, but sing loudly with it, I knew I must address what has now been known as Kristen’s “Rape Controversy”. Prior to this hot topic, I was so distracted by the epicness that was the UK Elle interview and glorious pictures that accompanied the piece; Kristen’s whirlwind Eclipse promo tour, and pending MTV Movie Awards. I was totally blindsided by the drama. Actually, I don’t know that I’ll wholly delve into the matter within this post, although I wanted to address it–if nothing else, then to acknowledge the tentative, magnificence of finding one’s voice, then to experience the agony and rejection of having it SHUT. DOWN.

Today’s musings has already referenced Voice as one’s true self/soul/personality, but the majority of this essay will reference one’s verbal and physical expression of the Self, the Voice. This post is in honor, of course, of our Reigning Other Queen Kristen, showcasing Others who do not possess the eloquence to express our inner musings. This is for those of us Others who are awkward, fumbling, bumbling, tongue-tied, over-thinking babblers. We’re the ones who receive countless confused stares and sidelong glances because yeah, we SAID. IT. We’re also recipients of the Puss Face when no one else understands WTF just happened.

I’ll take my cup with cream and Splenda if you have any?

Let’s do this, mmmkay? The two Rebellious Royals we’ll visit in this post are both outrageously beautiful Other Queens, and representatives of two types Communicators (of the verbal and physical expression of thoughts and ideas). The first type is the Genius Bizzarro Blurter and the second: Sublimely Cerebral, Awkward Orator.

Featured Rebel Royal: Tori Amos

Genius Bizzarro Blurter. The GBB finds herself extremely expressive, using facial expressions and hand gestures to further elaborate on a point. The words that exude from the GBB’s mouth can be whimsical, brilliant, nonsensical (to some), sensual and provocative, and yet still be direct and astute.

Tori Amos emerged in the 1990s as a singer-songwriter of incredible means. She is known as the quintessential Eccentric Girl, with her flame red hair, her masterful musicianship, her role in her family as The Minister’s Daughter. She has been called The Provocative Poet, the Charismatic Faerie, The Goddess.

Those fingers can stir even the deepest emotions. She may be tiny, but she is powerful.

Things you may hear tumbling out of this particular GBB’s mouth:

‘God, sometimes you just don’t come through. Do you need a woman to look after you?’


‘I think that people who can’t believe in fairies aren’t worth knowing.’


“I don’t see myself as weird, I just see myself as honest.”


“Most people would rather be sheep than stand on their own with antlers on.”


and my personal favorite:

“So, you can make me come, that doesn’t make you Jesus.”

Beauty Marks:
1.) Clear, heartbreaking soprano voice 2.) Prodigious piano skills 3.) Advocate for Rape Victims’ rights 4.) Speaks openly about sexuality, religion, love and despair 5.) Will turn the piano into an instrument of ROCK 6.) Fearless conviction and celebration of her Other-ness.

watching her is like watching an exorcism
Offenses of Other: Per Ass Clowns, music and societal commentators, Tori:

1.) Humps her piano bench 2.) Speaks gibberish 3.) Engages in blasphemy by singing about sexuality AND religion! 4.) Is too sexual and brazen in her female confidence. 5) Is too provocative 6.) Appears to twitch, convulse and become possessed while performing. Awwwwkward.

There were times where I wished I was her piano bench

Her wide-release debut album “Little Earthquakes” highlighted the song Me and A Gun, an acapella retelling of her shattering rape experience, a song that became the foundation for Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). We will revisit RAINN a bit later, interestingly enough. While “Little Earthquakes” introduced the world to this intriguing Rebel Queen, her second release, “Under the Pink” created the pop icon that earned millions of ardent fans– ToriPhiles. She earned critical raves blowing past the boundaries of conformity, by challenging everything from religion, sexuality, parenthood, love and fierce, unbridled ANGER. Because she speaks of faeries, antlers, masturbation and food (she likes Chocolate and molasses A LOT) in the same sentences as religion, God and parenthood, she is a GBB, but also Rebel Royalty.

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

Sublimely Cerebral Awkward Orator. The AO is very aware that her words contain power. This knowledge can be paralyzing and overwhelming to the the intellectual, sensitive AO. The AOs in our circles are the folks who appear to be contemplating, or not listening at all. He or she may make pauses in speech, drop off before completing sentences or thoughts, may use their physical being do the real communicating, with the bouncing knee, down-turned gaze, pursed lips, and don’t forget the gesticulating fingers and hands.

Things that you may hear tumbling out of this AO’s Mouth:

‘Um. I don’t know. What the fuck is inner beauty?’
‘It’s funny how in America, fame is placed so fucking high–above wealth, happiness, everything. It’s so not true.’

“I choose my work instinctively. I couldn’t have a plan. I would always fall short.”
“I can’t pretend.”
and my personal favorite:

“Silver spikes? What? They’re bullets, Mofo!!”

With one of her most revealing interviews in recent memory, Kristen speaks of her discomfort with the Fame Game to Flaunt Magazine, Elle, and Elle UK. The article that sparked the outcry of anger was the Elle (UK Version) article. Here is what Kristen says to Hanna Hanra in the UK Elle interview for July 2010.

Whaaa? Did you say something? Can’t hear ya. I’m still staring at this cover.
‘Your little persona is made up of all the places that people have seen you, what has been said about you…so overwhelming in the moment and fleeting for me… What you don’t see are the cameras shoved in my face, and the bizarre, intrusive questions being asked…the screaming and taunting to get a reaction. It’s so…’ (searching for words) ‘The photos are so…I feel like I’m looking at someone being raped. A lot of time I can’t handle it. It’s fucked.’

Did you read anywhere in that paragraph–which I just copied word for word from my copy of UK Elle lying on the table next to me–in which Kristen said that she hated acting, hated her fans, hated being famous? No? Did you translate how Kristen compared fame to BEING RAPED? Did you read or hear Kristen say, “my discomfort is more legit than the pain victims of sexual assault feel”? NO? Ya sure? Maybe you should go back and read it, because for some reason, a shitton of people DID hear Kristen stirring a controversy. Below are samples of Smack Down that anti-rape organizations issued publicly.

Katherine Hull on behalf of Rape and Incest National Network (R.A.I.N.N.): “Kristen Stewart’s comments are regrettable. should have used a more appropriate metaphor to describe the intrusive nature of the paparazzi. Rape is more than an intrusion, it’s a violent crime, that causes serious long term mental health effects for victims.”

The executive director of
RapeIs.org, Margaret Lazarus, weighed in, pointing out that: “Rape is a violation in which one has no choice. A star seeking publicity has choices. Although rape involves loss of privacy, loss of privacy does not constitute rape. Let’s use a little logical thinking here.”

Neil Irwin, Executive Director of the
Men Can Stop Rape Organization, believes that there is some degree of comparison, but concludes: ‘Out of respect for these survivors, we would suggest using a more appropriate word, like ‘violation.'”

Nonverbal communication, Mofos! Smiling=happy

Beauty Marks:

1.) Articulate 2.) Wicked sense of fashion 3.) Speaks her mind 4.) Admits to and displays her vulnerability. 5.) Follows her heart, her instincts, her soul’s trajectory. 6.) Seeks to perfect her skills within her craft.

 

Offenses of Other: Per Ass Clowns, and a few condescending rape organizations, Kristen:

1.) Over-analyzes her words to the point of obliteration 2. ) Is a publicity seeker  3.) Is illogical 4.) Does not use a dictionary or metaphors correctly 5.) Does NOT understand what HURT is. 6.) Admits to being unsure and vulnerable. 7.) Is a miserable, melodramatic complainer

Silent All These Years 

Are you still hanging with me, friends? I hadn’t expected to go here, not in the second Other Musings post ever, if at all. However, I’m going to tell you a brief, intense story as to why I reacted so strongly to these events. Four years ago, I was a woman in her mid-20’s  living on my own, still an intern counselor, nursing the wounds of a recent, brutal breakup. One day, during the lunchtime hour,  a man broke into my small studio apartment through my bathroom window, wrapped himself in scarves and shawls of mine that he found in my wardrobe, and attempted to assault me in my home. I managed to save myself from injuries, assault, and perhaps an even worse fate, by speaking to my attacker, asking him to reconsider harming me. He screamed at me, attempted to bind and gag me, but in the final moment, dropped the scarves, dropped my shawls, and ran out of my apartment, away from me.

Suffice to say, I bristled when these “victim-protecting” organizations and critics emerged from the woodwork to jump on board the KStew-Hunting Train. I, for one KNEW what it felt like to be violated and would have found it insulting and insensitive if someone came along and told me  how to correctly detail and express my experience. A couple days ago, I wrote RAINN,  the abuse prevention organization that Tori Amos founded, and whose current organization heads requested an apology from Kristen for likening her experience to that of rape victims. I wrote them to remind them that Kristen is a twenty-year-old women who is subjected to physical danger and sexual harassment every moment she steps outside her front door. When she walks through an airport, it could potentially look like this:
I’m pretty sure you can see the lip quiver and absolute terror on her face

And sometimes, 15-20 men with cameras and microphones can be heard shouting questions about her sexuality and her sex life as well as the physical attributes of her body. They call her names like, “BITCH and WHORE” and make it nearly impossible for her and her family to finish simple tasks like visit the doctor, attend a concert, eat dinner.

So in these incredibly violating moments, ok, no, Kristen was not physically forced to have sex against her will as per the legal definition of rape according to California law. However, according to Dictionary.com, synonyms for the verb Rape include:

Violate. Assault. Maltreat. Abuse.

Neil Irwin, Executive Director of the Men Can Stop Rape Organization, was one of the more fair-minded, just commenters on Kristen’s usage of the word “rape” conceding that she probably does feel violated, forced and coerced. Mr Irwin believes that Kristen should use a “different, more appropriate” word like violated. Although, he is a man, and he can’t possibly feel the depth of a Woman’s violation, he at least wasn’t quite as condescending as the other folks mentioned above, both women by the way. Wow, women can be unrelenting, huh? Damn. *mutters, “another time, another time*.

*clears throat, raises hand* I just want to say that I have an opinion, and it is mine and mine alone. I don’t expect you to share my opinion or like it, even, but this is my essay, so I thought I’d give my thoughts on the situation, briefly…and then I’m done talking. Swearsies. Kristen is a girl who struggles already with the words and communicating. She is an Awkward Orator–helllloooo! Why hasn’t anyone read my definition yet?? She finally garners the courage to let the public and the paparazzi know:

I am frightened and vulnerable. You are not respecting my need for space. You are taking pictures without my permission, against my will, you are posturing and physically intimidating me, yelling foul, offensive things about my body, my sexuality, my love life. I’m just trying to get to the car. I am feeling unprotected and violated.

So she reveals her vulnerability. She speaks up. HOORAY for KRISTEN,  and all AOs fist pump and W00t with her! Ahem. Negative. Not only does she get ridiculed and taunted by press and papz for using her words to speak what she truthfully feels, but she is coerced, bullied and shamed into publicly stating she was wrong for feeling this way. Despite whether she needed to do so, Kristen issued an apology while on press tour for Eclipse just a few days ago. It was a very concise and respectful concession. However, because one of the organizations demanding it from her, over-rode their own mission statement of protecting and supporting victims of abuse to make an example of Kristen, I became….twitchy. Oops! Hot Therapist Avatar has something to say too… hang tight, and hold onto your hats and glasses, and not because it’s gonna be a mind-blowing wild ride (although it is). But Hot Therapist Avi borrows things and doesn’t return them. Those glasses she’s wearing? Mine. Truefax.

Reading Comprehension is invaluable. Get it.
Dictionaries are indispensable. Buy one.

*Hot Therapist Avatar climbs atop her soapbox and says:*

People have NO IDEA the effects of verbal and emotional abuse. Constant name calling, put downs, posturing (getting too close to a person, though not touching the person), remarks about body and sexuality— those can cause LONGER-TERM residual psychological damage. The negative effects on self-esteem, self-confidence, decision making, social interaction, relationships- –are staggering. Papz ARE engaging in abusive behavior towards Kristen and Rob…AND it becomes SEXUAL in nature the second, the second the pappz make a comment about Kristen’s body, her gender, or her sexuality…

It gets me soooo mad when people dismiss the harmful effects that emotional and verbal abuse causes. Doesn’t cause damage? Is it NOT violating? Is it NOT abusive? Tell that to the children and teenagers who were subjected to and/or witnessed verbal and emotional abuse (say, in bad divorces, school bullying, etc) in my counseling office over the last 9 years.

*Hot Therapist Avatar climbs off her soap box and paces the room, fuming*

Ok, then. So here’s the deal. I’m gonna steer us to towards the bright spot at the end of the tunnel now.   Because Kstew, our featured Sublimely Cerebral Awkward Orator and reigning Other Queen, came out on the other side of the “controversy”, looking like this:

. . .And like this:

. . .And gets to do this every night:

. . .With this gloriously Rebellious Royal:
I also am a misfit, dontcha know? But my girl and I are a perfect fit.

I will not only lovingly shove Hot Therapist Avi off her soapbox, and lock her away with my unemployment paperwork, but I will concede that Kristen Jaymes Stewart deserves to remain our Reigning Rebel Royal for a long while.

Sing it. Own it.

Whatever it is that you call your Voice, your Truth, Owing the Passion, harnessing your Energy, I encourage you to define it, listen to it, speak it, dance it and Sing. It. LOUDLY. And even if you’re a Genius Bizzarro Blurter (GBB) or a Sublimely Cerebral Awkward Orator (AO), you can still communicate your authentic nature in the face of some severe critics, and gain respect and strength on the other side of the fire.

I found that in the darkest hour, in a moment of absolute stillness, I asked a would-be violator to please remove my scarves and shawls so I could see his face. I used my voice to ask him to please please see my truth…and perhaps so he could glimpse his own. I never felt such clarity before this moment. And I think that is when I learned the absolute power I held when I used my voice. And I haven’t stopped talking or singing since.

Tori was a piano prodigy at four years old, granted entrance to the private, prestigious music school Peabody Academy when she was just a little girl. She was kicked out by the time she was 12, because she wanted to rock the Beatles instead of Beethoven. She became a cultural icon and a trailblazer for singer-songwriters for the end of one century, and the beginning of the next. Plus, she also has a castle in England. Fit for a Queen, yes?

Kristen is a fumbling, intelligent young woman who is finding her own voice in front of an audience of millions. She spoke her truth, got slammed for it, and still rose above, earning her begrudging but awe-inspired respect from harsh critics. She is generating golden buzz about her upcoming movie roles Welcome to the Rileys and the soon to be filming On the Road . She blurts golden nuggest like, “What the fuck is inner beauty?” unknowingly personifying and modeling the very concept about which she is uncertain.

Tori is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others emerge through fire, singing loudly.

Embrace Your Other.


QUESTION:  When did you hear your voice for the first time?

A/N:
Please take a look at who contributes to this blog, and therefore to my life. Go tell these ladies how beautiful they are. @Bouffant00 is my friend, genius researcher, confidante and pre-reader/Beta. Love her. @buff_82 pre-reads my work, and makes everything you see on this page as beautiful as it is. The Banner? Please. Buff did that one morning in between creating/beautifying the pristine KStew Is Better Than You Blog, raising her children and writing her heartbreakingly lovely fan fiction. The glorious CC of @Kstewsbtrthanu somehow pre-reads my work, shouts at me to PUBLISH THAT SHIZNET. NOW.

. . and makes me laugh all while working, graduating from grad school, managing and writing her own brilliant blog.  As usual, my usual posse, my sleuthing, brilliant cyber SISTERS and READERS rock my socks off every single day. Thank you, ladies. You inspire and astound me. Special mentions and hugs to Dancer1 who fights the good fight against KStew critics all damn day, and my friend Constant (Julie) who is a warrior queen, every day.

The responses and reactions I received from the first ever Musings On Other Queens post just blew me away. You shared anecdotes, funnies, awkwardness so willingly and astonishingly. THANK YOU. My hope, as I’ve said, is to respond to you directly. If you leave a contact Twitter name or at least a moniker that I recognize, I will do my best to reply directly to you. Mostly I just want to tell you how grateful I am that you peeked in and shared a thought or two in reaction. Yours, KJ

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