Tears of a Clown

23 Nov

A lot’s been up in this clown’s life in the last week or so. Its that time of the year again when we all start finalising our plans for the holidays and try and tie up any loose ends before taking a much needed break.I must admit I have gotten caught up in that whirlwind and have not had as much time as I would have liked to write ,but enough with the excuses. So first things first,some housekeeping.A big thank you  to everyone who’s followed this blog,shared the page via FB/twitter, subscribed to site feeds or checked this blog since my last entry.

It’s funny how life works; I’ve thought we (as humans) usually only need something to believe – true or not. It doesn’t make us cold or emotionless; it’s just the way of things. We are impulsive classifiers; we like to sort everything (heck, everyone) we come across as. This seems to be ‘our thing’; we just never tire. Again, this isn’t breaking news; I’m sure you find the idea familiar. What’s, however, funny is how rigid  and often misleading our classifications can be. I’m sure you know  the world’s deadliest predators are those who might even appear charming and  charismatic  at a glance. It’s almost as if they’ve learn’t to play on our tendency to classify the visually appealing as “good”.But sadly at times the prettiest people do the ugliest things.

I once heard that Rowan Atkinson walked into a bank and just wouldn’t be taken seriously by the teller. He had an absolutely torrid time convincing her that he was there for a genuine transaction. But, why was that so hard? Why was it impossible for the teller to believe that  “Mr Bean” would need cash in real life? Money seems like a pretty basic need; so, what was the problem? Dear old Rowan Atkinson had been ‘classified’  not as “human” but as a “clown”.

We may have to go back to the very beginning to make some sense of all my rambling. I was listening to  Diddy’s “Coming Home” the other day and a particular line caught my ear; he had made some reference to another song: “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson. The title’s metaphor was gripping, so I listened to the song immediately( which I must admit I had not heard before this reference ).After listening to it , I gained an even better understanding of the metaphor , and my initial assumptions about  it were confirmed. In the song Robinson,  compares himself to the characters in the opera Pagliacci , which it turns out is about  comedians/clowns who hide their hurt and anger behind empty smiles.

This got me thinking.You see , a clown makes people laugh right? What else do we know clowns besides that? Well, here’s one we often forget: they’re also human. That means they’re entitled to their fair share of worry, anxiety, fear, insecurity and emotion. Of course, we scarcely see any of that behind the red nose and the make up. But, what really goes on in the deepest echelons of their hearts, in the silence of their homes , in those sober moments of introspection?What lies behind the mask ? Does the show continue when the curtains come down?

We all have worries; we all nurse certain insecurities. We’re all not sure of what tomorrow will bring with it and sometimes this gets the better of us. It’s particularly pronounced for people like me who’ve been “cursed” with a pretty compelling costume, a face that suggests we’re in charge, that everything is OK, Mr Optimistic ,being that dude, the clown. More often than not, we’re not  but people won’t stop believing we are all those things .We’ve been classified (sadly) as “self-sufficient” and that often makes it extra difficult to walk up to someone and say “I have this problem and I’ve just been dying for someone to talk to”. I mean, think about it, if a dressed clown walked up to you with tears in his eyes, wouldn’t you consider it part of his act?

I dare to believe that if a totally miserable and frustrated clown walked up a stage sobbing, the audience would still laugh. As far as they know, if the “tears” represent value for money, he’s doing a good job. And, who’s to blame the clown for thinking life is mean? Would you fault him for calling the world cold, selfish and self-seeking? I certainly won’t; we all feel that way from time to time  and we wish somebody would walk right up, wipe our tears, listen to our plight and tell us everything would be fine. I really wish I could be that guy right now but I will be totally honest with you; sometimes, it just never happens. So, will you wait forever to get things back on track? Would you hang your life’s purpose on the possibility of hearing a few soothing words? You may hear them from me someday , but today’s not that day. What you’d hear from me today is a simple definition; I hope it suffices.

I’ve heard people define life in all sorts of funny ways ,but one that has stuck with me is something an elderly neighbour once said to me .She said to me young man life is a big fat cake! Huh? That was my initial reaction as I quietly thought to myself that dementia must be finally setting in for this old lady… shame.But boy was I wrong because as she went on to explain. If you’ve ever seen one bake ( a cake that is ), you’d have to appreciate the bitter-sweet balance of the ingredients .It’s often only important that that cake is sweet ,though most of the ingredients scarcely are. Raw eggs taste yucky, the flour tastes bland and the yeast is just well,  foul but overall, the cake is sweet. And, even in those moments when the baker burns the mix, he doesn’t just sit and cry. He gets right back in and makes himself another mix.
The lesson I picked up from that old neighbours baking analogy is this :life can sometimes be a mean, fastidious boss who cares little whether your bread is buttered. Sometimes, we feel misunderstood; at times , results don’t seem to justify our efforts. Still, the job must be done. The world would take no excuse; the clown must perform. Even with tears in his eyes, they’d still laugh heartily. Our pains should never be reason enough to live without purpose. Life will always throw us challenges; the best of us all are those who have learn’t to rise above them.Its not about how u fail.Its about how you get back up after falling.

Its been a crazy year for me where I have gone through a lot of changes and times I have questioned myself a lot about where I am at currently in my life versus where I wanted to be , a classic case of the contender syndrome.Feeling like I am not fulfilling my potential; and not even close to who I thought I’d be.Sometimes it feels like I’m in a strange world ,totally unprepared for the nature and extent of its pressures. But I’m here now, and the show must go on. Tomorrow may be as I’ve dream’t it , but I won’t throw today away. I have to wake up everyday with a conviction to be the very best of me. The tears of a clown are scarcely more than costume to the audience!
So, till  my next blog, my word to you: don’t wait up for the stranger with soothing words. Instead, give yourself a long hard stare in the mirror and tell yourself that, in spite of the flour’s blandness and the eggs’ yuckiness, your cake will be sweet.

Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “Tears of a Clown

  1. Brenda

    November 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I like the saying …there is more to life than being born to die…so if you dont tell yourself that my cake will be sweet then life will be such a burden……My cake will be sweet

    As always great piece cuz.

    • tafadzwatich

      November 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks cuz…Now let’s get back to baking

  2. Varie Dyer

    November 30, 2011 at 8:53 am

    “Baking a cake” certainly words I needed to hear. I must say that the past week I have been baking cakes but never thought the act of doing it would be likened “life”. It has reminded me of something in my life that I started doing but stopped because I didnt get the reaction I was hoping for, all my confidence was squashed (like an ant who works so hard and yet its efforts are barely reconised by the fool who decides to step on it and end its life). I better gather all the yukiness and blandness and try again. This time nothing anyone can say will stop me from finishing this cake and enjoying the sweetness.


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