You can face your fears, or just turn your back on them
- Written by Patsy Oliver
We recently had the opportunity to go to the circus. I had five tickets, so I just needed to figure out who wanted to go. My Cute Little German Mother wanted to go, but she has so much trouble walking, she wasn’t sure. She’s not in a wheelchair, which makes it a bit harder when going places such as this. My 12-year-old son wanted to go and so did my nephew. My daughter, 19, however, reminded me that her fear of clowns would not permit such an excursion. I only realized she was afraid of clowns last year. I couldn’t remember an occasion where she had been traumatized by one of the red-nosed pranksters, but here she was, too afraid to see one at the circus. We finally decided that it must have stemmed from her first trip to the circus. She was about 2 and she did cry, but I did not realize that it was the clowns that scared her. That kid cried all the time when she was little. She’d turn blue sometimes and I would blow in her little red face to make her breath. We laughed about that when I told her how she was. I said that the clowns must have been why she didn’t like the circus... or perhaps it was a forgotten run-in with Ronald McDonald. In any case, she was adamant about avoiding any future encounters. My youngest son has had a lot of fun with this information since learning of his sister’s “clownophobia.” So, the day to go to the circus was upon us. It was raining cats and dogs, so my mother decided she did not want to go. Then Heather, my daughter, announced that her friend from work had just been to the circus and she, too, is deathly afraid of clowns. “She said that it was not bad. The clowns were far away and not scary.” So, Heather was going to face her fears and go to the circus. We left early because you could meet some of the performers if you got there by 6:30. We got there before that and proceeded to find our seats. The performers were on the floor, doing individual small acts and greeting visitors. There were some clowns, but none too close. My son was off before I could locate my seat. And to my surprise, Heather and her cousin, Jarod, were not far behind. I went down to join them and we were watching this pretty little girl contort her body into positions that reminded me of endstage tetanus. That’s when it happened. I felt a light mist of water landing on my face and turned to see where it had come from. There he was. A large clown with a “pesticide” bottle, standing about 2 inches from the back of Heather’s head. He was getting ready to spray her, too. I looked her square in the eyes and said as calmly as I could, “Don’t turn around, but there’s a clown right behind you. He’s about to spray you with some water. He’s cute ... not scary at all.” She turned as red as when she screamed as a 2-year-old. The clown fumigated her with the bottle and went along to pursue other victims. And there it was. Fear relieved. I mean, she certainly didn’t hug any clowns, but she was fine with the rest of the evening. I think my son would have preferred a screaming hissy fit and half expected her to punch the clown in the face ... not an out-of-the-question reaction for Heather when you sneak up on her. But she was fine ... and he was somewhat disappointed. We had a really good time. It reminded me of the time in fourth-grade when I won a coloring contest and got free tickets for my whole family to go to the circus. We had a great time, but we were not there early and I missed the special “meet the animals and performers” time before the show started. I remember being so disappointed, especially after my teacher told me Monday that she had waited for me there. But this time we got there early and saw it all, even if it wasn’t for a special gathering of Crayon artists. So, there you go. You can face your fears, or simply know they’re right behind you. It’s all good. And I’m so relieved that she didn’t punch Mr. Bubbles in the face.