Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympic Gold

I remember, vividly, watching the 2002 Olympic games and CRYING through just about every figure skating event I watched. Opening ceremonies? Waterworks. Men's short program? Lump in my throat. Men's free skate? Watery eyes. Women's short? Tears of frustration. Women's long? Open crying.

And then the exhibition. To this day, I think Michelle Kwan's "Fields of Gold" exhibition program is one of the most amazing pieces of performing artistry I've ever seen, and I've seen some pretty fucking mind-blowingly incredible theatre since that time. I remember sitting on my living room couch, not breathing through the program, and watching her cry for frustration and for joy after the program, celebrating her love of this sport but the incredible loss at not winning. Not really achieving that Olympic dream, and beginning to wonder if she ever would.

And I BAWLED. I bawled, because I thought the program was breathtaking, but more because I understood that feeling in the close-up at the end. In '02, I was still only 12; I hadn't yet QUIT skating but I think I knew for all intents and purposes my competitive days were over, no matter how many pipe dreams about re-doubling my efforts and re-dedicating myself to the sport I had. I loved - still love - figure skating with all my heart, but somehow, those '02 games reinforced for me that my biggest dream of my life, at that time, would never come true.

Debbie downer, huh? But I dedicatedly watched the '06 games in Torino, in the interim seasons having watched much less figure skating and only recognizing a handful of skaters instead of the entire roster. I had no favorites this year, but I was still bummed to see team USA lose the top spot. It stung this year, but what I noticed more was my relative apathy. But I remembered that Olympic dream, and I had trouble thinking about it even tempered.

Fast forward to this year - I watched men's short program live, but didn't see all of it; I followed the results of the men's free skate via live blog and the input of friends, and am just now watching the programs on the internet. Somewhere, half of 12-year-old Siobhan is saying I told you so, and the other half is saying WHO ARE YOU?

It's no longer painful for me to watch figure skating the way it was for a long time. At the risk of sounding totally corny, I found the one thing in the world I care about more than I cared about figure skating, the one thing I want MORE badly than I did to hear "representing the United States [tellingly and realistically, I knew even as a child I'd never skate for Team Canada, being, of course, not technically Canadian], Siobhan Stevenson" before a program or a medal ceremony. It's fun now to watch a sport I can critique openly and KNOW what I'm talking about, despite never having been Olympic-calibre good. It's weird now to watch and know that I might've been, could've been, but it doesn't hurt anymore. It's strange to watch now and think that though I could've known people in this year's games (and maybe even '06), most of the skaters I was close with in that time have also quit for other things. It's bizarre not to know the skaters in the games AT all (to defacto root for Yevgeny Plushenko because he's the only one I DO know, despite not really liking him as a skater), to not understand this new scoring.

It's all very strange. To remember how tiring 4 minutes can REALLY feel when you watch a long program. To viscerally smell the ice. To hear that blade sound and to watch with baited breath as skaters rotate through the air. And to know that this was my life, and couldn't be more different now.

I will, I think, always love this sport more than the average figure skating afficionado. First love and all that. And every time I watch it, a teeny, tiny, part of me wants to get back out there and compete. At least to take lessons. Maybe I can do that, now, as an adult, but as sure as I'm living I know that in the world of women's competitive figure skating I'm frankly too old for it. Unless I were to drop everything, in which case I'm too POOR for it, haha. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't just look up where I can take lessons, or at least where there's public ice in NYC. I do still miss it, but I've long since squared with the loss.

Maybe this week I'll hit some public ice time in Central Park. Hey, at least I don't have to rent skates.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Job interview! Or, it snows way more in the Bronx

Who knew?

Seriously though, the lack of foot traffic in residential neighborhoods = significantly more snow accumulation. Also significantly less slush than in good old El Barrio. Win. (Okay, well not totally; I showed up for my interview with soaking wet, completely numb feet. MUST buy snow boots when less broke).

Interview was good; the space was somehow not at all what I imagined. I think every teaching/youth arts related job I interview for I expect to be like/look like the last one, and it never does. The woman was concerned that as my priority is to be an actress, I will get some kind of big time acting job and quit unexpectedly; leaving them hanging. This is, of course, true, but one learns how to spin these things; besides, even if that does happen it'll probably be six months from now. Also, despite my very real desire to go home for the summer, or somewhere closeish to home, I doubt that that will end up happening what with the whole finding a subletter business. So I'll be here, and suddenly with buckets of free time. Other than that, she seemed very receptive, liked my resume, liked my background with both arts education and arts administration, and liked that I myself was involved with that world. Said she will let me know tomorrow or Wednesday, so fingers crossed.

Just realized that we moved into our apartment four months ago today. Fuck. The time that we lived in that other apartment feels like it was out of someone else's life; in a weird way, living at Greenwich feels more recent than living in that apartment. See? This is what I'm talking about with the chasing after my life thing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sometimes I have thoughts.

So I decided, more for my own personal satisfaction - because let's face it, what blog ISN'T about internet navel gazing? - to put them somewhere. It's mostly that I'm too lazy to write in a real journal, and keeping a digital journal in Microsoft Word on my computer felt a little too lame. I don't know who will read this, but somehow having it be public feels like it might keep me honest.

It's February. Mid-February no less. I can't say I have any clue when this happened; since this (school)year began I feel like I've been running behind my life trying to catch up with it. I'm relatively certain I was in high school ten minutes ago, but now there are 96 days until my college graduation. Must figure out some summer plans; it's the best I can do as there are no easy answers for life plans when you want to be an actress. Fair to say the only thing I want to do these days is go home and lay on my couch with my dogs for a week.

Have been thinking about Next to Normal, which I finally saw, for most of today - it's like my dad's thing about movies sticking with you after you see them as a mark of how good they were. The show blew me away in the theatre, but its had a sort of sleeper effect on working itself into my consciousness. Have been listening to the music for most of today as well. The show is fucking phenomenal; it's a superbly constructed book and a beautiful score whose musical storytelling is pretty effortless. It's honest. It's very, very honest. And for this reason it's incredibly painful, but in a not super obvious way. Which is sort of nice, actually, and certainly very interesting. Also, one of the best ACTED musicals I've seen in a long time. A nice reminder of how much I want to do this, and how you can, in fact, create efficacious theatre with superb acting in a musical.

In other news, have yet to make a fool of myself in 2010! Improvement! Okay, or rather, have yet to make a MAJOR potentially facial-scarring inducing fool of myself. As it is mid-Feburary it seems an appropriate time to check in with my New Year's resolutions. I resolved to:
Start eating breakfast. Yes! I'm actually doing pretty well with this.
Eat healthier. Eh. As it happens, I think I AM actually doing better with this, but not lately.
Make it to the gym at least once a week. I think in the last 3 weeks I have gone at least once a week? Not doing super great on this one but I AM trying.
Manage money better. FAIL. Fail fail fail. Gotta fix this.
Make dean's list again/raise GPA. Not yet even midterms, so I have zero way to gauge my grades. I'm liking my classes and actually wanting to work hard for them though, so there's something.
Be more positive. Having a rough time with that lately. And in general. Gotta keep at it.
Read/watch the news. Also kind of a fail. Twitter gives me more news than the NY Times. Hopefully can fix this when I get a splitter for the cable.
See more live theatre. Saw a show yesterday! But it's the only one of 2010 so far. Also made a list of things I want to see. This falls into the category of the things I SHOULD be spending money on, being as it's my future.
Read more plays. Totally, albeit unintentionally, all over it - since the semester has begun, I have read 7 plays. And I have to read three a week for class alone.
Cut back on caffeine. FAIL. Fail fail fail. I believe this is what we call addiction?

So I'm working on it - it being the self-improvement. We'll see. Job interview tomorrow. Nervous, but very excited. Having to work every Saturday at 8:30 in the morning would suck, but I need the money. And something to do. So I'll see what happens.