photo by Atomic Adams, Guatemala City, shelter for community displaced by catastrophic landslide, November 2015
I must say, truly, clowning buoys my days and gives me courage and protection to rebel, love, play, smile, and be ridiculous as an act of peace and hope in the face of the horrors of the world we live in today. The clown gives me a buffer when I am crushed almost to death by the denial, greed, meanness, hatred, and fear in humans, and our wanton destruction of our home planet. We are making things unlivable for ourselves… and only we as individuals can begin to be accountable.
Clowning has given me many gifts– access to places and peoples I would have NEVER known or believed existed, moments or hours of play with people who may not have been looked in the eye or treated like a human in YEARS, it has given me singing–my own voice!, it has given me a deep well of inspiring friends around the globe to believe in and support and be supported by–a bigger community to love, it has given me permission to be odd/to be other…rather, to be MYSELF, because hey, I always have the cover of “well…I’m a clown,” it allows me to CHOOSE to try on the role of the lowest member of society–to be pointed at as the fool in any community– and to see what the view is like from down there.
Clowning has given me a global education in the various ways we treat the lowest members of our societies. I have been met with situations I will never begin to understand, have encountered the wounds of systemic oppression that leave me wanting to lie down and give up, and YET…what else is there to do? but show up and be myself, my individual, tender, in love, bizzarro little self, and witness and give my little heart to the places where people struggle every day to live.
Clowning gives me hope, and purpose on the path of good and love and joy and beauty and friendship and connection in the world, and gives me the tools to stand up and be brave and be a blessing in these desperate times. May I continue to be able to learn from this work and play, to take in the unbelievable and sad and lonely and suffering, may I take in the joy and love of communities and families in their resourcefulness and courageousness, and make of myself an offering of joy, of love, a spark, a light, an odd little possibility…may I be able to give and receive the blessing that I, as a clown, can be in this world.
I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my sister Lillie for sweeping me up into this way of being, together, to Patch Adams and John Glick for believing in me, to my family for supporting me, and to all of the clown family who believe that clowning is a powerful tool for social care.