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Big Things, people.

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I promise there are good reasons for my lack of posts and slacking on joining Yeah Write this week.

You see…. I have a surprise for you. I can’t tell you what because duh, it’s a surprise. But I can tell you the when. Here goes.

Sometime over the weekend (but definitely by Monday) you’ll see these Big Things. Check back with me over the next few days to find out! 

Yes, I know this is evil. But I’ll give you a few hints:

  • This has been a long time coming.
  • I’m seriously sweatypits right now.
  • No, I’m not pregnant. Or engaged.

Send me good juju that all goes well, please?

In the meantime, I’ll share a few pictures from yesterday, which was my birthday! It was an amazing day and I was showered with texts, calls, Facebooks, tweets, flowers, and LOVE. I’m so blessed to have so many wonderful friends IRL and here through this blog. This girl is grateful. Sniffffff.

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Cake Batter Pancakes. Enough said. Recipe here. 

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TROUBLE. Lululemon gift card. There goes a paycheck. #zerowillpower

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Gorgeous sunshine from my west coast bestie. ❤

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Amazon gift card, silicon baking cups, Bob Harper sweaty yoga and a new speed rope for CrossFit. Yay!

To make my birthday even better? Something really awesome happened professionally and they didn’t even know it was my birthday! Remember when I tweeted this?

maya

I GOT IT!!!

Again… blessed. 

See you all very, very soon!

~Peach

Come What May

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brene1

To write down your intentions is one thing. To begin to live with intent is quite another.

Starting The Mighty Peach List pushed me to attend Camp Mighty. It was there that I met the most incredible people and told the world my dreams. Suddenly, the dreams-turned-words-on-paper became tangible actions and realities. I had professional portraits taken, traveled to Portland, tasted foie gras for the first time, saw the Christmas tree at Rock Center and had a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. I ran a 5K, 10K and a half marathon. I’ve planned to visit London and to hug a gigantic Redwood at Yosemite. I declared my desire to buy a house and start my book.

All this has been heady and empowering. But these are things. Stuff.

The real work appears when you realize that you’ve been living your life and dreams at the will of others, or at least in consideration of their judgment. The real work comes when you finally choose to stop letting THEM decide YOU.

At first, the change happens in small ways. Someone makes an assumption about your feelings, casually dismissing a hurtful remark. Calmly and honestly, you correct them and state your hurt aloud.  And the moment you receive acknowledgement – the moment you’ve shown up to be seen and heard – the moment you get a heartfelt apology and an admission of wrongdoing? That’s when you promptly crumple into an ugly-crying mess.

Because WOW you just put yourself out there, utterly naked emotionally, fully expecting to get your heart stomped on. And instead you were given validation.

The actions snowball. Other difficulties are confronted. Each instance is more awkward and difficult and scary, but you’ve grown to understand that you matter enough to be heard and seen. No more will you sit quietly and let assumptions be made about your heart or your life. Careless people that once would have been silently resented for their thoughtless actions are now admonished aloud for their behavior. Relationships are ended because you realize that if someone cannot make room for you in their lives, then they are not worthy of having your heart.

You learn to stand alone in your skin. To take pride in the person you’ve become and the person you’re still growing to be. You’re able to reflect on the thorny path you took to get here and you’re grateful for each tumble over twisted roots. You start to live with your whole being. You’re able to use this new-found strength to reach out to the one person who never left your heart.

And blessedly, luckily, find love in return.

The possibilities are staggering.

Because in the end, stuff is just stuff. Go seek out the scariest work. Face your biggest fears and don’t be afraid to eat some concrete. Once you set your intention to live for your own happiness and no one else’s, the rewards are significantly greater.  Do the work and be ready for what comes your way. You’ll be amazed.

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This piece is being submitted to the amazing Yeah Write Weekly Challenge grid. If you don’t know Yeah Write, you should. Git you some.

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. ;)

Sharp Edges

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unfinished

Leaning against the hotel sink to touch up her makeup, she remembered her own sharp inhalation at the sound of his voice when he’d answered her call.  Thank god he couldn’t hear her inwardly curse at her heart for daring to do a slow flip flop after all this time.  After all the work she’d put into getting over him. And now just a few hours after making contact again she had a belly of butterflies wondering how this dinner with him would go.

He picked her up from the hotel, surprising her with his new car but not with his choice of cologne. He wordlessly strode around the car’s rear and grabbed her into a bone-crushing hug. As his scent invaded her thoughts, her legs went a little wobbly. The flood of olfactory memories bowled her over for a brief moment.

Steady…steady, now. God, he smells good. But still. Just keep your shit together, girl.

She recovered from the sensory jolt on the ride to dinner and was relaxed again by the time they’d settled into their wine. It was easy, actually. They’d always been friends as equally as lovers. She told him all that she’d overcome since leaving the North a year and a half ago. All that she’d achieved and accomplished – physically, mentally and emotionally. Sincere pride shone in his eyes as he congratulated her. She returned the same pride as he shared his own growth and experiences.

Wow, I’m impressed. He’s changed so much. 

They caught up on each others’ families and the gossip in their old circle of friends as babies, weddings and all the expected drama were laughed over.

“Love the hair, by the way.”

She looked down at the bold strands draping over her shoulder and smiled. “Really, you do?”

“Yes, I really do. For years you’ve said you wanted to go red. I’m glad you finally did it. It suits you and GOD that dimple still kills me when you smile… but I didn’t just say that… Um. What else? Tell me more.”

She delighted in the flattery, but decided to address the first of the elephants in the room.

“So, were you surprised to hear from me?”

“Stunned, actually. Why now? It’s been over a year.”

“I honestly don’t know. I’d told myself all week leading up to this trip that I wouldn’t reach out to you. But the moment the plane touched down, something told me that I had to. It was such a strong feeling… I can’t really explain it.”

Looking at her intently he said, “Well, I’m glad you listened to that feeling. I’ve missed you.”

Their server arrived to refill their wine glasses then, which gave her a moment to ponder over that single statement.

He had missed her.

Once the Pinot was poured she held her glass up to his and toasted. “To reunions.” They clinked and sipped, gazes locked on one another.

Lowering the glass she asked directly, “If you missed me, then why didn’t you reach out to me at all since our last text? Not a single word. Nothing.”

He cast his eyes downward and said softly, “I thought I’d scared you off. I thought I’d hurt you, so I decided to give you space. To be. To let you heal.” Looking up, he locked eyes with her. “I figured when you were ready, you’d let me know.”

The old her would’ve accepted that without pause. The new her could not.

Screw diplomacy.

She leaned forward and blurted the raw feelings. “Didn’t you stop to think that maybe your silence would have made me feel like you didn’t care? That you were done with me, got what you wanted from me, and tossed me aside?”

His voice heated with passion as he fired back,  “I would never. You know how I feel about you. How I’ve always felt about you. That never changed. It still hasn’t.”

Shocked into silence, she sat there feeling the sharp-edged emotions crackling in the space between them.

So many fucking feelings. Shit.

She didn’t have a choice. She needed to tell him the truth.

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This piece is being submitted to the amazing 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. ;)

Flexible only applies to me in yoga.

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At Camp Mighty, Maggie told the story of her Life List item to see the sun rise over the Aegean. Once there in Greece, fearlessly about to reach success, she realized that the sun only SET over the Aegean. Her attitude could have been Shitty McGrumpypants, but she chose instead to go with it. It may not have been *exactly* what she wanted, but a slight discrepancy in semantics wasn’t going to derail her enthusiasm. To her, this choice of perspective stood out in her mind as a huge life lesson.

Be rigid only if you want to break.

I am a planner by nature. I have lists for my lists. So when we were told to narrow down our Life List to just five items for 2013, I was all over that shit. I carry them with me everywhere.

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Yet only a mere 49 days into 2013, and I’m already finding that my top five goals for 2013 may need some tweaking. Not for any huge, earth-shattering reasons… simply for the reason that situations change. Circumstances shift.

One of the main goals I’m speaking of is the purchase of my first house. Some outside influences have swept into my life and are postponing the house hunt until my footing is steady again. This doesn’t mean it won’t happen for me this year. It just means my projected timeline of early Spring is pretty much out the window unless some miracles of miracles happen.

I can choose to kick and scream about it or I can go with it.

Duh. I know what I have to do, because you know what? The curveballs? They’re good for me. They’re making me grow.

The same way all the curveballs of 2011 brought me to Atlanta and into beginning this journey in the first place, these new plot twists are getting me out of my own comfort zone and testing the mindset of the “new me”.

A shift of plans does not equal failure. It doesn’t mean that I won’t reach my goals. It only means that I’ll get them completed a little differently than anticipated.  I know everything will work out for the best, however curvy my path may become.  And I also feel in my heart that these changes are what is best for me in the long run.

Good things are ahead. 🙂

Where She Belonged

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WingWM

The turbulence made the plane’s wings seesaw drunkenly upon landing in Newark. Even the weather knew something different was blowing into town.

She was so very frightened to return to this place that hadn’t been kind to her. It was a good thing she’d left before the damage was irreparable. Otherwise, it may have been impossible for the South to heal those broken emotional bones.

Now that she was returned and seated in the car they’d hired to bring her to the office, she took in the familiar vibe. Urban sprawl. Frigid winds that viciously stole her breath. Aggressive traffic. She remembered this unsettling feeling that she was conspicuous – a shock of red amidst endless grey.

Would anyone see a difference in her? Did they even remember her after a year away? Would they think she’d lost her edge?

Suddenly very unsure, she took evaluation of the ensemble she’d carefully chosen. The vivid turquoise wrap dress, sheer tights and nude patent pumps were purposefully a far cry from her typical grey shirt/black pants work ensemble. The severe blond bun had been replaced with long, loosely flowing strands of red. Where her tall frame was previously starved for nourishment it was now vital, strong and feminine. At least there was that.

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Entering the office, conversations halted when she walked past. Whispers followed her strides as if they’d seen a ghost. In truth, they had. And that morning, her smile grew exponentially with each joyful exclamation of recognition, each hug received and each stunned remark about her appearance. Most couldn’t quite put their finger on it. Those who knew her best used the words, “bright”, “alive”, “glowing” and “radiant”.

They got it. They saw it.

It wasn’t the clothes or the hair color. She was different.

The job was executed with her usual style of fiery panache, making easy the complicated and making organized the complex. Confidence and self-assurance leapt from her every action and statement. She didn’t just complete the assignment. She soared.

When the big meeting ended, she needed a respite from the emotions stomping over one other in her mind. She waved to the still-familiar doormen on the way out of the building, then made her way to the railing at the water. And standing there, cursing the freezing wind, she finally let her mind relax and inhaled a breath of cold that made her lungs tingle in protest.

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Everything was so different, but yet so much was still the same here. Most of all, she was so relieved to discover that her fears had been unfounded. Her coworkers had certainly missed her, based on the office buzz and number of baby pictures her male coworkers proudly offered for oohing and ahhhing.  She definitely didn’t miss these bitter temps or this frantic pace of life, but at least no one could possibly question her professional achievements after today. If anything, they’d say she’s better than she used to be. And the reason was simple: She left this place. This brave new woman that everyone wanted to see, talk to, and be around? She wouldn’t be this person if she still lived here. That same woman lifted her face, gazed at the Freedom Tower and told herself that it’s okay to miss the people and not miss the place. After all, she’d found her self, her happy, her dreams and her future in a place that had nothing to do with subways and snowstorms.

Her lips curved into a secretive smile. She’d do what she needed to do while she was here, and she’d do it more than well. But she couldn’t wait to go home.

And with that last thought, any lingering doubts of where she belonged sailed off with that icy wind over the Hudson. With one last glance at that magnificent view, she turned on one of those pretty heels and headed towards the building entrance.

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Linking up with the fantastic crew over at Yeah Write.

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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

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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.

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Linking up with the fantastic crew over at YeahWrite.