[Originally written 9.22.03]
Even tho I may be a Dirty Jersey Carny, I have the ability to do what I want and go where ever any time I want. Over the Summer, I met some awesome people and had the time to practice my sideshow acts. To me, that is more important than anything right now. Jon always said that I would learn more responsibility and survival skills that I wouldn’t have if I was stuck in corporate slavery. In an odd way, he is proud of me for standing up for what I believe in. He also tells me that I have such a positive attitude, and paired with my no bullshit work ethic, I will be able to do whatever I want.
In the long run, I could have stayed at that salon, but I made the concious choice to say fuck it because there are other things that I believe in more. Like being selfish for a change and putting myself before everyone and everything, because if what I am doing is not making me happy, I see no point in doing it. Maybe that is just the bohemian attitude I usually keep quiet, but not any more.
I have found what I love, and that is sideshow.
For the past seven days, I have been reading Shocked and Amazed vol. 7, which includes interviews of several Sideshows by the Seashore performers past and present. This has taken an effect on me. Certainly I noticed how many of the performers did not start out where they are today. They were given an opportunity, and it worked out for them. That is all I really need. If I know my shit, and can just pull it out at a moments notice, I have a chance of getting a gig that will last more than a nite. Sometimes you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Believe me, I would be happier sweeping the floors at a sideshow than the floors in a salon. This is in my blood and is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is not a job or a career; this is a lifestyle.
This choice makes me happy, that is what matters most, and I don’t need anyone’s approval. Not that I would have it anyway. My mother is clueless on most aspects of my life. My father only knows what he can get out of my sister. While I suppose I could tell him, a part of me says that no matter how supportive he may seem, whatever I do is not good enough because it’s not what he envisioned for me.
Jon is pretty much my main support, but he’s a Carny too and we stick together like that. He has been in my position and he understands that I won’t let anything get in my way of doing what I want. His positivity is what keeps me motivated, focused and driving towards goals that I never even dreamed of. The only thing is, I don’t really let anyone into this part of my life. It’s like I am a completely different person when I am with Jon, but I certainly feel more like myself than when I am anywhere else.
Every time I am out and some random person feels the need to speak to me, it proves that what I want to do is right. It just feel right, and I would rather go with my gut instinct than force myself into something that may in fact yield a bigger monetary reward, but there are intangible things that bring a smile to my face no amount of money could have bought. Money, in some respects, may be able to buy you certain things, but it cannot buy your freedom unless you are doing what you truly love.
Despite what some may think, the sideshow ain’t all fun and games. There is a lot of hard work doing numerous shows a day. So far, I have put my full effort into every one of the shows I have performed with Jon and the Outlaw Cirkus. No matter how much energy gets put out, the audience delivers joys that are hard to compare to anything else. Why would I want to give that up to put on a uniform, take orders and get paid some shitty wage for numerous hours of tedious, meaningless tasks?
In this world, it’s rhinos vs. cows. Seeing as how I’m not going to be a fucking cow, it’s the other path for me.
The days of hustling are not yet over, tho the method of execution is different. Selling sideshow acts is almost legit, considering we are doing what we are telling people they want to see. Jon makes a spectacular talker, which comes so naturally that one would easily pick up on his swagger the moment that Southern tinged voice hits the microphone. He has grace and elegance; confidence and poise; a presence that resonates with the captivated audience as they wait with baited breath for the next words to be delivered. He can sell a woman wearing white gloves a ketchup popsicle on a hot Summer day. He can build a good tip and get them all to donate at least a dollar for the Blow-Off. A mix between Milt Levine, John Bradshaw and Tyler Fyre; golden-age meets old school meets retro future with the ability to adjust his pitch according to the type of crowd that’s around. My partner in crime.
This is about the time I come to realize a whole lot of things that I don’t want to say. Revealing certain emotions are hard, because they are so intense that I am afraid of what would happen if I just let them out. However, I know that being honest and putting these things out in the open would probly make me feel a whole lot better, even if the reaction that comes may not be the one I want. Then I tell myself, no matter what, he will understand, because we are bonded by friendship and with it until the end.