humor

My Mane Issue: A Tribute

Before we dive in: I’m so sorry about last week’s email notification debacle! (Wherein my subscribers got an email notification saying I had a new, password-protected blog post available.) You didn’t miss a post, but to make it up to you, this week I’m offering the greatest blog post I’ve ever written.*

*this week

The follicle foibles I mentioned two weeks ago have raged on, and I’ve now colored my hair as many times as I’ve moved in the last six years.

Attempts #1,347-1,351.

The first time I ever dyed my hair, I was in my mid-teens. I had grown up a natural blonde…

Why cut your child’s hair free-form when you can use a bowl instead? P.S. – Happy birthday [to my brother], Bryan! I did NOT print our family portrait on a face mask or blanket for you this year. You’re welcome.

…but by the time I hit teen years, my hair color had faded into some sort of strange nothingness. It wasn’t blonde. Or brown. Or gray. Or anything. In trying to reclaim my roots (pun soooo intended), I wound up with a Chucky-esque, clown-orange hue. I eventually gave up, chopped off the offending remnants, and went au naturel.

I think we can all agree: everything in this photo needs to go away.

That didn’t last long.

By 19, I was determined. I would be Jules. Jules Blonde.

Why is this photo in my blog archives? What is this?

Though I’ve stayed primarily blonde through my late 30s, you can rest assured I’ve tried going brunette.

March 2010

“I don’t like it. It isn’t you,” my boss and mentor said, when, at 27, I decided to switch things up and come to work sporting a dark brown mane. By that point she’d known me as a blonde for five years.

Well this is awkward.

Her name was Carol and I worshipped her. She had a barely tamed, reddish-gray, curly bob, wore boxy, black jumpers over patterned turtlenecks, chunky black orthopedic flats, and took no prisoners. She was a mid-level manager in a high-level pharmaceutical company, and for some reason decided that employing a creative writing major with zero corporate experience was a swell idea.

At 22 years old, I got a plastic ID badge, a 401k, and a fast lesson in office politics and Excel spreadsheets.

My entire life from 2007-2011.

In those days, I didn’t know it was wrong to race into your boss’s office at 7:45am and holler, “I GOT A NEW CAR IT’S A BEETLE CONVERTIBLE COME LOOK COME LOOK!”

Clearly I have a lot of bad ideas.

In those days, I didn’t know it was noteworthy to start a weekly “Cookie Day” and host potlucks in the dreary back conference room.

In those days, I didn’t know that writing ironic birthday poems, baking cheesecake, and hanging Despair.com calendars across your cubicle was endearing.

“I just have to tell you,” Carol said after a few months on the job, “I finally read what that poster said because I just couldn’t believe you’d have one of ‘those’ [motivational] calendars. I was so relieved.”

Actual poster hanging in my first cubicle.

In those days, all I knew was that the people I saw every day from 9 to 5 had lost a sparkle in their eyes and I was naive enough to think I could bring it back with baked goods and bad great jokes.

After Carol’s hair comment, I didn’t stay brunette for long, and in returning to blonde, I saw that she was right. Over the years I worked with her, she made a few enemies and more than a few missteps, but she always saw me.

Not long after that, she died of cancer. It’s been over ten years and I still can’t really think of her without crying.

When someone sees you, it lives forever.

So. While I’ve enjoyed this latest pitstop [thanks to a botched bleach job] and treasure my friends’ kind words…

…I’ll be back to blonde myself soon.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Do you have a similar attachment to an aspect of your appearance?

~*~*~*~*~*~

Family Ties

For the Woman Behind “Jules”

Indeed.

Well, apparently if you were born in either July or October, I like you. Have you ever noticed that? A plethora of birthdays in any given month? If not, did you notice I just used the word plethora? You probably did, because it sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s like a lot got all dressed up for a dinner party, and since it didn’t know anyone, it bought a really fancy bottle of wine from the Hamptons so it could make conversation brag about its summer home.

Anyway. My point is that you’ve already seen a post about my bloggy BFF’s birthday this month, and now today is my real-life BFF’s birthday (next up: First Husband’s birthday on Sunday! Told you).

I’ve mentioned Jenn several times before, and you’ll hear from her directly soon. She has finally succumbed to many months of what I like to call WordPressuring, and will guest post right here on Go Jules Go next week. You won’t want to miss it, and now that I’ve put it in writing, she can’t get out of it.

Happy birthday, Jenn!

I think of myself as her everything.

There’s so much I want to tell you about our 12 year-longstrong friendship. Jenn once said in a brilliant piece of writing, “Of all the reference sections in the world, Jules had to walk into mine.”

I’m pretty sure my life didn’t begin until I met Jenn, when she came to work alongside me at a little, independent bookstore in northern New Jersey. She was older, wiser, fiercely smart, hilarious and musically gifted. I was 18 and worshipped her instantly.

I could tell you more about those scandalous memoir-inspiring early days, or about the time we almost died, on a road trip lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“Squeal like a pig!” Jenn quoted Deliverance, laughing, as we wound through the middle of no where, right before her new Honda Civic hung off the edge of a cliff.

Savannah, circa 2002. Five days from near death.

But then I thought of something. Something small, but maybe really big, too.

Jenn is the reason you call me Jules.

Eleven years ago, her wonderful boyfriend (now husband) started calling me Jules, as if it would have been unnatural not to. It’s not an unusual nickname for Julie, of course, but before then, only a stray gym teacher or soccer coach ever used it. Jenn ran with it, and pretty soon our tight circle of friends all called me Jules.

After many years of feeling less than, this little nickname made me feel special. I soon hated when anyone else used it. Jules was for cherished friends only.

For some reason, though, when I started this blog, I chose gojulesgo as my profile name. At the time, it was all one word, and my blog name was GoGuiltyPleasures.

Several months in, a couple of new blog buddies asked via email whether I preferred Julie or Jules. I was a little afraid to answer. Who was I to them? Who was I going to be?

But there was only ever one choice.

While I knew nothing about blogging or the friendships I would eventually make, some part of me knew that being Jules here was important. Though [in my naïveté] this blog was originally about solitary writing and portfolio building, it quickly became so much more, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every time you call me Jules, I feel like a friend is addressing me affectionately. Let’s face it, it’s as awesome as a chipmunk hug if chipmunks didn’t have such teeny, tiny arms.

It’s why my About page and business cards say, “I sense you’re ready to take our friendship to the next level.”

Thanks to Jenn and her belief in Jules, this li’l blog is one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Jenn has helped uncover the real me in this way and so many more, and I’m not sure there will ever be a birthday gift big enough to repay her.

But methinks going to see “Wicked” last weekend was a good start.

I love you, Jenn-a-fahhhh! (How’s that for the left-hand side of your card?)

For bloggers, what’s the story behind your blog name? To non-bloggers/all, do you have any favorite nicknames (for yourself or others)?