Hard Way to Make an Easy Living

The following is not directed to anyone in particular, since I have encountered many individuals over the years who quite frankly do not understand my choice of lifestyle.  If what is written offends you, then perhaps you are guilty of the behavior described, and need to take a hard long look at yourself and your choices.  We make no apologies for the brutal truth.

In the ten years or so that I have dedicated a good portion of my time to being a Carny, there have been people who make all sorts of comments about the fact that I do not have a ‘real job’.  The are plenty of entries posted here where I mention my efforts of obtaining employment, which began shortly after I graduated high school in 2000 and continued for many years after.  During this time, I was fortunate enough to come across Jon and subsequently introduced to the Carny life.  He shared with me all the details of the things he went thru – the good, the bad and the incredibly ugly, which most people will never see.  They are treated to the onstage illusion that sideshow portrays, because that is what we as performers are selling to the audience.  What they do not see is all the hard work that goes into creating the show in the first place, such as practicing routines, making costumes, booking shows and promoting them.  While it may not be the same as say sitting behind a desk and entering data into a computer or dealing with customers in a retail atmosphere, it is indeed work, to the point where I feel most people would crumble under the stress that it can cause.

There are a number of reasons that I entered into this lifestyle, and it has nothing to do with that fact that I am too ‘lazy’ to get a ‘real job’.  Allow me to remind you that when I traveled with the carnival, I was most certainly doing physical labor and working 10-12 hours a day, not to mention that I spent the majority of that time on my feet.  While other performers were sitting backstage waiting for the next show to begin, I was on the bally stage or in the ticket box getting customers inside the tent.  Once again, these are the things that people do not see, and they tend to forget that many of the sideshow acts themselves can be physically exhausting – a few of them even literally put the performer’s life at risk, all for the sake of entertaining the crowd.

It would take very little effort to discover that there are many performers out there who make a living off what they do.  However, I am not one of them, even tho there was a time I got paid quite decently for my skills.  My motivation does not come from money, fame or popularity.  Ever since my days with Outlaw Cirkus, I do what I do because I love it.  There are few feelings that can be equated with those that fill me when I am on stage, where hundreds of eyes are fixed on me while I perform, and my main compensation is a thunderous round of applause.  When people come up to me and thank me for what I have done or want to talk to me, that means more to me than green pieces of paper.  This is my passion, my art and my life; getting paid for it is just a nice bonus.

For reasons that are unknown to me, many people do not understand my line of thinking.  Of course choosing to be a Carny comes with many consequences, and as I mentioned earlier, some of these are quite frightening.  The best example is the fact that I received death threats from anonymous cowards before and after moving from New Jersey to Philly.  No matter how stressful you think your job is, I am willing to bet that none of you ever had this experience.  It is unsettling to realize that nameless faceless individuals know exactly what you look like and where you live, and obviously have no problem telling you that they are going to bash your head in with a baseball bat if they ever see you on the street.  Let that sink in real good before you try and tell me what I do is fun.

Sure, there are plenty of benefits to my lifestyle, but for every one there is also a down side.  Numerous people have told me that it must be great not to have a ‘real job’, but once again, they have a certain idea of what my life must be like.  Apparently I get to have nonstop parties and never have to worry about things like paying rent or buying food for myself; all of those things just happen by magic.  Of course I enjoy the fact that I have all the time I could want to do anything I please, tho there are moments where I get bored because everyone I know is working and cannot exactly hang out when I would like to.  It all comes down to choices, and I should not be the target of other people’s jealousy because they aren’t happy with the ones they have made.  There is one answer I always have for that – if you do not like something in your life, then you have to make the effort to change it.

There is no doubt in my mind that I have worked hard for everything I have accomplished in the past decade of performing.  Other people do not see that effort, and as a result, I am accused of some very hurtful things.  Such as the fact that I “don’t contribute” to whatever household I may be a part of.  Being left home alone with my sister since I was about 11, I have been able to do my own laundry, clean the house and generally take care of myself.  These are very simple things that became second nature, and yet other grown adults seem to fail horribly at such tasks.  It is not that hard to clean up after yourself, and using the fact that you had to go to work that day as an excuse makes you look lazy.  While I understand that spending 8-10 hours or more doing the same menial task over and over again can be somewhat exhausting, I simply refuse to be told that people who are physically capable of making a mess are somehow incapable of cleaning it up.  Doing so only takes a few minutes, and no one said you have to do it right after work, but living like a pig shows how little you care about yourself and your living environment.  Sorry, but I refuse to live in other people’s filth, and giving me attitude that I “do nothing” when I have cleaned up other people’s shit longer than I should have does not speak much for your character.

That is just a small example of the type of negativity that spawns from my lifestyle choice, because somehow, not having as much financial security or stability as someone else equates to the inability to take care of myself in other ways.  In all honesty, I could be living in a shack in the woods and I would still maintain myself and my home the same as if I had a luxury condo in a highly populated city.  There are other things in this world besides money, and yes I am fully aware that it is a necessity, so please refrain from treating me like I am simple and do not understand this.  For a small time in my life, I had no worries about money, and I do not think that makes me a spoiled princess or anything like that.  Plenty of it was spent on rent, bills and food, as well as buying and insuring my own vehicles.  Besides, what I did with my money is my own business, since I don’t go around asking others what they did with theirs or pointing out the fact they spent it on something they did not need instead of paying rent.

The fact of the matter is, that unless you have spent a moment in my shoes, you have no idea what my life is really like.  The image displayed on the Internet is only one aspect of it, and of course follows the old tradition of only letting people see what you want them to.  Drowning in your own ignorance and delusions is not my fault, and aiming your frustrations and anger about your own life at me is quite annoying.  Making assumptions about me and my life cause you to be the fool.  Let me say that I have indeed struggled greatly to survive this long; I have lost my brother and my Family because of who they were, which is a pain that many will never have to feel, because your ‘real job’ doesn’t carry that sort of danger.  Again, I want you to really think about these facts before you shit out your mouth and pretend to know what my life is like.

Oh, and for the record, I have never stated that I feel I am better than anyone because of who I am or what I do.  If anything,  I am more humble than many other ‘popular’ performers.  In fact, I find it strange when people come up to me to shake my hand or offer a compliment about my performance.  Once I was in the audience looking up at the stage with awe, which is something that I will always remember, and so I do my best to be kind to those who wish to have a moment of my time.  Where this misconception of ‘I am better than you’ attitude comes from, I have no idea, but please be assured that I do not conduct myself in this manner.  There is nothing but class and confidence that exudes from me, whether I am on stage or in public, and I can understand how that might be misinterpreted, so take these facts at face value and stop putting words in my mouth.

The final subject I wish to address is the one of relationships, as my choice of lifestyle has certainly sparked much debate among other things.  From the very beginning, I have always been honest about who I am and what I do, so that there are no secrets or surprises down the road.  Once again, just because I could not contribute as much financially as whomever I had been dating, did not mean I gave no effort to put more than my fair share of emotional investment into the relationship, not to mention selfishly doing for others without asking for anything more than a thank-you in return.  However, this combined with the aforementioned honesty was not enough for some, even tho they lied in stating that they understood and supported my choices.  Money will certainly destroy a relationship, along with the jealousy that spawns from the fact that your partner has to go to work every day while you get to do whatever you want.

It is with great joy that I can finally say that I have found a partner who truly understands, to the point where he told me I don’t ever have to get a ‘real job’ or do anything that would cause me to be unhappy.  That is his choice, and it it for no one to question, whether or not they like it or accept it.  He knew what he was getting into when we were still friends and going out to dinner, and even now he has no problem with who I am or what I want to do with my life.  It is all my choice, and should not be the subject of gossip among those who don’t get it.  That’s your fault, not mine.  Getting angry and spewing words brewed out of jealousy show just how unhappy you are with your life, so spend the effort on fixing it instead of dictating what I should do with mine.  There is no doubt that if you lived my way for just one week, you would break down in tears and otherwise fall apart, because this not a glamorous movie or fictional fairytale, and I have never treated my life as such.

In conclusion, if you do not understand my choices or my lifestyle, make the effort to discover the answers to those questions instead of making sad attempts at putting me down.  Your raging jealousy makes me laugh, because you have no idea who I am or how I have spent my life.  This journal is a fine example of some moments, so I would suggest taking the time to read and maybe you might find something that will enlighten your closed mind.  Otherwise, it would be highly appreciated for people to quit sticking their noses in my business, because I couldn’t care less what you do with your life, so I have no idea what is so damn fascinating about mine.  The things that I share on-line are partially for my own entertainment, but also so others can have an idea of what it truly means to be a Carny.  This life is not for everyone, and as detailed in this entry, it is certainly always going to be open to discussion by those who would rather speculate than base their opinion on facts.

Love me or hate me; this is who I am.

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