The Winter was never the best season for me. It was the time of year when things got too complicated; family was suppose to be the most important thing in your lives and the holiday season was meant for gratefulness and all that shit that I couldn’t ever have.
I was tired of feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of not being able to just take the step forward and get my life together. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life knowing these regrets would be the only thing about me.
Seeing my mother being able to come back to my dad after her regrets made me realize how things aren’t always lost in the world, that things can be forgiven and lives are able to move on from the bad. My mother swallowed her pride and came back to the city to undo her wrongdoings and now she has back everything she once thought was gone forever.
But, I was different. My mistakes were different. My regrets felt like they were too out of my control to try and undo them. In a way, I felt like the product of a mistake that only ever made mistakes of her own, hurting people in the process…
I shut my eyes and flashback to the last couple of years of my life. I worked at a law firm and thought that was what mattered the most in life, until I met Max and things got complicated. I still remember being at the firm covering up my growing belly with chunky cardigans and dresses just so that people wouldn’t ask me or notice anything weird between Max and I. The firm was all I knew back then, and the thought of a child now being in the way of that terrified me. Max couldn’t do anything about it, no matter how hard he tried to get me to take care of myself for the sake of our kid. It was selfish of me to really overwork my body when it wasn’t just mine anymore. I know how worried Max got when it landed me in the hospital after the case was finished. Things weren’t the same after that night; they never were.
“Grace Ashmore?” A woman calls out from the reception desk. I opened my eyes and immediately got up from my chair. The door opens next to the desk and I walk into it. It’s about time, Grace.
I walked down the hall of offices; most of the doors were closed besides this one particular office. I already know this was the office I had to walk into. I took a deep breath and lightly knocked on the door. The woman sitting at her desk looks up at me and gets up from her desk. She smiles and greets me.
“Hi, Grace; I’m Dr. Davis. It’s nice to meet you,” She softly greeted. She extended her arm to shake my hand, in which I quickly shake her hand back. She smiles and guides me towards the seats at the other side of her office. I nervously sit down in one of the seats, placing my coat on the seat next to me. Dr. Davis closes the door of her office and sits across from me.
“It takes a lot for people to go and get any type of help they may need, so you being here today is a great step forward,” Dr. Davis reassured. I faintly smiled and took a deep breath has Dr. Davis gathered her paperwork. Is this really happening? Am I really here about to just pour my issues to a complete stranger?
“So, tell me a little about yourself,” Dr. Davis asked. I crossed my legs on the seat and began to fidget with my fingers.
“Uhm, well… I live in the city and run a dance academy in midtown…” I didn’t know what else to say besides that. I mean, who I am if not my job at this point? What else do I have in my life that says otherwise?
“Oh wow, that sounds interesting. Have you always been a dancer?” Dr. Davis asked.
“I got back into the business about a year ago.”
“Oh, what did you do before?”
“I was a lawyer,” I said, swallowing hard right afterwards. I already knew there was going to be some sort of judgment once I said that; it always does. It’s like people look at me when I say that for the first time and think I did some unethical thing to stop being a lawyer. Nope, I just was fucking my life up some more because of the job.
“How was being a lawyer like for you?” I looked at Dr. Davis, kind of shocked she didn’t ask me the typical “oh what happened” questions. Maybe she knows that’s not how to go about things. She is a therapist after all.
“It was a lot of work,” I started. “After law school, I jumped right into a firm and got put on a trial case.”
“That must’ve been a lot for you, considering you were just out of school,” Dr. Davis responded.
“Tell me about it. But, it was an… experience.”
“So what was the change of heart?” There we go. There’s the big ole question, just formatted in a more polite way.
I adjusted in my seat and gathered my thoughts. What truly was the reason I quit the firm? It couldn’t have been my health; if my health was what got in the way of my job, I would’ve left a long time ago; right after I found out I was pregnant with Willow. But it wasn’t.
Willow. I had to ask myself if I quit my job because of her. I want to say it was, to get that “good mother” compliment mothers get when they sacrifice themselves for the sake of their children. But again, if that was the case, I would’ve left a long time ago. I’d be living with Willow, being her full-time mother instead of her part-time one.
“I left for me,” I just said. “I wasn’t the healthiest when working at the law firm.” Dr. Davis starts typing things into her computer, and I immediately get aggravated. “Oh what? You’re going to be one of those people writing everything that I say down?” Dr. Davis looks up at me and stops typing.
“Not everything, just the important things for your record,” she politely answers. I don’t say anything back, I just cross my arms across my chest and sit there. “Let’s talk about your personal life; do you have any children?”
“Yep,” I said with no emotion. She’s not about to have me sitting in this chair talking about the one thing I hate talking about to complete strangers. Of course, she writes it down.
“That’s nice, and how old is she?”
“She’ll be 4 on April 16th,” I answered her. I really wanted to get off this topic, but–
“Married?” Ugh. I close into my body and begin to shift uncomfortably in the seat. This is the worst part of therapy; having a therapist get to know all your flaws and all your fuck ups and use them against you when you’re having a mental breakdown. It’s why I stopped going to one in the first place.
“No,” I coldly answered. Dr. Davis continues to type on her computer, and occasionally looks at me. Once she stops typing, she turns her chair to face me now.
“On your evaluation, you stated you and your daughter’s father co-parent. She lives with her father, correct?” Dr. Davis said.
“If it’s in the file, then it’s in the file,” I replied.
“But I would like to hear it from you.”
“Well the file is correct,” I spat out. I was ready to leave. I didn’t want to get into this; not just yet.
“And what’s your daughter’s name?” I stopped when she asked. Why is this the hardest thing to talk about?
“Willow,” I quickly answered.
“What a lovely name; was it inspired by a relative?
Dr. Davis continued to type on her computer. I felt like I couldn’t breathe in that office anymore. I felt like this was the worst idea I’ve had in while. Who the hell was I kidding, thinking this was actually going to work this time? Nothing was going to change anything; I was destined to just be this way for the rest of my likfe.
I began to gather my things; I was done talking to this woman about my life. She stood up from her chair and spoke.
“Grace,” she started. “I’m not here to make you talk about things you don’t want to talk about. I would like to get to know you and have you become comfortable in this space, in hopes that one day you are ready to talk about things that you want to do.”
You need to fucking do this. I stood there, not really knowing what to do next. I needed this. I needed to let everything off my chest and just talk to someone. I couldn’t breathe.
“Grace,” Dr. Davis softly said. “It’s okay.”
I don’t remember much about that session. I don’t remember everything that was said after that, but here I was again, two weeks later, at the same office. Dr. Davis opens the door to her office and smiles at me.
“Hi, Grace! It’s nice to see you again.”