lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Hypoallergenic Bubble December 1, 2016

I have allergies. All my life I’ve had allergies. Ragweed, foods, dust, I’m allergic to all of it. It is my destiny.

But a few months ago I went to a new allergist, and she decided to do a blood test. Results came back. On a scale of 1-20, I’m only allergic to trees and that only reads at a four… Lies. Lies and medical deception.

Fast forward to last week when I go back to the allergist because I’ve had four sinus infections in the last year. She tells me to go off all allergy meds for five days before the appointment. It was the longest five days ever. Drippy eyes, runny nose, crackly voice. All things that are super great to deal with while performing a big dance review.

Anywho, I go to the office and the doctor says she really doesn’t know what to do with me because I don’t have many allergies.

(Cue cold-eyed stare of death from me.) (more…)

 

Panties Predicament October 3, 2016

I’ve been onstage a few thousand times at least. I’ve made my living for my entire adult life on stage. But there are certain times that having years of muscle memory built up can bite you in the butt.

I just opened Anything Goes this week. It’s a super fun show that I’ve never had the opportunity to do before. I’m an Angel in the show, which in this case means a sultry backup dancer. Rather than design and build the costumes for the show in-house, the company I work for decided to rent the tour/Broadway costumes. And that’s great! They’re beautiful, but they are meant to fit other people.

So while all the costumes are meant to have bloomers (show panties) built into them, there is one costume where the bloomers had to be taken out so I could tunnel into the costume instead of stepping into it. All the other girls get to step into their dresses, but me, with the boobies and the bootie, cannot get into that costume in the customary direction. (more…)

 

The Famous Fall September 24, 2016

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 10:30 am
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Once upon a time, a long time ago, when I was an intern at a New York City dance studio, I took a tap class with the guy who played the Billy Elliot in that amazing movie. For those of you who haven’t seen the move, go watch it. Right now. Seriously, this blog will still be here when you’re done crying over the credits.

He wasn’t the teacher or anything like that; he was just a student. A very silent student in the back row. The teacher knew him and greeted him subtly without ever saying his name. But me being the Billy Elliot obsessed person that I am recognized him instantly. I stood near him – cause you know, obsession – and tap danced while *hopefully* not staring at him too obviously. (more…)

 

It’s Curtains for You! April 25, 2016

Hello everyone! It’s Chris here again. I am happy to get to introduce a new segment on lifebeyondexaggeration. Being in theatre, Megan and I hear about and experience a lot of great/terrible/hilarious happenings onstage and off. So Megan has decided it’s time to keep a record of the raucous mischief the theatre gods reap. And we’ll kick it off with “It’s Curtains for You!”

Megan and I are currently doing a production of Funny Girl in Florida. It’s great! The cast is lovely, our Fanny Brice is excellent, and we’re getting to live in Florida! Always a good time.

Despite the occasional bird or two dropping down on the stage, it’s been a fairly smooth run. That is until the day the curtain decided not to open.

You see, there’s this number in the show called “Rat-tat.” It’s a tap dance number full of comedy and Americana. A real crowd-pleaser! My character, Eddy Ryan, begins the number as a rehearsal. I tap dance and sing center stage with two lovely ladies behind me. They help me put on my costume, give me my wooden rifle (for some sensible twirling), and then leave the stage. I finish my solo part of the song and then the curtains open to reveal the ensemble… usually. (more…)

 

Flaccid Fist April 20, 2016

The Merriam Webster definition of “flaccid” is not firm : not hard or solid : lacking strength or force.

I think we can all agree that “flaccid” is just about as gross a word as “moist.”

Flaccid. Moist. Say it with me:

Flaccid moist.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten the giggles or gagging out of our systems, I find flaccid men to be wholly unattractive. Get your minds out of the gutter. I don’t mean that in the Game of Thrones, below the panty line sense. I dance with a lot of guys onstage. Big ones, little ones, sweaty ones, smelly ones, but you know what I can’t deal with? The flaccid ones. The ones with hands that feel like newborn baby toes. All soft and round with the feeling of dysfunctionality.

I am very lucky and found a husband who’s built like a Welsh coal miner, which is like a lumberjack but under six-foot. He’s like a brick wall.

And it’s not that amply-proportioned men necessarily fit into the flaccid category. There are some very strong guys in this world who lack six packs. They grab you to waltz, and you know they will partner you well. And then there are guys who go to the gym every day, look all strong, take your hand and… flaccid. How do they hold a pencil?!

I now understand the virtue of a firm hand shake. It’s not to see if you can break all the bones in my hand, it’s to prove that fat, thin, short, tall, balding or man bun, you are not a flaccid human. You can carry wood, open jars, and waltz like a boss.

I know my aversion to flaccidity (yes, that is a real word) is not universal. Some people like soft hands. But for me a flaccid fist will never do. Please feel free to giggle again.

And once more for good measure.

Flaccid. Moist. Fist.

 

A Scandaless Scandal April 9, 2016

The husband and I moved in together our senior year of college. I know. We were very scandalous. But campus housing was super expensive, and we were super poor. I tried being an RA, but my boss got arrested by the FBI. I didn’t fancy doing that for another year, so off campus housing was our best bet. We found a friend who wanted to share a two bedroom apartment with us, and off we went. Into the drug den.

Well, it wasn’t a drug den anymore. That’s why we got such a great deal on the place. They had kicked all the tenants out to start fresh with non crack-dealing residents, and we were the first ones to sign up. There were a few lingering effects of the old crowd. And a few of the less savory types managed to get back in. But all in all, it wasn’t really a bad apartment.

Just me, the future husband, and our female roomie. The problem was we went to a conservative school and faster than the toilets getting clogged on weigh-in day, rumors went around that I had moved in with the person I was dating. I didn’t really care that people knew. I mean, the only reason it was strange was that we weren’t hiding the fact that we were living together while everyone else tried to be sneaky about shacking up with their boyfriends. But then they found out I was living with another female dancer. For two days, I didn’t realize why the girls were whispering about me extra emphatically and the straight boys were bring super nice. Until someone kindly told me they were so happy that I was out as a lesbian. (more…)

 

Blood in the Pointe Shoe November 21, 2015

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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It’s that time again, folks! We’re are creeping up to the big release for my Christmas novella Nuttycracker Sweet, which is going to be released by Fiery Seas Publishing on December 8th!

I’ve started working on the promo materials, and it’s all been a little crazy. I’m a professional performer. It’s how I buy food, and I know I am super privileged to get to do what I love to do for actual dollars. But I am by no means a ballet dancer. It all started with not having enough turnout, then moved to the fact that I’m built like an amazon with real boobs, and there was also that nagging fact that classical music isn’t really my thing.

But I did spend hours in pointe shoes. And for those of you who have never had the wonderful experience of pulling bloody lambs wool from between your toes, dancing in pointe shoes is not a glamorous thing. (more…)