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Author Archives: Kristy M. Wright

About Kristy M. Wright

I'm a part-time journalist and full-time world traveler from Fairport, NY. On this website you'll find several samples of my work. I am trained in multimedia work, including print, audio, and visual production and editing. I have been traveling around the world since I graduated from my university, so I've been using this blog to write about my travels.

Tired All the Time? 5 Vitamins and Foods You May Be Lacking

If you’ve ever had that sluggish feeling, you may need to add these foods to your diet. (Spoiler alert: start with spinach.)

This article is published on WomenWorking.com.

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Posted by on October 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

What Complaining Does to Your Body and How to Turn It Around

As it turns out, complaining can take a physical toll.

I wrote about the physical symptoms for Women Working.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

I quit my dream job

For my first several years of competitive figure skating, I only used Disney music for my programs. At first, it was because it was age-appropriate, theatrical, and recognizable for the judges and the audience.

Young, beginner-level skaters are hard to rank. Judges distinguish their single jumps and scratch spins by noticing which skaters are looking at their feet and which ones are smiling, exercising musicality, and engaging the crowd. So, by skating to music from movies I loved, I learned how to skate as a character and how to perform. Before I advanced to double jumps, I’d always place on the podium. Therefore, Disney music became my lucky charm, and I purposely didn’t choose any other music until I was a teenager.

Then skating became stressful. My falls were harder and freestyle events became more technical. I still did well in certain events, but it became more apparent when my competitors were skating most days a week and I was barely juggling musical theater, other sports, and after-school clubs on top of my schoolwork.

I found my niche in the showcase, artistic, and interpretive events, where I wasn’t judged on the most difficult jump I landed but rather how I used my skills to perform a number. I always dreamed of being on stage, and skating was my foundation for that.

I auditioned for Disney on Ice in my last year at my university. I had met two coaches at Carleton University who had either retired from or were currently performing with the show, and they inspired me to send an audition video. Because of my inconsistent jumps, I doubted the show would accept me, but within two hours of sending my video I received an email back inviting me to come in for a live audition.

I still remember my live audition more vividly than I remember the shows where I performed for tens of thousands of people. I remember the pride I felt landing all my jumps. I remember my heart swelling as I performed my signature move, the spiral. And I still cringe remembering how I decided to add vocal “ooh ooh, ahh ahhs” to my character interpretation when they asked me to skate like a monkey would skate. Four months later, I was in Mexico City rehearsing with Disney on Ice.

This is the profession I was meant to have. And these past six years as a show girl have been everything I dreamed they would be and more. So why am I leaving it?

I’ve been lucky enough to accomplish a goal I’ve had since I watched Michelle Kwan skating to Disney specials on TV in the 90s. When I watched Disney on Ice on YouTube, I yearned to even be in the ensemble, but I dared to hope I could play a character. There was one commercial that featured a character running and waving to the roar of the audience, and I wished I could do that. As fate would have it, I played that exact character for five of my six years with the show.

Just being on the show was my first goal. When I was hired, playing a character was my next goal. I’ve played two dozen step-out or principal characters plus a variety of characters without dialogue. And then my goals were to challenge myself to leading roles, which I eventually achieved as well.

I would’ve been content with just doing the ice show, but Disney on Ice had the added perk of traveling the world. Initially, I wanted to see Europe, and I did a tour there. Then I wanted to visit Japan, and I spent a year in Asia. I’ve worked on five continents and visited three dozen countries, and though I want to keep traveling, I’m at the point where I want a real home to come back to.

I was thrilled that I could interview with television, print, radio, and new media, although I was advertising the show on the other side of the microphone than I was when I was a journalist. I advanced into leadership positions within the company, too, and I loved mentoring new hires who were as wide-eyed and eager as I was when I joined.

With all of these incredible opportunities, I realized that I couldn’t make any more goals. I had already achieved everything I wanted and more, so I thought that when I peaked I would be happy.

But I knew I couldn’t settle on what I had already achieved. We only grow when we keep reaching for new goals, and with nothing left to overcome I wasn’t the best person I could be. I found pettier elements to criticize and couldn’t find the same joy I used to have when I was still exploring my potential. My focus redirected outside of my job and I began to long for the adventures that come from getting off the road.

When I was in university, constantly blinking off a lack of sleep and scrambling to finish all of my assignments on time, I questioned whether I studying the right field. It was when I had two hours left until deadline — and a page and a half to write with no ideas –that I would open YouTube and re-watch a Disney on Ice commercial, dreaming of a life with little stress and pure confidence in what I was doing. Nowadays, I open YouTube and watch people younger than me moving to big cities, taking risks I didn’t take, and living lives even more exciting than mine.

I love performing. I always will. I hope to do it more in the future. But it’s time for me to discover what else I can do. If living on the road and working from contract to break work contract have taught me anything, it’s that I don’t need concrete plans to be successful. I’m moving to New York City, a city I’ve always admired but I felt too overwhelmed to truly commit to it. I’m using the bachelor’s degree for which I fought so hard and seeing where it takes me. Working in live entertainment taught me not to rely on Plan A and to invent Plan B, C, and D without wasting time doubting myself.

The little skater who refused to skate to anything other than Disney music once dreamed of being in the Olympics. That never happened. However, I used “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid as my first competitive showcase music. 16 years later, I performed “Under the Sea” in a lead role professionally for thousands of people in central and South America. Following my passions allowed me to travel to places I thought I’d never see.

I’ll always be grateful that I achieved my dream job. Now, I’ve learned that you can have more than one dream job.

Our network of cast, crew, and staff with Disney on Ice is so globally interconnected that when we retire, we always say, “It’s never ‘goodbye;’ it’s ‘see you down the road.'” I’m ready to see where that road takes me now.

And as Walt Disney would say: “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” Let’s see where this Disney alum goes now.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2018 in Blog

 

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5 ways to get rid of belly bulge (besides exercise)

You’ve spent all summer hiking, swimming, and taking your bike to work, but now September is here and you still have a persistent belly bulge. What gives?

Exercise is only one factor that affects abdominal fat. Here are a few other ways to improve your midsection this fall.

Cut out sugary drinks

Lowering your added sugar intake overall will help reduce belly fat. Still, the sugars in drinks like sodas, juices, and cocktails creep up quickly when you have a few drinks with your meals.

Try this: Instead of ordering a sweetened iced coffee, add a sliced fruit (such as lemon) to your water. Not only does fruit have less sugar, the high fiber in fruit will slow down your body’s digestion of those sugars, helping you stay full longer. And speaking of lemon water . . .

Drink more water

You might need to drink more water even if you aren’t thirsty. Every body is different, but you should be aiming for about eight glasses a day, plus another cup for every hour of exercise.

Try this: Carry a bottle of water with you that measures how many cups you’re drinking throughout the day. Once you measure out your goals, hitting your target will become habit.

Eat more protein

Protein is vital for the repair, maintenance, and growth of muscles. Your muscular growth affects how many calories you burn at rest, long after you’ve showered from the gym and are catching up on your desk work.

High-protein diets also improve appetite control, decreasing the chance for excess snacking or desserts.

Try this: Adult women, on average, should aim for 46 grams of protein a day (and more for athletes building muscle). You can calculate your specific needs by converting your weight from pounds to kilograms, then determining .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep decreases metabolism and increases appetite the next day. Moreover, if you’re not well-rested, your fatigue will inhibit your energy expenditure during the day.

Try this: Practice good sleep hygiene. Turn off electronics and dim the lights as you’re winding down for bed. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekend.

Avoid stress

Increased cortisol signals to your body to store up on an energy supply — hence why we crave a tub of ice cream when we’re stressed.

Try this: Journal, take a bath, or meditate to provide a healthy work-life balance.

 

Sources:

https://www.jci.org/articles/view/37385

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661958

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847729

https://www.livestrong.com/article/343966-how-to-calculate-protein-rda/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201308/why-we-gain-weight-when-we-re-stressed-and-how-not

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8266000

 

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

The 10-year high school reunion is obsolete

Lampion

My 2008 memories and predictions in a senior insert to the yearbook called The Lampion. Please note that the spelling errors are from whatever poor secretary had to type this. The cringeworthy writing style, however, is all mine.

 

After collecting the graduation caps that we had tossed up in the Blue Cross Arena, the Fairport High School Class of 2008 didn’t quite know what to say to each other besides “we did it!”

We hugged each other, took photos — on Kodak cameras, as this was before smartphone photos were high definition and, of course, because the ceremony was in downtown Rochester — and wished each other luck at our respective colleges or other plans.

“Well . . . see you in 10 years!”

Except this wasn’t the case.

By 2007, Facebook was surpassing MySpace as the most popular social media site. Once it had opened to anyone over 13 years old, its original concept as an interactive yearbook directory was perfect for outgoing seniors. By 2008, most of my class had a Facebook account. By September of 2008, when I was starting my first semester at my university, I had added several former classmates to my friends list that I had been too shy to add a few months before.

IMG_0346In the past 10 years, I’ve watched my former classmates start families, change their appearance, and switch careers. I’ve read the inane drivel of a teenager’s status evolve into thoughtful comments and interesting links. I’ve watched people who used to seem so kind write angry, hateful posts and align themselves with Facebook pages spewing bigotry and misleading information.

I know the major places my friends have traveled, and if I missed it the first time I’ll see the throwback post from five years ago captioned “take me back to here.” I know the friends with whom they kept in touch, because I see the photos of them together in my newsfeed or when I’m absentmindedly scrolling through their profile photos featuring their wedding party. I know who influenced my former classmates, where they live, and what their values are.

Any time I think I’m not too attached to my phone or the gossip from my yesteryear, I find myself opening the Facebook app immediately after I close it. A notification will take me back to Facebook (“So-and-So tagged in you in a photo about Harry Potter”) and 30 minutes later I’m still scrolling. And even though most of my active friends are my coworkers or former university classmates, thanks to Facebook my high school reunion will not unveil any mysteries.

There is still value in meeting with my former high school classmates in person, of course. But I didn’t wait the full 10 years to keep in touch with those that mattered to me. When my parents still lived in Fairport, I made the effort to visit my friends on breaks between semesters and, later, between work contracts. I even met up with people with whom I wasn’t as close because their social media feeds made me realize how interesting my fellow Fairportians are. As for those who used to be closer friends, over time there would always be an excuse why they couldn’t meet up.

Yet what about those I haven’t had coffee with? What about the kid who sat next to me in French class, the student who always responded to my AP English teacher’s questions with “imagery” no matter the context, and the ones who ran suicide sprints beside me in field hockey? What about my bullies? What about the valedictorian? What about my arch nemesis, whose rivalry with me inspired me to practice harder, study longer, and learn from my failures when she beat me? Has she forgiven me when I openly gloated about my victories? Does she know how embarrassed I am about that now? Does she care?

There’s a part of me that wants to keep those memories that way. In my head, my arch enemy is rich, successful, and happy. She worked as hard as I did in school and for the hobbies that were her passion. If she wasn’t successful now, I’d be French horndisappointed that her hard work didn’t pay off.

10 years of distance from the high school bubble gives me the perspective that everyone is living their own story. No one went to college or started a family to impress me, so it doesn’t matter if I’m there for them to tell me so. The people who won the “Next American Idol” superlative probably never pursued singing but may have found love and another happy career instead.

In my head, everyone else has gained 10 years of perspective, too. The boys who stole my shoes or the girls who pinched me and called me names will probably be in the PTA leading anti-bullying campaigns for their kids. The kids who struggled in class or hardly made any friends have risen above my pity and have a strong circle of friends now. At least, that’s how I want to think about them.

I spent the last few months of my senior year speculating who would pursue their interests, where people would move, and how they would change. I reveled in imaginary future schadenfreude concerning my enemies, but now I can’t remember their names. Whether those people succeeded or failed had zero impact in how I’ve lived my life in the past 10 years.

I only wish I could show my former classmates that my wardrobe is better than the oversized sweats I would wear to school every day.

But there’s always Facebook for that.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2018 in Blog

 

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I, Tonya is no “ice skating movie”

I recently was comparing my favorite films of 2017 with a bartender in a cinema bar and told him I was disappointed that I, Tonya wasn’t nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

“Sure, it was a good movie,” the bartender said to me, “but it wouldn’t win. Nobody is going to vote for an ice skating movie.”

Do people really see I, Tonya as an “ice skating movie?” And, if so, what does that even mean?

i-tonya-2017Skating films aren’t a genre to themselves as they tend to be dependent on other genre tropes. The first movies that featured figure skating were spectacles that focused on the skating sequences as production numbers. Sonja Henie parlayed her extraordinary competitive success into entertainment with films that could easily have been rewritten for the swimmer Esther Williams, or really any movie musical darling.

Some skating movies attempt to copy the sports film/underdog archetype, such as Ice Dreams. Even Blades of Glory is a satire of a typical sports film, similar to Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story — except this time with more gay jokes. The Cutting Edge and its myriad of unimaginative sequels are considered rom-coms. Most skating films are more or less a schlocky, sentimental Lifetime reject. (I’m looking at you, Ice Castles.)

And Ice Princess is an insulting suggestion that a physics student is the first skater to know what a 45-degree angle is and therefore has a competitive edge over years of training one’s muscle strength, endurance, and coordination, but I’m totally not still bitter over that movie’s premise.

The reason it has taken so long for a story like I, Tonya to have a more sophisticated perspective of figure skating is that popular culture sees skaters as shallow, privileged, graceful ladies. Despite the frequent falls, they never seem to have have visible injuries the way that contact sports have bloody lips and black eyes. There are no messy ponytails; there are tight buns under a hard hat of hairspray. Skaters compete in lightweight dresses and velour pants in a freezing ice rink, so hardly anyone builds up a visible sweat after only four minutes. And it’s a sport that naturally attracts young athletes because there’s an advantage to being small when propelling one’s own bodyweight. So of course, we tend to see young, graceful, pretty ladies in the sport.

Tonya Harding is a flawed, unlikeable character. In the movie she’s portrayed as disadvantaged yet sympathetic, hard-working yet undisciplined, enthusiastic yet temperamental. Tonya Harding in real life had an unconventional jumping technique that nobody uses today, yet less than 10 women in the history of the sport have landed her career-defining move, the triple Axel, in competition. And while her technique was strange and ungraceful, you can’t deny that her Axel had more power, height and distance than Mirai Nagasu’s 25 years later.

All of this compelling subject, and that’s before the infamous Kneecap Clubbing Incident.

I, Tonya is effective because it addresses the way both the mainstream press and the figure skating community treated athletes that were seen as anomalies. There was (and still is) classism present in a sport that judges “on presentation;” in fact, back in the 90s that was 50% of a skater’s score with no objective standards.

As a girl growing up, I depended on the role models I had in skating. Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi inspired me both with their talent and their off-ice character. And I hope that the next generation of skating fans find inspiring heroes in the skating athletes we see on TV and in straight-to-DVD specials.

Tonya Harding, as interesting as she is, is no role model. She’d be a terrible choice for a family film. But understanding her story amid the context of her sport and her generation challenges ideas that eight-year-old girls and boys haven’t developed yet. And now that I’m adult I think there are still stories to tell about figure skating on film that are complex and challenging.

Now if we could tell a story onscreen about a competent male figure skater without questioning his masculinity, I’d really be blown away.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Blog

 

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Lessons I learned from monthly blogging

Here’s what’s most blogs look like:

Entry 1: “Hello world! Welcome to my new blog! I’m going to post daily/weekly/semi-regularly about any and all subjects.”

Entry 2, not long after entry 1: “Here’s my passionate and thoughtful blog post.”

Entry 3, several months later: “Sorry it’s been a while. I promise more posts are coming!”

End of blog archives.

I don’t have a blog on one particular subject or with one distinct voice. I don’t have much of an audience and don’t make much effort to expand. In fact, the only reason I started the blog was to compile all of my professional media entries, whether they were articles I had written or links to videos of me on TV.

I decided to change that in 2017. As you might already know, I love New Year’s resolutions. This year, I resolved to write at least one blog post per month, either here on this blog or over on Tour Bites.

This proved much harder than I anticipated. You’d think that a deadline of a month would be plenty, but it’s funny how we let our routine of work, friends, and other hobbies push our goals aside. Oftentimes, I’d let myself procrastinate until the end of the month to publish a blog post.

I also learned that letting myself write about anything made it harder to just write something. I’ve always had to narrow my focus to a specific audience or topic, so I allowed myself to explore any subject that interested me this year and chose whatever format I wanted. But not knowing what my point of view was in any one area made selecting a topic more difficult each month.

Still, there was plenty of benefit to blogging every month. I kept my writing skills fresh and determined what subjects did interest me. Most surprisingly, I learned just how much I had been trapped in my routine of life on tour — travel, perform shows, rest in bed on the days off, repeat.

Breaking up my habits means I picked a good resolution this year. Padding my blog archives didn’t hurt, either. But for 2018, maybe it’s time to start focusing on just a few topics to determine my points of view.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2017 in Blog