This used to be me, a few short days ago, but it’s not me anymore.

Let me explain.

I didn’t start out my weekend planning on different hair.

Well, not much different, at least.

I won’t bore you with the details of how I colored my own hair on Thursday night, wanting to go back to my slightly darker look from this fall, and how this time I decided to use permanent color instead of semi-permanent, and how after two hours of trying to strategically paint goop into my hair I looked like I had been mud-wrestling (and losing), and so did my bathroom, and how after I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and dried my hair and looked in the mirror I freaked out just a little bit.

Ok, kind of a lot.

Wrong brown. Wrong, wrong brown. Very, very brown. So, so, so dark. Very.

Deep breathing. This is not something a mature adult would be upset about, right? I mean really. This is so minor. After all, looks don’t matter, they’re just the outside of me, and who I really am has nothing to do with the color of my hair.

I am more than my hair.

But oh-my-gosh-seriously-people-this-is-a-really-big-deal-don’t-try-to-tell-me-it’s-not-I-mean-what-if-that-person-I-always-say-hello-to-when-we-pass-at-church-doesn’t-even-recognize-me-anymore?? Someone once said something to me about how cool it was that I was a six-foot-blonde and what if it turns out that’s really the only cool thing about me? What if returning to my natural color takes me back to my school days of being the last one picked for every single game in gym class and—and—and—

GET A GRIP, GIRL! You sound like a crazy person! Or a ninth grader (sorry R-girl).

In the words of my stylist (who I emailed in a panic): “Chill out!!!


Couldn’t agree more.

So, on Saturday, I chilled out in the best way I could come up with. I went to another stylist to see if she would feel pity on me and save me by throwing in a few highlights, just a few, but instead she asked if she could cut off all the damaged hair and she said I could trust her so I did and so I started with this…

…and ended with…

Holy moly. Yes, I’m smiling there, but it’s my hello-nice-to-meet-you-who-are-you? smile. Cause really. Who is that?

Turns out, I’ve had a little time to get to know this new person. Also turns out, most of those people I passed in the hall this morning stopped and smiled and said hello, and some said nothing about the hair (did they hate it? did they notice??), some said something, some didn’t know me from behind, but as far as I know, I was still somewhat recognizable when I smiled.

And, yes, I realize this is all just a ridiculous rant. Which is why I can also say that this is not me either:

new hair | the both and | shorts and longs | julie rybarczyk

It’s just what I looked like today when R-girl snapped a couple pictures of me.


I’m a little deeper than that, hopefully. And I’m working on being ok if my true colors show through now and then. Even the darker ones.

P.S. To the stylists I know and love who have been saving me from my own hair: I don’t envy your job. I mean fragile female egos are on the line here, and my increasingly fragile hair strands (dang it!!), not to mention possibly somewhat shallow self esteem that may or may not stand the litmus test of a radical new hair color and cut. With so much at stake, and with the mess of all that brown hair dye, I’m not so sure I should be taking things into my own hands anymore.

I’ll be seeing you soon.

by julie rybarczyk


  • Denise

    I admire you for reinventing yourself. I like the new look. Beautiful. I like the color, I like the new shorter length.

    January 28, 2011 - 12:06 pm
  • Beth Johnsoon

    I love it!

  • diane

    I believe you will be happy when you have no roots in 4 weeks. At some point you could put a few highlights in but I think now you are looking mysterious and sexy!

  • Kellie

    Hey Julie,
    I was drifting around websites – we have been off work for the MLK holiday – and I was out last week for a couple of days. Saw you post about this hair and had to laugh because I have done the same thing a couple of times. I feel for you. I agree with the other writers – the short sassy brown hair is adorable. My take on it is that it is sooooooo different – you can’t see yourself in it. I think the blonde is truly you. Once you feel a hair color in your bones – it is almost impossible to love anything else. Not that anyone ask – but I think you should streak the blonde back in – and you know when they tell you that your hair can’t handle it? Trust me… it will. I have had mega shades of hair color on my wimpy fine worn out hair and it never fell out. You just need the right colorist! Now I wear wigs all the time – just tired of the whole style it every morning – now I pop on a wig and it is all good. love it. Think of you often – hope all is well there. Looks like you have been pounded with snow. uggh! Tell the kids Hi!

  • Jen

    Hi Julie! Fun to see you yesterday. I have to say that I noticed your cute hair and even made an attempt to turn around and say so, but everything happened so fast…Yes–I said cute hair! I saw where you and Em were sitting and made an attempt to get there when it was over, but I lost track of you in the crowd. Anyway, here’s my chance…love your hair!! And I loved it before I knew that it was an accident 🙂

  • Andi

    Oh I can relate!
    I think your new do looks great! REALLY!
    Your hair isn’t what defines you, tho–it’s like icing on the cake.
    Can’t wait to see it in person!


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