It is where the entertainers and the entertainment directors from all over the country collide, and it is a blast. I get to meet other entertainers, unusual acts and I love it because, let’s face it, it takes a certain personality to do this work.
I meet such talented people, and better still, hear the best stories.
God, I love people.
One couple I met have a grizzly bear show, a really good one. They were away from home to be at this convention and missed their bears. They love those bears so much, it reminded me of how I feel when I am away from my own animals, and how l worry, even though I know my babies are in excellent care.
They had a baby boy back home too, and clearly had a great and loving marriage. I had to ask where they met, and it turned out that he had been an alligator wrestler at a big resort and she was visiting from a small town 1600 miles away while on vacation.
I guess watching him wrestle a 10-foot croc turned her on because she struck up a conversation with him… and the rest, is history. Together they started a life of grizzly bears and like me, spend half the year on the road, making memories for people.
Another couple were seal trainers; both grew up in the circus training animals, and were even second and third generation trainers. They were a fun, wonderful, loving, and very gifted couple, up to their ears in fish.
What I noticed between them and the other great performers I meet during my adventures is that they are almost all very happily married.
Why, I wondered, are they any different from the people whose relationships are not making it? What is the common thread of the couples who live life on on the road, which can very often be physically, and mentally stressful?
I pondered, observed behavior, and listened to how they communicated. And it came to me. These families are truly in something together. They are partners in every sense of the word. They live in small spaces while on the road, there is nowhere to hide, and they are together 24/7.
Life does not stand still on the road, you still have to deal with problems, not only there, but whatever is happening back home, pay the bills and then go onstage and do three, sometimes four shows a day. They are doing something they feel passionate about while earning a living, and have learned to communicate well, because being in such close quarters and working so hard, it is easy to get snappy if you hold something in.
There can be no emotional hostage taking on the road. For one thing, there aren’t enough hours in a day, and for another, everyone understands that sometimes frogs are going to jump out of your mouth under the circumstances, so forgiveness and grace are musts.
The mutual respect, the communication, the partnership, the admiration and gratitude, not to mention a common goal is the key to the success of these relationships.
I cracked the code!
You don’t have to run away and join the circus to learn something from these couples. Here it is in a nutshell:
Learn how to express yourself gracefully, and allow others to do the same. Know that once in awhile we all say stupid things or get a little snappy, but owning it and apologizing for it go a long way. No grudge holding. Forgive and move on. Do something every once in awhile because it will make someone happy. Do not give out of guilt. Do not give when to do so will harm you in any way.
Let someone know what your expectations are and let them do the same. When standing at a fork in the road, take a deep breath and do what’s right and what your gut tells you. Have courage.
Cry your eyes out if you feel like it, and let others do the same without seeing it as a weakness. Ask for, and make sure you get, (and give) respect.
Be a champion to each other.
Remember, the girl was on a little vacation in a small town and met her hero in the alligator wrestler and it changed her life.
Love finds us in the most unexpected places, at the most unexpected times, when we are ready to receive it.
Expect a miracle.
Love For Sure,