“Now they’re some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown when there’s no one around”
Lyrics from Tears of a Clown by the Miracles
To those who know the surface me, I have two modes of operation – vex and jovial. I do an excellent angry! It was a defence mechanism I developed early in my life to hide my vulnerabilities after years of relentless teasing. It’s easier to be angry than happy, grateful, disappointed, sad. When I reached my late teens I uncovered a hidden family trait, humour. (My family are infamous for one liners. Aunty Gretel in a berating of her husband told him, in front of family, he lied more than a rug 🙈). Humour enabled me to both feign anger and endear myself to people. I could wear a mask that didn’t alienate people from me.
The problem was/is this Joker persona I developed – very mean but hilariously funny – was not me. I was shy, cautious, wanting to do favours for everyone, wanting to be liked. However, the more I played The Joker, the more he became a part of me. To the extent, that depending on who was describing me you’d think two or three different people were being discussed.
I managed like this for a long time but cracks started to show. My internal pain became deeper. Outwardly, I was more cross and funnier but those who truly knew me saw the anguish I felt.
Below is an excerpt from my diary….
“My truth may startle you. It may make you uncomfortable. It comes from a place of darkness wrapped in feigned anger… no it’s not real but it’s better than being sad. It’s better than being a broken, vulnerable woman. It’s better than being a suicidal person who just wants to be loved. It’s scary to show softness. I was born soft. I was soft in Liverpool. I was soft in the Bayland. I was soft when my toes touched the snow of Boston. Things changed. This world doesn’t always embrace the soft girls. They beat you up. Tease you. Laugh at you. Attac…”
I stopped on this particular day because I was being too vulnerable even for myself.
Whenever I thought of Tears of a Clown images of Richard Pryor, John Belushi, and Chris Farley (🎼fat guy in little coat) automatically sprung to mind. Tortured souls fuelling their comedy with past pains. Pain often times births immeasurable creative genius.
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