October 31st, 2016. Monday. 10:51pm. Feeling existential.
You know when you’re in the shower, and you have one of those thoughts which expands in the back of your mind like a spreading infection? Yeah, I had one of those.
The other day I posted a rather Halloween-appropriate picture of one of my closest friends with some mutilated clown makeup, courtesy of yours truly, on Instagram. Here’s another picture for reference:
“Welcome to the Cirque du Sang…” I wrote, selecting a tongue that I hadn’t used in a good three years prior.
What I failed to mention in that caption was why: why did I deface my friend? Unless you know me in person (or follow me on Twitter) you probably know little about my personal or academic interests; you won’t know that I am a language-based student, studying Lit, Lang, Spanish and Media Studies. You won’t know that I am a film buff, studying to be a film producer in the (hopefully) not-so-distant future. This particular makeup piece was for my current project: my AS Media Studies horror film opening, which can be followed at https://foundationproductioner.wordpress.com.
But forget the details for now, this shower thought isn’t about that. This is about me. This is about my confusion.
I thought: narratives are almost always allegories for their writer’s personal battles. Golding’s The Lord of the Flies is an allegory for morality; Avatar is an allegory for racism, militarism, and the destruction of the earth by humanity; even my novel-in-progress, Arcadia, carries a parable for the sexism and homophobia that I have grown all-too-familiar with. So, I thought: what about the Cirque du Sang?
In brief, my AS Media Studies film concept focuses on a circus of sadistic clowns who abduct innocents to transform into “acts” for their freak show – the Cirque du Sang. As mentioned before, you can read more about that on my Media blog as I develop the project, but for now let’s focus on what I have. I won’t lie, my concept development was pretty spontaneous and seemingly derived from nowhere. It’s very much Saw meets It meets Five Nights at Freddie’s. But for me, showering is dangerous. When I start thinking about something, I think. And I think some more, and then I get dangerously existential and start scratching at every tiny detail that prickles to the surface until my skin is red-raw and stinging under the seemingly scorching water. This time, I can report, was no different. And here’s why:
You see, the past couple of weeks have been a mess for me. Since posting my last blog about my alopecia I have been drowned under a tsunami of feelings: pride; regret; guilt; fear; pain. Mental pain, and then a load of physical pain piled precariously on top like a stack of crates that is just one too high. On the morning of my job interview at Marks and Spencer, I looked in the mirror to find that one of my eyebrows had gone. Poof! Adieu, self-esteem!
How’s that for first impressions?
Now, as I sit here writing this, the right side of my head feels as though it has been dunked in hydrochloric acid. But only the right side, because you see I seem to have become very lopsided. My right eyebrow has vanished, the right side of my scalp is bald beneath a sheaf of dying hair, my right leg no longer needs to be shaved, and is left feeling unnaturally cold due to the permanent tingle which prowls along it… but why?!
“Why?” That is a question I fear I have asked once too many times in the past 10 years. Why me? Why does it hurt? Why aren’t you answering my questions? It’s frustrating! So frustrating, in fact, that I have accidentally based a whole horror film around it.
Let’s take another look at my victim:
Here we see a mutilation, leaving the victim very much lopsided. One side of her face is clearly disfigured, leaving a bloody gash which stands out like the colour red. The other side, though masked in sorrowed greyscale, is unharmed. This girl has been turned, against her will, into a clown – a laughingstock. And, of course, it hurts, but she keeps smiling because she must.
She has no choice.