The Piercing Truth

Go Jules Go Title Graphic The Piercing Truth_14AUG2019

I stood in the mirror, turning my head to the right just slightly.

The side of my nose bore a small mark where a metal stud had just been. During a particularly enthusiastic nose blowing session, it had fallen loose. I’d gotten the new facial bedazzlement (…what? It’s a word) just five months earlier.

At which point I DEFINITELY didn’t proceed to take 10,000 selfies.

After quitting 12+ years of corporate America, about to hit the open road, I had steeled my nerves and done yet another thing I’d always been too scared to do.

clone tag: 8162011598807029570clone tag: 1086567805688237252
See? Just a selfie or two (thousand).

Now, happily settled in Oregon, 3,000 miles from my New Jersey hometown, I reconsidered my reflection. As tiny as it was, the nose stud had been a booming echo of my inner state. It had symbolized the version of myself I’d tried so hard to hide – or at the very least, keep subdued. The independent thinking, rebellious, stubborn adventurer.

Go Jules Go drinks river water in Utah
Oh, a little muddy creek water on the side of a mountain in Utah? Don’t mind if I do.

When I had first gotten the piercing and had looked in the mirror, I had nearly cried.


Now all I need is pink hair. Oh! Got that, too!

Five months later, I turned my head back and forth once more, staring at my bare nose, remembering the panic I’d felt in April, while roadtripping in Canada.

“I took my nose ring out to clean it and I can’t get it back in!” I had frantically texted to my friend, Sandy.

“I hate to break it to you, Jules,” she had immediately replied. “But you’re just going to have to shove it in.”

After a tearful 30 minutes in the bathroom, I’d finally gotten the nose ring back in place. I’d taken a few deep breaths, attached to this ‘other’ thing that I had been sure was a critical part of The Real Me.

“Just shove it in and leave me alone. Uncle Jesse and I are having a moment.” –Sandy

I stared at my naked face, hit by the exact same thought as when I’d first gotten the piercing.


I didn’t need it anymore, I suddenly realized. I didn’t need an outward symbol to acknowledge my newfound badassery. I was an independent thinking, rebellious, stubborn adventurer. No piece of jewelry could outshine my current lifestyle. My day to day choices, at long last, represented the authentic me.

…Or maybe I’m just really fickle.

Go Jules Go Mt Bachelor June 2019
Day to day choice I will not make again: Riding a ski lift over jagged lava rocks to get this view.


How do you (or have you) express(ed) the ‘real’ you?


20 thoughts on “The Piercing Truth”

  1. I’m afraid I’ve never been that introspective. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life and just go with the flow…
    I’m totally enjoying your journey and personal re- awakening though. Gorgeous view!!

      1. I wish I had a secret to impart, but really I was just blessed with wonderful parents who gave me a happy childhood and finding my perfect partner when I was 20 years old. We’re not perfect, but we’re perfect for each other.

  2. The ‘real’ me enjoys lying like a lump on the couch with mounds of books by my side. I express this real me by wearing my pajamas for 24 hours at a time whenever possible. I also quite like funky socks. However, the ‘teacher me’ is expected to, you know, shower and dress professionally. So, my lumpy days are numbered. Yes, you may be fickle. And that is totally allowed!

      1. My favos are my socks with the rainbow-striped feet (with separate toe slots) then have polka-dots to the knees. I love the look of feet-ys :), but don’t find them comfortable. Does that mean something is wrong with me?

        1. I couldn’t agree more re: feetie PJs! First of all, there’s always a length issue that results in either thigh chafe-age or coochie constraint, and second of all, foot sweat.

    1. The dazzle is sitting in a tiny Tupperware container with homemade saline solution under my bathroom sink. Which I now just realized is my only tiny Tupperware container, and I just chopped extra garlic last night and had to put it in this container that was 10x too big. Hmm. The dazzle is about to lose out to my mung bean curry.

  3. What? I’ve never known you without a nose ring. Will I recognize you?
    It sounds like the nose ring was a physical symbol that helped you through transition. Not fickle. 💜

    1. Aw, thanks, Sarah! And don’t worry. You’ll still recognize me as the person either sweating profusely along the river trail or ordering Prosecco by the bottle at Trivia Night.

  4. You are incredible. Seriously. You don’t need a nose ring or pink hair (although you rocked both fantastically!!). You have such lovely wonder and kindness and adventure that oodles from the inside out. It has been my pleasure to know you thru blogging and then to finally meet you (read: dazzle you??) in person. And yes…Uncle Jesse and I had moments and I miss you both.

    1. I’m going to print this comment out and hang it on the fridge using a magnet made out of pictures of you and Uncle Jesse – that’s how much it means to me! I tell everyone how I couldn’t have asked for a better friend/host; that was one of my favorite trips ever, thanks to you!

  5. It’s strange I felt the exact same thing when I grew a beard for the first time. I’d been in the conservative corporate world and had never grown more than a few days of facial hair. Once I quit and moved to a more creative career I grew a giant beard, and every time I looked in the mirror I loved seeing this outward symbol of my choosing to take a risk and a new path. Eventually I shaved it for a family picture and thought I would grow it again but I never have.

    1. I can’t picture you with a beard! And as someone who now lives in the land of “Is He Homeless or Does He Really Just Hate Shaving?” I think you made the right call.

  6. I’m not quite sure if I ever experienced the real me. What I am sure is that the real me wouldn’t want to get a hole punched in his nose.
    And in general, I would think that a real you or me or anyone would probably be just as real with or without an external piece of jewelry (maybe only slightly less employable and/or comfortable depending on the size and placement of the said piece.)

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