Tag Archives: self-care

Back To The Barre

19 Jul
A/N: So very, very unbeta’d. Please forgive me the typos, grammatical slips and bobbles. I own some pictures in today’s essay. Most of the others, not so much. Goddess bless Tumblr.

“Rocks in my way, I pick them all up. Someday I’m going to build myself a castle.” ~Fernando Pessoa

Greetings, all you Beatific Misfits! I hope this long overdue essay finds you well and healthy? I am hanging, but I’m going to be totally honest: I’m beaten up, overwhelmed, wary, and emotional (even more than usual…scary). I realize I’m over four days late in posting New Musings and that knowledge just makes me twitchy, albeit from the pressure I put on myself, not from anything external. We are our own biggest critic, are we not? I’ve had what I’ve wanted to talk about in this essay outlined in my notebook for nearly a week now, but I’ve not found the articulation. I hope you’ll flow with me.

A part of my ill ease is that I’m still acclimating to being home after my national assignment with the Red Cross. Other causes for my wariness stem from natural stressors that accompany family, marriage and friendships that are moving through transitions. Admittedly a small contribution to my discomfort expels from the atmosphere of tension surrounding fellow “fans” and “supporters” in the Kristen/Rob/Twi Community. And a leeetle smidgen of my preoccupation may surround my decisions for following Bliss.

catharsis

So how do I move forward when I am feeling fractured, uncertain and unsettled? I go back to the beginning. I return to the stripped-down foundation, to the basics. I review what it is that motivates me and inspires me to go forth…whether it be writing or journaling; playing the piano or singing; writing music, reading poetry or literature [or spicy fanfic], listening to music, surrounding myself with inspiring and kind people, walking on the beach, or rereading letters received or letters I’ve sent to someone else. I start from scratch and, in advice  from one of my favorite guilty pleasures, the dance movie, Center Stage, I go ‘back to the barre’.

In the technically meticulous and heartbreakingly beautiful art of ballet, the barre is a handrail either bolted to the wall or a horizontal, free-standing base. It is used for the warm up period before floor work and dance sequences. While sometimes seen as monotonous and tedious, barre work is crucial for all dancers, regardless of level of skill, as the exercises build strength for leaps and turns, sharpen precision, hone speed, and enhance flexibility and balance. It’s the reacquaintance of one with his or her roots and center. This month, I need to come back to my center almost desperately, because I felt that I might drift away, too far.  So, this week’s essay is my own reminder about the significance in returning to the place of grounding.

Since She’s Been Gone

Well, since we last talked, our Rebel Queen Kristen has been spotted just about everywhere among the county of Los Angeles, as well as in Toronto on the Cosmopolis film set and maybe New York City. Girlfriend has been on the move…and without a doubt, she’s got several vultures on her trail (growling). Now, *clears throat* I haven’t been nearly as active as the fierce and lovely Ms Stewart. Nope, since I’ve returned from my assignment last month, the only thing I’ve been actively doing is …emoting.  I have probably experienced and then worked through every single emotion possible, including apathy, anger and elation. A couple of you lovelies have written me and asked me how I’ve returned to “normal” after seeing what I saw and learning what I did while working with the survivors (aka Inspiring Heroes) of the natural disasters in Mississippi and Missouri. When my friend CC asked me how I’m able to be “back and continue on in life”, I answered, “Slowly, painstakingly, carefully.”

patience and gentleness

One thing I’ve very clearly realized since coming home: I have zero tolerance for hate-vom and/or unnecessary drama. No room in my 3D relationships and not in this fandom. Having watched families emerge from the literal ruins of their lives in Joplin, I cannot find it in me to participate in power struggles between factions amongst supporters in this fandom regarding tidbits they’ve allegedly received  first.  I cannot summon the patience to follow the hate-filled and irrational spewage of theories by people who have agendas of generating chaos and disagreement just so they can claim they were involved in it.

I’ve stepped back from Twitter. I still keep my eye on the news around the fandom just for confirmation that our Reigning Other Queen Kristen appears healthy and that she is still employing The Stealth; but I don’t read the twitlongers or Re-Tweets of Nonsensicals because 1) I’d rather put my energy elsewhere and 2) There are people who have made it their job to read and address the hate and hypocrisy. Hats off to @BecauseWeAreNot for spearheading that particular operation.

The Beats were pretty profound, yes?

Soooo, what does one do to carry on without getting carried away? One seeks the counterbalance. Revisit and celebrate what it is that compelled us in the beginning. Ms Stewart has been away from public, prying eyes these days, which is how she likes it best. Kristen’s unique brand of badass-regality is comprised of her ability to move through daily activities–while being tailed, hounded, stalked and scrutinized–with little reaction or fanfare.  She’s admitted in the past to feeling overwhelmed and timid when photographers and “groups [of girls]” approached her in public, but she appears to have connected with that inner compass of calm within herself over the year. This is a Royal Rebel’s way of staying centered.

In addition to a cool and gracious exchange of car insurance information after a fender bender in Hollywood….Well, she runs errands.

She works out in preparation for new film roles (while in SPANDEX, yo)…

…She visits her parents, peruses through vintage clothing stores, trains for horseback riding, and visits her aesthetically pleasing partner in rebelliousness Robert (along with their dog) on the set of his now-wrapped David Cronenberg-directed film Cosmopolis. Kristen carries on with her daily happenings….so why can’t everybody else? Kristen describes herself as “incredibly boring” (an argument that is actively disputed I’m sure by everyone who knows her) and she harbors propensity towards being a homebody who chooses to read books and hang with her cat in lieu of attending high-profile industry parties and award shows. She will, however, attend public events if it means supporting beloved friends:

Dean and his Marylou

The Chris & Kris Mutual Admiration Society

While Kristen flits in and out of public’s viewfinder, ensuring she has time to reacquaint herself with the mundane and normal, perhaps we can do the same…for ourselves…? Precious energy does not have to be poured into analyzing why Kristen is not seen out, or if she and Robert are getting along well. We instead could rejoice for those moments the girl has any privacy. Or better yet:  we could infuse our efforts into our own relationships. Call it a hunch, but I bet that both Kristen and Rob would much prefer we enhance our relationships instead of scrutinizing theirs.

A startling lesson I learned while away last month: It could be gone. All of it–obliterated–RIGHT NOW. Every single person I counseled in Joplin stated that the complete destruction of their lives occurred within a millisecond. Where and how did those people spend those final moments? Checking Twitter timelines? Updating their Facebook status? Dissecting someone else’s private life?

The Fangirl Learned: A Magical Era Ends Emerges

A method of returning to the barre (and in some ways, melt into escapism) for me is the immersion into compelling stories and films. I finished and fell insanely in love with the book Divergent and I saw the final Harry Potter film this week. It might have been too much epicness in too short a timespan, now that I think about it. We may talk more, MUCH more about Divergent another week. For those of you who have not read this incredible book–in my opinion, it is the next best read behind The Hunger Games– DO IT. DO IT NOWWWWWW.

For those of you who have read it (very Big UPs to my Good Reads Girls): Did you find the message as profound as I did? The message being: We are at our most powerful and beautiful when we embrace all facets of ourselves–including the elements we are told are wrong, odd, fear-inducing and unwanted–aka OTHER??

#CannotBeLabeled #AlsoKnownAsOther #FourandSix

And as I begin this new series of wonderfulness (come join me in reading Divergent’s upcoming sequel next Spring, will ya?) another beloved series drew to a close. Last Wednesday evening, I could be found stuffing my purse with packets of tissues and weighing the pros and cons of eating popcorn smothered in “butter” (because you shall go big or go home). I both hated and LOVED that I sat in front of a ginormous movie screen playing the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. I expected to shed tears. Many of them. And sure enough, my first tears fell before the haunting screen shot of the title fully formed in front of us onscreen.

Always an ardent book lover, I was a Potter fan since the very beginning. I was 18 years old when the first Harry Potter novel, The Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone was first released. I was a freshman in college and I was hostessing for a seafood restaurant part-time when I purchased my copy.  It was the first time I participated in anything that remotely resembled fangirling, and it combined with a burgeoning love for The WB television network’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Fun Fan-Girl Fact #1: I created a 15 minute public-speaking presentation for a college speech course defending the virtues and benefits of watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I got an A, thank you very much, and turned a handful of cynical college cohorts into Buffy fans.

Fun Fan-Girl Fact #2: It was for Harry , Ron and Hermione and not Bella and Edward that I went to the midnight book release events and stood in the long movie lines on premiere days.

The film, Deathly Hallows Part 2, in my opinion, was wonderful. The experience of seeing it at Midnight in a packed theater teeming with fellow Potter fans was incredibly bittersweet but still glorious.  I saw the first movie (Sorcerer’s Stone) via matinee by myself (that may have been the first time I saw a movie alone in the theater) because my then-boyfriend hadn’t woken up from his all-night music writing session of the previous evening. A decade later, I watched the final film in a theater in an entirely new city with a husband who told all his friends on Twitter that he was at the midnight showing of “Harry PORTER“. N has not read the books but over the past few years has seen all the movies. My, what a difference a decade makes.

We’re also nearing the end of the our time with Twilight. Our Majestic Misfits Kristen and Robert are set to return for their third appearance at San Diego’s Comic Con[vention] this Thursday, July 21. This will be the couple’s first public appearance since the eventful MTV Movie Awards in early June.  It’s also the first major promotional push for The Twilight Saga’s final film installment: Breaking Dawn. As I am writing this essay, people (including my crazy beautiful sister @robkris13)  are already lined up at the convention center in San Diego to camp out  for Thursday’s panel–comprised of director Bill Condon and actors Ms Stewart, Mr Pattinson and Mr Lautner. We’ll talk more about Comic Con next time..but suffice to say: It’s kinda a big deal.

TWILIGHT:::

#DeepBreath #BeforeTheInsanity #DidNotSeeThisComing

cozy

NEW MOON:::

Did someone ask a question?

What will this Thursday’s Breaking Dawn Comic Con panel bring…?

We’re granted a double dose of Kristen (uh, Hell yeah) this year at Comic Con as she is sitting on a second panel in representation for her new project Snow White and The Huntsman. This will be the very first promotional event for SWATH. The panel will consist of director Rupert Sanders and the [obscenely] attractive cast. Filming isn’t scheduled to begin until next month in London, so this Comic Con appearance will provide a unique opportunity to gaze stupidly at the pretty  learn about the storyline and characters before production commences.

Hope y'all are near a fire-exit because will this panel explode or...?

This month I have goals (besides enjoying Comic Con and filming updates for SWATH) to expand The Magical Little Practice, launch a consulting firm attached to the MLP, and pursue instructor certification for Red Cross courses. While trying to gather the strength and courage to do all of those things, another healing, magical element emerged this month for me to appreciate.

This is when I turn to you all with wondrous eyes, surveying the friendships and relationships I’ve forged as a result of my involvement in this Kristen Stewart and Unconventional Beauty Support Campaign. Last week, I was blessed with visitors hailing from all corners of North America including Canada. And these ladies are the loveliest, most eloquent , most wickedly funny and brilliant gals. We met through…THIS. Through Musings, through KSIBTU, through our mutual support and admiration of our Reigning Other Queen Kristen and her Deliciously Poetic Partner in Crime, Robert Pattinson.

Whenever it becomes almost intolerable and painful to endure the slander, libel and absurd delusions concocted by the severely unsatisfied Other-Hunters and Chaos-creators in, drink in the sights of people you have met whom embody positive attributes: independent ideas, positive regard, wit, and open mindedness…maybe recognize the whimsy and fierce fashion accessories too…? Dear @Kate_Suena @MyCleverAlias @That_Bitch86 and briefly, Ms @J_carroll7: It’s been a pleasure and an honor.

These counterbalancing people you see probably possess  boundless pockets of joy…and perhaps the tendency for documentarian-like photography (which I support wholeheartedly btw) and the proclivity towards copious alcohol consumption…

night #4?

Also he or she may actually comprehend the awesome responsibility with which we use our words…

These neutralizing souls will most likely hold appreciation for varying perspectives. And he or she probably respects the value of introspection.

So that’s what I’ve been up to these past few weeks. I was all somber and contemplative for a few days, and then slightly combative and irritable for a few others. And now…Now, after spending a week or two stretching and warming up my muscles, breathing deeply and carefully considering the best position for my feet (hopefully not in my mouth, though that’s not a promise) at the barre, I am nostalgically reviewing the excitement and motivation that coursed through me as I researched new Royal Rebels to discuss with you…

Remember some of the Featured Royal Rebels we met this year? They have all traveled through these months garnering accolades from critics and colleagues along with numerous award nominations. They’ve debuted exciting and innovative new projects, released new albums, starred in blockbusters and/or critically acclaimed films.

Jesse

Freida

Johnny

I’ve three people percolating at the top of my head whom I hope to feature in the near future, just a heads up. Anyone you’re eager to see?

Remember those feelings of pride and glee when you caught a clip or video of Our Ambassador of Other Ms Stewart in refreshingly honest interviews or slightly uncomfortable, but always-humble award show appearances?

Remember when we first met because we held respect for Kristen’s career trajectory and her unapologetic genuineness? Remember when we all were collaborators and we would brainstorm new definitions and reframes for negative connotations and labels such as “unusual”, “awkward”, “unconventional” and “odd”?? Remember when we were ecstatic because Kristen appeared to have found a kindred spirit within a bumbling, awkward, intellectual and charming British bloke?

Yeah. I remember too. And I’d really like to return to that joyous, reverent, cohesive place as soon as possible. These past few weeks of drifting, regrouping, withdrawing and re-prioritizing have been exactly the sort of conditioning and healing I sought, whether consciously or not. Knowing I have several goals and hopes to address this year, I must have recognized the need to cocoon before pushing boundaries and charging forward at full speed. So after finishing several books, witnessing the grace and graciousness of a Reigning Other Queen, viewing one tearful but satisfying finale to a decade-long film series; and, enjoying the company of fellow Others amongst The Beats and summertime ideals, I am stepping away from the railing along the wall and moving towards an open floor. However, I know whenever I feel off-center or uncertain, I can always, always find balance along the barre.

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others seek clarity and balance along the barre.

Embrace Your Other.

*  *  *

QUESTION 1: What do you do when you need to reconnect with your roots? How do you steady yourself along the barre for balance?

QUESTION 2: Who is a Royal Rebel you’d like to see featured in a future Musings?

QUESTION 3: Memories of past ComicCons? Hopes for this year’s double-Stewy panel?

A/N:

Opening Pessoa quote provided by @Dizzy_Ladybug

Picture credits for “drinks” and “rings” goes to @Kate_Suena.

Printer’s Ink” courtesy of @MyCleverAlias.

Kristen at the PCA’s is from @CheerySarcasm

Infinite curtsies and bows to:

Bouffant for talking me through stuff.

My ‘Good Reads’ Girls for providing me an escape.

Possum Bestie @Justice_Aussie for “pinning me” with pretty quotes and pictures.

**Playlist for this Essay**

Where’d You Go ~ Fort Minor feat Holly Brook

Belong ~ The Cary Brothers

After The Storm ~ Mumford & Sons

Poison and Wine ~ The Civil Wars

A MOO Memo: Short But Sweet

1 Jul

A/N: Images seen in this post are not the property of nor created by ©MusingsOnOther. No infringement intended. 

Hello you gorgeous Misfits, how are you this fine day?? I’m quite well except for the fact that I left my house with my Macbook Pro and notes and work projects but forgot my laptop’s charger. So we’re on borrowed time, babies….It’s for that reason and because we had a cathartic and intense story-sharing last week, that today’s essay will be brief and sweet and to the point. Hope we’re all groovy with that. It’s the start of a holiday weekend and it’s summertime, we don’t need to delve into the heavy mysteries of obsession (although it’s endlessly fascinating what the obsessed concoct about our Royal Rebels isn’t it?), nor the philosophies of change and goodness. Let’s take the advice of a wise, charming bloke who paid us a visit recently and said: “Focus on the positive, it’s MUCH more enjoyable!”

Positives such as….?

How bout our Reigning Other Queen, continuing her quest for Fair Philanthropy? Kristen signed a pair of KEDS (oohhh the memories I have in Keds) and donated them to ShoeRevolt so the charity could raise money to build shelters and provide support services for teen victims of sex trafficking. As we know–and as I die a little every time I read the article again–Ms. Stewart, our Rebel Queen herself–revealed in her February Vogue interview that she feels “most connected to” the idea of giving back in a constructive way via building halfway houses for runaway teens who were victims of the sex trade. A charitable and socially conscious Other, she is indeed.

Another POSITIVE this week could entail how ecstatic and proud I am that we all helped a cause close to my heart, Fandom For Sexual Assault Awareness raise over $10,000!! We proved that those of us with passionate love for fanfiction (this fixated fondness can be debilitating to some *looks around furtively and then raises hand*) can help promote healing storytelling and empowerment for survivors of sexual assault.

With contributions from approximately 150 writers including friends Aylah50, 107yroldVirgin, PrimaryColors, TheRainGirl, Awesomesauce and Magnolia855, we helped various charities give back a voice to those who otherwise have been silent or shamed…or both. If you haven’t contributed to this cause and you’d like to, donations are still accepted a bit longer in order to receive the awesome Thank You compilation; however, any support and contributions you can donate are accepted anytime regardless. Click it for more info —>  FandomForSexualAssaultAwareness

***The above paragraph was all I’d written before my laptop completely died on me, and I realized I was Shit Outta Luck without my charger***

12 HOURS LATER. So it’s now midnight on July 1, and I’ve missed my own deadline that I had set, so I apologize. I can honestly say that I was detained by both slightly stupid reasons (forgetting the power source for my writing instrument being one) and also for whimsical, lovely reasons–my niece Monkey wanted to show me the see-saw made of driftwood along the water at the  nearby beach; she also wanted to show me where she collected her magical, iridescent sea shells.

Additionally, I had some work sessions with Leon my business manager for my Magical Little Practice to focus on projects relegated to the back-burner while I was away with work for Red Cross this month. Much has changed since I returned from Mississippi and Missouri. We’ll talk about these changes soon. Maybe next MOO. I can say that my hopes and goals for  following Bliss have not changed, but they have been enhanced and given the glitter treatment.

Not to mention my motivations for better self care have kicked up a notch too. I try to run/walk every single day now to provide a grounding agent for my spinning mind (it’s jam packed with ideas and plans, friends, oh yesss). You know who else has a new regime for self-care and betterment these days? Our lovely Queen. Don’t you want to do yoga and participate in fight training if it means looking like THIS??

As she moves to and from what appears to be fight training for her upcoming role in the uber cool film project Snow White and The Huntsman (the Fairest Of Them All is allegedly going to be lithe, sleek, and badass with knife and archery skillz), Ms Stewart is absolutely radiant. How am  I so sure she’s royalty? She single-handedly endorses an active lifestyle ..and makes wearing spandex look GOOOOOOOOOOD. Bow down to the Queen, y’all.

So I went on a run the other night, despite the arrival of a freak summer storm. And bless Lydia (@ALotMoreMagic) for sending me tweets with attachments of articles outlining safety guidelines and appropriate attire for working out in rainy weather. L, I did all right. I avoided getting sick, but I could not avoid my supreme klutziness. My wet running shoes were too slick once I came home, and my legs slid from beneath me and I fell…hard. I managed to smack my head on the tiles of my bathroom floor.

Yeah, kinda like this, but with a LOT less . . .Couture.

All right, yeah. I had a teeny incident of head trauma, but nothing like I’ve had before, where I’ve actually been in the ER, checked out by a physician and given pain meds for a concussion. Today I didn’t forget numbers or drop sentences, but I took twice as long to complete a straightforward work project with Leon and I certainly couldn’t gather my wits properly to write this MOO Memo.

But that’s all bygones because I want to move onto the topic of You. Can I just tell you how madly in love with you all I am? I truly am. You welcomed me back so warmly last week and then you just rocked my socks off with your gorgeous, thoughtful, heartbreaking and heartlifting anecdotes about the light within you’re embracing. The comments left by you brave, eloquent souls still bring tears to my eyes as I read and re-read them. The private emails I’ve received have rendered me stunned and speechless. Just tonight, as I sat down to write this Memo, I received the most glorious response to last week’s Joplin Stories from a Reader called Jessica. She signed off her letter with words that gave me chills:

I will remain and embrace myself and who I am, facing the trouble caused by people who aren’t strong enough to do the same. 

By being Other we show we are strong, extraordinary, and ever courageous.

 We are Royal Rebels who fight the idea of what is acceptable everyday.

And on that note of reverence, let’s get to the Giveaway Results, shall we?  Every single commenter left an extraordinary word (or hundred) that I felt in the fibers of my being, so I again bow down in gratitude to you. However, to be eligible for the giveaway, I presented four questions and asked for just one to be answered in a comment. I only submitted the names of folks who answered questions into the Random Integer Generator at Random.org.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

9

Congratulations, to J (@JRollin5)!!!! Ms J is a beautiful, thoughtful and witty gal and a long-time Musings Reader with whom I’ve been fortunate enough to interact via Twittah and email over the past several months. I’ll get in touch with you to work out details of delivery, ok, J??! CONGRATULATIONS again!

Short and sweet, yeah? I’m stil floating on clouds from the profound meeting we had last week, and given my supreme Klutz-tendencies and the holiday weekend, I figured we were due for a light, joyful Memo. Have a wonderful time this weekend to all who celebrate Independence Day on July 4th in The States..and to my Canadian friends,

Happy Canada Day!!

Be well, take care of yourselves and each other. And I’ll see you all soon to talk Rebellious Beauty.  Always, KJ

A/N:

Playlist for This Essay:

Brighter Than Sunshine ~Aqualung

New Soul ~Yael Naim

PriceTag ~Jessie J Feat B.O.B.

A Light From Within (Part 1)

20 Jun
A/N: Most images seen in this posting are not the property of nor created by ©MusingsOnOther. Photos featuring ©Red Cross Disaster Relief in Clinton, MS and Joplin, MO, however, are owned by this author (KJN). Today’s essay, per usual, is unbeta’d and any typos or grammar bobbles are all mine. Also, for whatever reason, PlayList disallowed the Auto-start feature, despite my and Buff’s attempts at usurping. To hear today’s music Playlist, hit PLAY on the player in the right-hand column (below the Twitter Feed) —–>
Whatever day this is that I actually post, I imagine it’s not my usual Thursday. I hope to get back on schedule soon. I thank you for flowing with me.   
“People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

*Takes deep breath* There you are, and here I am. Hello, you beautiful, Majestic Misfits. It has been over a month since I’ve posted a New MOO and I am admittedly nervous and shaky. I feel out of practice, super raw and tentative but at the same time eager to reconnect with you all. SO. MUCH. HAS. HAPPENED. And on so many different levels. In the name of confidentiality, and sensitivity to trauma that folks have experienced, I have spent the past week weighing the options of what to share and how to share. . .I am not even quite sure where to begin, so I guess I’ll …just…jump in.

It was ‘A Time’

So, the last MOO essay  I penned posted on May 15. We talked about the Twirling Other Goddess Stevie Nicks, and we explored what it meant to MOther, even if it was against society’s definitions (We’re Others. It’s how we roll). We also surveyed how we women can be both supportive and simultaneously destructive forces out there, especially towards fellow women. Then I shared with you all that I was a few days away from leaving for my first national Red Cross assignment as a licensed clinician on the Disaster Response Team.

I do not think I will ever truly have enough (or appropriate) words to justifiably describe the people, the agonizing pain of loss, or the brilliant strength and faith of humanity I encountered. But I will try and share a few stories with you here (and that’s what PART 2 of this post will be).  In the seminal TV show My So-Called Life, Angela Chase (portrayed by a featured Royal Rebel Claire Danes), Rayanne and Rickie ponder the glory of connecting with other people for a larger purpose outside themselves, and they simply refer to that process as “A Time”. Bear with me as I attempt to begin recalling the people and the moments that comprise the most life-changing, profound ‘Time’ I’ve ever had the honor of witnessing.

I left May 23 for Clinton, Mississippi to offer relief and counseling support to the men and women who had already been out providing food, shelter and Psychological First Aid to the survivors of the storms and destructive flooding out in the communities near the Mississippi River. What I came to find out later was that this Disaster Relief Operation (DRO or DR) was winding down. I had been called in to debrief and support the volunteers and Red Cross staff, some of whom had been in the trenches for 4o days already.

Here’s what I was struck by, while in Mississippi, other than the sheer elation it was to spell out the state’s name voluntarily, and not because I was in a spelling bee:

It’s beautifully green and lush in the most mundane places. Tree-lined highways (empty of traffic) greeted me on the drive from the gas station to Headquarters; and, to the market and to the shelter where I met with clients. See, I grew up in L.A. County, California, where any greenery, if not in protected parks–or smoked–is a rarity. Concrete utopia shrouded in brown air. Even where I live now, any lush growth and flowers are reserved for the national park.

But really, what blew my mind were the PEOPLE. The people–strangers to me–were so very warm, generous, welcoming and open. People looked me in the eye and said, “Well, HELLO THERE!” on the street, in the grocery aisles, at the gas station, and of course at restaurants. There is something so refreshing and comforting about Southern Hospitality and I am so thrilled to have experienced a little sliver of it. If I appeared too alien or unusual, too OTHER to anyone in Clinton, Mississippi, I never knew it. I was welcomed and embraced warmly and lovingly, regardless.

ahhh is THAT what human interaction looks like?

An Other Application

Of course, I got to musing, because that’s what I do, and reflected on how I’m jostled by kindness, etiquette and “common courtesy”. Why is it surprising for people to be kind anymore? Why does eye contact or a friendly passing greeting feel like such a novelty?? I suppose in this time where we spend the majority of our days deciphering words on a computer screen or texts on a phone, its not terribly surprising that the messages conveyed through eye contact and tone of voice are no longer considered integral or necessary in “communication”. Which is a shame. Those nonverbal factors including pitch and intonation of voice, eye contact contain powerful messages. Clues to a person’s intentions, beliefs and identity.

One topic in the newly conceived “What The Fangirl Learned” feature for this blog, pertained to the rise of Cyber Bullying and Online Confidence. It is notable that people present themselves assertively and cruelly as long as they maintain anonymity behind an avatar image and moniker. Would these same people be as blunt and hurtful if they shared their opinions directly with their target? Would Kristen Stewart’s Bull Shit People and Critics ever share their low regard for her if they were in the same room with her, directly to her? I must take a moment to tip my fedora to the brave and brilliant warriors at @BecauseWeAreNot for wading into the mucky secretions from the Nonsensicals and BullShitPeople… and simply holding up a mirror. Yes, Haterade Drinkers, you are that vile and we SEE YOU. My hope is that all of us still experience an instant or two of remembering the human being on the other side of the camera lens, the computer screen or discussion board. It would certainly benefit our Reigning Royal Rebels for us to remember this. . .

She Shines On

Speaking of Royal Rebels and public appearances…. When we last met here in Headquarters Other, we celebrated our Reigning Other Queen’s Best Actress award from the Milan International Film Festival for her stunning work in the powerful film Welcome To The Rileys. We hadn’t seen our lovely Queen for some time, as she was implementing her usual NinjaRebellion and flitting all over the world undetected, un-stalked. YAY. She would continue to fly under the radar until June 5, the day the MTV Movie Awards occurred. And looking at Ms Rebel Royal herself was like seeing the sun for the first time after a decade-long rainstorm. Hole-eeeeee freakin hell.

Where were you all when this stunning fashion DreamTeam of Kristen and Balmain debuted? Kristen wore a scarlet red (YESSSSSS. Red is my favorite color on Ms Stewart) strapless mini dress covered in shimmery grommets and SAFETY PINS, MOFOS!!  The dress, in my opinion boasted one of her–if not THE best–red carpet looks of all time.

Kristen was positively glowing. Blindingly luminous. She emanated pure joy and lightness, and she was giddy and playful for the duration of the whole night. I loved how happy and grounded she appeared. I loved her interaction with Rob and Taylor. I loved her dress. LOVED. IT. Loved it all. I get why Rob stared at her the whole night.

dude. we know.

June 5th, the day of the MMAs was an interesting day for me. I was on my tenth day straight into my deployment assignment for Red Cross, and for the first time, was back from work before the sun set. The day before had been the most heartbreaking day that I can recall in my “grown up” life, certainly my entire psychotherapy career, and I was feeling pretty weary. I had stolen away in one of the tiny preschool classrooms in the church that served as my sleeping quarters. I hadn’t seen my husband in 2 weeks (he was out of town at a work conference when I left for Mississippi) and I hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep nor a proper hot shower in…a long time. I needed a huge steaming bowl of The Pretty to soothe the ache. I sought a reminder of all the blessings in my life that came from musing about Rebel Queens and Warrior Poets. So there I was, hunkered down in a tiny toddler-sized chair watching the live feed on my laptop, which was placed on a tiny toddler-sized table, bursting with exultation over little clips such as this:

Can watch this pure joyfulness on loop forevah

It was a night in which GiddyRob (my Fave Rob) was front and center (yes, Rob just dropped an F-Bomb on live TV that the censors didn’t catch in time; yes he just presented an award to Reese Witherspoon as more of a ROAST; yes, he just made out with Taylor Lautner before gently kissing his hand and forehead), and Eclipse swept all categories brightening an otherwise nearly unwatchable show. After countless moments of “WHAT THE FUCKs?” over the course of the 2 hour awards show, our ReigningOther Queen capped off the night when she accepted her Best Female Performance award graciously (gratitude to the fans who voted) and wittily advising Oscar-winner Natalie Portman:

“Sorry, Natalie, The Popcorn is mine!

So she gets it. Though Kristen Stewart has always gotten it. She knows that her Golden Popcorn statuettes from the MTV Movie Awards are not the Academy Awards that her peers are earning. But she also knows that she wouldn’t be in her fortuitous position as an actress if it weren’t for her devoted supporters. Kristen is gracious and grateful for every single person who sees her work as inspiring and enjoyable and she has more than once publicly thanked the Twilight fans for their incomparable passion. Very classy and…royal of her, yes? Just another reason why Ms Stewart resides atop the Royal Court Float.

O_O

 A Way Out Of The Depths

While sitting there, in the Preschool/nursery room at Calvary Baptist Church watching my live feed of the MMAs, I found it almost impossible to reconcile the extreme paradoxes that comprised my reality on June 5.  I had just driven my pimp rental car (a tricked-out 4×4 SUV, the exact opposite of the car I own in real life) through the little that remained of a Joplin neighborhood in order to get to the air conditioned church that housed a hundred of my fellow Red Cross workers and I. The day before was my brother’s birthday, and when I called the house to wish him birthday happiness, I nearly fainted with exhaustion and grief, and was barely coherent. My mind simply could not wrap around the idea that the scenes I’d encountered earlier my day existed at the same time that the other folks in the world were moving through daily tasks, pushing through another work day, or planning the evening’s dinner, studying for tomorrow’s early-morning exam. That while a four-year-old  girl asked her mother if “The Tornado will come again and take me from you?” in Joplin or Alabama, at the same time, lighting technicians and camera crews were setting up for the red carpet arrivals for another MTV Movie Awards.  I could NOT reconcile these vastly different happenings in my head. It’s taken me over 2 weeks since my return to even begin understanding.

thank you, my Possum @Justice_Aussie for this

A summary for those who hadn’t read about it or seen the news: On Sunday, May 23, 2011 at 5:41PM a tornado with 200 miles/hr (approx 312 kilometers/hr) winds touched down on the city of Joplin, Missouri. Over the course of 19 minutes, the loud, violent funnel cloud measuring one mile wide ripped a 12 mile path through the city (population 50,000). The level of damage, destruction and fatalities left behind in its wake earned the tornado an F5 category rating, the highest on the scale. As of June 14, the death toll was at 153 people with approximately ten people still unaccounted for. The Joplin Tornado destroyed 75% of the city and is now ranked the deadliest singular tornado in decades, and among the ten most deadly tornados in U.S. History. Joplin’s tornado came on the heels of a series of destructive storms and tornados that effected at least five other states across the South and Midwestern U.S. including Mississippi  (the first stop on my deployment) and Alabama where an estimated 195 people died after several tornados touched down. People will tell you that pictures on TV or on the computer will not appropriately depict the destruction. TRUTH. It looked like the Apocalypse had occurred. It looked like a wasteland. It looked the way I imagine it sounded. Absolute obliteration and desolation.

I arrived in Joplin, MO, directly from Clinton, MS, on May 30, on the one-week anniversary of the tornado’s touchdown. People have  different coping mechanisms and timelines in dealing with grief and loss. So by the time I arrived in Joplin, I felt the stirrings of recognition. The numbness and shock was wearing off, and people were slowly growing aware of their feelings about what they just lived through.

Within minutes of arriving in this pummeled and stunned town, I encountered  the electric thrumming of passion, strength and ferocity. And there is promise.

Gratitude. 

Faith.

Resilience.

"I will rebuild", he says.

Beautiful People Do Not ‘Just Happen’

I will delve more personally into the phenomenal stories of the people I met and counseled in my time in Joplin in the second part of this post. Part of the reason for the delay in publishing this essay was my struggle in telling the stories of the Royal Rebels I met in a sensitive, respectful, confidential manner. Another reason for the late posting is my own body’s delayed reaction to my assignment. On day 12, I awoke with a sore throat and sniffly nose, unsurprisingly. By the time I flew home a couple days later, a doctor’s visit had provided me a diagnosis of a “very bad cold-flu”. Additionally, my heart was bursting with stories of loss and sacrifice and dazzling acts of LOVE. Not even I, Miss Ramblelicious, could piece together a coherent sentence. I needed my own brand of therapy to soothe my wounds. Which is where you gorgeous, pulchritudinous, glimmering Rabble Rousers came in. You provided an antidote.

Thank you. THANK. YOU. THANK YOU.

I burst into tears when I was sent the link to the love letter and Birthday Celebration you all participated in, at the generous and gorgeous prompting of my girls CC, Buff and Bouffant. Already I was shocked at the kind words my Team Other Captains bestowed, though I pay them a lot of money (currency is made up of poking, prodding, annoying texts and rambling emails) to say nice things to me and about me, but I am beyond astonished at the loving words and generous wishes you all shared as well. CC was not kidding when she told you all how hard I love those of you on this journey. I do. I love you like a full-body board check in a hockey game. I go big or go home in my gratitude and adoration for you Readers, Sisters and Friends. In addition to check ins with Bouffant and CC, and occasional tweet-exchanges…lines of poetry  and words of encouragement began to filter in while I was away from you…Reminders of #BEAUTY and #RebelRoyalty and #OTHERNESS. . .

From my girl J (@That_Bitch86) who also provided me an anchor long before. #QUEEN

From Katie (@Kate_Suena) who shows me #Other and #beauty in book recs

You could not possibly know how you healed me on June 3, when you chimed in to wish a Happy Birthday/Anniversary to my little blog about Beauty. You did and do. YOU. HEAL. ME. As do sights such as this:

Giggly, LondonStew will ALWAYS Win.

annnnnnnd….ohhhhh mah Good Goddess…just a day or so after the MMAs…Are you KIDDING ME???!?

Well, so. There really isn’t much to say to follow up that, other than that time away for NinjaStew only further proves to be GLORIOUS….So it’s a perfect place to pause until I post Part Two later this week, hopefully Thursday, to get back on Regular MOO Programming. I know I’ve droned on about my gratitude to you all, but you cannot possibly know how much you have provided joy, comfort and cure for me while I crawled through this month’s Other-worldly events. Thank you for your patience as I re-acclimate and try to find my grounding again…Thank you  for tolerating me while I fangirl a month late over the beautiful sightings of our Reigning Other Queen. Thank you for reminding me that no matter where I travel, who I meet, how deep the struggle is to see it…that OTHER. IS. EVERYWHERE. 

We are Other.

Kristen is Other.

Others’ light shines on, shines far.

Embrace your Other.

*       *      *

A/N: Later this week, Part 2 will introduce you all to the pristinely beautiful Rebel Royalty I met while abroad…And we’ll talk more about Kristen’s GlamourUK appearance, because it’s too beautiful not to. And…There’s another MUSINGS GIVEAWAY!!! Until then, be well, be kind to one another.  See you soon. Yours, KJ 

I have numerous people to thank individually, but I’ll wait til the second part of the essay before doing so. Just know that every single person reading this: I felt you. I know you’re there. And I am indebted to you.

PLAYLIST: (PUSH PLAY) 

Look For Me As You Go By ~ The Innocence Mission

Satisfied Mind ~ Jeff Buckley

Price Tag ~ Jessie J feat B.O.B.

I Feel Pretty/ Unpretty ~ Lea Michele & Dianna Agron of GLEE

After The Storm ~ Mumford & Sons

Slow Your Roll…Mini Musings, Island-Style

22 Jul

Aloha, Lovelies! Happy Thursday to you. It’s 745 AM in Kauai and I’m sitting at the bamboo coffee table on the lenai just as I had hoped to! (Qualifier: I began writing at 745AM at our suite, but finished writing while in the Botanical Gardens outside Tunnels Beach north of Hanalei Bay, four hours later). I’m drinking tea, eating fruit, and still sniffling from this sinus infection/cold I’ve battled since Sunday.  Here’s the plan: While Thursday is my usual day for Musings, I’m going to opt instead to write a Muselet, as My Manager Kathryn calls it. When I return from my trip, I’ll write a full fledged Musings: Hawaii Edition early next week. All good? Cool. So let’s plow.


I’m writing a Muselet today for a few reasons:
1. I’m in Kauai with N and my Mother, why would I be in front of a computer at all?
2. I’m sick again, and am in dangerous proximity to various uppers and downers in the form of cold tablets. Must feed the beast.
3. It is relatively quiet in our Other Queen Stewie’s world. Good. She likes it that way.
4. I forgot my camera’s USB cable and cannot import all the pictures I’m taking into iPhoto or today’s essay.  You’ll have to deal with my iPhone shots, kiddos.

5. I’ve wanted to write about self-care and replenishment for some time now, especially in the wake of a chaotic couple of weeks for Team Other, but also for Kstew and her Deliciously Handsome partner Rob.
Aloha peaceful soul! Hanalei Bay
So first thing’s first:
Where in the world is our girl Kristen?! Oh, yes, that’s right, she’s being professional and her usual NinjaStew self in Montreal. There have been only a whisper or two regarding KStew sightings, and without the picture of BowlingAlleyStew from the rather cool guy who referred to Kristen as “that punky chick from Twilight”, we’d never know she was truly in Montreal for Beatnik Bootcamp. I love this about Stewie. She is stealth and completely underground when she wants to be, which, um, is all the time. And what happens when Kristen goes MIA? Oh yes, the haters begin to spew their vile rumors, and fashion and cultural critics begin compiling their BEST AND WORST OF lists. A shift in the summer, perhaps? Guess who made it to the Best Hairstyle Lists, according to Yahoo this morning?  StrawberryStew. Not too shabby for a girl who was repeatedly slammed for wearing a shag deemed The Mullet during her Runaways filming days and beyond.
Um, so I’ve braided the shag and now I’m considered among The Best?
Whatever,  you pretentious Mofos
I’m enjoying the sea breeze in the moment, though my curly hair is NOT. While sitting on the beach with my afro, I thought of how there are few to no sightings of our Queen these days. There’s gonna be a drought, my friends, because Kristen is happiest when she is immersed in work, out of the public eye, participating in her craft. She had spent the past 9 months or so doing promotional work for her movies, now it’s time for her to do some filming, a self-reported favorite aspect of her job. Kristen is happiest when working. Whaaaa? How many of us can say this? 

I’m just coming off of a chaotic week in which I spent several days chasing after Monkey (my beloved niece and flower girl for Cousin’s Wedding) and dodging long-held family grudges and aggression over ham dinners. It’s no wonder I’m sick. Where do I go to become NinjaKJ, to replenish, to slow my roll? Where am I happiest? This is a good place to start.

Complete with Surfer EyeCandy for my girls
@Evalola80 and @Just2CUSmile

The islands. I need to be near the ocean, preferably island-side. It’s in my blood. Both my ethnic backgrounds are comprised of Islanders, and I feel closest to The Muses while surrounded by water. I travel a lot, and when I do, I write. I’m actually working on another project featuring my travel writing and featuring N’s stunning photography. Why? Because while I’m here, traveling or among islands, I can breathe. While I’m here, I can immerse in my happy place, and like Kristen, I feel whole again.

There is an essential health component involved with learning how to properly self care. We caretakers, healers, women, artists…we are constantly giving away pieces of our soul, our vital energies to providing for everyone and everything outside of ourselves. How can we preserve and replenish the energy we expend during our days? How do we fill up our soul’s bank accounts after relentless withdrawals? There are many ways we can do this, and each concept of self-care varies from person to person. It doesn’t have to cost any money. I planned this Kuaui vacay about 7 months ago because I know that in order for me to restore balance and peace in my world, I need to spend some time on an island somehow, at least once a year. It’s my one grand gesture a year. Otherwise it’s at-home pedicures and a soak in the tub. Last year my Island restoration occurred in Bali because N is from there, as is the Goddess of Destruction/Reinvention Kali…anyhoo…But its the simplest things that lend to creative boosts, a spirit spit-shine…

Stewie goes Strawberry-blonde and delves into her heart’s work with On The Road in beautiful Montreal:

I tend to look for the nearest beach and bury my toes in the sand:

Because doing the Electric Slide in stilettos just doesn’t whisper comfort to me:

That’s me on the left, Puss is on the right.
We’re behaving ourselves in the church pew.
For. Now.

Some folks opt for a trip to the ocean, or travel to the mountains and forests, looking for the elusive silence for contemplation. Conversations with God, Allah, the Higher Power can restore our sense of right in the world; as can a bubble bath or a massage. Sometimes hanging with the girlfriends sipping Martinis is the most healing practice of all. Reading books soothes me, as does running long distances. Listening to music live or in stereo headphones can work, cleaning out garages and kitchens too.

What tells me that Rob is invested in a little self care? It’s not because he’s in front of camera flashes and on red carpets. Nuh. Uh.

While this is pretty for us, it’s not his Happy Place

It’s because he’s been caught Ridin’ Drrty. And I fucking UNF for Rob’s brand of Self-Care. This is what he can do until he reunites with his lovely Queen Kristen, hopefully in Montreal.



Rob Pattinson, His Royal JawPorn Highness, cruising in a Chevy Nova with his Bestie TomStu…to, wait for it…. IN-N-OUT.  I do have a pic with the In-N-Out sign in the background, but I’m posting these because I can and it’s my Muselet.

Ok, I realize I’m biased, being a Cali girl through and through, but wouldn’t you say this is the epitome of California Beauty right here? Dashing men in a classic Chevy, laaaaaid-back, heading to the best Burger Place EVAH?

So my Lovely Musers…I sign off on this little Musing Moment now so I can go pop another Sudafed and find my mother and N who have wandered into the botanical gardens above this stunning deserted beach:


I’ll be back next week, early, to write a Hawaiian Edition of Musings: The Beginning of Beauty…Because I have encountered so many versions of Beautiful Rebels here, I may need to move Team Other’s Head Quarters to Kauai. Somehow I don’t think you all would mind. Listen to a little Jack Johnson, a little Marley, and some IZ, yeah? And dig your toes into the sand. Immerse yourself in what you love, to replenish, a la KStew or RPattz Style. But above all, be well, Lovelies.

I am Other.
Rob is Other.
Kristen is Other.
Others immerse themselves in The Happy,
and roll Novas to In-N-Out.
Embrace Your Other.


QUESTION: What do you do to replenish your fractured, tired soul? Where is YOUR Happy Place?


A/N: This Musing Moment was unBeta’d, and written while under the influence of cold medicine and Island Time. I imagine there are typos, jumbled words…eh. Don’t hate. See you next week, my Misfit Mates.
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