The diva who stole Christmas
by Ashley Ballard
Every Christmas since I was about fourteen, the Ghost of Christmas Past has never let me live down a moment in time I’m not very proud of. It has haunted me for years and yet the incident itself only lasted a minute. I think it’s a bit silly to still be so torn up about it, as it wasn’t the worst thing I could’ve done. But I think because I never gave or received any closure, it still feels like a raw nerve to this day.
My uncle/manager, at the time, throws a fantastically amazing Christmas party every few years. He has about five trees, carolers, gospel choirs, dancers, reindeer, you name it, it’s there. He invites anyone and everyone he’s ever met, and consequently, most people I have met as well.
The problem is, when I was about fourteen, I was meeting so many people, I couldn’t remember most of them. Not their faces, not their names, not their voices, nothing. So, it was common for me to see someone who knew me, of whom I had no recollection.
I usually smiled and nodded and pretended to remember to be polite. But, this night, I decided to take a different route. I’m not sure what snapped in me. Maybe I was especially full of the beloved teenage angst, maybe I was just tired and needed a nap, maybe I needed a snack. I can’t be sure, but as a people pleaser, I did one of the most impolite things I’d ever done.
A woman happily walked over to me to say hello and reminded me of her name and I responded with a cold, “I’m sorry, I don’t remember you.” As far as I was concerned, at that point, I was done with the conversation, but she continued…
Apparently she had written a song I had recorded (which is such a huge, huge, huge, no-no to forget) and instead of saying, “Oh! It’s so wonderful to see you!” like I should have, I stuck with my original statement. When I reiterated the fact that I had zero semblance of a memory of her, I saw her face. Her face! That’s what haunts me the most. The slow free fall of the corners of her mouth and the blood rushing to her cheeks. Like I was the mean girl in high school that didn’t invite her to the party, and I felt awful! Why couldn’t I have just pretended to remember? Would that have really been so bad? She eventually just walked away.
Adult Ashley wants to smack teen Ashley for my disrespect. I can’t imagine some brat speaking to me that way. My only solace is the hope that, over the years, I’ve exaggerated her anger and sadness in that moment, since there is really no way for me to apologize unless our paths were to cross again.
I think we all have these types of incidences. Things we wish we would’ve never done, be it big or small, that play over and over in our minds.
Maybe we accidentally hurt someone, or did something to embarrass ourselves in some way. I have many. But, I’m ready to let them go now.
I’m not sure if they should serve as lessons to always think before I act or speak, or if forgiveness should be my gift to myself this Christmas. I’m pretty sure I’m going to pick both. I will remember to respect others and follow the Golden Rule and also remember, that I will make many mistakes along the way. So, the Ghost of Christmas Past will have to sit this next year out, as I hope for more visits with the present and presents.
What will you forgive yourself for this holiday season? Wouldn’t it be nice to start this next year with a clean conscience?
Happy Holidays!Tags: Ashley Ballard, Christmas, Entertainment industry, Forgive oneself, Ghost of Christmas Past, Hollywood, Let things go, Music industry