Scared of IT

“C’mon Raazia, it’ll be fun! I’m buying the tickets right now. If you back out, I’m putting a statue of a clown under your bed.” My anxiety shoots through the roof of the Commons. How can people be so cruel? This is NO laughing matter. Clowns shouldn’t even be a thing. I don’t understand who would decide to invent a monster dressed in a creepy colorful demon suit, wearing more makeup than all of the Kardashians combined. I have had enough with clowns in my life, and I was not about to go see a movie about a clown named “IT” or whatever, who ate children inside of a sewer. “But how did your fear of clowns begin?” you may ask. Well, it all started when I was 5 years old.

My mom took me to this carnival in the parking lot of a Chase bank. Why there was a carnival there, I don’t know. As we made our way through the bottle tosses and the dunking booth, we came across this woman with an orange wig and a bright red smile drawn on her face.

“You wanna get a face paint, love?” my mom asked as she pulled me towards the woman. Clearly my mom did not understand the facial expression I was making — I did not want to get my face painted by a woman who looked like the corpse’s bride.

“What would you like?” the clown said in a creepy high-pitched voice while clearly trying to be funny and failing. As soon as I said “flower,” she dipped her brush in the green face paint and started drawing on my cheek. Once she completed it, she handed me a mirror, and on my face lay a green bush. Not a flower. No. She literally drew a dark green shrub on my face. I don’t know where Chase puts all the money they receive, but it definitely wasn’t towards getting a proper face painter who could draw a decent flower. If she had drawn an actual flower — a sparkly, colorful rose or at least a carnation — I might have forgotten all about how creepy she was and actually gone away with a less traumatic experience. But instead, after that unfortunate encounter, every time I went to any sort of party or festival and there was someone in a costume of some sort, I would run as far away as possible.

Most people would think that eventually I would get over that phase, but it only became worse. I started to see clowns as what they really are: MONSTERS. If you think about it, you never know what is hidden behind a clown’s makeup. Am I really the only person who thinks it’s a little terrifying that they have to literally draw on a smile to hide whatever evil thoughts they’re hiding behind the makeup?

So back to our scene at the Commons. My friends were really, really looking forward to seeing IT. It was about a clown. That’s all I needed to know before I could say “Nope! Not going. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.” Then of course, I considered the notion of not wanting to be alone on a Friday night, coupled with their persistent attempts to convince me while threatening to harass me with clown pictures. I eventually gave in. As Friday approached, I remember being in my eighth period pre-cal class, shaking, just imagining being at the Alamo Drafthouse and having a clown showing up as my waiter. On some people’s Snapchat stories, I had seen videos of them at the Alamo Drafthouse dressed up as clowns. Throughout that day, I kept imagining every possible thing that could go wrong at the movie.

Somehow I eventually made it inside the theater, and my friends put me in the middle so I would have a shoulder to hide my face behind if I freaked out. I can honestly say, as soon as that movie ended, I wanted to see it again. It probably was the best horror movie I’ve ever seen. I was too busy being amazed by the flawless acting and cinematography to even notice how scary the clown was. There definitely was a lot of comedy in the movie, and it really lightened the mood and made it less scary.

So from this experience I learned to take risks and not always be afraid, because that day ended up going down as an amazing memory for me. My friends really were trying to help me get over my fear. When I came home there was a red balloon sitting in the middle of the living room, and then my friends popped out wearing clown masks. I didn’t even get as scared as I thought I’d be. Just screamed for a solid 10 minutes, but that’s it! I can honestly say I’m not as scared of clowns anymore. But will I ever let one paint on my face again? Probably not.