Because there are words to be said, and a little too much time has passed. Let’s talk congruency, authenticity, transparency and courage. #CampXRay #Kristen #OtherQueen
Because there are words to be said, and a little too much time has passed. Let’s talk congruency, authenticity, transparency and courage. #CampXRay #Kristen #OtherQueen
Did it start with Molly Ringwald? When I found myself at Borders Books (Rest in Peace), I hadn’t expected the Original Poster Girl for Awkward, Outsider Beauty to be there too. I was brand new to Twitter, and operating under my now-unused personal account KJN52. One of my very first tweets looked something like:
@kjn52 Molly Ringwald is here and I want to scream about Jake Ryan and that people’s “little brothers paid a buck to see your underwear!”
Obscure Sixteen Candles reference, my friends. If you haven’t seen John Hughes’ masterpiece about misfits and adolescent longing, then I have the opinion that you are suffering from staggering incompleteness. Please. Go. I sat at a cafe table in the corner of the book store and watched as Ms Ringwald read excerpts from her new book Getting The Pretty Back to a captive audience. While I wasn’t originally there for the book promotion, I could hang onto every word falling from Molly’s mouth from my perch at the edge of my chair. So Molly Ringwald was speaking about great things, important things. About how we can lose our sense of self, especially when surrounded by people and forces willing to take it for themselves, turn it into something else entirely. Says Molly: It’s up to us to define our paths. Foreshadowing the Other Anthology, Ms Ringwald? Prettiness, she reminds us, is a state of mind.
“…It’s the part of you that knows what you really want, that takes risks.”
Molly Ringwald did not know this at the time, but she in that moment, became my very first Featured Rebel Royal for what would become a ‘blog’, then an entity, and then a practice that would alter my life.
Of course, it was another Molly, my dear friend Molly, who could also be credited for sparking the Other Revolution. It was she, after all, who pulled me out of my house to the book store with her to pick up the sequel in a series she was not exactly forthcoming about. Molly: hipster, cool, brilliant… huddled next to the store’s display table, raptly staring at….
I watched, baffled, as Usually Poised Molly, slunk around the table, and snatched up a copy of a sleek, black book with the word moon across it’s spine.
“What are you doing, Molls?” I asked.
“I haven’t slept for over a day. I couldn’t put this damn book down. I must read more. MORE!” Molly gushed, her eyes darting around her.
Ok, my usually collected reserved girlfriend was literally trembling [withdrawals?], and so I grabbed the first book of the series, and promptly marched up to the counter to plunk down my money. I was scheduled for knee surgery a few days later. I was gonna need lots of entertainment for the weeks I was to be bed-ridden in recovery. Vampires? No problem. I have a long love affair with stories of the supernatural variety [I am an OG Vampire Diaries reader, plus a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan] and I simply had to experience the stories that transformed my friend into a shaking, stumbling Twilight fiend.
Suffice it to say: I didn’t sleep that night either. I really didn’t sleep the next four days. I sent my husband prowling the city at after hours book stores to pick up New Moon and Eclipse [Breaking Dawn hadn't been published yet] for me, since I was supposed to stay in bed. You know.. knee surgery blah blah blaaaah. So I stayed in bed… and read… and researched, and googled…and stumbled upon comment sections, YouTube euphorias, discussion groups and MTV: Twilight Tuesdays.
Seven months later, in November 2008, my friend Molly was my date on opening day to the movie: Twilight
Goddess Bless the Mollies in my life.
I mentioned my weeks of post-surgery recovery in Spring of 2008. During that eight weeks in which I was off work and rehabilitating my knee, I discovered the Twilight books, I discovered the internet. Therefore, I discovered The Fandom. MTV’s Twilight Tuesdays sparked an intense fascination with the chemically combusting interactions between the absurdly aesthetic Kristen and Robert. I found fellow book readers who were excited about the release of the movie, who also noticed an unmistakable affection between the two lead actors cast to play Bella and Edward in the film. A hub [at the time] of seemingly positive discussion about all things Twilight revealed itself as a forum through E!Online: The Awful Truth. Take heed, friends. I don’t mention that place or it’s creator/ Captain Shit-Stirrer Casablanca… ever. But in celebration of Musings On Others’ third anniversary, I would be remiss to neglect acknowledging its origins.
See, The Awful Truth brought me to my CyberSisters & Readers five years ago. Among them my beloved Bouffant, Robkris13, gretel, and RainierSixPac. There are so many phenomenal women in my group–like the featured #Eeeby. Yes, the now defunct Awful introduced me to people whom are now some of my best friends. I speak with them every single day. They have held my hand in my most devastating moments, moments from which I am still recovering, that have occurred very recently. Friends I’ve made through this exasperating fandom represent intelligent, empowered, Creative Thinkers in the most awesome of ways. Most importantly, I discovered Muses and Royal Rebels who encourage and inspire. Over three years ago, I met the incomparable CynicallyConvy, brilliant author of KSIBTU, and her unbelievable band of warrior beauties including the insanely talented Buff, JHiggs and my lion-hearted sister Just2CUSmile.
By the beginning of 2009, I was pretty comfortable hanging with my CyberSisters (led by the trailblazing MarblePole) in our own discussion space, separate from Awful Truth, but still interacting online with delightful, articulate “regulars” who shared the same appreciation for Kristen Stewart, her ‘deliciously handsome’ partner in crime Robert Pattinson, and yes…Twilight. I flew under the radar for the most part. My decision to become involved, was as I noticed the alarmingly abominable attacks on Kristen Stewart in so many of those online forums. Especially baffling: those doling out the most vicious criticisms were people who did not even know Kristen. Bloggers, commenters, teenage girls home from school, their mothers with a bit of idle time–they, by far, unleashed the cruelest, most uninformed and illogical bouts of malevolence onto Ms Stewart, and I was struck speechless. I am usually anything but without words, guys, you know this about me .
An anger was unleashed upon Kristen, in an unfounded, unparalleled manner that in turn, compelled me. I had to do something.
How can I be an activist? Well… I learned that when I wrote things out, or spoke my rambling thoughts aloud, people listened and responded. One admirable trait about Captain Ignorant Casablanca at The Awful Truth: he will interact with those who send him questions, make provocative comments. I could give him a bit of credit in helping me find my voice. After wading through hundreds (hundreds!!) of anonymous or monikered commenters insulting Kristen’s hair follicles, smile [or lack of], shoes, fingernails and family members, I lamented with my girl Bouffant, and asked her how we can bring attention to and then curb (if not stop) the daily bashing on Awful.
My complaining resulted in a letter (pre-read by Bouffant in our first writing partnership) that I wrote to Mr Casablanca, asking him to reconsider the moderation of his comment section, so as not to enable the hatred and bullying. . . and he wrote back. He asked me to help him brainstorm how to do this. While Ted Casablanca really didn’t implement suggestions I gave, he at least encouraged proactivity on my part. He reminded me that I have my own little pocket of power. Words can be incredibly powerful…And Lawdy knows I have them in abundance.
“Honesty is beautiful.”
I brought together a small task group. My Team Other Captains were elected. Bouffant, Buff, CC and the always impressive Goldeneye began receiving emails from me with fragments of ideas and anecdotes about misfitting and combatting hatred…and questions on downloading images and links. I looked to CC to be my expert guide as she had launched KSIBTU to such exuberant welcome, I knew she could at least nudge my stumbling feet in the right direction. I collected memories of my first few brushes with intolerance, unkindness…and rebellion. All in the name of creating a forum for patience, positivity and Rebellious Beauty, but in an authentic, personal way. A small army of Kristen Stewart defenders, yes, but really, it evolved into a gathering of rebellious misfits needing to speak up for all under-voiced, misrepresented people.
For us OTHERS.
I found myself remembering my first experience of “media” and the havoc it wreaks. I briefly mentioned a few incidents on my About KJ Page. Since the faceless, nameless one-sided attacks upon Kristen reminded me a little of middle school drama, let me tell you a little story.
I was thirteen years old and, like, totally with the love of my life, Joey. I had a unique look about me, I gathered that much, what with several complete strangers approaching me and commenting on my “exoticness”. I understood that I was somewhat surprising in my appearance compared to my family and peers as I’m a bi-racial girl, adopted by a family who had physical traits the polar opposite of mine. I tried to blend in quietly, and I thought I was doing it well. Anyway, I was in 8th grade of junior high. Dreamy Joey and I. Together. He was, no exaggeration, the best looking boy in the school. During our entire passionate-for-junior-high school relationship, other girls, including my peers and upper classwomen (!!!) tried to drive a wedge between us, to lure Joey away from my frizzy-haired, book-loving self.
It was the end of the year, and I found myself very flatteringly nominated for several end-of-year yearbook categories: Best Personality, Nicest smile, and one half of the school’s Cutest Couple. Ah yes. Our coupledom was nominated as The Best. K-JO was IN. THE.HOUUUUSE.
So listen up: I won all the categories for which I was nominated. However, an odd quandary at the yearbook printers led to a picture of my face floating below the title of CUTEST (equivalent of today’s SCHOOL HOTTIE) instead of BEST PERSONALITY (the title I really wanted) in the final, massively-distributed yearbook. I suddenly acquired the drive for self-preservation, for self defense.
People would whisper and verbalize their warring opinions about my status as CUTEST in the school as I would make my way to my locker, my frizzy hair shoved into a scrunchy. Yeah, I said it: In junior high, I wore scrunchies. Girls would gather in catty, feral groups in the hallways and literally point and loudly, not accidentally, exclaim: “SHEEEEEE is the PRETTIEST GIRL IN THE SCHOOL?” And then they would, of course, reference lovely, beautiful, desirable Joey. “…HOW is that ugly mess JOEY’S GIRLFRIEND? What is she, anyway?”
Yeah. Those fucking trolls were ripping me apart physically, based on a misprint in the biggest media sensation for the time [we're talking pre-Facebook, folks], and because I had attention on myself already, with my beautiful boyfriend, I deserved the hate, as deemed by society [middle school student body]. It didn’t matter that I was an Honor Student, an accomplished musician and a noted Peer Counselor. These vultures insulted my hair. My clothes. The shape of my eyes.
Sadly, as you can witness at any given moment on Twitter, not much has changed. In fact, it seems worse, what with the world wide web and the increase in anonymous bullying. Middle school politics are being played out on Twitter timelines [or DMs nowadays] and in comment sections [my CyberSisters call them 'Carol Anne's Closet' --ahhh Poltergeist] at this very moment. And while there may be some younger folks participating in the spewage…It has been proven that the loudest squawkers and vocally vile Kristen-Haters fall within the average age bracket of 39 years old. Grown-ass ‘adults’, mainly women, attacking the character and physical attributes of a-then eighteen year old girl. This couldn’t be a case of Middle School Mixups.
Molly was my First Featured Royal Rebel in a moment. And Kristen became my unquestioned Reigning Queen of Other.
The recall of my traumatic brush with public opinion and media misrepresentation combined with a fond retelling of my encounters with My MOLLIES… Musings On Other Queens, Kstew and Unconventional Beauty was born. Goldeneye helped me outline and shape my goals. Bouffant and CC pre-read the first drafts. Buff created the most beautiful background and banner for the site and for my Twitter account (also created June 3, 2010). And, well… Heeeeeeeeere’s, MOO.
I had hoped to post this Birthday Edition MOO on Monday, June 3, the exact anniversary of its first publishing. Sleep deprivation and intense client work at The Magical Little Practice prompted me to wait a little longer . As it is, I feel very much so at peace with posting today, on Thursday, Musings’ regular posting day, and because the first essay ever also emerged on a Thursday.
Also, just this Tuesday, we learned that Kristen booked two new film projects, both independent dramas, both reflective of Kristen’s essentialness. Her Otherness. Her Royalty. Because truly, the heart of the matter is this: Kristen Stewart defines Beauty in her unapologetic defiance of anyone’s/everyone’s expectations, with her relentless insistence on protecting all (including whom) she deems precious, and in the thoughtful, measured choices she makes regarding her work, her self proclaimed love.
With the announcements of her new projects, the extreme wayward focus of the past few weeks, months, years, can finally center on Kristen’s craft.. . and for me, we can honor the beginning. And like Kristen, we can return to our roots.
Molly Ringwald reminded me that even awkward misfits can bring The Pretty Back. My Molly introduced me to Vegetarian Vampires and is proof that even typically collected & calm Cool Girls are susceptible to addiction to a wildly romantic notion. The Awful Truth blessed me with a plethora of obscenely articulate, intelligent wordsmiths, all who encouraged me to speak up, find the words, because there are so many Others who want the change. We Misfits, Unusuals, Unconventionals, and Defiant Ones don’t need or deserve ostracism because of our unique perspectives or philosophies. We deserve celebrations. Coronations, even.
Today I pay homage to the sole reason for Musings’ conception: Identifying and exalting all the qualities that set us apart from anyone else. And one way to combat the destruction and exploitation of these unique abilities and assets…is to EMBRACE them.
Today is not the day for judgments, biased relationship advice, amateur psychological diagnoses, bids to become the “The Most Insidery”, or spectacularly dramatic paparazzi fanfiction. It is not the time for mass hysteria triggered by wild speculations from unproven informants. Today is for honoring our roots, honoring our Beauty Rebellion, and the Something we can DO. And this day is for saluting a courageous woman for moving onward, always, despite the vast challenges and countless detractors.
A woman who embodies all the qualities of Unconventional Beauty…
Thank you, you beautiful Readers, Friends, Sisters, Brothers and OTHERS, for these extraordinary three years. It has been an absolute pleasure. You literally give me life. And Kristen? #OtherOn, your Highness. #OtherOn.
http://wp.me/p14hFq-6L Published 6.3.10 #ThreeYearsofRoyalRebellion
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
HAPPY NEW YEAR, my Rebellious Beauties! It is my pleasure to skip vivaciously into 2013 bearing a couple more definitions for our Anthology of Otherness. I must tell you…well, no, I can’t even begin to articulate how stunned and honored I was at your responses to the last [first?] new Musings.
In the comment section, on Twitter, Facebook and through emails, you showered the kindest and the most exquisite definitions and responses upon me, all in the name of my Royal friend Eeeby, and New Beauty, of Reigning Other Queen Kristen Stewart, and of #Otherness. I humbly bow down to you. Your warm welcome compels me to keep going and continue this… even while things have been especially challenging. . .
So let me introduce you to the contributing definers featured in tonight’s MOO. My friend Dee (@DeeDreamer16) is an OG Muser. Legit. I mean, I think she commented on the very first Musings ever written, two and a half years ago. A sage, articulate and thoughtful kind of gal, Dee is, and we connected almost instantly, through the magic that is the world wide web. Over the years as we bonded over our love of Kristen’s unrelenting badassery, Robert’s increasingly open admiration of aforementioned badassery, and the sweet seduction of the written word (fanfic and otherwise); Dee became a consistent, loving force in my life. She is a supremely gifted writer and has been unfailingly kind and supportive of me personally (read: she has listened to me sob into her ear via phone…several times) and in our celebration of Kristen and Otherness. I am honored that she felt inspired to have a hand in The Otherness Anthology. Annnnd I may or may not have highlighted passages that resonated with me
all of it. every dang word. But above all, I count my lucky stars that she is one Majestic Misfit whom I call friend.
When KJ first presented the idea for her Anthology to me, I immediately gravitated toward wanting to expound on authenticity. What does it mean to be authentic in this modern age of digital anonymity and online personae which may or may not accurately reflect the true character of the person behind each screen name? This question, especially after jumping into the Twilight/Rob/Kristen fandom four years ago, confounds me. In preparing the definition for this term, its true meaning in terms of Other nearly screamed at me: worthy.
Aren’t we all worthy of acceptance? Don’t each of us deserve to live our lives without judgment from others, especially from people whom we don’t know? I think that’s the essence of being a beautiful person — knowing how to reserve our own commentary, teaching ourselves to put the filmstrips of judgment residing in our minds away on some dusty, back shelf of our brains so we can transcend. If we subscribe to this mantra and follow our hearts, we win — even when we are too blinded to realize it.
I was too blind to realize it back in high school. Looking back even now, with so many years separating me from that girl I was, I still don’t really “feel” like I won at anything. In fact, back then I’d have argued that I was pretty much losing — as in being a total LOSER! — at least in terms of things like popularity and cool friends/boyfriends/parties/whatever. I made a lot of… unpopular choices. I removed myself from what my peers were doing socially because I never — not once — could make myself comfortable doing the things typical high school kids did. I didn’t want to be seen as a priss, and I certainly wasn’t doing anything to stop others from having their fun, but I just felt… Other. It made for some lonely days. Not gonna lie.
But then my senior year came to a close, and yearbooks were delivered. I flipped through mine and saw a gorgeous, half-page ad in the back that my parents, brother, and sister had taken out for me, proclaiming their pride, love and support. Along with their words, my mother had included my (still to this day) favorite Shakespeare quote. Reading it there in black and white, for everyone to see next to my senior picture, was somehow utterly affirming.
So I guess I should pull out my old button-maker and while I’m at it, fire up the T-Shirt making process too? It has been awhile since my last T-Shirt giveaway…See what I mean about Dee? Brilliant and so kind and spot on.
You all, I’m pretty sure, have encountered the genius and gentleness that is my Katie (@kate_suena), the second contributor to tonight’s collection of pristine terms and definitions. She of course, has authored several gorgeous essays for @KSIBTU, and she is the scribe behind the sublime Lost In A Book Somewhere (have you visited yet? If not, GOOOO); but she also is the biggest Other Anthology Supporter. She was apart of the commencement post with a stunning definition of her own; she was the first of my friends to donate her words. Well…she’s back, y’all. Again, I may have highlighted bits that knocked my socks off…Have a seat and prepare to be inspired.
I sometimes feel as if compassion is an endangered quality. Especially in “Girl World,” where for whatever reason, some find it easier to focus on the negative and relentlessly tear things apart and each other down.
But then there are those who are OTHER. They bring a refreshing change of pace to this antagonism. I see PASSION as a key part of compassion; if one feels ardently about something, or someone, this is reflected in the compassion they display.
By consistently recognising Other in the world, our view allows us to be aware of what is important and react accordingly, simultaneously disregarding frivolous non-concerns.
A tangible, important example that springs to mind is the response to the havoc that Hurricane Sandy wreaked. I find witnessing Mother Nature unleash her fury terrifying; there’s a sense of hopelessness as you watch natural events unfold (and I’ve never even experienced any such destruction firsthand!). But in the days following the storm, I saw an online show on compassion that restored the hope that Mother Nature had temporarily interrupted: one person donated to the Red Cross and ignited a spark.
Soon my Twitter and Instagram feeds were FULL of people sharing how they were donating and therefore helping those thousands of miles away from them, subsequently encouraging [O]thers to do so as well. These compassionate people from all over the United States and around the WORLD were doing their part to assist people they had never even met.
How beautiful is that? Queens of Other and Royal Rebels are unbeatable proof that caring and compassion are alive and well in this world. ~Kate
Over the past six months, I have seen courage manifest in the most awe-inspiring of situations, and in gloriously royal people. After a hellacious summer, Our Reinging Other Queen Kristen proved her resilience and fortitude by stepping into the relentless spotlight and unblinking camera lenses to dialogue about a project of great personal significance to her. Despite the countless glaring gazes fixed upon her, and the judgments, diagnoses already conjured and proclaimed, Ms Stewart remained poised, and throughout even while vulnerable and exposed .
So, she persisted. She moved onward (in perfect shoes).
These days, I have been struggling to find my own valor… I realize the work I’m doing at my counseling agency and with The Red Cross has depleted my abilities to regenerate and provide compassion for my own weariness. My personal relationships are suffering severely and my physical body is run down. I know that getting out the door each day in the morning is an act of courage in itself, when all I want to do is huddle in a dark corner and weep. But I do climb out of bed and push through the door, regardless.
Now, that is little ole ME lamenting on the copious reserves of bravery I’m trying to locate within myself.
I do not have swarms of vultures toting cameras circling outside my house, stalking. I do not have warring factions of “superfans” determining my worth based on a self-made (read: absurdly skewed) psychological theory touted all over Twitter.
But Kristen Stewart does.
And excepting when she’s in SuperStealthNinja Mode, Kristen still. shows. UP. And she’s all beautiful and brainy and breathtakingly articulate when she arrives.
I believe it takes a tremendous amount of courage to be authentic and [com]passionate. As both Dee and Katie illustrated earlier, it is not the easiest of decisions to represent an idea or image that deviates from the conventional schemata. I have watched, awed, by Ms Stewart’s ability to remain congruent and grounded, even in the midst of extreme, incomparable challenges…It is why she is, after all these years, Queen Royal Rebel. She wears the shiniest crown.
Soooo these are the newest definitions to catalogue in our expanding Anthology of Otherness. Thank you for rolling with me into this new year. Thank you for sending in your most incredible ideas and thoughts on what “Other” means for you. I will try and feature every contribution I receive, even–especially–those left in the comment section and emails. I maintain always that Musings’ readers are the most incandescent of souls. You continuously, wonderfully, confirm this.
A/N: Next time, which will hopefully be within just a few days, I will bring a few more essays to you. I’m pleased to tell you that the lovely Emma (@ItsAlwaysEmma) has contributed a definition to the Anthology that makes me weak in the knees…and the voraciously brilliant and funny CC of @KSIBTU and I are collaborating on a conversation about On The Road and #TheMadOnes that I am dying to delve into with you all.
* * *
Thank you, Katie. Thank you, Dee. Thank you Eeeby. Thank you @r_boncoeur.
CynicallyConvy and BeammeUp_00 check in on me regularly and I am beyond grateful for their thoughtfulness.
SOOO many pictures found on the tumblr so perfectly named: QueenKristen: http://queenkristen.tumblr.com/archive/2012/10
It isn’t easy finding footing, once we’ve tumbled, as scores of us can attest. It is those who have fumbled and fallen to whom I gravitate, seeking validation and wisdom. It has been over three months since I’ve mused, and the ache in this knowledge is ineffable. Hello, my Royal Rebels and Majestic Misfits. After weeks of contemplation and more than a few entanglements with heartbreak, the flu, false starts and deletions, I’ve finally found myself ensconced in the sanctuary that is Musings again.
I have returned anew. I have cultivated and maintained this space for over two years and have been enriched in ways I never believed possible. Over the course of Musings’ evolution I’ve encountered kindness, compassion, wicked wit, cleverness, warmth and sheer intellectual genius in the form of you lovely Readers and Rebellious Beauties. I’ve also recognized that MOO’s original concept has emerged, expanded and naturally concluded. And while I considered wrapping up thoughts and archiving this ‘blog’ I have decided instead on another route.
In the end, after hashing it out with some of my dearest, I’ll continue to muse aloud, seeking more ways of Othering onward, hopefully for the benefit of someone. ‘Someone’ might mean the few of you who read these ramblings, or clients, or folks in the Kristen/Robert/Twilight community, or fellow Others… maybe you, maybe me.
I think this new incarnation is even more faithful and congruent with Musings’ original mission to redefine beauty, honor the unconventional and ultimately expunge vitriolic judgment. I will continue to applaud and highlight Royal Rebels in our midst and celebrate any Royally Rebellious gesture that our Reigning Queen Kristen Stewart produces, but we’re going global, guise. We’re going to take the spark that Ms Stewart and fellow Others ignited and blaze a bigger, brighter trail. I hope you decide to accompany me on the next leg of the journey.
So what did I do? I turned to the most brilliant people I know (that means YOU) and presented a question:
What does ‘Other’ mean to you?
I asked a few of my CyberSisters, my Team Other Co-Captains, my friends from the MOO and @KSIBTU community to send in words, pictures, ideas, phrases and music that defines and illustrates their conceptualization of Otherness, Unconventional Beauty, and Royal Rebellion, across all realms: Kristen and Rob-influenced or not; 3D life, 2D life, or otherwise.
And the genius began rolling in. It occurred to me: I need to compile these new definitions into an index –an encyclopedia, if you will. To share. To refer to when feeling directionless, uncertain.
I realize I was already kinda doing this the previous two years of Musings, what with Featured Royal Rebels and Stew Reviews, but you all know how I struggle with the ability to be succinct and contained. Also, in this forum, we’re interacting collaboratively, not with me just blah blah blabbbbbing AT you. Come on. You know one core principle guiding Royal Rebels: Sharing is caring.
Buff is up first, Katie’s definition follows, and then I wrap up the essay with my own contribution.
So… Buff: She’s the designer of both Musings’ and KSIBTU’s banners and themes over the years. She also is webmaster for my private practice’s site…and on top of it all, she’s mother to beautiful offspring, and a deft wordsmith in her own right. I am so pleased to call her my friend.
Katie, my beautiful soul sister, writes words that make me weep. Her odes to books (you follow her blog LostInABookSomewhere right? If not, what are you WAITING for???) and stories and travel make me soar and I am a better person for knowing her.
When KJ first introduced the idea of definitions for an “Encyclopedia of Other,” this was the word that immediately was at the forefront of my mind. It pertains to all the areas of Other that I can fathom – and of course the overarching idea of Otherness itself.
To embrace means to transcend past simply “existing” to actively exploring/loving/living/changing/growing. The beauty of this concept is that a person can embrace Other and everything it represents in whichever way they choose; there’s a sense of freedom and security simultaneously.
Shedding inhibitions that previously affected the way in which you faced a situation and decided to go with your gut – this is key to embracing what life is all about. It could be as small as varying from the norm when it comes to choosing your next meal, and therefore exposing yourself to a new and exciting culture. Or, it could be big. It could be more profound than you ever imagined – like taking that first step towards pursuing a new career (or life) goal.
The magnitude of what one embraces isn’t the important part, it’s that the action is happening, period.
Plus, I must admit that I’m quite fond of hugs, so this definition fit snugly with that as well. That feeling of being wrapped up with love and warmth is a pretty damn good one, wouldn’t you say? <33 ~Kate
For this first post, defining resilience for The Anthology of Otherness, no words can properly illustrate Kristen Stewart’s spellbinding emergence over the past four months. Simply absorb the majesty.
My dear friend Eeeby (her nickname is the phonetic, Australian pronunciation of her online handle) and I met a few years ago. Through this community, this chaotic, addictive, omniscient fandom of ours. Vivacious, scintillating, and eloquent she is. A single mother of two teenage boys, Eeeby was a constant force of nature, all mouthy and bold.
So Eeeby had herself a rough year, but perhaps above all, she had the most harrowing summer and fall of her life these months. I’d venture to say she’s had the most harrowing time of anyone’s life.
In June the Colorado Springs wildfires roared through her neighborhood, forcing her and her two teenage sons to evacuate their home, bringing only the possessions that would fit in their car with them . They stayed four nights outside their home, taking shelter at a friend’s, away from the destruction. June 29th, Eeeby and her boys were permitted to return to their home, which blessedly, was undamaged, save for smoke saturation. Such gratitude they felt for having their home spared. Early morning on June 30th, Eeeby discovered that her newly-turned 18 year old son died in the hours following his exchange of grateful goodnight hugs with his mother.
The anguish I felt in my heart when I received the news of Cole’s passing could not be soothed. I was teaching a Psychological First Aid course for Red Cross on this bleak Saturday, and I found that the techniques I taught earlier in the day needed to be implemented for myself that evening. My CyberSisters came together in the most phenomenal way, from around the world. We joined together in candlelight vigils, prayer chains, regardless of differing religious backgrounds.
I found myself delving into my own religion, at my piano. I was compelled to follow an aching melody floating around my head. I pushed ‘record’ on my iPhone in a last-minute decision to contain it, and maybe share it with Eeeby as a wordless expression of my grief and a declaration of my love for her and her family. I couldn’t get to Colorado, though I offered. But I could quiet myself long enough to let the lullaby emerge, and all I knew in a moment, was that Cole was with me, speaking to me, communicating with Eeeby and his little brother L. Even if I didn’t get the chance to physically be near or speak to Eeeby for a period of time, she would know she was surrounded.
A few nights later, I received a text as I was about to walk into a movie theater to see The Amazing Spiderman with N. It was from Eeeby. She thanked me for the composition and asked my permission to use it for Cole’s memorial service the following week. And as I burst into blubbering tears in that movie theater lobby, I let her know YES YES YES I would be honored if she used that little spur-of-the-moment piano ditty to celebrate her Cole. It wasn’t mine to grant. I told her it was hers, hers, hers. Never mine. She sent some sparkling, lovely reply back, and I cried harder more out of awe for my friend who despite her anguish, found a way to remain, as always, here… and so very her.
Which is even more inspiring to witness since Eeeby was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in September. But she’ll be damned if she doesn’t look good while fighting it. Check her shoes below. The night before her surgery (a double mastecomy with a radical mastecomy on the right side to remove lymph nodes), she packed lipstick and her makeup in her overnight bag . She attempted to bring along her heels, but the hospital staff quenched that urge real quick, much to Eeeby’s dismay.
Upon hearing news of her diagnosis, Eeeby joined CaringBridge, an online support site to stay connected to family and friends while on her journey towards wellness. She also joined to make sure she stays connected to who she is especially while feeling the effects of chemo (which she’ll begin next week); the storm of emotions, the hellacious physical discomfort. Her journal entries filled with curse words, requests for coffee and acute observations on humanity’s mysteries, make my life.
Though she hasn’t the ability to fully lift her arms, and she takes measured, languid steps when she walks, my friend Eeeby clocked in 9 hours of Black Friday shopping Nov 23rd, and she offered to pummel my husband who has been behaving slightly [read: alarmingly] off-color as of late. Now THAT is a fierce, fearless, Rebel Queen who is willing to embrace Otherness, if you ask me.
If you would like to connect up with Eeeby through CaringBridge, to share your own stories of resilience and Black Friday steals, come talk to me. I’ll hook you up. I have no reservations about showering upon my friend the praise and affirmation every day that she is an Other Queen in every sense. . . she is and remains in the company of my very favorite embodiments of grace, beauty and resilience.
Sooooo. This is the New MOO. It is an evolving, fluid, collaborative effort to redefine the antiquated ideas of “beauty”. To create, identify and celebrate the unconventional, the unusual, the inspiring ideas and the people who embody the pioneering spirit of Otherness. Every essay won’t be this long, or this loquacious. I may just publish a series of pictures or videos on a random day with no commentary. I’ve definitions tumbling in courtesy of your brilliant minds, and this is just the beginning… In the next month or so, I expect to be flooded.
I look forward to our adventures together, Lovelies.
Thank you…… Kate, Iris, Buff and DeeDreamer16 for holding my shaking hands as I trip and stumble through my own return to posting.
Thank you to all of you folks on twitter and facebook who say really, really nice things to me.
So much love to: Bouffant, robkris13, Mel452, r_boncoeur, punkybellyjelly, j_carroll7, alotmoreofmagic, cynicallyconvy, Aaiposs, JaiPoss, Nai, lmrg1122, TrueLove, bellsy-bai, cheermom, randommama, Mari-Pai, every single one of my Cybersisters/Readers, my sister Puss, mycleveralias, drowninit, and iampancakes (thanks for the ride, beautiful!)
Hello, Lovelies. Long time no musings, I know. Those of you who have been my journey mates these past two-plus years understand that any silence from this site is not indication of similar silence experienced by it’s author. I have been musing. Oh, how I’ve been tumbling through and under and over and every which way through the contemplative immensity these past four, [five?] weeks. It’s a matter of reining it in and sharing the ramblings in a cohesive manner. Clearly, as I’ve proven time and time again, my challenge is succinctness.
….Since brevity is the soul of wit ~ Shakespeare
When I decided on a whim to post this little ditty, the clock was twenty minutes shy of switching over to “00:00″, proclaiming a new day; one, as Anne Shirley [an early Other herself, as she dreams from her house of Green Gables] jubilantly reminds us contains “no mistakes in it yet”. It has now grown five minutes past midnight. I only wanted to post a little heads-up. To let you know that Musings is coming atcha this weekend whether you are ready or not. I wanted you to know that I. Am. Here. I never left.
I was inspired to return to this WordPress Wonderland of Otherness for many reasons: because I needed to; because I wanted to; because I have so many words in my head and love in my heart I feared I may implode. Also, because I feel The Shift. The clouds are easing up slightly allowing for precious, nourishing slivers of light to illuminate the sky, warm our faces.
Also, I never had the chance to properly celebrate Musings’ two year anniversary and I simply cannot let much more time elapse without writing about this glorious, shattering, profound year. And to not acknowledge that is just WRONG. This year has been everything. And the past two months in particular have simply changed the game.
So I’m writing the celebratory MOO post that I had planned for weeks ago. This was before July 17, before my husband and I made some pretty intense decisions which lends to why we’re today, quite literally, separated by a world; before I became involved in three funerals, before I made an unexpected but most cathartic return to composing music and finding long-forgotten melodies within.
I created this space over two years ago because I needed a forum to find my voice and connect with kindreds searching for theirs as well. I wanted to to do something to help dissuade the negativity and maybe do my small part in creating change that I wanted to see in the world around me. No time is more apt or essential than now.
So I figure: Let’s pick up right where we left off.
****From my July 31, 2012: Twitlonger
There is one simple, pure, and constant concept that has been a small measure of comfort to me this week. And that is this: nothing, nothing, nothing is black or white. Nothing involving human beings and their emotional capacity can be categorized so easily. There is a gray area. There is an essential consideration that is near and dear to MY heart– of OTHER. That idea that is indefinable, fluid and against simple explanation. Because there is ALWAYS more.
We do NOT know. There is a sequence of events, there are precipitating triggers, there are esoteric factors that we have no access to, and–here’s where it’s crucial to understand– It is not OUR right to access.
No where is there an Admiration Rulebook that states we retain [or deserve] the right to acquire personal, private details in ANYBODY’S lives, let alone regarding people we have never met. We were never invited into their relationship. In fact, Kristen and Rob did everything in their power to preserve and protect what is theirs. They both have countlessly reminded us that idolatry is unwarranted and in the long run, completely, utterly UNFAIR. To ourselves. To them.
People have asked, begged, prompted me to say something all week, and while it is quite flattering to me that you, of such great, burgeoning minds, seek out my addled brain for guidance, there is another part of me that feels pressure.
Yes I’m a clinical psychotherapist. Yes, I Muse on empowerment and compassion and love. Yes, I am a supporter of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson: Together, separately, no matter. But I too am wading through stages of grief, loss, confusion. And sometimes, though this ‘twitlonger’ doesn’t reflect that, I am without words and direction too.
Two points I had hoped to make, before this spiraled out of control into a full-on Musings.
1) Musings On Other Queens–this ‘blog’– is not going anywhere. It never was ‘A Kristen Blog’ or ‘A Robsten [ugh, you KNOW how I detest that label] Blog’. It was a space I created so we could talk about the ways we can overcome labels, misconceptions and generalizations. A way to give voice to the underrepresented. It was intended for us to have a forum to encourage SELF-REFLECTION on how we can contribute to the lessening of stereotypes, possibly banishing the bullying and the hate-mongering.
I think we need that capacity more now than ever. And so no, MOO is not closing down or taking a hiatus other than it’s regular breathing schedule as I navigate my 3D life. And BOY is my 3D life colorful this month. Balance, babies, it’s all about balance.
2.) I honestly and soulfully believe that Kristen and Robert will move through this, in a way that is healing and right for Kristen and Robert. Not by our definitions or standards, but theirs. As it should be.
Also, any amount of processing and rehabilitation will take time.
Sitting on Twitter, or watching entertainment ‘news’ channels obsessively is maybe the most damaging thing we could do right now. And I can say with utmost confidence and authority, that believing wholly in anything the “media” [tabs] churn out is a great disservice to … well, everything, everyone, including Kristen and Robert, the very people that bound us together in the very beginning.
In my twelve years in training as a professional listener…I have learned an open mind is the most compassionate and–most often–prevalent truth in the end. Compassion and support is what Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson need more than anything right now.
Be well and take care of yourselves. Cultivate all of your strengths and blessings in your everyday, tangible life. And while a young couple takes time to assess and evaluate their hopes, aspirations and paths, we can do the same.
See? We’re all rediscovering our humanity together.
In a letter I wrote to my CyberSisters a couple days ago, in the midst of my own personal anguish, I concluded:
“I want to tell you as a marriage and family therapist, that I see this devastation often. It happens. EVERY. DAY. In one form or another.
And, yes, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. the sun rises again and people-warriors make their way towards it’s warmth.
I have faith. I have so much faith.
So a 22 year old girl is human. She resides with the rest of us mortals. I am so happy for the company.”
I am so happy to be in your company.
See you this weekend for the commencement of celebrating Other? Yesssss. All my love and light… KJ
Ho Hey ~ The Lumineers
Ashes and Wine ~ A Fine Frenzy
Breathe Again ~ Little People feat Rachael R
Hold On ~ Alabama Shakes