lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Christmas in Exeter Street December 28, 2016

Happy very late Christmas! I hope yours was wonderful!

Mine was rather like Christmas in Exeter Street. If you’ve never heard of it, you should read it. The book is about this house where everyone ends up for Christmas. Some by design, some by accident. But Father Christmas brings gifts to them all, and they have a great holiday. There ends up being eighteen children in the house, and poor Father Christmas has to count on his toes to be sure he’s left gifts for them all. The homeless baby is especially hard to find since she’s sleeping in the kitchen sink. No, really, that’s where they put her.

Reading Christmas in Exeter Street was a tradition when I was little. There’s a two page illustration that shows everyone sleeping in the house. There are men on mantle pieces, a pastor and his wife in the tub, it’s great. My sister and I would go through and count all the people to make sure there really were eighteen children for Father Christmas to bring gifts to. We still count to this day, like the picture might somehow change.

Going back to the book as an adult, there are some very strange things child me didn’t notice. (more…)

 

A Burning Legend December 14, 2016

You know those family legends that get passed down, and you know the core of them, but the details get fuzzy? Well this is one of those.

My great-uncle or Dad’s second cousin or something like that, liked to blow fire. It was a party trick that he liked to show off, and I guess he was pretty decent at it. Well, he worked in garage and one day decided to show off for his buddies and blow fire in the garage. He didn’t have booze, so he decided to use gasoline…

Well, gasoline burns much faster than drinking alcohol. So, the fire raced down his throat and burned the inside of his stomach!

All pretty tragic, but he actually survived and ended up in the hospital. When he was finally allowed to go home, they gave him strict orders not to eat any solid food. (more…)

 

Off the Wagon September 26, 2016

Guys… I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon. I used to be so good. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday every week. One blog over on my author site. And then… moving, traveling, adventuring, theatring, and publishing caught up with me.

I love everything I’ve been doing! From painting my face green in Oz to road tripping to see lovely faces I’ve missed so much, I love it. So much so that blogging about it fell through the cracks. Maybe it’s a personality flaw. I’m so much better at sharing the disastrous and humorous moments of life than the wonderful and perfect ones. (more…)

 

Times Are A-Changin’ June 25, 2016

The world has been going through a lot of changes lately. The UK has decided to leave the EU, Game of Thrones killed some seriously important people (don’t worry, no spoilers here), and I’ve moved into a storage unit.

Yep. That’s right. All of my worldly possessions that aren’t currently in cast housing with me are in a 4.5×9 storage unit.

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It’s amazing to me that the husband and I managed to fit thirty years’ worth of our lives into that teeny tiny, precariously stacked space. But there it is. Apart from my wedding dress and a very important Winnie the Pooh print that my mom is holding on to for me, my life is in that cement room.

I won’t try to lie and say that it isn’t weird and a little scary to be moved completely out of my mom’s house, which was, after all, my home base between gigs, aside from being my childhood home. It was sort of terrible. Besides having a breakdown when I couldn’t find my cat’s headstone, just seeing my room empty was rough.

The house always felt magical to me. Aside from being giant, Victorian, and quite possibly haunted, there was just an air about. A tingle in the atmosphere that said scathingly brilliant things were about to happen. But as we started moving out, the hundreds of costumes that had been used in the Inn (the house was also an Inn that did costumed Victorian tea programs), the magic began to fade. It’s like the wardrobe to Narnia. The time has passed, and that passage to magic is gone. The gardens still have some magic in them, but the house is telling us it’s time to move on.

So we will. We’ll find new adventure in different places. Things we haven’t even dreamed of yet. And till I’m ready to hang a shingle outside my door declaring my house The Burrow, my life will remain in cement storage.

And so a new adventure begins.

And to my mother who is probably crying reading this, the house was our home. Our castle in the country. But now we will have a big city adventure. Time speeds up when you only do the same thing over and over again. Make the most out of life, and take a new path.

L’Chaim.

 

Well Played, Pixar April 27, 2016

Pixar has done it again. Last night, I found myself ugly crying over a cowboy dinosaur movie. I don’t even know if Good Dinosaur was actually good. But there I was, trying to put together a puzzle, finishing it, realizing three pieces were missing, Spot found a family, and boom: ugly tears.

(Be warned. There are spoilers to multiple animated movies below. All of them moments that make us ugly cry.) (more…)

 

Childhood Change April 16, 2016

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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Growing up, I had godparents. I mean, we weren’t really close to them, and I didn’t really know them. They were who my parents chose before I was even born. I don’t know if my parents ever sat me down to tell us or if my sister and I just sort of absorbed the information the way kids do, but we always knew that if something happened to our parents, we would be sent to live with our godparents.

Duh duh duh!

It was terrifying. Not because they were mean or because we were afraid they would starve us. No. We were scared because they didn’t believe in Santa. That and their youngest child was psychotic. Like truly. I think there was something wrong with her. She stayed at our house for a sleepover once, and only once. Why? Because halfway through the night, she started calling the doorknobs mommy and daddy and was having full conversations for them. We had to go get her mom, who was also staying at the house, to make her stop. It was a bad night for everyone.

But back to the Santa business. (more…)

 

Live Fiercely April 13, 2016

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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I’m not perfect. I know it. I have an Irish temper and Polish determination. I’m not afraid of fighting for the people I care about and for what I believe in. And that makes some people mad.

Some people would rather live with a lie their whole lives than take an honest look in the mirror. Rather have a half-relationship with someone than risk a little pain to know someone all the way.

It’s tragic. Really horribly tragic. To be more attached to your entirely false sense of security than to the people around you.

Sweep things under the rug long enough, and you’re just going to trip over them.

I have a wonderful husband and family. I have friends who have become family, and faraway places that have become home. And do you know what knowing that many different people teaches you? That you can’t ignore truths. You can’t pretend there is no crack in the wall. That’s how the demons get in.

What does all this have to do with anything?

Live fiercely. Get messy. Love someone too hard. Dance in the spotlight, run through the rain. Hug a person you love and love them warts and all.

And if someone isn’t willing to love the honest you, walk away. Life is too short for pretense.

Find a story that is beyond exaggeration, and make it your own.