LucyLovesCircus

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Chapter 21: Circus and the Science of Happy





Thursday Morning, 7.25am.  I wafted downstairs in a demure, coral-coloured sundress. My 8 year-old son looked horrified. "Mu-um, you can't go out in that!!!" ???!!!  "It's Sports Day, parents have to wear house colours.  Mine is yellow."  OK, we have to leave to catch the bus at 7.30am.  I have yet to make the picnic. Time is short.  I grab a Brazil top that I had prudently bought in Primark a couple of years ago, because I knew it would have its moment.  That time is now. 

There is a psychology to colour, isn't there?  This was our first sports day at a new school and I was interested to note the school doesn't have a red team.  Too aggressive, would it give an edge?  Each house is named after a royal family, so obviously purple, the colour of emperors, doesn't make an appearance.  But replacing red with black? That I don't quite get.  Yet.  Maybe it was to give the parents a discreet way of supporting their house - a coal-coloured bag or a black belt and bob's your uncle.  In fact, the other parents were so discreet that you would be hard-pressed to tell what team they were supporting.  I felt like a complete muppet.  "Don't be embarrassed, Mum." said my son, giving my hand a squeeze.  Luckily yellow is a happy colour.   Their team house song was even Pharrell Williams' "Happy", which has been on repeat play in our house for weeks now. So, deep breath, shoulders back, and *smile*.

And speaking of feeling over-exposed, writing this blog over the past month I have never been so happy, but it is a process of writing, stripping away, then putting it out there.   At points doubting, which drives me crazy. So I was interested to read Alain de Boton's article on Why you need to go and see a therapist, that flashed up on twitter at the same time as the image below.  Maybe not so mad after all.




That said, signing up as LucyLovesCircus on "Facepage and Twaddle", I've certainly been hearing voices - a tsunami of status updates and tweets flooding in from all directions. Information overload.   Circus arts are my therapy, and there's a science to it all.  It gets the adrenaline pumping and the serotonin circulating.  It's a real connection with my subject matter that is a counterpoint to the virtual connection in an age of social media.

So I was interested to read a Guardian article that a friend posted on Facebook yesterday on How trapeze can lift women out of depression.   Yet again, circus space helping birds with broken wings soar - the injury may not necessarily be physical. 

And it's a funny thing, but reading that article it occurred to me there are certain parallels between circus and mental health issues.  Some just don't get it.  Others do.  And not everyone is comfortable talking about it, but when you start speaking out about your own experiences, others the world over chime in with theirs, often surprisingly. Our host at a Christie's summer party, for example, who hangs out with an aerialist from the Roundhouse's CircusFest, the mum at the school bus-stop whose grandmother was a trapeze artist in Paris, the friend in the City who spent his teen years in France skateboarding and swapping tricks with street performers,  and turns out to be a wicked juggler.   People's faces light up, with relief, with excitement.  And that's the buzz.  

Go on, clap along if you feel like that's what you want to do...



And then breathe.





Credits:  The opening picture comes from The Happy Show , an exhibition at the I.C.A. in 2013 designed by Stephan Sagmeister, recreating the space in his mind "to increase his happiness via mediation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering pharmaceuticals."


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