Monday, January 10, 2011

In a Heartbeat

This morning I was faced, for the third time, with reading ominous words of farewell from someone online. And for the third time I felt my limbs go cold and my eyes burn. In all of the cases, I had no direct way of contacting the person. One was a distant relative who said her goodbyes on her Facebook wall and then went silent. I called people who were closer to her and they found her to be fine. A bit groggy from the night before, feeling a bit silly, but fine. She removed the post right away.

The second was someone I heard about on Twitter. Others were asking for help in contacting this woman in the States who had written that she was done with this world and for someone to please take care of her husband. I was vaulted into action. I found her on Facebook and started to frantically search through her friends until finally I found a young man with her last name. I messaged him. Incredibly he messaged me back, at first saying his mother wasn't answering the phone. And then, that he had reached her and she was okay. Just sad about her life.

What happened next on Twitter goes beyond schoolyard bullying. This woman was chastised by so many for "scaring them", for the "attention grab" and other ridiculous comments. One woman claimed she had been up since 2 AM worrying and she was 5 months pregnant. She felt cheated and lied to. Why, because the woman didn't end up killing herself?

When someone says online that they are done with this world, they are reaching out. How horrible that we would make such a moment about ourselves.

Then there was today. I know and like this woman. So when someone on Twitter asked for any update on her, the alarm bells went off. Her last tweet was much like what the other two had said. My head silently screamed "NO!" and there was a flurry of activity with others, trying to find out if anyone had or could contact her.

I had only a business number and there was no response. I called the police. I had no address so they said they would have my local police come over and start an investigation. I said I understood procedure but I was worried about my friend. Frantically, as the police waited on the phone, I searched for an address. It was the wrong one. The police entered the wrong home and then informed the wrong husband that his wife was suicidal. Fuck.

Then an online friend gave me the proper address and I called the police back.

The woman is fine. As fine as you be when you were in such a state that you told the world that you were done with it. I'm not fine. I'm drained, I'm sad that I wasn't able to handle this effectively and that it created trauma for some.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Friday, January 7, 2011

How I Became a Clown (Guest Blog!)

My journey to become a clown started 3.5 years ago when I had my first child. My Aunt has been a clown for 11 years and she encouraged me to also become a clown to work for myself and earn some extra income. She kept assuring me that I could do it even though I've never felt like a particularly creative person. Just over 3 years later I (finally) joined her for a face painting jam she was hosting in her home for a small group of people. Most of us were newbies. I surprised myself! I was able to think outside the box and the painting wasn't all that bad, for my first time.

Shortly after that I attended the annual Clowns Canada Carnivale where I learned more about face painting, simple magic, basic balloon twisting and glitter tattoos. More importantly, the attendees were very open about sharing their experiences and answering questions. It was a great learning experience and I was pumped to start my own gig. I created my website and got a phone number and email account. Now what? Luckily I had my Aunt to guide me and she very generously invited me to attend a birthday party with her. There I learned how to put my magic into a show suitable for young children. I now had the confidence to take the plunge - I put up a free ad on the internet. I got responses!!

I was so nervous for my very first birthday party - a 5 year old girl with 20 friends and cousins. It was a huge success - there were smiling faces everywhere and lots of laughing. The time absolutely flew by and the smiles and laughter were on my face, too. What a FUN "job"!! Since then the jobs have been steadily coming in. I get nervous before each and every party or event, just as nervous as the first time. But at the end of them all I can say the same thing, "Where did the time go? I'm pooped and had so much fun!"

Sarah (a.k.a. "Pickles the Clown") lives in Barrie with her husband, daughter and silly little dog. When she's not clowning, she likes studying Endo-molecular biology.
Pickles The Clown serves Barrie, Ontario and the surrounding area and may be reached at 705.828.6284 or visit her website at
See you at the next Clown Carnivale, Pickles!