Why I watched the Royal Wedding…on purpose

OK, I had a bit of an advantage–seeing as I was already at work monitoring the raw feed, I was right in the thick of the live broadcast, so unless I actively tuned it out, there was no way I could miss it.  Truthfully, I did studiously ignore all of the build-up press; I don’t even know exactly when the boy proposed and definitely tuned out every report on potential couturiers, honeymoon plans, pre-events, etc.  And I do understand that there are people dealing with emergency situations, tragedies and are just plain not interested (though I have to admit being taken aback at some of the vehemence toward extravagant excess, perceived social snubs and hidden/blatant racism based on non-coverage of other royal weddings). However, I had been looking forward to the wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton.

First and foremost, I’m an 80s baby.  I have vivid memories of being 10 years old on a dance school trip with about eight of us huddled in our hotel room, anxiously awaiting the wedding ceremony between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.  I remember oohing and aahing at the dress (at the time all that poufiness was glamorous) and tiara and wishing to be princess for a day myself.  And following the exploits of the Royal Family once the boys were born was a passive interest of mine, especially after the not-so-tidy divorce and Diana’s attempts at normalizing her life and not being looked at with pity because of it.  I didn’t necessarily seek out news on the royals, but did pay attention whenever Diana made humanitarian visits, often bringing William and Henry (more commonly known as Harry) with her.  It’s really hard to hate on aristocracy when you see them in underdeveloped countries embracing infants with AIDS and actually doing manual labor alongside the people they’re visiting.  Anybody that well off who is not just shopping and lunching but actively making a global difference–AND teaching her children to do the same despite the level of privilege they’re inherited–is OK in my book.  So when on my way to a brunch I saw the news of Diana’s car crash and subsequent death, I was shaken.  After everything she had to deal with and everything she had to do to rebuild her life, to have her life end not only because of a car accident, but a NEEDLESS car accident sparked by the very notoriety she was trying to outrun was extremely tragic and heartbreaking.

So, I would glance periodically at news on her boys–not actively interested as a celebrity hound but sort of as a “mother figure” to keep an eye out on her behalf.  Fast-forward to the boys’ adulthood–say what you want about figurehead monarchy, but those two young men are actively trying to be productive citizens and not rest on the privilege given them by accident of birth.  They’ll never be the average Joe, but thanks to their Mum’s influence, they’re not rich brats either.  Add to that the fact that William has not only found a woman similar to Diana in temperament to wed AND has taken the time to really build a relationship with forever intentions in mind…prince or no prince, this is a real life love story that deserves to be seen.

So I set my TiVo to NBC’s coverage even before I came to work (wasn’t sure exactly what my station’s air coverage would be, or what would be available) so I could watch the ceremony.  I’m really glad that I did, because the service itself was quite beautiful.  The hymns, reading, sermons and personal touches (many of which I later discovered were clear nods to William’s mother) were quite profound, and in just watching William and Catherine (I will give in and use her new official formal name–though Kate still suits her better, IMO) look at each other beaming, proud and enamored…you just can’t ignore love like that.  The whole time I kept thinking back to my own wedding six years ago, and the elements I chose to include for the most meaningful and memorable impact.  The memorial tributes to both of our lost loved ones, the chosen readings, even down to the ceremony officiant (my former pastor who grew to be like a brother to me–there was no one else I could have imagined doing that for us)–it warmed my heart than even in the midst of the extravagance, the prevailing intent of their ceremony was the sacred purpose and intent of their union, and made similar choices to that end.

I am a sucker for any wedding, so I will admit that the visual impact of this wedding was not lost on me–the bride’s gown (extremely Grace Kellyesque with a 21st century flair) and Pippa’s bridesmaid dress (Wow.  Seriously–wow.  I actually want one….) were gorgeous, and the formal uniform dress on William, Harry and even the little pages was striking and very sharp-looking.  But the things that stuck with me most were the little moments–the couple’s rapt attention during the message, the looks between them, even the way William held her hand.  So yeah, if watching two kids in love declare it publicly and vow their commitment to each other forever makes me a vapid sheep blinded by media propaganda, even if those two kids happen to be stinking rich and will never want for anything…..

Well…..

Baa.

Boy crushes

Yes, I’m married…and I still have them. LOL

Just been surfing and YouTubing and watching stuff this weekend, and got re-acquainted with some of my favorite people.  And as they are all so much younger than me as to be affectionately termed “jailbait,” I will officially dub them my Boy Crushes–grown men or not.

Peter Hollens, Kenton Chen and Therry Thomas (my Sing-Off boy crushes):

I watch and re-watch clips from this past season–although I was quite enamored with the first season, this second season was exceptional in terms of talent.  I was pretty impressed with all of the groups, and save for a few obvious misses with some performances, it was really hard to find a bad singer in the bunch.  Three of my most favoritest groups (yes, as a matter of fact I DID mean to type that) were Committed, The Backbeats and On The Rocks (how do you not love a bunch of college boys doing Lady Gaga and still being manly?), and while I love the groups as a whole, there were a few that stood out that I could stalk–er, subscribe to and follow on YouTube.

Peter Hollens, a bigger musical mastermind than I knew,  impressed me on the show with his vocals but really won me over with his lead performance on OTR’s rendition of “Kyrie.” Being an 80s kid myself (and having a MAJOR crush on Mr. Mister’s lead singer), Peter had me at the hair before he even sang a note. 😀 Anywho, this “kid” is a genius producer! He’s done a few new arrangements of popular songs, and has cut a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Pray” for download in support of Japan’s tsunami and earthquake victims, featuring epic beatbox queen Courtney Jensen and Therry Thomas of Sing-Off champions Committed–whose voice, as everyone who watched this season knows, is “buttah.” LOL  I have to admit a small crush on all the members of Committed–I’m drawn more to their humility and sweet natures than their physicality, though those boys ARE awful cute!–but I have a special affection for Therry that is more of a personal inside joke.  You see, I graduated high school with a guy who if you stretched him a couple of feet and brought him back to his “high school skinny” days looks EXACTLY like Therry.  Or Therry looks exactly like him, since we’re older….as soon as I saw Therry on the show, I immediately tagged my friend in a Facebook status and said “Therry Thomas to Flozell Daniels–are you my daddy?” LOL  (Therry, believe me–it’s a compliment…and incredibly spooky how similar you guys look.  I swear y’all have to be related somewhere down the line).  You can download “Pray” here: http//bit.ly/HollensPray

www.facebook.com/peterhollensmusic
www.twitter.com/peterhollens
www.peterhollens.com

YouTube Channels: peterhollens and PHollens3837

Therry’s YouTube Channel: fatboyt05

Another cutie-patootie is Backbeats mastermind Kenton Chen.  OK, being a bespectacled artsy goofball geek, I’ve gotta say than Kenton would be at the top of my hottie list.  No, he’s not you’re typical cute but the pretty boys usually tend to be stuck on themselves anyway.  Once he let out his inner Fred Schneider for the “Love Shack” performance (and I’m a little envious of that doo-wop sway he was working) I was hooked.  When he took co-lead on “Firework” I became a junkie–getting my Kenton fix was a priority.  Just discovered he’s got a blog on here, so I’m off to subscribe shortly:

itskenton.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/itskenton
www.itskenton.com

www.myspace.com/kentonchen

www.reverbnation.com/kentonchen

itskenton.bandcamp.com

John Krasinki (aka Jim Halpert, my Office boy crush)

This was just gonna be about my songbirds, but John snuck up on me this weekend.  I have “seen” most of the early episodes of The Office–when you air the same few episode in a syndication package 4 nights a weeks twice (that’s 8 episodes a weekend) you tend to gloss over certain sections of episodes and not notice some things.  I can’t tell you how many time the “Casino Night” episode has hit the airwaves on my station alone in the past year plus, yet the last 3 minutes jumped out at me in a way it never has before.  Of course, John’s been on my mind a little since he’s been popping up in promos for his latest movie Something Borrowed, but he caught me off guard Friday night.  Any fan of The Office and specifically Jim and Pam knows this is the episode where Jim decides to put it all on black and tell Pam his true feelings, despite the fact that she’s engaged to another man.  So much about this hit me in waves (and I now discover I’ll have to either get the DVD or buy the single episode to watch the scenes trimmed for syndication length) that made me appreciate John’s incredible talent–add that to the fact that he’s aw-shucks cute and my boy crush grew exponentially.

I happened to look up at the screen when Jim cornered Pam in the office post-confession and laid a toe-curling kiss on her that I don’t remember seeing the first 10 or 12 times I watched this episode.  So I had to go back and see exactly how we got there.  When he loses whatever train of thought he had looking at Pam and simply said, “I’m in love with you,” Jim laid his heart out on his sleeve for the impending damage from Pam’s shock, uncertainty and deer-in-headlights rejection. And after she shot him down (and I swear I must have watched this 20 times to figure out how he pulled this off), he welled one perfect tear in his left eye, letting it fall and discreetly wiping it away as he walked away from Pam.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a real life declaration pack so much power in such subtle mannerisms, but damn if John’s Jim didn’t stick a lump in my throat all weekend.  If I wasn’t in love with Jim Halpert and his creator before…..well let’s just say that Emily Blunt’s gonna have to share. LOL

Bullying as an epidemic, part 3

Latest installment took a while–a few other plot twists and real life got in the way….

OK, so when last I posted, the bullied teen character had been talked off the roof by his parents and they were all wading through the waters of therapy and the “new normal” that follows a suicide attempt.  A few high drama events have stalled the impact of the story, but it seems to be picking back up.  The main bully character’s father awoke from his coma just in time to chastise his son about his bullying behavior, admonishing him to not follow his former example.  He further emphasized to his son that there is no circumstance EVER where someone deserves to be victimized (this particular character was the ringleader of a gang rape when he was a college student, a crime for which he was eventually found guilty and sentenced to prison time; continued interactions with his victim have been all over the map, as each character’s child found their way into a relationship and now have a child of their own–REALLY long and convoluted story).  This caused the bully to roll his eyes and declare that aliens must have taken over his father’s body and made him spout this “feel-good nonsense.”  Considering at the moment there’s a plot line that calls the father’s identity into question, the kid may be right.  This unfortunately lessens the impact of the parental influence, basically nullifying the model parent’s words.

The story has taken a rather interesting turn, however–community support has kicked in.  In many cases, a kid will not believe a high opinion spouted by his or her parents, but hearing the same message from an outside source tends to lend some credibility.  A male adult character overheard a conversation between the bullied kid and his mother, and decides to talk to the kid about his own experiences.  Now this particular character is pretty much eye candy with a sketchy track record in the human decency department–but the writers’ use of him an as example actually made good sense.  Though he has an air of confidence and some modest life successes, his history with a drunken, abusive father and an absent mother colors his views enough to have empathy with the teen.  He recounts his experiences as a scrawny kid with secondhand clothes, being picked on and teased by the kids in his school.  He goes on to tell the boy about getting a construction job over the summer that took care of the scrawniness but added a new problem: some of the boys still gave him a hard time, but now it was because the girls now noticed (and appreciated) his new physique and gave him a different kind of attention.  Given a renewed sense of self by this exchange, the boy later asks his mom about joining a gym to help build him up physically–a first step in the process of regaining his confidence and positive self-worth.  This is leading into another direction where the teen starts to fight back against his bullies (as well as his mom striking her own blows toward them), but I’ll get back to that spin in a later blog.

I want to expand a little more on the influence of outside opinion.  I’ve started reading Letters To A Bullied Girl about Olivia Gardner’s experiences and the efforts of sisters Emily and Sarah Buder to encourage and uplift her.  I’ve read through the forewords and all of the letters from former bullies, and gotten part of the way through letters from fellow bullying victims, most of whom deeply empathize with and relate to her experiences.  One person was a 72 year old former victim teased for the shape of  his nose.  The worldwide scope of this project has given hope to a young girl who might otherwise have believed the taunts hurled at her and reacted negatively–and possibly helped other kids experiencing the same thing.

Barbara Coloroso, author of The Bully, The Bullied and the The Bystander, mentions in her foreword of LTABG that contempt is the primary motivator in bullying behavior.  Contempt, as she defines it, is a powerful feeling of dislike toward somebodyconsidered worthless, inferior, or undeserving of respect–and breeds the atmosphere for bullies to commit heinous acts without any shame or compassion for their targets.  I suppose this explains the how but the why is still beyond my grasp.  What possible experiences could be had in the first decade of life that can encourage a child to vicitimize another, and not only NOT feel bad about their actions but find fun in it?  What kind of culture breeds children with so little respect for authority or peer figures that victimizing others is the thing to do?  And what do we do to change these outlooks?

I’m sure there were other kids in my high school that were teased as mercilessly (if not more) as I was–I distinctly remember some particularly biting criticisms of appearance, intelligence and general behavior quirks that were caricatured in various skits during our Senior Class Night performed the name of “good-natured ribbing.”  And to some extent, I do believe there was not a great deal of intentional malice behind some of the things said and depicted.  That didn’t make them any less hurtful, and I have to wonder whether or not those jabs colored our views of acceptable teasing and bullying behavior in addtion to any damage done to the self-esteem of the intended victims.  I know I still see shades of that “bright-skinned, bald-headed majorette” regardless of how many people tell me I’m beautiful, obsess over the “fat girl” in the mirror no matter how many people wish they could be “skinny” like me, and wonder whose judgmental eye looks down on my hairy arms and legs–the one physical feature that doesn’t bother me save for the stark contrast of dark hair to light skin.  In the end, I guess I’m just trying to figure out the best way to accept myself as a worthwhile and damn fabulous human being while trying to understand our past behaviors and their current mutations–and how to best reconcile both.

Bullying as an epidemic, part 2

So this storyline on One Life To Live is getting pretty good–at least the performances have vastly improved and the situations seems a lot more true to life.  The young man did allow his parents to talk him down from the roof, and an avalanche of emotional fallout came down on all sides–the father angry at the situation, the kids involved and the school administration; the mother frightened and shaken that she might have forever needlessly lost her only child; the classmates in varying degrees of disbelief and denial; the mother of the bully wondered about her child’s future and her contribution to his actions.  It’s proving to be a pretty realistic picture of the different views.  The next sets of scenes showed the beleaguered family at the hospital, getting the young man checked out physically and emotionally.  I think the writers did a pretty thorough job with those scenes, showing the need for total family counseling and portraying the reticence of the young man to vocalize his anguish.

I never got as far as the emergency room, but I do remember being dragged to the psychiatrist’s office after a particularly tense family fight/suicide attempt.  I never did open up to the psychiatrist–my mother spent a whole lot of money paying someone to play Scrabble with me. LOL  Nowadays, I do wonder how much more well-adjusted I might have been had I actually talked to my shrink; after all, she was a particularly nice lady and really did want to help me.  Maybe that teen/Fresh Prince mindset that “Parents Just Don’t Understand” is a universal sentiment….but we’ve somehow got to break through that.  There are so many people in pain who believe no one could ever relate to what they’re going through, and that talking about their feelings will make them seem more strange and outcast than they already feel.  How do we set up a support system strong enough to keep bullying from being so destructive?

Bullying as a epidemic

This week one of the storylines on one of my soaps comes to a head, and I’ve been pondering on this subject for a while now.

On One Life To Live, the writers have been tackling bullying and cyberbullying–the young man at the center of it has given up on things getting better and is taking drastic measures to get them to stop; as of Tuesday’s episode, his parents were attempting to talk him down from the high school’s roof.

Storyline logic difficulties aside, I know that this is a subject that needs to be addressed and discussed.  Anytime the White House has a panel on the subject, it must be pretty serious.  But I’m at a loss to fully understand.  Bullying has been a problem for ages–I wasn’t particularly targeted but I do know what it’s like to be picked on and thought of as an outcast.  Even drove me to a suicide attempt (luckily, my intense allergy to pain kept that from happening).

I don’t fully understand the cyber aspect–coming from my generation, I could at least escape any tormenting endured at school once I got home.  Today’s kids get barraged on their cell phones, Facebook and web pages, YouTube, etc.  Some of these taunts have been serious enough to drive kids to successfully end their lives.  I know that it feels like the end of the world when everyone is pointing at you, saying and doing horrible things to make teenage life seemingly unbearable.  What I don’t know is why these particular taunts are so damaging.

I know a lot of people who believe in the “man up” or “woman up” theory–teaching kids to stand up for themselves and to not take the harsh comments of their peers so much to heart, and to some degree I can see the merit in that.  I would think that standing up to the bully or bullies in question, or even reported them to the adults in charge, would begin to take away that power, thus empowering and transforming the victims into their own champions.  Maybe I need to talk to a teenager to get a better perspective.

I’ll be doing some more research into this, so there will definitely be another blog to come….feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts.

White Trash Princess Diaries: it’s all in the name….

Welcome to my blog!

Those who know me well are most likely scratching their heads on this blog title–seeing as I am not white, not white trash and barely qualify as a princess.  Well, I recently attended a memorial service for a former co-worker who died unexpectedly before his 70th birthday.  We weren’t close friends, but he was very friendly to me when I worked there and on subsequent visits afterward.  Even though I was considered support staff he was never lofty or standoffish; whether senior staff or not, all were equal and worthy of his time and conversation–which could range from learned expertise to sheer bawdiness at the turn of a phrase.  His sudden passing has inspired me to act on some of the dreams and goals I have for myself, one of which was to start and maintain my own blog (hopefully, this is the beginning of great things).  In his honor, I have named my blog for a bumper sticker that once graced his office door.  It said…yes, you guessed it…..

“White Trash Princess”

It’s a reminder to me to live my life to the absolute fullest, boldly, fearlessly and without reservation, to not wait for the “best time” to jump into the mix and start causing trouble–or at least find some to get into.  So, without any further ado, I present to the world the White Trash Princess Diaries.

I have a feeling JWK would approve.

(He might not have read it, with his lifelong aversion to computers, but he’d approve.  He’d probably be especially tickled that I wrote it out longhand on paper first.) ;-D


Hello world!

Well, I’ve gone and done it.  Welcome to my blog…the White Trash Princess Diaries.

 

Fasten your seatbelts and pin down those tiaras….