Wednesday, 26 January 2011

My life as a Jester

For a long time, I have wanted to be a circus freak. A few years ago, I got an old broom handle and made myself a staff. I'd swing it around my room, occasionally accidentally hitting it off of things – my bookshelf, my desk, my light... My light didn't fare too well. I have broken three lightbulbs through my circus shenanigans, one of which was 'energy saving'. Please, someone explain to me how you can break a fluorescent lightbulb without actually breaking it. I mean, it's not like it has a filament...

But, yes. I want to be a circus freak.
My first jester outfit. Yes, the hat does have
staples in it.

In my possession, I now have two practice staffs, a fire staff, an LED staff, a hula hoop, some flowersticks, some poi, a diabolo, an acrylic contact ball, a few juggling balls and some stilts (though, my stilts are currently semi-MIA). I have practiced with static trapeze, acrobalance, plate spinning and various other things.
I don't think I'm particularly good with any of these things, in fact, I'm pretty bad with a few, such as poi and plate spinning. I'm getting better with flowersticks and I'm trying to learn how to juggle, so I'm getting there, I suppose.

I remember being at sixth form, sitting in the corner of the entrance hall where my little group of friends would hang out, sewing a tiny jester hat for a jester-stick I was making for a costume I would be wearing for my friend's birthday. I named him McCrikkit. I still have him. He's smiling at me from across my room as I type. That was the first time I actively tried to be a Jester. I loved the thought of being able to entertain the ignorant masses with my amazing jestery skills. Unfortunately, I was lacking in the aforementioned skills. All I could do was swing that broom handle around my bedroom.

Now, I am lucky enough to be enrolled in a circus skills course that is held in the next town over. Imagine my glee when my friend told me about it. Yes, he originally said that someone hadn't wanted me to go, so I hadn't gone right away. When I eventually did start going, it turned out that the person who apparently hadn't wanted me to be there had said nothing of the sort. This 'friend' of mine who had told me about the course hadn't ever wanted to do that kind of thing before I had mentioned it to me. He had tried to steal my dream.

On Monday evening, I climbed up onto the trapeze, intending to practice the few moves I know since I hadn't been up there since the end of November. However, I just sat, swung my legs and thought about my half-formed plans for the future, my plans of circus-gypsying across Europe with my love. As I sat, I saw myself juggling on a street corner in a far-off city, a bag of flowersticks, poi, balls and various other things by my side, then turning my head and smiling to my companion. She smiles back, and I know that I am the happiest that I have ever been. I throw the balls into the air and catch them all in the pockets of my self-made coat. A few onlookers clap and throw coins. My companion reaches her hand towards me. I take it in my own and she pulls me into an embrace. I am free.

I got jolted back to reality after there was a cheer from the other side of the hall. The boys had managed to pull off a new acrobalance pose. With a grin, I dropped back down below the bar and swung around into Bird's Nest before dropping back down onto the mat.

Yesterday, I found myself in a new circus shop that has opened in my town. I'd popped in to have a look after I'd bought some of the fabric I needed for my costume project at college while waiting for the next train into Hartlepool. After leaving the shop with a red and black diabolo, it occurred to me that there was little reason for me to go into college after all, since my model would not be there for me to do a fitting. I wandered into HMV, hunting out some CDs and a Skins boxset, but was drawn back into the circus shop. I spent at least an hour and a half in there as the owner taught me how to juggle. One step closer to my little daydream. When I finally left the shop, I had given the owner my contact details in case he needed any help in the future when the shop got up and running properly.
Imagine that. Me, a wannabe circus freak working in a circus shop.

Just a wannabe. I'm not a circus freak yet, but I'm on my way.

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October Wolfe
Jester of Misfortune.
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