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Jugular Exposed

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hands

He missed her. He still cared. He needed the truth.

“I have things I need to say to you. Things that it’s taken me over a year to process and come to terms with. I hope you’ll listen?”

His eyes softened. “Of course I’ll listen.”

She gathered courage she’d never possessed and told him that the person he’d loved was a broken, twisted version of herself. The depression had its claws deep and wouldn’t let go.

She knew she would cause pain, but explained where their relationship turned dark. She held back nothing, spilling the many hurts that had caused her countless hours of lost sleep and miles of self-doubt. Her words held no heat. Only honesty. She was strong enough now to give him that.

The bottom line was that she’d needed him to help navigate the darkness. But instead he’d caused her more pain, deepened the sad. Because she wasn’t good enough at her worst. Not for him. Not for anyone. So she had to leave him, and leave that place. It was the only way to survive.

Pausing there, her heart thumped heavily.  She felt the fear spidering as she waited for an indication that he understood why he’d lost her. What if he said she was dead wrong? What if he didn’t take any ownership of the destruction? She sat there, jugular exposed, swimming in a level of vulnerability she’d never experienced before. Underneath her calm expression she was a frightened child, ready to haul the steel curtain up around her heart.

Finally, he spoke.  “I have no excuses. I wasn’t there for you. All I can say is that I was so blinded by how much I love you that I couldn’t see. I couldn’t see what you needed. I let you down. And for that, I’m so fucking sorry. I’m sorry I made it worse, when all I’ve ever wanted to do was make you happy.”

His hand came across the table to grip hers tightly. She looked down at the joining, feeling the familiarity of his skin and the shape of this union.

I finally got through to him.

Fighting the knot in her throat, she replied softly, “And I didn’t have the capacity at that time to tell you what I needed. I was too far gone. I could only manage one of two extremes: sad and mad. I hated the person I was, but I could barely even hold on at that point. I couldn’t live that life any more, trying so fucking hard to make you happy when I was alone in the dark. It wasn’t fair to either of us.”

Neither heard the bachata song blaring through the speakers. The unspoken was far more deafening.

They searched each other’s faces, wondering what in the world to do now.

Her heart calmed, knowing that no matter what happened between them, she’d finally been brave enough to tell him the truth. She’d broken through to the light.

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This piece is being submitted to the amazing and 100th!!! Yeah Write Weekly Challenge grid. If you don’t know Yeah Write, you should. The crew at YW are not only amazingly talented bloggers who write and writers who blog, they’ve become my friends.  Not friends with benefits, you perv. Just friends. ;)

Feelin’ the love!

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I was thoroughly surprised this week to be awarded not one, but TWO bloggy awards!

leibster

One Lovely Blog

First, Kathleen at Michigan Left surprised me with a Liebster award, and then Kristin over at Kristin Has Two Eyes has bestowed upon me the One Lovely Blogger honor!

I have lovingly placed these badges in my sidebar and send mucho love and sloppy kisses to Kathleen and Kristin. Next up, as part of these awards, y’all get to learn some fun facts about Peach. Lucky you. 😉

Kathleen’s questions to her Liebster recipients:

  1. Where would you live if you could pick any place in the world? I want to say Italy, but I haven’t been there yet!
  2. What is your favorite CD and why? I can listen to Mumford & Sons all day, every day. Their words hit me smack in the heart.
  3. Why and when did you start blogging? 2005, for no reason other than I love to write.
  4. Were you a jock or a nerd in high school? Both. Band nerd, academic nerd and soccer player. Overachiever, much?
  5. Who, besides your significant other, knows you better than anyone else? My undergrad college roommate. She and I were born 22 hours apart. We speak without speaking and know each others’ moods/quirks like our own…because they’re the same.
  6. What book most influenced your life? The Agony and the Ecstasy – Michelangelo’s story by Irving Stone.
  7. What is your biggest fear? Failure.
  8. What is your dream profession? Earning a living as a writer. Somehow. Some way.
  9. What attracts you most to someone?  Humor! Make me laugh and you’ll have my heart.
  10. Beatles or Stones? Oh, Beatles.

And 15 random factoids about Peach, for Kristin:

  1. I hate vinegar. Anything vinegar-based, pickled or fermented, no thank you! Ick.
  2. When I was much younger I wanted to be a veterinarian. Even though I am happy today, I still wonder “what if” sometimes. Oh, to give my 18yo self the confidence I have now…
  3. In dating, I’ve found that my height is an effective method of weeding out insecure men.
  4. I have a dimple. Just one.
  5. I have never broken a bone, needed surgery or stayed overnight in the hospital. Knock on ALL OF THE WOODS.
  6. To fall asleep I need total darkness. And I cannot nap during the day, no matter how tired I may be.
  7. I am a classically trained musician, but that is not what I “do” anymore.
  8. A challenge is my biggest motivator. Tell me I can’t do something, so I can prove you wrong.
  9. There lies a mean temper under this sassy and fun demeanor.
  10. My college debt is still bigger than yours. I guarantee it.
  11. My first car was a big ole honkin’ truck.
  12. Sheets with thread counts under 600 need not apply. 1000 is preferable.
  13. I talk in my sleep.
  14. I despise being told that I’m ‘too sensitive’. No, you’re just being an asshole. Don’t invalidate my feelings. (also see #9)
  15. I am hyper-observant. I notice even the smallest of the most inconsequential details. It freaks some people out. 🙂

Thank you again, Kristin and Kathleen! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Valentine’s Day – What’s Your Style?

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Way back in college, I was that girl. The one who threw the “Anti-Valentine’s Day” parties.

The requirements for attendees stated that you must be unattached and if any rogue couples decided to crash the party after their romantic dinner plans, they were unceremoniously shoved back out the door.

My friends and I would decorate the apartment with those horrific paper banners and cupid cutouts, except they’d been marked up with my own slogans. I’d also leave out blank ones and markers for guests to write their own.

“Love bites.”

“Who cares?”

“Nice shoes. (Wanna ___?)”

“Cupid’s an asshole.”

“Eat more chocolate.”

And so on.

I’d play hostess in a sexy head-to-toe black outfit – the taller the boots, the better. Because, duh. What my fellow single co-eds relished the most was having a destination far away from the commercialized, overly vomitous, forced romance of this dreaded day. We’d all suck down cheap beer to forget what the world was trying so hard to remind us of YOU’RE ALONE, blast the music, and dance the pain night away. Good times. Kinda like this.

Fast-forwarding more years than I care to admit, I can say that I’ve experienced some very romantic versions of this holiday as part of a couple. Awwww. Barf. But I’ve also had just as many Bridget Jones moments of face-eating pints of Haagen Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip while watching The Biggest Loser in my fat pants.

bridget

Now? I’m just over the whole thing.

You see, I don’t believe in placing sole importance on the actions of a person on a single day. It is the actions of a person every day that matter the most.

Keep the words. Show me instead.

With the right person, I don’t believe it’s necessary to shell out a hundred bucks a head on a four-course prix fixe menu if that’s not your typical style. This girl’s style is that I’d be perfectly content in a pair of ripped jeans, laughing my ass off with someone over a bucket of sloppy bbq ribs and beers. You can keep the satan-created pantyhose, shoes that shred, and overly rich garlic-butter-cream-sauced-poultry/pasta dish that will likely have you running to the restroom in 20 minutes. Who wants that???

I will say that for some, Valentine’s Day is admittedly a nice gesture. It could be a great chance for couples who are stuck in their daily grind of work and/or parenting to reconnect over one special night. But shouldn’t it also just be another day with your honey?

Because the man who treasures your heart, who values you as a person, who wants to do nothing more than make you laugh every single day? He’ll get it. And Valentine’s Day will be just another day that he’s going to continue showing you in his own small ways that he cares. He’s going to do something stupid just to put a smile on your face. He’ll place a surprise kiss on the back of your neck while you’re shoulder-deep in dishes or dirty diapers. And he’ll make you feel like the most beautiful woman on earth, even while your face is covered in barbeque sauce.

Not being fully on board with this holiday doesn’t mean I’ve given up on romance. Not at all. I just think acts of romance should be present in some way that speaks to you every day. It shouldn’t be reserved for just this day.

But that’s just me and maybe I’m crazy. What do you think?

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? How do you spend it if you’re single? If you have a honey, do you go all fancy-like or stay low key?

bacon

awesome.

Sequins to Nikes

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treeWM

A New Year’s Eve unlike 2012. That was my only requirement. I couldn’t bear another colossal stroke-of-midnight letdown this year.

I remember that the ballroom was filled to capacity and the cover band was screaming Prince’s “1999”. I was booty-shaking away, thanks to the horrifically bad bottom-shelf vodka/crans that also made me ignorant of the fact that my stilettos were shredding the skin off the top of my pinky toes. It had been a great evening so far, with pre-gaming in the hotel rooms upstairs and the ever-female three hour ritual of group beautification. A forgotten strapless bra panic had been remedied by hacking off the straps of a push-up bra. Price tags were ripped violently off flashy new garments. We crammed ourselves into the bathroom and expertly applied eyeliner and falsies. And me, I couldn’t believe I’d let my friend talk me into wearing this strapless sequined tube of a dress. I didn’t have the boobs she did, but prayed it would miraculously stay put.

There were 15 of us in total, with myself as the lone East coast-er, the only one with real boobs, and one of the two single people in the bunch. Relationship status didn’t matter in the hours leading up to midnight – we were just a group of friends ringing in the New Year. But when the night reached its frenzied peak as the countdown began, I looked around for the other single girlfriend.

10…..9…..

She had disappeared.

8…..7…..

All the couples around me were arm in arm, shouting the backward numbers, blissfully ignorant of my crisis.

6…..5…..4…..

Some creepy guy standing next to me grabbed my waist. I shoved his hands off me and flung my steely “just try that again” look at him. He didn’t.

3….2….1….

I stood alone, on a crowded dance floor.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

There’s something magical but heartbreaking about the moment a new year begins.  The elation of the digit-flip, the cheering, the falling confetti, and the slow descent from frenzy into Auld Lang Syne are all very intoxicating. Time pauses while you enjoy the soft caress of lips with your companion. You bless the wonderful memories of the past year and wish good riddance to the ugly ones. And in these first few seconds, the new year is pristine. It is untouched and unblemished. It is perfect, yet still so easily shattered as you realize that the same feeling of despair and loneliness that existed at 11:59:59 on 2011 was not only still present, but magnified tenfold at 12:00:01 on 2012.

Because I stood alone, on a crowded dance floor.

The romantic embraces all around me seemed to defy time. I was about to leave the dance floor when suddenly I caught sight of my sequined-dress-pusher of a best friend running at me, arms outstretched. Before I could blink she had planted a loud, smacking kiss on my lips and was screaming ‘Happy New Year, Peach!!!’ over the din.  We laughed and hugged and then of course went back to more blister-inducing dancing, almost as if that moment of darkness had never occurred.  Hell, I doubt anyone even sensed it, other than me.

This year when given the chance to come to New York, I was hellbent on NOT having an emotional fuckery repeat during the ball drop of 2013.  Single-hood be damned, I’ve had too great of a year to spend even one iota of a second feeling sorry for myself at the stroke of midnight.

During 2012 I got healthy and got happy. I reveled in the proximity to family after so many years away. I was lovingly embraced by friends old and new. I dated a few men, and have those shitshow stories to thank for starting this blog. I made a Life List and started a journey of living my life for me, to the fullest and to the fore. I recognized my deep-down passions and started to go after them, without letting fear of judgment control my ambitions.

I’m so glad that I chose “different” over “usual” this year for New Year’s Eve.  I swapped the dress and stilettos for a compression shirt, race bib, running tights and my trusty Nikes. Instead of battling a sweaty dance floor packed with obnoxious handsy drunks, I battled the cold and my newly-strong body all the way to a sweaty finish line.footWM

startlineWM

Running those 3.14 miles through Brooklyn’s Prospect Park couldn’t have been more perfect. There were no expectations, and no silly build-up leading to a monumental emotional hangover. The only drunks I saw were teenagers teetering along the park’s path with their party hats and smuggled bottles of champagne.  I listened to my steady breath inhaling and exhaling the chilly air in a solid rhythm. My thigh muscles bunched and released with every stride and I remember grinning at the thought that there’d be no way in hell my rockin’ new booty would fit into that sequined strapless number from last year.  I laughed as I was passed by a girl who ran the race with her torso wrapped in Christmas lights.  I challenged myself to pass a few folks, just to see if I could do it. And when we crossed the finish line just before midnight, we celebrated with steaming cups of Swiss Miss hot chocolate.  The few hundred of us counted down to 2013 underneath the barren trees, exhilarated and alive as we watched the fireworks start. I hugged Might-E and her friend, and that was it. No muss, no fuss.

At 12:00:01 of 2013, there were no residual feelings of loneliness or despair. There was only peace and happiness.  Because I knew that I didn’t need a clock or confetti or a ball drop to tell me how amazing this year will be. My goals were already in motion and I knew that even bigger, better things were in store for me.

When I closed my eyes that night, curled under a blanket in the heart of Brooklyn, I thanked the universe for everything that was 2012. The struggles and the joys changed me for the better and I’m steady, solid and happy for the first time in as long as I can remember. I drifted into my first sleep of 2013 with a smile in my heart.

___________________________________

Linking up with the fantastic crew over at YeahWrite.

Hell On Wheels

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Yes, this entry is definitely categorized under Hot Mess.

There is a REASON we only roller skate as children. Or, it could just be me.  I suck at skating.  I also suck at rollerblading, ice skating, water skiing, skateboarding, snowboarding and snow skiing. So, pretty much anything that involves strapping my feet  –> which are attached to my stoopidlong legs –> which make up 75% of my stoopidtall body –> into some device that involves inertia-meets-gravity? Yeah, not having it.

skateWM

A little while ago my gym threw a social at a skating rink. Do me a favor and picture 20 grown men and women who do CrossFit. Now picture them on rollerskates.  Yep.  The same men who routinely kill it in the workouts that destroy me were now windmilling their arms and winding up on their asses. I tried and managed about 5 wobbly laps around the rink, but it was ugly.  I had to seriously focus on not being flattened by the little kids zipping around me, not staring too much at the teens who were humping the wall to the tune of the [explicit hip hop song] playing, and keeping an eye out for people suicidal enough to fall in my path. Did they not understand that STOPPING is not in my skillset?  Maybe I should have tried using one of the granny walkers (seen below). Safer, yes. Cool points? Maybe. I could make it sexy if I really tried.

grannywalker

But, I will say that aside from the ‘I’m either gonna break my neck or kill a kid’ moments, it was a LOT of fun.

And then this was said:

tweet

For the record, I did not say this.  I just wanted to be IN REAL SHOES and would have performed sexual favors to be rescued from this booty-rap death trap. What I did not count on was the way that the night would turn out.

I vaguely remember the following:

  • Sam Adams Winter Ale(s) – I lost count.
  • Learning a new dance called The Wobble.  Oh, you crazy twenty-somethings…
  • Flirting and being flirted with.
  • Playing board games at a different bar, while still drinking beer.
  • Telling my trainer friend that he really should shave his beard because he has such a good looking face. About 10 times.
  • Eating scrambled eggs, grits and a biscuit at 4am. #FAILEO
  • Falling asleep when the sun was coming up.

Oh man.  Most of the next day was spent on my couch recovering, thinking how much I’m too old for this shit. But even days later, I’m still smiling at how much fun it was.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta be a kid.