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Word…to your mother

This post is entirely Andi Fisher’s fault. (I ‘spose I could give Elizabeth Gilbert some credit, too…but she gets enough as it is. So I’m giving it all to Andi.)

You see, Andi wrote this GENIUS post yesterday. About how every city has a Word. And so does every person.

My brain took off in a torrent of thought. Faster than I thought my synapses could fire, I thought, yesofcoursethat’sbrilliantwhat’smyword




And then! There was brain silence. So much so that I could hear the air moving through my teeny, tiny ear tube fuzz.

And then, the questions came pouring in. Why was the first word that popped into my head ‘fire’? Who do I think I am that that would be my word? And why is it so hard for me to claim my word? Because that’s really the issue. It feels pompous and egoful. Though, oddly, on Andi it seemed nothing short of vibrant and lifeful. Hmmm…

And then, I thought: This whole discussion is egoful. So is this blog—because I’m writing about me and my life and my writing and my experiences. Which, I suppose, makes sense because it’s my blog.

But, luckily, because all of you are egoful as well, you take everything that I say and you try it on your own brains/hearts/bodies/desires. I’m just The Gap, but you’re in the dressing room trying it all on for size—and finding the pieces that fit, kicking the ones that don’t to the side, even picking out some items that aren’t your style…but you’d like to see if you can pull off. (Maybe in the dark, maybe somewhere no one knows you, maybe in your own kitchen, maybe on your keyboard.)

But, I digress. And I have a word to suss out. Why, when I’m so, so, so full of words…can’t I find the one that defines me?

I wondered, what if I’m not just one word? What if I’m a phrase? A sentence? A paragraph? A poem? A blog post? A short story? A novel?

I started making a list of words. I wrote about ten down, but I just couldn’t claim any of them. I felt like now I was the one dressing up…in the Big & Tall men’s store. They didn’t fit right and didn’t feel like they were mine. (Though they smelled nice.)

So, I stared at my computer screen trying to pull it to me, I want it, you know. I really want my Word. My ‘Julie’ Word. And then that was the only word I could hear. My name. My favorite name. I’ve never met a Julie that didn’t fit the bill. There’s a certain something to us Julies. Just ask us.

And when I say it, JULIE, out loud. I can claim it. I get it. It fits. I’d be proud to wear it around my neck, on a t-shirt, tattooed on the inside of my wrist…I mean, it already surrounds me like that fuzzy glow around streetlights on wet nights. An amorphous halo.

Most people fill up their names. They become synonymous with them. To the point where you can’t imagine them being called anything else—often by the time they’re a few months old. A person’s name isn’t just what you call them. When you hear the name, your mind/eyes/heart/hands fill up with a ten-dimensional image.

And so, I searched the Worddom, and this is where I landed. My Word is Julie.

I did, however, take a poll of those that I love and that love me back. I asked them for their thoughts on my Word, and here’s what they had to say: determined, creative, passionate, trouble, unpredictable, aggressive, independent, appetite, compelling, vivacious, glowing.

‘Trouble’, ‘unpredictable’ and ‘aggressive’. Those words came from the mouth of my very own Mother—interestingly enough—since she also and originally gave me the Word that, in the end, I feel defines me best.

She saved ‘Julie’, kept it close—on her way to motherhood, then through the two sons that came first. She knew I was coming. She knew I would be Julie.

She thought, I’m sure at the time, when I came out all small and pink and loud from the get-go, that it would be that simple. “Julie!” She proclaimed. Apparently, she got a little more than she bargained for.

Well, at least more than one word…

Image credit: biphop

NOTE: I did not search far for this image, it came straight to me. Not only is it cosmically in honor of Andi, my favorite Francophile, but the translation couldn’t be more fitting. I knew that ‘mot’ means ‘word’ in French which is why I thrilled to find the image, but (here’s the good part), according to Andi and her French hubbie (and my online french/english dictionary), the definition of ‘mot’ on this paper is: “fit, like a glove that is returned’. If that’s not poetic bamboozlement, I don’t know what is…

So…what’s your word???

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Sandi says:

    I love this post Julie! It’s so amazing when we do claim our word. Like you, I asked around and one of the words that came up with relentless (didn’t occur as a good word at first!), but then I got it – that is who I’m being a lot of the time and it’s what people love about me.

    Ownership is a beautiful thing.

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    I love you as trouble. Too funny that your mother said that.

  • Jill Fisher says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t think of “Julie”! Of course….that’s your word. It defines you! It’s you and it includes all those other words you/we thought of. Whenever I meet a new mother who proudly introduces her precious little girl as “Julie”, I immediately think…”uh-oh, look out!!!” Can you imagine where we’d be if I’d named you “Trouble”???

  • Julie Roads says:

    Trouble Roads. And I’d been thinking lately it would have been cool if my name had been ‘Tuesday’. This is WAY better.

  • Leon Noone says:

    G’Day Julie,

    I just couldn’t resist a reply. maybe your word is “temptress.” How would I know? I’ve been married to a Julie for 44 years. I’m living proof of that old adage ‘the more you know the more you realize you don’t know.”

    One of Australia’s best known and famous authors, Jon Cleary, died recently at 92. He once said”‘my favourite words are octogenarian and nymphomaniacal. Unfortunately, they are incompatible.”

    Anyway, I suspect you’re at least a sentence, maybe even a paragraph.

    Make sure you have fun.



  • Andi says:

    I love JULIE. Yes, JULIE. It’s perfect, and your post is FABULOUS!

  • Hey Julie!

    I’ve got two words that always go together: Inspirational Rebel.

    Very fun post!


  • Timothy L. O'Neal says:

    I’ve always wanted a tatoo. Seen many people with them, but could never really come to a decision. Do I let the artist express himself like a hairstylist on my mop? How bout a cool looking emotional tear even though I’ve never seen the clink? Hey, is there a guy ‘tramp stamp?’

    I once saw a cute girl with ink on her inner wrist that said, “Die Trying.” As much as I could gel with her badass attitude, I could not be a rip off artist. So, after reading this, the answer is cosmic clear for my word, ironically parelling yours, is likely to become my first tatoo. Here’s why:

    I was always shy of revealing my middle name when the topic came up. Kids and young adults would say, “Oh, is that Loren?” I’d reluctantly reply, “no, it’s
    L-A-U Lauren.”

    Laughs would abound and with pityless chuckling, “That’s a girly name.” Bothered me to tears despite my parents slipping my beloved grandfathers spirit into my namely mix. How did grandpa ever cope with that ‘L-A-U’ being his first name? Yish!

    Thus, my word is ‘Lauren’ and I’m so damn proud, it’s now likely to grace my body. Some will ask, “Wow, I assume that’s your girlfriend?” I’ll answer, “Nope, that just the middle of ME… Like my parents spoke it shortly after I rifled out of the womb.”

    Now I just have to decide where to put it.

    Inspiring post JR

  • As a fellow Julie myself, I too embrace my “Julieness.” My mother, like yours, always knew she would have a Julie. Her favorite song is still, “Julie Do Ya Love Me?”

    In fact, I think it’s about time for a Julie resurgence!

    • Julie Roads says:

      Ha! I love that song. My babysitter when I was really little always sang it to me.
      But, let’s hold off on the Julie resurgence – wouldn’t it be terrible if suddenly we topped the most popular name list? Might lose the magic of naming actual ‘julie’s ‘julie – and people might just start slapping our name on any old baby. (oops, did I just say that out loud?)

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