Here I am again, the cold wind blowing in my face, the collars on my doctor’s coat flapping, Berena Deserved Better sign on a thin bit of plywood threatening to fly off at any point, my fingers slightly numb, my legs stuck in one spot. And someone comes by. I offer him the bit of paper with part of our poem written on in my wife’s handwriting.
So dramatic. Get over it.
Let it go. So one dies
One cheats, the relationship
Post consummation goes dark.
So you don’t understand the
Beauty of your creations.
“No – I’ve taken one already.”
I want to tell him this one is new. He hasn’t seen this before. And he hasn’t really understood because he is passing by. Not engaging. Refusing to interact. He’s probably been told not to. Told he shouldn’t have engaged with the clowns in the first place. Got to tow the party line. I can’t tell him to take it anyway. I can’t urge him to take the bit of paper and try again to understand what is going on better. Because I am silent. I am a silent clown. A silent, sad, lesbian clown. Nothing sadder than that. Nothing that we could think of anyway.
So he passes by, retreats to the security gate into Elstree studios in Borehamwood. And I am left looking pathetically after him. As I have looked at the last 3 people – pathetically and sadly. And silently.
The wind blows strongly – as it has been blowing for the last week it seems. I get a chance to play with the wind as it tries to knock me over. At least the wind is engaging with me. Last month it was a lone magpie. One for sorrow – it landed on cue just across the road from me. I tried to walk up to it to make friends but it flew off. Leaving me sadder than ever. Even the most sorrowful bird in the world found me too sad to be around. I think I made it feel awkward because neither of us knew what to say to each other without words. I get that so frequently with humans too. It’s just so damn awkward. Poor people of Elstree studios – we should have mercy on them really.
How did I get myself into this chilly and awkward position? Partly genetics and partly my wife I suppose. My wife is also a sad, lesbian clown. She is not as awkward – but definitely sad. We both feel silenced. Not so much by being told explicitly to shut up – more by the feeling – that grows every time it happens – the feeling that we are disregarded, ignored, purposefully misunderstood, given the same old tropes, created by the same old stories about women loving women coming to the same old ends. And because we are not heard – we are silenced. This is how we feel. That we shouldn’t really exist at all or that we don’t really exist and never have done. Kind of the female condition really.
And it’s weird but it feels more like that the more we see lesbians on television. Because the ones we see are so far from the reality that so many of us create. The reality is that usually lesbians stay together for a really long time. Have stable relationships, happy endings. Or normal endings at least. No drama for drama’s sake. It isn’t a roller coaster. So much ordinary life goes on. Funny moments, arguments, getting the shopping. Chilling. Picking up from school. Ordinary bog standard life that is precious in itself.
That is what I like about our clowns. We don’t do anything dramatic. In fact, we hardly do anything at all. Because less is more. We just are. There. Every month, one morning a month. We hire a car, drive up, stand and give out bits of paper, listen for a response, drive home. Online we are called intimidating. It actually isn’t that dramatic. Much more boring. Because that is what we want. More boring please! And breathe.