Trespassing Onto an Abandoned Circus

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

So I wanted to write about places in OKC where you can be outside, see cool things and still follow good social distancing practices. I thought about all the street art and murals in the city. The Plaza art walls. I thought about our beautiful lake trails; Hefner, Overholster and Arcadia. I thought about backroading up north of Edmond towards Guthrie and Stillwater, east of OKC towards Jones and Choctaw.

And I’ll probably still write something about all that, all those things are a great way to spend your endless free time in quarantine.

But then I remember the Abandoned Circus I visited my Freshman year.

I’m not going to tell you where it is, because then you might try to go there (and because it’s not hard to find with a quick google search). It’s a circus in name only now, supposedly there used to be some creepy old carnival rides and such. But that all got cleared away years ago, I’m assuming because too many delinquent teenagers broke their legs or got tetanus.

So now it’s mostly just creepy old trailers, rail cars, a burned-out bus, and a decaying house.

I went with my roommate on Saturday. It was technically trespassing. But, given as we’re two adults, not a large group of kids, and we didn’t have any spray paint cans or liquor bottles, we figured the worst thing that could happen would be getting told to leave.

I’d only been twice before, and never during the day. It’s significantly creepier at night, but we were able to discover a whole new area back into the woods that I had never seen before.

It was abundantly clear that we weren’t the first to discover this place. Teenagers and college kids have been coming to the circus for years. There’s graffiti on every paintable surface. Empty beer bottles lay scattered about. Broken floorboards, remnants of fires. Vague RIP memorials scrawled overtop of doorways and inside of rusted trailers.

We took many pictures and wandered around the wooded trails for about an hour, but as it got dark my roommate mentioned something about how this would be a great place to camp out if you were a homeless meth addict. We left pretty quickly after that, I had a picture in my mind of some Joe Exoctic look-a-like Okie boogieman jumping out from behind a tree as we went.

What do you think it is about abandoned places that draws people to leave graffitied tributes to lost friends?

Is it simply the convenience of a secluded spot, an already ruined piece of scrap that nobody will mind being vandalized?

Is it the privacy of a lonely place that lets you feel hidden enough to work towards something like acceptance of loss?

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about depression. Probably because I’m a bit depressed. That was supposed to be a joke, haha.

But no seriously, it’s been a hell of a year for all of us hasn’t it? I’ve been in the incredibly fortunate position to be able to regularly meet with a therapist for several months now, I started even before the current stresses of the pandemic. It’s absolutely been beneficial, I understand how difficult finding and affording a decent psychotherapist is for most people, but I promise you it’s worth the effort.

He’s diagnosed me with something, because that’s what mental health professionals have to do in order to bill insurance companies for their services. But I don’t know what it is and I haven’t asked. Some flavor of depression/anxiety I’m sure. It doesn’t matter much to me, I don’t deal with anything serious enough to warrant medication. I’ve had many friends with major depressive disorder that demanded some level of psychiatric treatment in order for them to function well on a daily basis. I’m lucky enough to not be going through that.

I’ve been told by many people (friends, girlfriends, my mom) that I’m a pessimist. I suppose I probably get it from my dad. I don’t exactly have a positive view of what the future holds for humanity as a whole. And that isn’t really what makes you fun at parties. You aren’t supposed to think about the world’s problems all the time.

But I think I’m coming to a point where I can accept my pessimistic, anxious, depressive tendencies.

See, I think that just maybe, I don’t have a depression problem. See my emotional struggles have never really prevented me from achieving just about any goal I set in front of myself. I’ve never failed to do what I needed to do on a regular basis. I just felt sad and did it all anyway.

I’ve come to think that just maybe, the problem is that I think I have a problem. I’m not trying to blame everything on society, but I think it’s fair to say that there’s a pressure in popular culture to be happy and optimistic and uplifting all the time. Negative emotions aren’t natural or healthy, they’re something to be medicated and snuffed out and hidden away so that others don’t have to deal with all your damned problems. Don’t you know how exhausting it must be for your friends to hear you complain about things nobody can change? Just get over it.

But I think that maybe some level of depression, anxiety and pessimism is just a part of my personality. It isn’t the only part, but it’s there. And I don’t think it’s going away, and I don’t really think it needs to.

Abraham Lincoln suffered from extreme episodic depression throughout his life, and he’s widely considered to be the greatest leader our country ever had.

Is it such a bad thing to have a few people around who’d sincerely ask, “what is the worst thing that couple happen? And, what would we need to do if it did?”

Is it really so awful to have places in your mind that aren’t happy all the time?

Is it such a bad thing to have a 20-acre plot of unkempt woods filled with abandoned trailers, a burned-out bus, and a decaying house, in the middle of a thriving and growing suburb?

I mean, you wouldn’t want to hang out there all the time. Somebody might call the cops on you. And you probably shouldn’t make much noise while you’re there. But if it wasn’t for the abandoned circus, where else would lonely kids go to feel sadness and grief for lost things?

Samuel Morstain Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.

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