Ruby Slippers


By Jessie “Jade” Wright

The truth is that as we grow older we morph into this stranger who looks a lot like ourselves, but isn’t.

We lose touch with all those little bits of our authentic self as we layer on the roles of working, mothering, loving, and more.

I did.

I moved away from my sweet California roots to become a shadow of myself in rural New York. I used to joke that I moved there for love whenever someone asked me about surviving the snowbound winter months with my two sons.

I did.

But then I left in middle of my tenth winter to come back home to northern California on a March day. I had planned on the trip to be simply a visit, but complications along the way led to a permanent stay in California.

I found myself in what some may call the return journey. In those first few months, I began to unravel who I had become. It wasn’t scary because it felt authentic to be back home.

And then I began to run into some of my old friends who playfully called me by my nickname of Jade.

As as we sat reminiscing, I nodded my head in silent agreement after burping loudly from drinking a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Yep, that’s me.

I had became Jade before the name became popular, but I had to become a little bit jaded to remind myself of the real me.

I suppose that there should be some radical story about earning the name, but there isn’t. The name came as my friends and I stood in line awaiting our turns to spike a volleyball during practice in my sophomore year. Each of them had picked a name, and it was my turn, so I picked Jade which is the color of my eyes, especially when I’m feeling feisty.

I became Jade the free spirit, artist, poet, and writer until I left for college where I tried to become more ordinary, but I never truly could be that which I am not.

I am Jade.

Simple to be named, and humbling to be reminded of it again. The name still fits like a pair of worn and ripped blue jeans, so I dusted the name off, and hung it onto my author’s name recently. I realized that I owed my reader’s a backstory after a friend of a friend had asked what’s with my name change.

Here’s the truth: it’s not a name change, but a reaffirmation of my authentic self.


Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall



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