The other day I was checking out a site called “Our Little Taste of Heaven,” It’s about a girl, Emma, who has a rare form of (currently fatal) anemia who has been in and out of hospitals much of her life. I came across one entry her mom wrote called, “Meeting the Clown,” that struck me as proof solid you never know who you are going to need when.
Emma hated hospitals and doctors and nurses until she was transferred to Cincinnati for a bone marrow transplant. What made the difference? A medical clown there.
Pauly the Clown’s antics relieved her anxiety so much that she started talking more to doctors and nurses about her condition which helped them help her. She didn’t even need calming drugs when she had anesthesia for the transplant. Go ahead, click here and read all about it, I’ll wait here.
See? This clown is actually helping save her life. And he’s visiting lots of really sick children who feel hopeless and are hurting and somehow magically making them smile. What a gift that must be to not only the child, but also to that child’s parents.
The clown the mother mentions was once a Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey performer. He’s now involved in founding an institution to train other medical clowns. So he’s probably saving exponentially more lives with less drugs.
I wonder whether anyone in the circus audience thought, “gee, that guy is going to heal some kids if he keeps at it,” when he was running around the ring in giant shoes squirting seltzer.
Yesterday was spirit day in Middletown. Anti-bullying messages always strike a chord with me. Yesterday, Princess, Buster and I all wore orange shirts like Mayor Drew asked us to. I told Princess that you have to be nice to everyone because no matter what it seems like, you’re all on the same team.
I thought about how bullying is really just people trying to decide who matters, and when they decide on someone who shouldn’t, they try to squish that person’s spirit with cruel words or actions. Once that person’s spirit is beaten low enough, I suppose the “squishers” will feel like they matter more or something.
I’m familiar with bullying and feeling like you’re not part of the status quo. My brain works differently from many I guess. I tend to zig when others zag. If someone sees black when another sees white, I’m usually like, “really guys, you aren’t seeing the celadon and fuchsia plaid?”
When I was younger, it sometimes bothered me and made me feel lonely. Now, of course, I realize while it’s sometimes awkward to have a different view, sometimes it’s downright genius. At the very least, a lot of times it’s freaking hilarious. Especially when I present my ideas confidently and with humility and humor.
I’m not even sure if my weird brain is why, but I have been the kid that gets picked on. In middle school, kids spit down into my hair and called me names from the windows of their buses, where I couldn’t even see their faces. I got prank phone calls that left me crying. I have “BITCH,” carved into one of my middle school yearbooks.
But, I’ve also been in with the “cool” kids sometimes. Oklahoma State University’s Zeta Tau Alpha chapter is a good example. It’s a big important house with girls who won pageants, played college sports, were rancher’s daughters and could have been the most judgmental people in the world. They didn’t just let me in, they elected me to some executive offices, too. They thought I mattered. (P.S. As a kid or as a grown up, there really aren’t cool kids or grown ups.)
If I had let those idiots from 7th grade define me, I’m not sure where I’d be. And I still have no idea what their issue was, or even their names. And it wasn’t easy to move on from, with the hormones, awkward body and confusing thoughts of a 12-year-old. But I’m glad I did.
I’d like to send a message out to kids who feel “different” or get picked on: First, you matter. Keep being who you are because even though it may feel like your soul is being crushed, it’s not. You’re braver than you think and this will pass and I’ve never heard someone say, “gosh, I wish I’d passed up on that violin-playing (or reading, or magic, or anime or whatever) I enjoyed so much to dress more like the other kids in clothes I hated and hung out with them doing things I hated.” Don’t do that, because that might really crush your soul.
I’d also like to send a message out to those of you who presume to decide that another human in your community (at school, online, in town, wherever) doesn’t matter because they don’t play a sport or don’t dress right or don’t talk enough: EVERYONE matters. You’re a darned fool for ever even thinking you could decide that one human matters more than others. And if you’re doing this out of fear that you don’t matter and need to prove otherwise, please see my message to the kid you’re about to pick on.
Because, as Pauly the Clown showed Emma and her mom, we live in a world where there are life-and-death situations where spinning hats on sticks and other nonsense matter a lot. So who could any of us be to judge another human’s worth?
You never know, that clown you’re thinking of being mean to may save your kid’s life someday.
“Ever since the beginning, to keep this world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds…” – Writers Phillip Coleman
Don Henry, as sung by Miranda Lambert (who is backed up by Stoney LaRue, who I watched, harassed, and even got to play guitar with once during my time in Stillwater, OK)