Have you ever met someone or something for the first time only to wonder where that thing has been your entire life? That’s jolie laide to me.
I was only recently introduced to the phrase at work by J who was blown away by my rather questionable fashion choice of Birkenstock sandals with boot socks – the kind of boot socks that remind you of an old school Sock Monkey. I always called it my 90s Lesbian Dad Chic look, especially when paired with jorts, but that description is a little hit or miss here in the Midwest. Or maybe it’s my delivery that’s hit or miss?
Either way, jolie laide, is a phrase I never knew I needed in my life. Roughly translated from the single google search I did, the phrase means “beautiful, ugly” and is typically associated with women who are perceived as beautiful in spite of possessing ugly features. Ouch. Only I don’t know if J meant it as an insult or not, and I don’t actually care. I’m enamored with the phrase. My life is jolie laide.
Growing up as me sucked. I mean, all of my physical needs were met, I went to good schools, and was involved in a number of activities I mostly enjoyed. So what’s the problem? Total emotional neglect from my parents. Life at home was cold. I never felt safe or loved, and this problem was consistently presented to me as a personal shortcoming that I needed to fix. Only I had no idea or guidance on how to fix it. So in 5th grade, in an attempt to lessen the constant pain, I gave up on myself. It seemed like the only thing that would help was to shut off my needs and go through life doing what others wanted me to do. When that didn’t magically solve my problems I naturally assumed I was a lost cause and didn’t deserve the happiness that seemed to come effortlessly for my peers. They obviously weren’t broken like I was. It took until my 30s, which is still now, for me to realize I didn’t have to resign myself to an inwardly painful existence.
So now, after three therapists, two psychiatrists, and waiting on the start of trauma therapy I have hope. You can also add into that equation a number of self-help books, interacting with others like me on specific subreddits, and learning how to set boundaries. Really the list could go on and I’m sure I’ll get into it more with later posts.
So I guess, welcome to my Beautiful, Ugly Life.