I’ve had somewhat of an epiphany recently, as I stumbled across the origin of the word ‘ugly’. Really, it was someone really close to me that spurred the entire chain of events. Beauty is still skin deep, but what of inner beauty? Or, inner ugliness for that matter?
When they approached me, phone in hand, ready to start making fun of someone on Facebook with whom we are mutual friends. Really, the person they were talking about has always marched to the beat of their own drum, and a lot of people call it strange or odd; I, however, was in no mood to partake or otherwise engage in ‘shit-talking’.
So before the rant had gotten too far, I decided to reject the entire premise of the conversation.
“Don’t be ugly.” The words sounded foreign, even as they exited my own mouth. Though, you’d be convinced that I was saying ‘the sky is blue’, I said it so nonchalantly.
The conversation was instantly shut down.
An Ugly Start
That is the point when I really started thinking about the origin of the word, ‘ugly’ and the meaning of it; if anything other than the obvious physical descriptor we use.
As it turns out, the word ‘ugly’ is derived from the Norse word, ugga -to fear.
- through the years the word uggligr evolved meaning feared/dreaded one.
Which yes, in the Old Norse days, when superstition overpowered science, disfigurement of one’s face could cause people to run in fear, simply for that which they don’t understand; therefore the definition would quite literally meaning a physical affliction.
However, it seems equally plausible that someone could be feared and dreaded, because of the actions and the manner in which they carry themselves. If their personalities are that of lacking compassion, lacking empathy or sense of remorse, and demonstrate an avid pleasure for causing pain, wouldn’t that make them ugly in spirit?
– perhaps making them uggligrs.
The real ugly ones.
Maybe even in the days of the 13th centuries, Norse folk understood that ugliness lies deeper than flesh. That the way with which we conduct ourselves is the legacy we leave behind, and therefore to treat everyone with respect and kindness; lest ye’ be labeled ‘an ugga.’
Beauty may only be skin deep, but ugliness starts at the core.
-be kind to each other now that we made it to the sober side