When I was a little girl, nothing terrified me more than going to the circus, which for some reason, my family loved taking me to. Despite my pleads of, "Noooo, I don't want to!", which they probably thought were the pleadings and rantings of a bratty little girl (I wasn't bratty, I was a good girl). But, they were the pleadings of a very scared girl! Clowns, freaks, it was all horrific to me. I remember going to freak shows as a little girl and coming home traumatized.
Now that I'm older, I'm no longer scared or terrified. I can now appreciate and see the true beauty of "freaks" and freak shows. Yes, beauty. Beauty because these "freaks", really are just like you and me. The only difference is their physical appearance. Perhaps they have some sort of disease that makes them grow an incredible amount of hair. Or they have a disease that makes their limbs shorter than the typical person. But, like us (and by "us", I mean those of us that do not have similar afflictions) they have hearts. They have feelings. They laugh. They cry. They have families. They love. I truly believe that when we are born with certain afflictions, things that make us stand out from the typical person - it's almost like a gift. It's like a gift in the sense that we can learn from each other, we can love each other. Beauty truly is on the inside. What's on the outside - that's only temporary. For example, if you're overweight, you can lose the weight. But what's on the inside, well, you just can't find that in anyone, because we are all unique. We all have different minds and hearts. No two people are alike. But, we all laugh, cry and love. We are all beautiful. Inside AND out!
The Salon Sisters || http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0b/Salon-Sisters.jpg
Dolly Dimples 1938 || http://www.fungus-amungus.com/clickpic/lg_Dolly_Dimples_Freak_Show_Cony_Island_1938_8x10.jpg
A newer "freak" || http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_mmBw3uzPnJI/RoA14jBP0tI/AAAAAAAAF0E/Mp4zhsDZpoY/s400/ripleys_freak_show_009.jpg
I am reminded of this episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, it's pretty funny. Here's a clip.
Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Freak Book
So what does Wikipedia consider to be a "freak"? Let's take a look...
"An older usage refers to the physically deformed, or having extraordinary diseases and conditions, such as sideshow performers. This has fallen into disuse, except as a pejorative, and (among the performers of such shows) as jargon. A "freak" in this sense can be formally defined as someone not falling within typical standard deviations."
And more contemporary...
"commonly used to refer to a person with something unusual about their appearance or behaviour"
Here's the Full Wiki Article
Below are some video clips of vintage freak shows. Enjoy!
And to top it off, I recently wrote a song that is fitting, I think. (A little self-promotion doesn't hurt, either!)
So, if anyone has ever called you a "freak", just say, "Thank you!" and smile, because, in reality, being a freak isn't such a bad thing, is it? It just means you're unique. Being a "freak" is beautiful, at least in my eyes.
With warm regars,
Christina E. Pietrowski