In 1986, Ricki signed up for a Clown class at her local community college. She was required to create a unique face and character, based on one of three types of clowns in the clown hierarchy. At the top is the white-faced clown, the prim and proper ringleader. At the bottom is the sad Tramp, the brunt of all the jokes. And in the middle is the Auguste, the slapstick clown. As a clown, Ricki learned you gain the freedom to tap into a part of yourself that you typically keep hidden, and she knew that she was destined for the Auguste face. She relished the opportunity to be silly and revisit the innocence of her 4-year-old self. A 4-year-old can say or do anything without fear of retribution, she can be outrageous without embarrassment, she is free from societal judgment, mores, and criticism. She. Just. Is.
So, Rockets was born. While Ricki was very professional and respectful in her everyday life and career, Rockets was carefree and innocent. Rockets did what adults wish they could do, but do not because their “self” becomes judgmental: happily waving and smiling at everyone she met, eliciting waves and smiles in return; stopping to marvel – in front of an audience – at the revolving door that everyone else took for granted; giving voice to what she honestly thought, instead of what convention expected her to say. Rockets was Ricki’s uninhibited, playful, self.
Nearly 30 years later, Ricki had an opportunity to rekindle the freedom of Rockets through improvisational coursework. By engaging in the fundamental principle of “yes, and…” she learned to be present, to trust the process and surrender to the journey. Being unencumbered by expectation gave her permission to NOT know, to trust that the outcome, with its unforeseen twists and turns, would work out just the way it was supposed to. She learned to celebrate failure and to navigate life free from agendas. She learned to create that which wouldn’t have happened anyway, to be the person she was before she grew up to become …the person she is. Ricki rediscovered her truth through a reborn Rockets.
How wonderful would it be if we all stood in our “clown?”