While Chahloula struggles to become the clown that she was created to be, I decided to look back at old pictures of Peach E. and Mimi. I came across a couple pictures from my pre-clown days. Do you remember who you were before you put on grease paint, wig, and costume?
I was known as 'the Butterfly Lady'. Normally, caterpillars turn into butterflies, but in my situation, the butterfly turned into a clown! We can probably all look back and laugh at where we were when we started clowning.
I learned how to make balloon animals in 2000 by reading a library book and buying a bag of balloons. I discovered that I had a talent for twisting balloons when I took some (balloons) to a birthday party and friends wanted to try making the animals. Not long after that, a friend gave me an opportunity to put my new skill to use when she asked if I could make balloon animals at a train station for their annual "Thomas the Tank" event. This two-week event attracted thousands of families with children from miles around.
My job was to stand on the train platform, in a covered area (Hallelujah!), and make simple balloon animals for the kids. There was a line at times, but no matter who was complaining, I smiled and drew a face on every dog, cat, snail, swan, and bunny balloon. (I firmly believe animals need faces!) That was my introduction to entertaining children.
I had a box next to me with good Qualatex balloons ready to use. I still use Qualatex balloons (from Clown Antics) because they do really well in this Tunisian heat.
The kids would stare at the butterfly on my face and my butterfly wings. Many kids returned each summer and remembered the Butterfly Lady.
I remember how my fingers and wrists would hurt at the end of each day. They wanted me to work every day during the two-week event, but by the end of the first week, my hands needed a day of rest!
I worked this event for a few summers. While I was making balloon animals with "Thomas the Tank" in Dillsboro, NC, I never thought I would end up twisting balloons in Tunisia, North Africa, as a clown named Chahloula.
Don't despise small beginnings. Everyone has to start somewhere.