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How Smirkus Saved My Life

Editor’s note: This post was written by a 2017-2018 Smirkus camper who prefers to remain anonymous but willingly shared this beautiful essay about Smirkus Camp.

During the summer of 2017 I was in a dark place. I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship and felt worthless and unwanted and that I was a burden to everyone around me. I was lost and depressed and my OCD was getting the better of me. I had no idea of what I was going to do with my life except a vague “art”. This was all until I stepped foot at Smirkus Camp and my life changed forever.

The radiating, positive energy at camp washed over me, and as I trained with my friends, and worked towards a show, I began to fall for circus. Then we were taken to see the Big Top Tour show, and the doors burst open with acrobats soaring high and jugglers showering the air with clubs, I got a feeling in my whole body of pure joy, and it was over for me, I was in love.

It’s a couple years later, and I’m now pursuing my dreams of becoming a professional circus performer, the happiest I’ve ever been.

I firmly believe that Smirkus Camp is magic. It took a scared little kid and made me a confident, happy and a proud circus freak. Smirkus made me feel hopeful about who I was, Smirkus made me feel loved, and taught me that the insecurities that made me hate myself were actually my strengths. You all made me realize the power of laughter and a smile, and finishing your veggies so you don’t wake up sore hahaha!

I can now say looking back on my life that I wouldn’t have made it if not for Smirkus. The thoughts and insecurities planted in me by my ex would have grown too large, and I would either been in a very bad place, or nowhere at all. Circus Smirkus Camp saved my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I just hope that I can help give back that magic to the next me, to a kid who might walk onto camp with a frown and a bag of luggage. Because that’s the nature of circus, to share the love.