Jaded

by Teresa Johnson-Noe

I was thinking the other day about my nickname. Not the nickname that you all know me by, but the one that I penned myself back in 1993. It was the pseudonym that I went by in all of my blogging years and the one that suited me for so long that I began to develop a “reputation” of sorts around it.

Thy name was jadedgirl.

Urban Dictionary defines the term to mean:

JADED: The end result of having a steady flow of negative experiences, disappointment, and unfulfillment fed into a person enough so that their anger circuits just sort of burn out and they accept disillusionment.

"The guy just sort of gave up on relationships. Jaded bastard."

For years, as aforementioned, this suited me to a tee. Like the hard-hearted lonely girl I seemed to be, nothing seemed shocking or out of reach, or astounding. It was all so…sigh. Maybe it was depression, or my lame attempt at being one of the cool kids, or a cry for attention. Who knows.

I can only say this-it was me for so long. Anger, sadness, and a longing for something amusing, something fun, something stimulating. Just something.

I never found it, and that was perhaps why I wrote.

They say that artists are tortured souls. It happens to be the prominent reason that they all have material to sing, write, paint, act… 

I was a tortured soul.

Now that I have started the growing up process (yes, at 43 years old, what?) and my tastes have evolved from things like late night bars and bands, to early fine dining, a jazz trio and a glass of fine red. From cleavage exposing shirts and sexy heels and big hair to ball caps, comfortable shoes and worn denim. From a sleek little sports car to a reliable Honda mom-taxi. From paying $100 a month on mani-pedi's and foil highlights and “forgetting” to pay my electricity bill to picked nails and Nice and Easy on my grey shortened locks-with lots of electricity to spare.  To telling the hairdresser all about my latest conquest, and what group was rockin’ at the club last night, to complaining to the same hairdresser about my sons report card, and asking for a recipe for a good leg of lamb.

I realized something in the last few years.

I am happy.

I have nothing to really complain about. Oh, ok... I am still a blatant realist dipped in layers of sarcasm, but life is good in general.  

And my soul?

It’s no longer tortured. It amazing that I have anything to still write about, honestly. But, these days I find that I am less like a razor blade and more like an old pocket knife- I may be dull, but I still have a point. (pun SO totally intended.)

Anyway, I am giving up the nickname Jadedgirl forever. Besides, my newer moniker suits me better. Mama T.

When I was Jadedgirl, nothing shocked me. And I mean nothing. I was a lot like the young adults you see on TV these days, sipping a beer or a Cosmo and rolling their eyes at everything. Assuming they had “seen it all”

Guess what?

I haven’t.

As the grit wore off, I started looking at things differently. Every picture of a beautiful sunset over an ocean cliff didn't make me utter the words: “Yeah...great, but I will never see that up close and personal, why tease myself?” Or when I look at a picture of a happy older couple in a park...I don’t roll my eyes and scowl. I admire it. I embrace it. I see a future full of wonderful things, that were never there before. And no, before you wonder...I did not take up the hobby of smoking funny cigarettes. I am still waiting for the doctor to diagnose me with glaucoma. So far, he isn't buying it. Whatever.

No, it’s all natural realization, I guess.  Growing up (shudder) makes you appreciate more, and just doubt less.

It’s a whole new me. The end of an era. I am tossing out my Affliction bad girl shirts and my Louboutin pumps and putting on my Lane Bryant Capri pants, and my coral-colored Toms. I guess it was just time.

 

I came to understand this more just last week when I looked at my son laughing and smiling about some lame joke my husband told him, and it felt joyful.  Whaaaaat???

And then again, the following day I remembered with a start, that I am married to an amazing man-and it felt like a warm blanket wrapped around me. It was comfortable. Who knew???

And again, when my mostly typical teen-sometimes selfish and thankless offered to use his own birthday money to take us out for dinner-it was surprising. A happy surprise. OMG, right???

 

In one week I felt, joyful...comfortable...and surprised.

This is not how one who is jaded behaves. Not at all.

It was foreign to me in so many ways, but I admit that I do kinda like it.

A part of me still waits for the other shoe to drop at all times, because that isn't a personality flaw-that’s just good, ol’ common sense. But, even with the slightest bit of hesitation-there is NO wall. I guess age, maturity, and love broke it.  The quote goes: “Sometimes we put up walls not intended to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to knock them down.”


 

Well, I guess that I FINALLY cared enough. I knocked it down myself...with the help of a lot of wisdom and loss, and learning to remember that each day is a gift of sorts. I still avoid the corny “positive thinking” Facebook posts and doing anything as obnoxious as hanging up Successories posters on the wall of my office. That would just be too much. My personality wouldn't allow that. 

But I wake up feeling lucky most days, and find a lot of uncovered cliches in a flower popping up out of the dirt, babies giggling, sunrises and the view from my kick-ass porch with a hot cup of Colombian resting in my hand-and these cliches aren’t terrible. They don’t suck. Can you imagine???

There are good things, joyful things, surprising things, AMAZING things in life. And if there is anything that my younger, less enlightened, bitchy, hard-hearted jadedgirl could teach you it is this: If people can still surprise you sometimes...maybe not ALL of the time, but sometimes-it means you’re not dead.

So, don’t rule it out. It feels pretty good to be alive.

Last thought-

The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new…”

-Socrates

Sifting through the rubble,

T.