Emily Ballard
Emily Ballard
A Space For Emotional People Who tell the truth about hard things.

Side-by-sides

Hey, you! I hope you find something helpful here to support you in whatever way you need it right now. Feel free to share these images, and let me know if there’s something you’d like to see here for your use in the future. x.

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On mothering:

 I used to be really good at telling myself I was doing fine. “They’re happy. I love them. They have it better than I did. That’s enough.”

But it wasn’t and I knew it. I didn’t want my kids to be okay despite me transferring my unmet pain from my own childhood into them.

We don’t know what we don’t know. But when we DO know? When the truth of our avoidance becomes impossible to ignore in our gut? That’s when we make a choice: ignore the opportunity to inquire and heal, or step into something that will rip us up and then change us — and thereby save our kids from some of the relentless aching we live with.

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On Old Behaviors:

 I need this reminder every 28 days or so. Maybe you do, too.

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On Showing The Mess:

The thing people thank me for more than anything else is my willingness to talk openly and honestly about ALL the parts of myself — not just the glittery parts, but the murky parts, too.

And remember: there’s nothing special about me that “let’s me to this; realness and truth-telling is something we can all create space for.

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On Sexy Needs & Preferences:

My husband and I have been together for like 18 years — I think it’s 18? Maybe 17? Anyway, a long time.

We’ve had a lot of sex. Some of it’s been obligatory (hello, we’re-just-trying-not-to-get-divorced-maybe-this-will-help) and some of it mind-blowing (hello, WE STILL LOVE EACH OTHER OMGGGGGGG.)

But get this: I didn’t know that my husband doesn’t like it when I bite his ear until last month.

Let’s back up.

I like our sex to be a little bit raucous and sometimes a little bit rough. Because of this, safe and clear communication has always been super necessary. I thought we were nailing it (pardon the obvious yet unintentional pun.)

And then last month, seemingly out of nowhere, in the middle of some great sex, my husband goes, “I don’t really like it when you bite my ear like that.”

Ummmmm, whaaat?

“But babe. I’ve been biting your ear like that for years. You’ve never liked it?”

He’s never liked it! And I didn’t know!

Something I looked at after this revelation was what I could be doing better as my husband’s partner to make space for these kinds of conversations; while it’s obviously our individual jobs to speak to what we want and need, we also need to remember that sometimes people don’t feel safe to do that because the environment created for those conversations doesn’t feel safe or welcoming. It’s and/both.

And yet: we gotta tell our lovers what we like, y’all. Not because they don’t like or love us enough to “just know”, but because “just knowing” isn’t a thing.

You know what they say: over-communication is the spice of life.

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On what we ask of our kiddos:

In our house this often looks like me turning around, closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, exhaling, and shutting my mouth.

The goal of me working so hard to break toxic cycles of emotional codependence, manipulation, miscommunication, and unhealthy expressions of emotion is to leave a legacy of emotional health, honesty, and realness.

Is it about making things feel better in real time? Absolutely. But my long game is all about what will still be here after I die.

Cycle breaking is more than an idea — it’s a way of life. It requires constant attention. It asks us to be present again and again with our own stuff and the ways it comes out sideways. And if we’re in the game for real, we correct and correct and correct.

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On Obligatory Access:

 Listen to me: the idea that blood is somehow thicker than water even when blood is dysfunctional as fuck is bullshit.

I truly believe that the idea of “family showing up for family” is a thing of the past; we do not owe our families anything simply because they are our family. If these people want to be in our lives they need to treat us the way we expect all people in our lives to treat us.

What the fuck does it say about us collectively that it’s completely normal for those who are supposed to love us the most to treat us the worst and then shame us for being resistant to their presence in our lives?

This is insanity.

If my kids let me remain in their lives as they get older it will be because they like being around me because I help them feel more fully themselves, not because they owe me a fucking relationship.

This shit right here is important. Think about it.