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Blog - Dolly Sen

The Existential Circus / 29 September 2015

It is an old style circus poster with a circus tent at the bottom, and a picture of a tiger and a clown. The headline act reads: existential circus. Below that read: enjoy the mediocre clowns of sanity and madness. You won't get your money back.

Existential Circus

Although I am part of Mad Pride in response to the shaming by the sanatised, I do sometimes feel that madness is a terrible impersonator of the self. I think there is something to the fact that sometimes the self needs to be played badly, an existential tribute act, in order to maintain dignity.

One problem is being ridiculed for not surrendering the dignity. One tragedy is that the self and its inadequate impersonation are both unpleasant acts on a mediocre bill.

I am not talking about semantics of what normality and madness is, and whether they are socially constructed terms or ideas. I am talking about the existence of these inexpressible but knowable experiences in the human world.

Some people tell me that there is no such thing as normal and jokingly say that they are not, but they haven’t stepped outside normal long enough to know if you are not normal, you would know about it quickly and heartbreakingly. You wouldn’t be incautious enough to say that it doesn’t exist.

Those who say ‘there is no such thing as normal’ don’t bring down psychiatric instutions (why do we need them if no-one is normal), they still laugh and avoid those dragged into them.

Madness reacts to the normal world of abuse, trauma and unfulfilled dreams, but madness is mediocre too. I am tired of its show. Its dance seeks grace but just steps on feet. Its orchestra plays on tortured animals.

I laugh at both. I cry at both.

I don’t know how the show goes on.

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