Tag Archives: authenticity

Redefining Beautiful: Courage for Authenticity and [Com]passion

24 Jan
A/N:  Images displayed for this post are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr, Imagebam & Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended. Click the image to link to its origins. Playlist is working again (it’s probably playing RIGHT now)! Musical inspirations listed at the bottom of post. To open the player in a new window, clickity-click here—> http://pl.st/p/20984139787 Pre-read by a luminous team of Rebel Beauties, led tonight by @kate_suena . If you catch any remaining bobbles, they belong to ME.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”

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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. . . 

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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. 

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Definition: Authenticity

~DeeDreamer

Authentic, adjective. True to one’s own personality, spirit or character. Not false or imitation. Worthy of acceptance. 

“This above all: to thine own self be true.”  ~ Hamlet

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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Scholars can argue Polonius’ meaning as he spoke these words, but to me, as an impressionable teenager, the words sang to me, echoing through my limbs. They were a calming salve on the raw wounds of teenage life, and I ensconced them in bubble wrap and kept them safely cradled to my heart. They gave me strength to stand by my beliefs. They gave me permission to be my authentic self. They gave me the confidence I sorely lacked and assured me that, indeed, I was worthy… just the way I was. Nowadays, so many years later… if I had an “Other” button, I’d wear it proudly. Even through the halls of my high school. (Hint, hint, KJ.) ;) ~Dee

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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. 

Definition: [Com]passion

~Kate

[Com]Passion, noun. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” 

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.

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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

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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.

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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 

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Definition: Courageous

~KJ

Courageous, adjective. Daring, steadfast, unswerving. I am frightened but I am unfaltering.

“Freedom lies in being bold.”
~ Robert Frost

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 .

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So, she persisted. She moved onward (in perfect shoes).

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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.

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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.

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Other Emerging

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.

Norman's Cloud Break

courtesy of (c)KinoPhotography

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.

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We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others are freed by their bold, [com]passionate authenticity.

Embrace Your Other.

*   *   *

QUESTION[s]: How has your relationship with authenticity, [com]passion and courage evolved over the year? How did you greet the new year?

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

Playlist

Blue Skies ~ Noah and the Whale

Born Secular ~ Jenny Lewis (feat. The Watson Twins)

Til Kingdom Come ~ Coldplay

We Are Mad To Live

27 Oct
A/N: The images displayed in this essay are not mine–Thank Goddess for Tumblr and Pinterest. Click the image for a link to their origin. So very unbeta’d–all mistakes and typos belong to moi. Musical playlist and Shout-outs at the bottom, including birthday wishes. Click “Subscribe” in the side panel to receive MOO in your Email…over heeeyah——->

“…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding…”

~Jack Kerouac

Hey my Royal Rebels and Other Warriors! How’s it hanging? Lotssss of stuff going on right now, yeah?  Honestly, while it’s all positive, I’m a bit overwhelmed. So let’s focus and just dive in because there’s much to discuss. We last met about two weeks ago and, of course, in that time, the sky lit up with Royally Rebellious fireworks.

This month GlamourStew and the stunning British GQ article (which we’re discussing today) debuted…and the European Breaking Dawn promo tour commenced with our Warrior Poet Robert Pattinson leading the charge through Paris, Belgium and Sweden (looking dapper all the way through). Just this morning, our Reigning Other Queen transcended the realm which we mere mortals reside, into a Goddess via GlamourUK. . .

O_o….Let’s back that thing up, mmmkaaay? We’ll get to GlamourUK next time. Promise. On a personal note, I’ve encountered a few jarring bumps in the road as well, which tested my resilience and abilities for self-preservation. It was so very apt that my last full Musings was a call to Armour-Up because the moment I pushed “PUBLISH” on that essay, I found myself pulling on my boxing gloves. For a few days after writing about self-preservation and defending my worth, I found myself not speaking to my husband, and several times, in bouts of tears in different public places, including the laundromat and a science museum…and in front of my dear friend @kate_Suena via Skype. (Thank you, Katie for holding the space for me, and for reacting appropriately to my anguish).

I needed to speak up. I felt disrespected and dismissed. I had to remind myself of all the times I’ve asked you all to embrace The Good even when we don’t always believe it; and accept Otherness as desirable even though it can be alienating and daunting. My husband  N has not always understood my choices to pursue Bliss, and he was disconnected from my passionate involvement with Musings. He did not understand my essential drive behind seeking a peaceful coexistence for Otherness, (though he is an Other Rebel himself) nor did he see the bond I have with you all…not even when we initially encountered this: 

This is an angklung. It is a musical instrument comprised of bamboo tubes mounted on a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved to produce a resonant pitch that sings out when shaken or struck. Check it out on Google and YouTube to hear it’s dulcet, warm tone. Folks play symphonies and Top 4o Hits on these bad boys!! They are popular throughout Southeast Asia, but originated in West Java, Indonesia, from where my husband originally hails.

The picture above is of the actual instrument in my house. It was a gift from a lovely  Musings Reader named Icha (@ichaluvcat). Icha lives in beautiful Indonesia, in the Bandung region. When she heard that N was in Indonesia last month, she arranged to have the gift sent to him. N brought it home in pieces in a box that he carried on his lap for the duration of the 20 hour flight back to California.

Before boarding the flight, he called to tell me in an awed voice that his countrywomen’s gift for me was incredible. Icha, according to N, wanted to express her gratitude for what Musings provided for her. And then for the first time ever, N started to realize that Musings, and this collective, cohesive journey we’re on together as Riotous Rebels is bigger than he could  comprehend. He [hopefully] began to see that his disregard and dismissal of my pursuit of Bliss and my work with Musings actually disregards and dismisses me.

I wanted to share the story of the angklung with you to illustrate a few concepts: firstly, you Majestic Misfits are everywhere. Other. Is. Everywhere. I am thrilled. Icha is literally on the other side of this planet in Indonesia, and yet, we are able to connect over our admiration of an Unconventional Beauty named  Kristen Stewart, but also on the idea of pursuing bliss and embracing Otherness.

we get IT.

Secondly, Icha’s unbelievable kindness began to smooth over the sharp fragments that jutted between my husband and I, and he is finally understanding that it is no longer an option to separate me from Musings, and my pursuit of Bliss (as I define it). It’d be as if separating me from a limb.

An age-old idea that we’ve discussed several times in MOO. We do not need to exist in pieces, in fragments. I’ve made peace with the idea that I do not have to splinter myself to ease the discomfort of someone else. It is such a waste, and it makes me less than whole..less alive, less sensitive, less aware, less authentic. Ms Kristen appears to have arrived at a similar conclusion as of late. We’ve witnessed our Reinging Other Queen as she recognizes and introduces her authentic, whole self  as well. And it’s been absolutely captivating.

Kristen Emerging 

 As we transitioned into this beautiful month of October, we were still trying to catch our breath from the stunning Marcus Foster music video–featuring the desolately beautiful Ms Stewart–and we watched the video claim it’s title as the most viewed/downloaded video of MSN in 2011 (fist-bumps fellow OtherQueen supporters). We also caught glimpses  obsessively looped the official trailer for Breaking Dawn:—-> 

And oh my gawd, suddenly, what a sweet, sweet surprise!  There’s Ms Stewart in her California Girl Glory sitting barefoot and smiling on the cover of the U.S. Edition of Glamour.

Wrung out and panting by this point, I don’t think any of us saw what came next. Biz-ZAM.

DAY-um

 “I looked like a boy for a long time. Now I feel like a woman.” 

You guise. YOU. GUISE. I don’t know where you were when the British GQ pictures and subsequent glorious interview surfaced, but I know that my knees buckled and all coherence seeped out through my mouth, which was agape. Pre-GQ, we knew this much: Kristen has been living in London for the past few months as she works on what looks to be the incredible film Snow White and the Huntsman. We knew that due to her responsibilities to SWATH, she cannot be as visible a fixture in the upcoming  Breaking Dawn promo tour we’ve enjoyed in previous circulations. In short…We missss her. We don’t see her as often as we’d like.

However, now we know, with the help of her Glamour article and this brilliant, gorgeous Norman Jean Roy-photographed British GQ interview, that Kristen Jaymes Stewart is present. Aware, confident, grounded, and knowing. She is vital…alive…burn,burn,burning…and here. She is okay with that. And she lets us know she’s okay with that.

I loved this article, madly. I loved everything about it, not the least, the styling. While far from an original idea, Classic Hollywood Glam still is devastatingly beautiful on Kristen. And I love how feminine and vital Kristen is when styled this way. It’s fitting that she reports feeling more like “a woman” now. With her dark red lips and vintage lingerie and swimwear only the feminine divine presides. The interviewing journalist was Jonathan Heaf, senior contributing editor for GQ, and he opened the article in an intriguing, complimentary fashion, by highlighting  characteristics and behaviors that our Reigning Queen of Other did not display. No, instead Mr Heaf observed Kristen’s beauty and the steps she’d take to ensure privacy and anonymity (“her voice drops to a whisper as another customer clatters through…”)  He doesn’t fault her for her self-protective mannerisms.

 “Kristen has been watched. And Watched. And trailed. And stalked. And Hunted.”

Rebel Renaissance

So this awareness we’ve talked about today–Kristen has it in spades. This wasn’t always the case, she acknowledges. She understands that she didn’t always exhibit welcoming, accessible vibes, especially at the onset of the Twilight fixation in 2008. She reports that at age thirteen, already five years into her film career, she was “bitterly self-conscious”, and distractedly so. But it’s present-day, twenty-one-year-old Kristen who exudes a startling grounded energy, sans the bitterness.

Instead of concentrating on not botching up an interview answer, she is self deprecating and humble but also cognizant that she is fallible. While acutely aware of the gossip mongers, BullShit People, The Critics, The Haters,  the various warring camps of “Stens”(folks who adamantly support the idea that she and fellow Royal Rebel Robert Pattinson are in a romantic relationship or not), she replies “I don’t worry about it at all” And she repeats a mantra that has long been effective and essential to this warrior queen:

“I like to keep whatever is mine remaining that way.”

I am only going to gloss over the next part of the interview for the small handful of you who haven’t read it yet. During her photo shoot on the previous day, Kristen was overheard mentioning her wish to see more of the UK as, “My boyfriend is English”. Of course, when Mr Heaf broached the subject with her during their interview the following day, our fiercely protective Royal visibly tenses and says:

“I never would have said that if I knew you were  going to be interviewing me.”

This exchange is significant in that Kristen made the rare inference to her personal life, and instead of denying, diffusing or ignoring the inquiry, she concedes to Heaf’s verbalized observation of the mass quantities of evidence available on the world wide web that has captured Ms Stewart and British-born Pattinson together in countless photos or videos.  Citing the accessibility of her personal life via Google, Ms Stewart sighs,

“Come on, Guys, it’s so obvious.”

I can share with you what feels ‘obvious’ to me. We are watching a young woman who previously felt unprepared–and was criticized by the Bullshit People for ‘not playing The Game’–thrive, evolve and mature and settle. And I mean that in the sense of a cultivated confidence and acceptance, a tranquility that wasn’t there a couple years ago, maybe not even seven months ago. She didn’t react defensively when Jonathan Heaf alluded to her  perceived “notorious sulky-slacker vibe”.  She instead acknowledges that she was a particularly self-conscious kid trying to find a niche amongst her peers while also working a very unconventional job. Admittedly, while Kristen didn’t become defensive at the comment, I did.

It irks me endlessly that a person cannot possess discernment and be contemplative without having the “sulky, aloof, moody” label slapped across her forehead and reputation. I digress. See, this is why Kristen Stewart is an Ambassador for Other on the Homecoming Float. She acknowledges and assents to her many facets–warm, fuzzy and otherwise–and recognizes their essentialness in comprising who she is…as a woman..wholly.

A New Dawn

We’re all starting  new adventures together I think. Some of you have been apart of this community from the beginning, early 2008 or sooner. I joined not too much later–late summer 2008, circa Vanity Fair photo shoot time, before Twilight was released as a film. In just a couple weeks, we’ll be camping out in line for the the premiere and the midnight shows for Breaking Dawn.  Kristen will be wrapping up her SWATH filming near the end of November/early December, but not before taking a few days to promote and celebrate the premiere of the final Twilight installment: Breaking Dawn, Part 1. There are the TV interviews (Yay, she’ll be on Ellen for the first time!) And the handprint ceremony (Grauman’s Theater may shake in the thunderous screams for Kristen, Rob and Taylor as their famous appendages are immortalized–Fingers crossed that Kristen wears her Chucks!).

As mentioned earlier, Rob has been the tour master across Europe this week, and he’s done a mighty fine job of it. Like his partner Kristen, he also appears more grounded, settled and alive as of late. Certainly joyful and…less inhibited than we’ve seen.

Perhaps it’s because the seminal characters he and Kristen portray onscreen are a settled, assured unit finally. It has, after all, been four years since we met the star-crossed pair.

Or maybe Rob appears content and more centered because he feels content and centered. He and Kristen have trudged through theTwi maelstrom with linked arms. Both professionally and personally, they have crafted and maintained a tight-knit, highly respectful partnership that is joyful to behold.

And my silly arse will see that electric chemistry in-person!! Yep. I’m heading down to Los Angeles to attend the premiere at the Nokia Theater. I always believe that everything is worth trying at least once, so this year that philosophy is going to be applied practically on November 14. I haven’t attended a film festival  Q & A nor any of the Comic Cons yet, so I figured: we’re nearing the end of this journey, and it’s time. I’ll be in line for the wristbands for the viewing stands at 6AM on Thursday November 10. Will I see any of you lovelies there too? With carafes of coffee? And bagels?? If you’re there, let me know. Let’s chat Rebel Beauty in the morning.

The giddy newlyweds

Well, my beloveds, it’s super late here and I want to post this on a Thursday, like old times. I have 48 minutes left  to do that if I go by California time. I’ll have an hour more if I go by Hawaiian Time. Uh, so, Aloha and Mahalo. This isn’t a conclusion nor my usual Musings wrap up…just a brief rest. So we’ll pause here, to be continued next week. See you soon, Lovelies! xx, KJ

We Are Other.

Kristen Is Other.

Others are desirous of everything; mad to live.

Embrace Your Other.

*   *   *

Questions–Birthday Edition:  Thoughts on your own Rebel Renaissance (a renewal, a rebirth, new awareness) over the past year…?

Thoughts on our Other Queen’s GQ photo shoot and interview?

What is your Halloween costume?

Best Birthday you’ve had?

A/N: Birthday Shout-Outs to my October Birthday Girls down below. Be sure to wish them a happy day as well–you know these girls.  There are more things to chat about…always there is. We’ll get to them next time. GlamourUKStewGiveaways for GlamourUSA and BritishGQ…

GIVEAWAY DEETS next WEEK!!

Breaking Dawn Premiere Plans…

Rob’s candidness and rambling press conferences (seriously he provides unbelievable entertainment on the road).

*A new About KJ Sentence Completion has been added!! It’s the SPOOKY-BIRTHDAY Edition…

Oh…and in all this madness–

I got a new job. . .!! 

It’s Halloween a.k.a Embrace Your Other Day  

Pssst~Please don’t send gifts for my birthday, you sneaky, lovely ones. Instead I’ll request that you engage in Fair Philanthropy and learn about and consider donating to one of the organizations I support:

American Cancer Society 

American Red Cross 

Lupus Foundation of America 

It’s BIRTHDAY SEASON

Happy Birthday to My Lovelies:

Webby, Meow, Kristin75,

Nhess & DizzyLadybug

Playlist for this Essay

Acid Tongue ~ Jenny Lewis

We won’t Run ~ Sarah Blasko

Riot Rhythm ~ Sleigh Bells

The Sea ~ Morcheeba

Look Into The Air ~ Explosions in the Sky

What’s Behind The Door ~ Shady Bard

Redefining the Learnings of Love

10 Feb

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

***

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

~John Welwood, Love and Awakening

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

This is like porn. #OfficeSupplyJunkie

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

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

Ohai, Sal. I mean, Sam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love as a Transformative Path

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

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

“I am on United Flight 53 to Maui”

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

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

Swear that youre in it to win it

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

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

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

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

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

All I’ve Ever Learned From Love

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

~ Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, fuck no.

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

Creating A New Definition

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

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

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

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

Featured Royal Rebel: Viggo Mortensen

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

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

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

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

Offenses of Otherness:

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

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

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

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

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

LOVE or CREATIVITY or GUIDANCE or ACTOR or ARTISTIC or HUMANITY  

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

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

Offenses of Otherness:

*Remains grounded about the enormous success of her career

*Strives to channel celebrity into philanthropy

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

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

Viggo is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others create a new definition for expression.

Embrace your Other.

***

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

***

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

See you soon. Yours, KJ


Revisiting Resolutions

13 Jan

Hello and happy 2011 to you, my lovelies! I hope this finds you well, healthy, rested and reinvigorated for the new year. How were your holidays and where were you when you welcomed the new year?  To many folks’ delight, we discovered that our Reinging Queen of Other created a bit of a tradition for herself, returning for the second year to the Isle of Wight with her partner Robert to observe the start of 2011. While a few accounts popped up online through various social networking sites, it was gratifying (at least for me) to know that Kristen, Rob and their Britpack friends (Tom Sturridge and Sam Bradley among them) were together, in the company of beloveds to welcome the fresh canvas of a year, essentially undisturbed. Well, almost. Undisturbed until an “aspiring actress”, a proclaimed “fan” approached Kristen and Rob while at a pub, and asked to take a photo with them. After a few moments of discomfort, Our Royal Rebel Kristen politely declined the picture, but she ultimately conceded  (perhaps a re-evaluation of the situation) and posed with the fan and Rob. It appears, at least to me, that both Kristen and Rob (who was feeling a bit under the weather at the time)  knew exactly what would happen once the picture was snapped. Check their facial expressions:

And our peaceful vacation is over in 3...2...1...TWEET

Sure enough. Said “fan” logged onto her Facebook, posted the picture (the original snapshot included the fan in between our Rebels) and she shared her thoughts on her encounter with The Pretty. Well, I think we all know that Facebook has something close to 600 million users, with half of those folks boasting Twitter accounts as well. The picture, the pub’s name and location, and this “fan”‘s encounter were public in mere moments, and one could almost hear the very new and delicate family tradition of Isle of Wight for Stewart, Pattinson and BritPackers alike shattering. I would not be at all surprised if the second annual IOW New Year’s Tradition is now The Posthumous New Year’s Tradition. It was especially sweet  (sarcasm) when the “fan” indicated that Kristen was “ungrateful” and  that Kristen shouldn’t be an actress if she didn’t want to deal with people seeking pictures and autographs. Chatty Fan was completely oblivious to any hypocrisy, since she in fact, did get a picture of both Kristen and Rob and yet she appeared less than gracious about it all. It is in those moments where I find myself shaking my head in wonder, and also silently congratulating Kristen and Rob for maintaining patience and grace when neither is granted to them.

*IOW traditions drift into the sunset*

I get it. We hadn’t seen a current photo of either Kristen or Rob in many weeks, but Kristen in particular had been her usual NinjaStew self for months. KStew Withdrawal Symptoms had set in steadily, and the remedy included revisiting previous photo shoots, or listening to the Eclipse Commen-tree on loop. Of course, since that gracious “aspiring” thespian included her location in her Facebook recounting, fans and photographers alike grew brazen and more pictures surfaced from Kristen’s brief holiday (they had about 3 days on IOW before flying back to Baton Rouge for Breaking Dawn filming). Included in the photos that emerged from that weekend is what appears to be a nuzzle-and-kiss exchange between Kristen and her beautiful consort. I couldn’t help but wonder if theIOW weekend was an indicator of the sparkling, dramatic year ahead.

The Chosen

So for New Year’s Eve and Day, do you find yourself meditating on your plans for success and health for the approaching year? Do find yourself with a clear resolve for improvements and positive challenges? Sometimes a kick-start in motivation is required to pursue our resolutions. For instance, I realized I needed to find a way to pay for our satellite TV services to be reinstalled because the digital antenna we have now is a monstrosity and we have a scrambled picture and stuttering audio every 15 minutes if the city train passes nearby. What was the proverbial slap in the face that solidified my assessment? In the near-unbearable first 95 minutes, where the scrambled picture was a welcomed relief, I was most annoyed  that the last 25 minutes of the People’s Choice Awards were intermittently smeared and blocked here:

oh. MY.

And…here…

Whatcha lookin' at, Rob?

Annnnd here…

So telling, this photo. I see a bubble.

So we need a new cable option, we needed a different system months ago, really. The Golden Globes are this weekend, I don’t know if I can handle the scramble-screen nightmare. Luckily, I have my trusty, sexy MacBook Pro and a strong wireless signal and I didn’t miss out on some of the jaw-dropping reminders of why Kristen is and forever shall be, Queen. She was chosen by The People as Favorite Movie Actress after all. *eyes glaze over*

I am not saying anything that hasn’t already been mentioned elsewhere, everywhere, over a week ago. But I personally think Kristen has NEVER looked more stunning. I’m admiring the uber short hemline of her golden Reem Acra dress, accentuating her un.be.lieveable legs; I’m also applauding the stylists responsible for the flawless tousled, sultry hair and makeup she’s rocking; I’m charmed by her soft, halting words and humble acceptance speech:

Thank you so much! I’ve never been to The People’s Choice Awards, so it’s very exciting. But I’d always thank the fans..uh, I mean, I know I’ve said this before, but we share the stuff like this …(holds up pretty award to the audience) Awesome. You guys did it again. It’s very cool (camera pans to Rob’s adoring gaze on her from the audience). We’re shooting Breaking Dawn right now (audience bursts into cheers), and it’s going really well, we’re having a lot of fun. We’re working with the coolest people and it’s always surreal to be in moments like this…I was a vampire this morning in Baton Rouge…”

I didn’t get to see all of this in tact the first time, per usual, as the train barreled through in the middle of her speech, but with the beauty of YouTube, I was able to catch glimpses of The Greatness.

such joy. and color coordination. usual.

Unfortunately, like IOW, like always, the detractors and vultures, as well as the insecure, and the petty-voiced emerged from the shadows, despite the lovely night full of positivity (um, ok, only the last 30 minutes were truly tolerable). The BullShit People and NonSensicals were combing through the show’s video footage and pictures with weary eyes and toxic mouths, filtering through a loathing haze: comments indicating Kristen was too this, or not enough that, throwing around the usual familiar words and phrases: “awkward”, “cold”, “insecure”, “favoring Taylor, while ignoring Rob”, “weird”, all while she spoiled the movie” with her mention of being a vampire in Baton Rouge…Even “expert analysts” offered up opinions that were manipulated for an unkind agenda and published online as if accurate and unbiased. A’ight. Shut it. Because, again, like IOW and in countless situations presented, Kristen and Rob gave for the fans and were genuine, poised and graceful, even while they knew they were under fire. Thats Royalty, my friends.

New Resolve, New Vision

There are appropriate responses to the BullShit People, in Kristen’s life, in our own lives. To address some of Kristen’s critics, I feel it’s helpful to share some of my own discoveries in this two-week self-imposed withdrawal period. The Kick-Start to motivation, I mentioned earlier? Yeah, so I need a new cable service. But I also needed a mirror.  Remember the video interview conducted between myself and a psychotherapist search engine/advertising company a few weeks ago? Some of you lovelies imparted wonderful advice for me re: posture, colors to wear, colors to avoid (RED), the importance of eye contact….um. Yeah. I received the first round of edits back last week. I’m trying to hold back tears as I’m typing, I’m still so traumatized.

that was me, except I was wearing red and had my too-wild hair down

You know how startling it is when you hear your speaking voice for the first time in a voicemail? Have you experienced how awkward it is to watch yourself on a video screen, say in a home movie, or on your phone’s movie application?  I had a couple weeks to prepare for this forty-five minute interview in front of a small camera crew speaking about a topic I am familiar with and considered an “expert” in. When I arrived at the set for the filming, I felt pretty confident and calm. There was an issue with the background screen, hence me changing from a neutral toned sweater to a RED sweater, but no big, dramatic deal. We flowed. My interviewer was extraordinary and knowledgeable, and I was very comfortable with him, forgetting the camera was on me. I felt solid and grounded for the entire process, except when I blushed because the cute, nerdy AV guys were very complimentary. #ILoveNerds

A pic found off the greatest website ever: Awkward Family Photos. New Game: Spot the Other and give a fist pump

All right my interview video wasn’t  quite that awkward but this picture (along with the link to Women’s Day magazine) showed up when I googled “uncomfortable and awkward” and I had to share it. Let me tell you, these lovely folks have better hair and posture than I do in my video. My hair was too-long and a mass all around my big head, I was leaning to the side and speaking in some moments with a lisp…kay, what the fuck? I don’t have a lisp, and I am not cute like Drew Barrymore who does have a lisp.

My point is this: I had a couple weeks to prepare for the interview and take into account what you experienced folks advised for me. I am a confident conversationalist and I am knowledgeable in my area of study, which was the topic of the interview. The 45 minute interview was expertly pared down to 3 and half minutes and I sounded assured and knowledgeable….but  I personally  thought I appeared dreadful.

I had ample prep time and an editing team for my on-screen debut, and I still sought out the blemishes, the mistakes, the uncomfortable, my own private eye.  After the third viewing, I dried my tears and noticed that my makeup in the video was well done, and that my words were important and welcoming, and that my dress was nice…And how great is it that I have started my own tiny business and I have this great moment to share my work with other people?……See, I had time to review and acclimate, get comfortable with this re-evaluation, re-envisioning…

On the contrary, our Royal Kristen Stewart, having worked many hours on a film set, hops a plane with her 2 costars Rob and Taylor and flies across the continent from Baton Rouge to Los Angeles that same day to attend an award show that could be called abysmal at best for less than forty-five minutes. She did it for supporters of the Twilight Saga. And she did it with stunning grace and style. And in 15-Inch Heels no less. She looked incredible, and she was charming, sweet and humble. Rob didn’t have to come to the show (he didn’t win in any of the categories he was personally nominated in) but he was there. He was there to support the movie but more importantly to support Kristen. And yet people complained. People found the cadence of her speech, facial expressions or the direction she leaned offensive still and attempted to tear her down, tear down her relationship with Rob.

My request of those critics?? Video tape yourself wearing 15-inch heels walking up slippery steps in front of millions of people to give an endearing acceptance speech.Be sure to do it once you step off a plane after you’ve flown for 6 hours, ok?

We all have our Awkward Photo/VideoFace, my friends, but most of us are not forced to reveal it on live television and in front of esteemed peers (Ohai, Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp!!). Keep the perspective, everyone. We Others consistently work for this, and are appreciative when our Reinging Other Queen models such poise and grace for us.

Not too shabby, eh?

So after my own kick-start, I picked myself up off the floor and didn’t wallow for too long, though admittedly, when on holiday vacation and surviving familial drama hasn’t worn a gal down, then a stark video of herself with Yeti hair sure can cause some stumbling.

An addendum to some personal resolutions as direct response to my video viewing/PCAs viewing:

1. Cut the hair I have, it looks fabulous, and my hubs N flirts with me in an outrageous fashion lately. I like it. A Lot.

2. Sit up straight because it looks as if I’m folding in on myself or leaning to the side, as if I’m ashamed. What am I hiding from? I’m a knowledgeable, articulate girl! Slumping is distracting.

3. Remind myself that while I have my demons to struggle with, so many Others do as well. We are Other together.

4. Continue to keep things in perspective. Of all the perceived shortcomings and imperfections I can spot in myself and others (though our self-criticism is the loudest and most damning of all voices) there are far more favorable, felicitous and more encompassing matters that deserve my attention. So while I may not like my hair or my facial expressions in an advertisement video, the fact that I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to make an advertisement video transcends. And I live in a world where major things are happening: floods in South America and Australia, a fierce Congresswoman fighting for her life and babies being born *Waves to @Ophelia2010‘s beautiful Royal-Rebel-In-Training*.

Let’s chat a bit about how these Unconventional Beauties remind themselves to keep perspective and stay on course, shallll we??

Featured Royal Rebel: Natalie Portman

This exquisitely lovely Rebel has long held a place in my heart of hearts. She is only two years younger than I and I feel that I’ve grown up always conscious of her work in film and in the world in general. While she was known to the world audience as Queen Amidala (See? She was crowned royalty from the beginning) in the Star Wars Prequels, she had already gained traction and critical acclaim  (and my undying devotion) for her debut role as a 12-year-old orphan-turned assassin’s assistant in the glorious movie Leon (The Professional). She was only 12  and starring opposite esteemed actors Jean Reno and Gary Oldman. It was with her appearance in 1996’s Beautiful Girls–where she played a young neighbor with the an ancient soul of a poet opposite Timothy Hutton–that I realized this luminous girl was destined to join The Greats in the film industry. Of course, I am simply an audience member, not a film critic, nor an actor. So my assessment and grand statements stem only from my response to her presence and charisma on screen, and over time, from my admiration of unconventional choices she’s made  as a person and a woman that highlights her supreme Royal Otherness.

Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Natalie is the only child of physician father and artist mother. When Natalie was 3 years old, her family relocated to Washington D.C., and subsequently to New York where she spent her childhood. At age 11, the luminous Ms Portman was spotted by an agent while she was at a pizza parlor, and encouraged by said agent to pursue modeling. However,  Natalie declined the suggestion, choosing instead to concentrate on performance and acting. She had been enrolled in dance classes since she was four years old and performed in local troupes when she was not in school. Already at such a young age, our Featured Rebel was displaying her propensity towards Otherness, and traits that she shares with our Reigning Other Queen Kristen began emerging: ambition, dedication, determination, focus. Natalie reports, “I knew what I liked and what I wanted, and I worked very hard. I was a very serious kid.”

Her focus and passion simply informed her future choices. An animal rights advocate, Natalie chose to be a vegetarian when she was 8 years old, and became a vegan in 2009. She does not eat animal products or wear fur, feathers, or leather. While her star was rising, Natalie decided to only film movies during the summer breaks while she was in high school, and skipped the premiere of Star Wars: Episode 1 so she could study for her final exams. In one of many rebellious, Other moments, Natalie has said,

“I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star”

Well, she’s managed to be both. In 1999, Ms Portman began her attendance at Harvard University where she pursued her interest in foreign languages and ultimately earned a degree in psychology. Before her freshman year at the Ivy League University, Natalie had already had completed roles in six films, including Heat and Anywhere But Here. She adhered to her decision to limit any filming while she was enrolled at Harvard, with the exception of her work in The Star Wars prequels. She did, however, work alongside legendary actors Kevin Kline, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep in a New York City Theater Production of The Seagull.

In an age of over-tanned, siliconed, consta-smiling contemporaries, Natalie turned the opposite direction and sought enhancement of her intellect. She dropped out of the entertainment industry to study and research enzymatic production of hydrogen as well as frontal lobe activation, both studies earning the esteemed honor of publication in professional scientific journals. Um. How sexy is THAT? Verra verra sexxah, if you ask me.

Serio. How hot is THIS?

After her graduation from Harvard in 2003, Natalie began to seamlessly appear in films again, balancing independent (read: transcendant) projects such as the splendorous Garden State and the Award-Winning though heart-heavy Closer (for which Natalie was nominated for her first Oscar Award). She is a supporter of antipoverty movements and promotes micro-lending to assist financial support to women who own businesses in 3rd-World countries such as Uganda, Guatamala and Ecuador. She refers to herself as “boring” and admits that there is “so much else to do in the world…to just do films would limit my life.” She relishes that she has close girlfriends now, and that she sees them every day to enjoy mundane activities such as hiking, museum attending, having lunch. She humbly deflects the immense praise raining down upon her for her the dark, stylish horror-amongst ballerinas film Black Swan. Natalie is on every prestigious watch list imaginable and is the front-runner for an Academy Award nomination and win. The story of Black Swan could really symbolize Ms Natalie’s own story: acknowledging, confronting and embracing all facets of herself to reach her highest creative potential, her highest self, her authentic self. The Scientist, The Poet, The Student, The Actress, The Daughter, The Woman, The Child, The Advocate, The Rapper…?

Please tell me you’ve seen Natalie’s outrageously hysterical SNL Digital Short in which she is the scariest, most bad-ass rapper with Andy Samberg as her Viking Sidekick? Puh-LEEEEEZE tell me you’ve seen it! If you havent… Well, Here You Go:

CLICK THIS PIC for Natalie to go gansta on your asssss. You won't be sorry.

So as Natalie progresses into this new phase of life–she and her Black Swan choreographer/ballet dancer fiance Benjamin Millepied are expecting their first child together–she will continue to gracefully, gorgeously, seamlessly meld the facets of who she is, all the hats she wears together as one. Living it, being her “fullest self”, as she calls it. Because Natalie Portman feels that living and being her “fullest self” is the most difficult, therefore the most pleasurable existence, she is Rebel Royalty.

Offenses of Otherness:

*Prefers getting an education over acting

*States that recognition for her work is lovely, but not important. At. All.

“The moment you believe the idea you’re above anyone else, is the moment you need to be slapped in the face”

Reigning Other Queen: Kristen Stewart

After her regal and award-winning appearance at The PCA’s, Kristen literally hopped onto a plane with Rob and Taylor and flew back to Baton Rouge to continue filming the last two installments of Breaking Dawn. With the start of a new year, it’s only natural to wonder what our Majestic Misfit’s future plans are. We know she is scheduled to film BD until approximately May/June of this year and promotion for the final installments will continue through 2012. But will our girl decide if her next role will be another art-house Indie or a studio film with risk-taking, unconventional directors?

First still from BD. *bowing down to Bill Condon. Again.*

The Publication Vulture online  spoke with producers and agents regarding Ms Stewart’s uniquely powerful position as a successful franchise actor with Indie cred in an article from October 2010. It is no secret that our Rebel Queen is well-respected and well liked by her Hollywood peers. A top agent interviewed for this article reports that Kristen possesses “depth” and scope that is “highly unusual” for her age and a rarity in comparison to her contemporaries. But could her decision to do a commercial, studio movie after Twilight wraps prove harmful? Or would that route be the key to her success?  These are the musings of the Vulture article author. This is where I feel Kristen’s feisty and stunning uniqueness, her Otherness emerges. How “success” is defined is subjective. Success can mean drawing a large crowd at the box office. Success also can mean that the actor feels a personal affinity with the role chosen. Kristen has always shown a tremendously accurate instinct in choosing her roles. She also has never picked a project featuring a character to whom she cannot relate . In the fantastic Flaunt interview of Issue 109, the enchanting actress says:

“People want you to be so over the moon for the position you’re in, that you have no principles, no sense of the world around you…Well, I don’t want to be that”

Our Misfit Rebel Kristen does not choose projects based on an obvious Pay Day or box office clout, nor fame. She seeks work that satisfies her genuine, inquisitive, nature, and she is curious as to how the role can be expressed through a particular filter–knowledge– as a young woman in today’s society. The analysts at Vulture wonder how she can bridge her talents as a dramatic actress in tiny films to an audience-garnering “movie star”. And while it’s understandable as to why industry insiders are encouraging Kristen to pursue bigger-budgeted films, these analysts don’t seem to truly account for our feisty Queen’s propensity towards the unexpected.I don’t think they get “it”.  Kristen does not seek fame,  nor does she petition for the Popularity vote  (although she is Musings’ Ambassador of Other, but that’s because I nominated and elected her. *shrugs*). She does not desire the title of “Movie Star”. She dislikes labels altogether quite frankly. Instead Kristen Stewart quests for a visceral connection with the characters she chooses to portray, and admits and accepts that it’s could be either a “hit or miss”  with an audience. It’s her willingness to take risks, but unwillingness to sacrifice authenticity and principals that assures me. When and if she’s approached a cross roads in this new year, she will simply push forward in her journey for genuine and meaningful connection. Something tells me Kristen Jaymes will be juuuust fine. Whatever project she does participate in next, I imagine I’ll be stunned and inspired, as always.

Offenses of Otherness:

*Unwavering dedication to the protection of her personal life.

*Views fame as the least important of values derived from work.

“The perception of me that I don’t give a fuck…Could not be further from the truth”

Well, Lovelies, as this first Musings for 2011 winds to a close, the reveal of  Kristen’s new VOGUE cover emerged….Let’s take a reverent moment of silence together now…

Today we spoke of living life fully and reminding ourselves to re-evaluate and perhaps make adjustments to our goals for the year if it means we’re still in touch with perspective and pursuing different modes of obtaining and embracing Otherness.  I needed this two week break to remind myself (and watch a video of myself) that I had a vision, a path for this year. Stay the course. I’m still on the Royal Court float, even when it’s bumpy.

Natalie Portman is enjoying the fruits of merging her many facets into one strong, independent, thriving beauty. Because she seeks challenges outside of the options placed in front of her, Natalie is an Majestic Misfit and Rebel Queen.

Kristen Stewart is blessed with opportunity at a crossroads. She may not have to make any adjustments to her plan this New Year because she has already achieved personal and professional success, no matter how it’s defined. Because she continues to march through the crossroads (standards, expectations) on an unconventional route, Kristen Stewart is our Reinging Other Queen.

Natalie is Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others recognize the importance of revisiting resolutions.

Embrace your Other.

 

QUESTION: Are you a resolution maker for the New Year? What triggers you to re-evaluate resolutions and goals?

A/N: Ok Loves. Next week (and maybe sooner, because Kristen Goodness is BLOWING UP these days), we’re talking biggies: First Loves, First Loss, and  the glories of Risk Taking. You know why.

There is so much love for you, those who have stuck with me these past 6+ months. Your letters, emails, tweets, subscriptions, comments…they humble me and make me cry. You own me completely. It’s going to be a fantastic year, I think. Yours, KJ

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