Bringing Joy to Others Feeds Cindi's Soul

Posted on Jun 12th 2017 by Karen Thompson

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Cindi Goodeaux has a joy that overflows so much, she created an alter ego by the name of Giggle Blossom—a loveable and yes, giggly clown, to help her bring that joy to others. In 2010, she went to clown school, developed her character, and then set out to spread happiness among others.

Giggle Blossom was a tour de force, but in 2016, Cindi, a Communications Analyst, wanted to cast a wider net when sharing her signature brand of happiness. So, she tapped into her true passion, writing, and became the author of a children’s book that focuses on diversity and inclusion. And, true to form, Cindi developed another character to help tell the stories—Princess Jellibean, a curious multi-colored cat.

Discovering her passion

“I loved being a clown,” said Cindi. “As a clown you can walk into a room and make someone laugh just because you’re dressed funny. I loved having a license to be foolish and changing someone’s day for the better. It was my way to shine a little light in the world, but I always knew I wanted to do more.”Five years after Giggle Blossom was created, Cindi found she was overwhelmed with her many commitments as a wife, mother, employee and even as a popular clown. She turned to writing to help her relax and fell in love with the process and creativity. She developed Princess Jellibean as a way to keep in contact with her nieces and even entered writing competitions. Soon, Cindi realized she had uncovered her true passion. She took a hard look at her life and began removing things that were taking her time and energy. As a result, her focus became clearer about her purpose – to become a children’s book author.

A very special cat

Her first book, The Adventures of Princess Jellibean, is about a jellybean-colored cat that goes out into the world after living a sheltered life in a castle. She meets a lot of different people and learns life lessons. For example, Jellibean is introduced to a group of children playing. Some of the children have disabilities that require them to use a wheelchair or walker and some are deaf, but Jellibean doesn’t see them as different.

“My purpose with that scene is to use simple words to help children understand disability as a normal part of life,” explained Cindi. “I describe the children’s actions as ‘They dance on feet or they dance on wheels; or they sign words with happy hands.’ I want the young reader to see that these children are playing together and some of them just happen to have disabilities. I worked closely with an illustrator to make sure that was represented in the book.”

Inspiration and possAbilities

Diversity and inclusion have always been important to Cindi. She served on the possAbilities community board from 2009-2012, took a break, rejoined them in 2016, and is currently back on the board.

“The possAbilities community focuses on promoting awareness, education and understanding in support of people with disabilities,” said Cindi. “A big part of that is education. We help others learn about disability etiquette and how to interact with people with disabilities as a regular part of life. I loved being a part of that, so when I was writing my book I saw it as my opportunity to share that idea with children.”

Cindi hopes that when children read her book, they’ll gain understanding and acceptance toward people who may not look like themselves.

“I think bullying comes from not understanding, and the earlier we get children to see differences as ‘normal’ the less bullying we’d see,” she explained. “If they grow up regularly seeing children in a wheelchair, with a walker or signing with their hands, they’re going to see it as a part of daily life, something they’ve always been exposed to.”

Making a difference

Some of the feedback that Cindi has received seems to show that her book is making a difference. Recently, a mother of a child who has a disability reached out to Cindi to let her know she took the book about Princess Jellibean to her son’s class before he started school to help his classmates understand disability—before her son even walked through the classroom door.

“Of course, I cried,” chuckled Cindi. “I’ve known my whole life I wanted to be a writer, but the interactions I’m having with parents and children confirms that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

There are four more Princess Jellibean books in the works with more adventures and lessons to learn about inclusion, imagination and even forgiveness. She’s also planning to write a disability etiquette book for children.

“I have so many ideas for what I want to do,” she said wistfully. “But the best part is knowing that I’m leaving something on this earth that will leave a positive mark. I’m doing something that may make a positive impact on children and people with disabilities. That makes me feel so excited and it truly feeds my soul.”

Filed under: Healthy Living  

Karen Thompson

Karen Thompson is a Communications Consultant for Florida Blue. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her two rescued pit bulls and hanging out with her friends and family. You can follow her on Twitter at @ktmarieFL.

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