I put on clown makeup yesterday. It had been awhile. It had been so long that it reminded me of the first time in 1977. It smelled the same. It felt the same. The same stirring of excitement deep in my spirit. The same sense of adventure. The same awe as I looked in the mirror and watched the transformation. To be serious about clowning is to die to oneself. The makeup is a death mask in that way; one allows those physical clues of identity to disappear. To become a clown character is to experience a rebirth. The birth of a part of me that is not always visible. The part that is more playful more childlike, and more vulnerable then the way I usually present myself to the world. I remember reading once that you shouldn't "paint it on the outside if it doesn't exist on the inside". To become a clown is to give yourself permission to turn the inside out. There is a misconception that a clown hides behind the makeup. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.
Maybe that is why people react in such strong ways to my clown character. His vulnerability invokes their vulnerability. I felt like I really connected on a deep level with people yesterday. It felt good. It felt right.