So I have a confession. My very first job ever was not something cool like a lifeguard or even something cute like selling popcorn at the movies. Nope… not even close. Already an awkward tomboy with a short haircut, I decided right around age 12 that the best first job for me would be to develop an act as a clown. I would go to children’s birthday parties, do magic tricks and make balloon animals. You think I am kidding. I’m not. Here is the picture to prove it.
I taught myself how to make a handkerchief disappear, how to turn a coloring book from black and white to color and how to make various animals out of those long colorful squeaky balloons. My fingers would bleed sometimes I would make so many. And as a grand finale to my new skills, I taught myself to juggle.
Listen, being a clown is taking the fast pass directly to “not cool” land at Disney. I’d like to say I was just a super confident girl that didn’t care what other people thought. But I know there were times I cared. I remember being in 6th grade and having my first crush on a boy. One day our elementary school had a carnival and I was going to make balloons for the younger kids. I was dressed as a “Christy the Clown” in gigantic baggy pants, enormous plastic yellow shoes and of course, face paint and a wig. I remember thinking how different I looked as opposed to the “cool” girls my crush liked. They were literally dressed the opposite of me in tiny Limited Too shorts, trendy Sambas, spaghetti string tanks and subtle glittery chapstick. I made balloons anyway. I stuck to my plan.
I’m not sure how many parties or elementary school functions I did. I’m sure I didn’t make much money. Eventually I retired my clown shoes. I very rarely tell anyone about my time as a clown, but I’d like to share it with you today for a few reasons.
#1 We should all be a “clown” more often. Take chances and be brave. Be “un-pretty.” Be kind. Make people smile.
#2 Just because you try something, doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. Although I didn’t find my life’s calling as a birthday party entertainer, I think it was cool I tried. A new experiment or adventure doesn’t have to be a life commitment, try it anyway
#3 Work until your fingers bleed regardless of what people think or what you think people think. There is tremendous value in the work and zero value in the worry about other people’s opinions.
Simple lessons from long ago….from Christy the Clown.