A clown? Most people assume I'm joking when I tell them I was a clown. "Seriously, I'm a clown" I reply, but that seems an oxymoron in itself!
My brothers and I started learning the art of professional clowning in 2004. That year we met a clown who invited us to join him and his friends when they juggled together at the mall; swapping tricks, fine-tuning their skills, and putting smiles on kids' faces as they walked by. That was the beginning of a 6 year adventure, as my brothers and I practiced for hours in the garage with tennis balls, bean bags, socks, and anything else we could throw in the air.
Besides learning to juggle, our clown friend-turned-mentor taught us clown acts, timing, positioning, make-up, facial expressions, advertising, handling expenses/payments, and other skills like balloon sculpting and face painting that would serve us well. It was a whole new world that was very challenging at times. I soon learned the easiest part of being a clown was learning how to juggle!
Though I appreciated the means to pay for college, little did I know what a benefit clowning would be to me far beyond the stage. Learning how to keep a young audience engaged, for instance, has been an invaluable asset as a Sunday School teacher and Bus captain. The biggest reason, however, that I believe God led me into this short-term career, was to learn facial expressions. We had to practice and practice our facial expressions in the mirror at home until we knew how to relate a feeling or emotion through our face and body posture. It took me a while to catch on, but this has been invaluable in the Deaf community. Thanks to our clowning mentor, I have received countless comments by Deaf people on the quality of my facial expressions!
I still need to work on being funny, though... seriously!