lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Flying With Footwear February 27, 2017

I went to college halfway across the country, so I was always flying back and forth to school. As a dance major, I would always pack a carryon with all my dance shoes and leave less important things like clean underwear to fend for themselves in checked baggage.

It was always fine, and since my checked bags usually arrived three days late, a pretty great system. Until it wasn’t.

I was flying back to school after a summer of theatre and had my tap shoes in my little rolly bag. I popped it up on the conveyor belt and sent it through the X-ray. For the first time in my life, the guy at the end pulled my bag aside, saying there was something suspicious they needed to examine. Fine, whatever. I don’t mind being searched if it keeps people safe.

The man grabbed out my tap shoes and sent them back through the X-ray. They were super fancy tap shoes, so under the tap was a thin layer of metal to create better resonance. But this man didn’t know anything about tap tone quality; he just thought my beloved and expensive shoes were a threat.

He reached under his counter and pulled out a screwdriver to unscrew my taps and check beneath them! (more…)

 

An Awkward Kiss February 13, 2017

When I was in college as a dance major, I had to take two semesters of acting. It didn’t bother me. I was totally comfortable with it. I had done plays and Shakespeare before, unlike a lot of the dance majors, so it was a fun class for me. Trying new techniques, doing great scene work, kissing random guys.

Okay, so the kissing bit was weird. And not because I was already dating my now husband at the time. We’re both performers, it sort of comes with the territory. Like taking your clothes off in front of other people, and running around in your underpants for money. The class kissing was weird because not all the kissers were good.

There was this one guy, who was very sweet, and I would feel bad writing about him except, well, who knows they’re a bad kisser? How would he ever figure out I was blogging about his inability to press his lips to another humans in an appealing fashion?

Anyway, he wasn’t like a no-lip, where you can feel the teeth through the skin. He wasn’t even a squelchy pecker who made awkward sounds while attacking chicken-style. He was a face swallower. (more…)

 

A Scandalous Snuggle April 11, 2016

My husband and I moved in together senior year of college. It was awesome. Not only did he feed me, he also satisfied my snuggle addiction.

I’m a heat seeking missile when I sleep. If there is warmth in the bed, I will find it. I will cuddle you and steal all your body heat whether you like it or not. I am so notorious for this fact that growing up, I always got my own bed when we were all packed into hotel rooms. No one wanted to wake up with me on their head.

Luckily, the husband creates an excess of body heat, so he doesn’t mind my frozen little tooshy cuddling up to him in the middle of the night. In fact, he got so used to sleeping with my demanding little spoon, it became a bit on an issue.

Fall semester senior year, my husband had to do weekend-long mini tour of a show. The university decided to save money by putting four to a room, two to a bed. No big deal really. At least so my then fiancé thought as he fell asleep next to a freshman boy. (more…)

 

Of Love and Soup March 5, 2016

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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The husband and I got together when we were super young. So young, in fact, it’s a little amazing that we still like each other so darn much.

We met freshman orientation week, and other than one moment of temporary insanity on his part, we have been together ever since.

And it’s mostly because of a can of soup.

I’ve never claimed to be able to cook. In most cases, I’m considered a hazard. Since I spend so much of my time studiously trying to avoid anything kitchen-ish, I don’t usually travel with kitchen things, and this habit started all the way back in college. I had a full meal plan and only a mini-fridge in my room. So other than cereal and one unfortunate run in with a jiffy pop, I let the cafeteria ladies do the cooking.

Until my boyfriend got sick. He got one of those throat-rattling, fever-inducing colds that seem to thrive in college dorms and cast houses.

There was nothing the campus health clinic could really do for him, so he just had to wait it out, suffering in his room.

I knew that he was feeling awful, so I decided to bring him a can of soup from my emergency supplies. I even had a bowl and a spoon! And they were clean! (more…)

 

Conductor Down! August 12, 2015

When I was a freshman in college, I was cast in an operetta. Not as a singer, as a dancer. A male dancer. You see, when the music department had cast the show, they hadn’t bothered to cast any men for the big cancan scene. By the time they asked the dance department for a few boys, there were no boys left to be had. So, being a girl with broad shoulders, I was cast as a male dancer in my first college show. It was also the first time I ever performed on stage with my husband.

A lot of the story isn’t interesting. I had to learn to do coffee grinders and a half-a-hand stand. I wore a bow and slicked my hair back.

No. The interesting part was the conductor. It was a university, so most of the pit were music majors. But the conductor played the piano. It was a fine arrangement that you see in a lot of regional theatres that can’t afford to have a person just to use the baton.

The problem was that this conductor was a raging alcoholic. (more…)

 

May the Tap Gods be with You July 20, 2015

I went to college for dance. It was a great program that I had a lot of problems with. You were weighed in… a lot. And your weight affected everything from your ballet grade to your scholarship. I’ll let you think of that what you will.

Some of the professors really pushed the weight thing, some tried to stay in the back of it, but only one teacher really fought it.

He was a tap teacher and a really fantastic human being. Not only did he manage to inspire confidence and perfectionism all at the same time. He also genuinely cared about his students.

There was a legend about him at school. I can’t prove how true it is, but I do believe every piece of it.

There was a girl who had come to the school as a fantastic tapper, but she had natural hips and wasn’t built like a board. So the weigh-ins pushed her and pushed her until she became really badly anorexic. It had time for adjudication, and she went in to meet with the entire dance faculty.

The department head complimented her on how much her turns had improved, the girl said, “Yes, but I’m not eating.” (more…)

 

The Weight of the Legend April 15, 2015

And now for the grand conclusion of the sad tale of the department encouraged body dysmorphia!

For parts one, two, and three, please click the appropriate number.

As though it wasn’t bad enough to teach students who are going to owe student loans for the next ten years that their worth is based on their weight, the department also liked to ignore the problems it encouraged. Now, I understand that weight is important in dance. You have to be small to be lifted, and a certain look is generally more desirable to producers. But if you tell a dancer that weight equals worth in an extremely competitive atmosphere, you’re going to end up with eating disorders.

There was one girl who was an amazing tap dancer. She was truly gifted, but the department wanted to weigh her like she was a ballerina. She lost more and more weight, and eventually became truly anorexic. (more…)