Wrestling the Monkey on My Back

A Bunch of Advice, Photo by BradensEye

We all reckon with the axiomatic monkey on our back regularly. Sometimes this monkey appears friendly at first, only to pull a comedy of errors, or pull the customary wool right over your eyes. Other times the monkey seems downright demonic in its intentions, like the Wizard of Oz flying monkeys only determined to exert chaos. My common monkey darns a sparkly sequined coat that looks like tiny mirrors, often has colorful braided hair, and loves to chatter on about world travels. What I mean is that my typical monkey appears as a complete distraction luring my attention to think things are all about snuggly fantastic goodness. I’ve carried more monkeys for much longer than one should ever carry them. In fact, these monkeys are duplicitous brainiacs.

Recently, I’ve experienced a second wave of my coming of age. I’ve felt like I’m reliving that precious time when I went from being a daughter into being my own person fully. The cerebral waves have their own currents and tidal patterns of highs and lows, often inconveniently crafting a slippery life slope to maneuver. It’s like I’m trying on adulthood trapped in the body of someone who’s already an adult. My dear mom remarked with a level of lovable fondness that I was likely just having a ‘mid-life crisis’, which does seem fitting for age forty-eight. Others have commented I may be spoiled because I’m seeking a lifestyle that is more easy-going, less than my 24/7 work history, and who exactly do I think I am still not paying a traditional rent? Regardless of income, albeit the crux of the adulthood conundrum of self-independence, I’ve found myself staring down this monkey like nobody’s monkey business ever before.

Feel the monkey. Be the monkey. Face the monkey. Wrestle the freaking monkey! No more whining or complaining about any monkeys. As with nearly all life hurdles, the only way out or around something is through the thick of it. I needed to confront the monkey, recognize the monkey for what the monkey truly defines for me at that moment, and resolve the lesson and place that cagey monkey has in getting on my back in the first place. Then, I must take that monkey to the mat and win. So, I began wrestling one of my monkeys.

One monkey had been on my back so long I forgot the darn monkey was there. I thought I’d banished this monkey in my mid-thirties. Nope. This was a smooth-talking monkey that infiltrated the reaches of my brain. Like a monk who retreated high in the Himalayas we trust is supporting the universal betterment of all things, yet comes down to the people to warn we are causing our own destruction, this slick monkey only poked its head into the peaks of my perfectionist patterns when they would creep in. I fell so in step with this monkey, I forgot to feel when feelings were my essential root intuitive safety valve. In looking for a potential happily explosive career alteration, or in the least a valued steady income source, I’d find myself giving over all of me to the lucky candidate. This monkey practically was my back in that I had everyone else’s back before my own.

Like a monkey with a great banana, my eyes widened to the sensibility of this monkey-backing predicament:

  • A good banana is exactly that — A good thing is only a good thing if it is good. A foul banana is never going to be a good banana to eat. Maybe you can mix it into a smoothie or use it for a portion of your banana bread, but it alone will never do as a solid sweet treat. Only you know what’s best for you… bananas and all.
  • I am responsible for a happy me first — I must be the cause for my bananas to appear. Monkeys may have bananas, but if there’s a monkey that’s a clue it’s not my core banana. Every moment I’ve ever placed anyone primary before me, it was merely a perfect storm waiting to brew one day. Unless you take care for your best self, you’re of no long-term use to anyone else, as it’s a life guarantee you will falter a little, or the dreaded a lot, at some point.
  • Just because someone refers you for something by no means suggests you’re required to accept it — Monkeys have the most adoring eyes, so beware the exalted longing that may sway you into acceptances rather not fitting for your true self-loyalty. To thine own banana be true.
  • Just because you’re capable does not mean you’re required to do it — I am qualified for a lot of things from sailing to toilet bowl cleaning, pet and house sitting to artist management, entertainment producing, ideating, creative concept building and marketing, traveling on most all levels, a ton of philanthropic support, and a good number of options for the use of bananas. All this does not specify I should be doing any of it, including using the bananas. Focus on what you prefer and cultivate that.

Having raised myself on a round-the-clock work ethic, I cater to others. I nurture others in all they wish to do. I assess most of my situations based on the greatest potential outcome possible and I look to deliver. Ivy-league level linguistics doesn’t hurt either. Though my come via DNA and not institutionally earned on my own, they still suit life well. I give great phone (not implying in a sexy way herein) and talk a good professional position. Does having an addictive alcoholic mother help this thirstful life quality, yep. It influenced my own addictions. Does transiting with that awesome parent to sobriety help too, you betcha. All in, I frequently understand the details of why you want something, what that best looks like, where to source it, and how to install it into your world. The only silly thing is I want to apply my Money Penny expertise for more good than merely the bank account of one soul. I want to help save souls through some sort of soul work. Here I revert to that coming of age statement again. In more suited phraseology, I want to sniff out any monkey who may get to be on my back going forward.

Learning from the monkeys is rewarding. Anything that has managed to latch its way onto your back has something to teach you. Monkeys have taught us heaps about ourselves for ages. We’ve interfaced with monkeys about Sign Language, self-medication, innovation, money, tool use, and even social media. This monkey sense is a really useful thinking.

At some point, I actually want to allow a real monkey on my back to blow this whole thing into a different proportion. Like cuddling a tiger, or bungee jumping when you have vertigo, I think a literal monkey wrapped around my back would bring all these warm fuzzy feelings and triumph, so as to kick such vicious mental gymnastics to the curb more readily. I’ll report back when the time comes.

Until then, monkey see, monkey do NOT necessarily do (real or theoretically)!

(No monkeys were harmed in writing this story. The author adores monkeys and honestly almost all living creatures, a few Palmetto bugs aside.)

LOVER of life. Especially people, places, philanthropy and photography.

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