Alright… movin’ on…
Here I am, in this paradise city they call Vancouver, British Columbia, surrounded by massive luscious gorgeousness of every kind; a boundless shining city offering more opportunity than I dare fathom with my pretty little head. And in this new cornucopia of plenty, I’m conducting a serious reassessment (sigh… again???) about who I am, and whittling down what I really want to do with the narrowing years of my life. I’m carefully weeding out extraneous self concepts and interests where my motivation is limited, or where the realities become severely diminished at my age. For example: I’m not going to be a Rock Star. I can’t even play an instrument. I tried. I’m terrible. Please, give it up, Amanda… your time is OVER… please, just… STOP. And, as much as my intentions have been earnest to relearn some computer programming, after applying myself to a course of study on two separate occasions, and both times experiencing my interest completely vanish shortly along, I have to concede that this activity doesn’t float my boat as much as I might wish it did. Curses! Foiled again!
It’s quickly becoming a precarious position, as I attempt to reconcile myself with the genuine motivations of my heart, and yet, secure an actual paying position. I’ve always been interested in many things. I’ve amassed a vast wealth of experience in applying myself to many functions and roles. And, because I’m smart and resourceful, I’m capable of doing exceedingly well at these many things too. But I’ve been like a canon that fires balls in all directions. It’s really not the most useful contraption! And employers don’t like it, because they can’t easily classify me into a tiny, miniscule, microscopic box. So, I have to learn to fire my canon in ONE direction. There’s some job ads I look at and think, “Yeah, I could do that, and I’d probably enjoy it too,” and I apply. No problem. And there’s other job ads, things I could definitely do, but, my heart recoils into the bitter cage of my chest, and I feel like I’d rather kill myself than apply! Crap! I mean, I NEED A JOB!!! This is getting REAL here, people!! I can’t continue to be this picky… can I???? Not for long, as my financial condition is fast transforming into a stuttering, stumbling, black-blooded zombie – no pulse, no life, no hope! ACK, BLECK, &%%$** slobber **&*%^^%$, GLOOT!!!
This morning I came across some report cards from my early childhood. Hmmm… what did others say about my young, most natural, being? Might they reveal some clues as to my most dear personal leanings? I’ve transcribed the reports completely, for posterity, but I’ll highlight the most positive points in red. Also, note that I was called ‘Ann’ back then.
Edmonton Public Schools
Early Childhood Progress Report
School – Delton
Grade – 01
Principal – G. E. Eliasson
Teacher – Miss J. Hawkins
|First Report Date – Nov 20, 1975
||Second Report Date – March 12, 1976
||Third Report Date – June 23, 1976
|Social and Emotional Development: Ann is a cooperative and capable student. She behaves responsibly towards school rules and gets along well with others. Ann puts forth a commendable effort on all her projects. [Yes, of course. I still do. Potential employers: please read.]
||Social and Emotional Development: Ann continues to show persistence in her work habits. She participates actively and has made commendable progress. Ann is developing good work habits. [Potential employers: please read.]
||Social and Emotional Development: Ann has been a capable and cooperative student. She has put forth her best effort throughout the year. Ann has been an asset to our class. Good luck to her in her grade two year.
|Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing: Ann is developing good speaking and listening skills. She has made very good progress in the reading program. Her printing is neatly done.
||Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing: Ann enjoys reading. She has learned her sounds and basic vocabulary well. Her oral reading could be more fluent. Ann continues to work carefully on her written projects.
||Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing: Ann has made commendable progress in word attack skills and reading comprehension. Her oral reading has good expression. She can use her spelling vocabulary to compose simple stories. [Expression… yup. Still true.]
|Mathematics: Ann is learning the numbers to thirty. She is developing a good problem solving ability. [All the better to computer program with, my dear!]
||Mathematics: Ann knows her numbers to 100. She is learning her basic facts to 8. We are now practicing the counting of money. [Yay – money!]
||Mathematics: Ann works quickly and accurately with numbers. She has had no difficulties in the grade one arithmetic program.
|Social Studies – Science – Health: Ann is a very good participant in group activities. [Collaboration is important to me.]
||Social Studies – Science – Health: Ann shows much initiative in her independent projects. She enjoys group work but could show more maturity when working with others. [Note that I was an only child.]
||Social Studies – Science – Health: [Blank]
|Physical Education: Ann participates willingly. She is a good sport during these activities.
||Physical Education: Satisfactory participation.
||Physical Education: Satisfactory progress.
|Art – Drama – Music: Ann has made very good progress. She enjoys these subjects and puts forth her best work. [Naturally.]
||Art – Drama – Music: Satisfactory work.
||Art – Drama – Music: Satisfactory progress.
Edmonton Public Schools
Early Childhood Progress Report
School – Delton Elementary
Grade – 02
Principal – G. E. Eliasson
Teacher – Mrs. M. Kaastrup [I called her Mrs. Ketchup!]
|First Report Date – November 26, 1976
||Second Report Date – March 11, 1977
||Third Report Date – June 30, 1977
|Social and Emotional Development: Ann is becoming much more responsive to reason while still maintaining that great sense of individualism she possesses. She has proven herself capable of producing very neat and presentable work when she so chooses. Although, Ann accepts the responsibility for completing her assignments, she should concentrate on using her free time more constructively and minimizing the tendency to socialize. [Haha! Nothing ever changes!]
||Social and Emotional Development: Ann’s vivacious and enthusiastic disposition are most refreshing. She possesses the courage to speak her mind. Ann is very pleased with her increased effort to respect the rules of the classroom more conscientiously in the past few weeks.
||Social and Emotional Development: Lately Ann has taken considerable more pride in the appearance of her work. She has also displayed better judgement as to which projects should have priority at a given time. Her greater willingness to co-operate has been much appreciated, not to mention her vitality.
|Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing: Ann is developing an effective speaking vocabulary. She shows determination in reading a library book. Her recall of sounds is acceptable but when attacking a word she is not always as conscious of the letters involved causing her to say ‘was’ for ‘has’, or ‘his’ for ‘this’, or ‘cops’ for ‘cop’. Ann could improve the accuracy of her comprehension by attending to details.
||Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing: Ann takes great pleasure in reading expressively. She has made great strides in distinguishing the long and short vowel sounds. As well she has become much more accurate in word attack and less inclined to confuse words similar in structure (example – went for want). Her comprehension skills and ability to follow written directions are maturing very acceptably. Ann is capable of producing printing of a fine quality when she chooses to exert the effort; however frequently she does not take enough care with slant.
||Language Arts – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing: Since the beginning of the term Ann has made a marked improvement in her accuracy in word attack through the development of very respectable decoding skills as well as greater concentration. Her ability to make inferences and read critically are up to par. She can capably interpret literal meaning. Ann’s effective use expression makes her oral reading pleasant to listen to. As of late, Ann has improved her printing considerably. She delights in new words. [YES!]
|Mathematics: Ann capably handles ordering series of numbers, supplying numbers missing in a sequence & counting by fives & tens to 100. Her rate of recall for addition facts to 10 is acceptable.
||Mathematics: Ann has mastered the properties of addition and subtraction studied, the concepts covered in hundreds, tens and ones, as well as the types of problems she has encountered. She can readily tell time on the hour and the half. Ann could make an effort to increase her rate of recall for addition facts to 18 (example 5+8=13, 7+9=16 etc.)
||Mathematics: Ann has a sound grasp of the concepts covered in grade two mathematics. Encourage Ann to form the habit of starting in the ones column when adding or subtracting 2 or 3 digit numbers as this will be essential for success in grade three when she will be confronted with ‘borrowing’ and ‘carrying’. Her accuracy of recall for facts to 18 is good, but she should strive to increase her rate. [I still, most naturally, add & subtract backwards. And, yes, in grade three I was completely lambasted in math!]
|Social Studies – Science – Health: Ann has developed an acceptable understanding of the concepts of change that result in various forms of life with the advance of fall. Although she was active in the related projects, her enthusiasm for becoming involved in discussions tended to fluctuate from day to day. Science: Ann participates well in class activities. She does, however, find it difficult to remember the task at hand. She has an excellent knowledge of living/not living, symmetry, names of shapes, measurement and negative numbers.
||Social Studies – Science – Health: Ann has done excellent work in our units on information, magnets and balance scales. She did good work with our weather, volume, measurement, color change and graph units. In Social Studies Ann has been studying People and Their Feelings. [I imagine I enjoyed that.] As well she has had the opportunity to gain greater experience in co-operating as a group member, still thinking for herself, but at the same time, respecting other people’s opinions.
||Social Studies – Science – Health: Ann showed great enthusiasm in our units on shadows, angles, time and area. She has a good knowledge of those concepts. Ann gained some experience in written and oral reporting in connection with the unit on Fables. She enjoyed writing book reports on fables she had studied on her own. Ann could have accepted more responsibility for bringing in material on the Supermarkets so that she could have participated more effectively in the unit.
|Physical Education: Ann enjoys participating in phys ed. She has been active in solving tasks in gymnastics as well as refining her skill in handling balls.
||Physical Education: Ann has developed reasonably good control in dribbling balls. She has applied herself diligently in solving tasks in gymnastics and obviously has much increased body awareness as is evidenced in the various combination of body parts she uses in travelling and balancing. Ann should make an effort to develop more sportsmanship with regard to who her partner is.
||Physical Education: Ann delighted in communicating ideas through body movements. [Oh, yes, always love expressing IDEAS!] She developed considerable skill in the paddle bat activities. As well Ann has been involved in track and field events.
|Art – Drama – Music: Ann displays a tendency to overlap colors both while painting and crayoning which in many cases makes her work more realistic. As well she enjoys experimenting with the development of various textural effects in both mediums. [I still LOVE color and texture!!]
||Art – Drama – Music: Ann is in her element when she can be involved in art projects. She is beginning to depict more detail in her work and to use facial features to convey emotion. In modelling Ann showed an awareness of the great textural possibilities. In drama, Ann is most expressive and a natural at providing appropriate dialogue. Music – Ann appears to enjoy music. She is progressing very well.
||Art – Drama – Music: Ann continues to plan her work ever more consciously utilizing more realistic proportions, and introducing more than one baseline where she deems necessary. Music – Excellent.
Hasn’t it been said that we learn everything we need to by Grade 2? Or something like that? I wonder if this would get me a job if I transcribed these reports word-for-word on my resume? LOL!
It’s no surprise that I had lots of interest in reading, speaking, art, drama and music. I enjoyed being independent, studying on my own, and communicating ideas. I enjoyed working with color, shading and texture. These qualities are all still applicable for me. So, it must be true that people rarely change much over a lifetime. I thought I did, but perhaps I’ve just become more conscious of traits that have always been.
There’s a couple more reports that are relevant to this discussion. These are from my teenage acting classes:
The Citadel Theatre Drama Classes
Age Group: 13 – 14 Beginners
General Remarks: An outgoing and exuberant girl. A natural ‘clown’ but must learn to discipline herself and concentrate.
Attitude: Good – very interested – as she gets older she will I think understand what I have tried to tell her all the season – the importance of discipline in the art.
Ability: A natural performer – if interested enough will develop well.
Recommendation: Advanced class next season.
Citadel Theatre School Student Evaluation
Voice: You have the ability to achieve great heights Amanda. Very insightful and moving work was accomplished. I am so sorry you have decided to side-step an acting career, I know you’d be successful.
Improvisation: A good talent. Watch the trap of being caught impressing the class – work for yourself – develop knowledge and understanding. Term 1 was unfocused and more work in term 2 would have allowed greater benefits. Keep up the journey!
Movement: You actually made some remarkable progress in movement, Amanda! You move well when you allow yourself to do so, because you seem to have convinced yourself that you can’t do it!! That makes you undermine your own work with lack of focus & concentration – but you DO have the ability!! Hope you use it in the future.
A natural CLOWN – haha – no JOKE!! It’s true – but humour can also be used as a defense, or to ‘people please’ (impressing the class) – so I have to be conscious when it’s going that way. It’s also interesting to note that while my participation in phys ed was completely normal in Grades 1 and 2, I installed a block about it by my teen years. And you’d think that all that good work with balls and dribbling in Grade 2 would have made it easier to learn to juggle – but it didn’t! So… boo… whatever.
Today, I was considering applying for Cirque du Soleil (they’re auditioning in town soon), but because their shows are so physical, I don’t consider it a realistic path. As much as I’m happy to stretch myself into more physical expression as much as I can, and while I’m generally relaxed with facial and upper body movement… I’m not likely to roll on the floor, do somersaults, go to an aerobics class, or shovel gravel anytime soon. And that’s just how it is. I think I’m more interested in expressing myself with words and ideas. Or with color and texture!
I have a fondness for thinking of myself as an ‘actor’. This is a self concept I’m pretty attached to. Yet, several times in my life, apparently including my Citadel 2B class, I decided to ‘side-step’ an acting career. As much as it calls me, it also seems to repel me. My recent 12 year gap from acting has impacted greatly. Even while I dip my toes in the possibility by doing some background film work, overall, it’s not coming easily or naturally. Ultimately, I feel like I lost my best chance, and now I’m too old and fat, and it’s too late. And now I’m afraid in ways I never was before. Like when I do improv – I’m good, and relaxed, and I’m in it — and then, suddenly, a wall comes down in my mind and I get totally shy! I’m letting go of the limited idea that the only work I’ll be happy with is ‘acting’. I could happily communicate in many occupations. In fact, everything I do in this world can accurately be called acting. We all take on various roles in our lives: parent, teacher, mother, child, etc. Grocery store clerk, blackjack dealer, blogger, data manager, etc. And I’m pretty sure my ego is simply attracted to the role of ‘actor’ as a method of ‘specialness’. Fame as a method of world domination – lol – no, but of being ‘loved’. It’s the ‘seek but do not find’ routine. And, this, I have to weed out.
EDITED: Yet, here’s where I’m most deeply conflicted. It feels like this is the very thing my heart most wants. ARGGGGGG! Again, when I go back to my earliest childhood, I pretended at characters all the time. Coloring, Barbie’s, and acting out characters. So what if everyone on the planet wants to be an actor too. So what if my ego has come in and bastardized an entirely natural drive. So what if it’s so obviously an attempt at making a body ‘special’. But I CAN’T STOP MYSELF!!!! No matter how much I try to surrender the desire, it comes back. And here’s something I learned about desires that won’t go away – sometimes you just have to LIVE THEM OUT. Allow them to EXPRESS. The only way out is THROUGH.
So… maybe I can’t get a job. Maybe I can just do what I want. *BOINK* *blink* *blink* I tried doing some of the audition they want for Cirque du Soleil in my mirror last night… and it surprised me. And inspired me. Hmmmm….
A few days ago, I was watching Jerry Seinfeld in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. He was interviewing Jon Stewart and he asked, “Do you think actors can play comedians?” The both agreed that they couldn’t. And I see their point. There’s people who can be funny (like me, once in a while, usually by accident) and then there’s FUN-NY PEO-PLE. They’re a particular breed. They think in an entirely particular way. And if you’re not on that level, well, you’re not. So that’s another one of those things I’m weeding out – I’m, clearly, not going to be a comedian. Or a clown. For real – it’s an unnatural stretch. I’m glad I took the clown class, and there’s lots that I’ll be keeping forefront in my mind (like playing!), but clowning’s not going to be my whole thing. I always get excited about stuff at the beginning, like it’s finally the thing that’ll save my life, finally DEFINE WHAT I AM, but then it never does. I have to quit looking for that. It’s not going to happen.
So, OK. Weeding out and weeding out. Eventually, I’ll have a direction to aim my cannon. Then, look out!