What my shrink shouldn’t have to tell me
by Ashley Ballard
Recently, I’ve started seeing a therapist. I’ve seen many in my life, as this is sort of a rite of passage in Hollywood. Everybody’s doing it and I figured I should see if she can figure out why I’m so disconnected, lately. I feel like I’m aimlessly going from one task to another. Given, there are quite a few tasks as of late, but I used to enjoy them all whole-heartedly.
Sitting on the couch in her office, I feel very uncomfortable. It’s all about me and those moments are very rare, as a mother. I find myself cutting my words short because I don’t want to sound like I love myself too much …
But, shouldn’t I?
Shouldn’t I look at my face in the mirror everyday and smile at what a wonderful person I am, instead of finding the faintest hint of a possible wrinkle? Shouldn’t I bask in the compliment of my husband telling me I’m beautiful, instead of shooing him away and telling him he’s crazy?
I’ve been trying to be everything, to everyone, all the time.
This has left no time for me. I even forget to make myself a plate of food until everyone else has been served. I’ve talked myself into thinking things like this made me a better wife and mother. Like martyrdom was synonymous with motherhood. But, my patience is much thinner than it used to be and I’m envious of my husband’s free time. This woman is not the woman I had in mind.
I can’t blame anyone but myself. I’ve chosen to put myself last. I will do anything a loved one needs and I rarely ever say “no.” I will bend over backwards to help someone out, even if it means ruining what I had planned for myself.
Before I’m labeled a saint, I haven’t always been this way. I was a fairly selfish child and adolescent. I always got what I wanted and things came easily to me. I did whatever, whenever, but I was very unhappy.
Maybe, that’s why I’ve done a complete 180. Up until recently, I was very happy sacrificing anything for everyone. Maybe, as usual, I took things too far. I seem to lack the ability to find balance in most things I do. I’m an all in-type of gal. Only, now, it’s not just me. I’m responsible for a whole family I’ve created.
A few weeks ago, a dear friend asked me to write fifty things I wanted for myself. Not my family, but just for me. It took me two days to think of one. One! That was such a wake up call for me. Had I really become that out of touch with what I wanted? Who I was as a woman?
I’m afraid of this slope I’m on. I want to have balance in my life. I want to be loved, creatively and intellectually fulfilled, and, most of all, present. I don’t want to only be able to enjoy this stage of my life after it’s already over. The older I get, the faster time passes. I remember being told this my whole life, but it’s one of those things you can’t understand until you’re in it. Well, I want to be in it.
I’m a mother. So, I will be the best mother I can be.
I’m a wife. So, I will support him.
I’m a singer. So, I will sing my heart out.
I will be honest and love myself even though, sometimes, I forget to take the laundry out of the washer until it stinks; or, even though I haven’t painted my toenails in over a month; or, even when I miss a note I should’ve hit. And, I will take care of myself, as well as I take care of everyone else I love.
This is my official declaration, proclamation, or whatever else you want to call it.
I’m still working on that list, though.Tags: 50 things I want for myself list, Ashley Ballard, Entertainment industry, Hollywood, Motherhood, Music, singer, Therapy, Work-life balance