“Not my circus, not my monkeys”
April 8, 2014, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Who even wrote this quote? What random Polish person said this one time and it can now be found on every hipster wall across the world? 


It’s a lie. Or, at least, it’s unclear. 


What if you’re a clown? What if you are an active participant in the circus, but not the ring-master? What if you bought tickets to the circus?

I often feel like a trapeze artist; waving back and forth on a slim pole, as the audience gasps and waits for me to grasp onto the next pole. There is no net. Sometimes I fall.  Are they my monkeys, as well? 

Let me be more specific. 

I often feel that I take on other people’s…problems. I listen and I give advice and I make good eye contact and everything that a Libra should do for people who are hurting or confused. I take on so many monkeys that I run out of room and my own monkeys…problems…are left to starve. My problems have been starving for years and years because I have been taking care of issues for my loved ones, my friends, people I don’t even really know. I feel deep empathy for everyone and if someone close to me is having a bad day, I have a bad day. 


But at what point is it okay to be selfish? When can I turn away their issues when I feel my plate is too full? When am I allowed to say “Not my circus, not my monkeys”? I don’t know if I am the kind of person who could ever do that. 

This  year I undertook my mental health seriously. I was re-diagnosed after believing I had been manic depressive this whole time, I started serious medication, I started going to a psychiatrist. I do, however, still feel at times that I am overcome with the needs of others. 

I should be able to handle everyone. I should have room in my heart for everyone. Helping them will help myself. 

These are the things I tell myself. I am part of the circus and they are my monkeys, after all. 

But I think my cup is going to run over soon and I may have to adopt this quote. I may have to start giving simple sympathy instead of advice and responsibility every time. It will physically hurt me, I can already sense this. Saying “I’m sorry you’re going through this” has never felt like enough. I suppose it is, though. I suppose that’s all anyone is really ever looking for. 

We all deserve to take care of ourselves–before being able to fully and correctly grow a human, we must be able to tend to our own garden, and mine has been neglected for long enough. 


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You are, indeed, preaching to the choir here… And it does feel strange turning others away. I think the resolve is, really figuring out why we neglect ourselves for the sake of others. Because the truth is, most times, it just doesn’t make any sense. Brilliant read, as usual my dear!

Comment by jennsmind13

I love you so hard woman.

Comment by Wendy

So, if there is no more you to give what good would that be?

Comment by Kimberly Smith

This is a brilliant read my friend! Absolutely brilliant!

Comment by jennsmind13

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