Ugly Beautiful

An investigation of our “ugly” vices, under the lens of Beauty

Photo Credits: A Photo From One Of My Shoe Campaigns And The Rest Is All Helmut Newton Work.

August 1, 2023

“Ugliness is just a failure in seeing” (Matt Haig). Let’s for a moment turn Ugly on its head. Ugly is attractive. Ugly is exciting. Maybe because Ugly is refreshing. My investigation of 8 vices–or the dramatically phrased “deadly sins”–explores the beauty in the “ugly,” and how ugliness can be more interesting than the bourgeois idea of correctness and beauty. Because let’s face it. Ugly is human and part of life.

“The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.”

Elizabeth Taylor

We’re all shamefully (or not so shamefully) guilty. To some degree or another, the seven (and proposed eight) deadly sins are anything but unfamiliar to us–-if, that is, we are willing to be honest. For the sake of this post, I propose a more inspirational, lighthearted, visual and conceptual aid to manage our “spiritual shortcomings.” Helmut Newton was fascinated by the seven deadly sins and artfully displayed this theme over the span of his entire career as a photographer. That is why I’ve decided to accompany each “Sin” with a few of his delightfully sin-full images. 

I’ll begin with my proposed 8th Deadly Sin:

PROFANITY:

A little profanity goes a long way. Yes, having a potty mouth was considered anything but ladylike or gallant, and is still often seen as crass, vulgar, and offensive to many. But although this is perfectly valid— as per the traditional code of social decorum—science would prove otherwise. There are a number of scientifically proven ways in which profanity (just a healthy “now and then” approach) soothes our soul: it is healthier than physical violence as way of letting off steam; it is an innocuous and humorous coping mechanism; it offers increased circulation, elevated endorphin and serotonin levels and an overall sense of control and safety in its implicated assertion of power over a situation. It has also proven to be a sign of creativity, intelligence, and honesty (cnn.com). What are your endearing personal expletives? 🤬🤬😜

GLUTTONY:

As traditionally defined, gluttony–or compulsive eating, drinking, hoarding, buying–is looked down upon, and naturally, not in any way healthy for the body or the pocket. But under the surface, gluttony might likely just imply a need for more love. This love deficit most likely dates back to childhood and drives us to “fill” and nourish this void. That said, there is a fine line between what is a healthy passion for that which is consumed and what is not so healthy. If it is a deep and healthy passion, then raise your enthusiastic impassioned freak flag and indulge in your life’s delights. 

Be a glutton for more experiences and more of what you love. WEAR, EAT, DRINK, COLLECT and DO what brings out your inner smile (to a healthy degree of course). GO ON A LOVE-BINGE with whatever the hell you love. If we’re going to love, why not love entirely and to no end!

SLOTH:

Being excessively lax might imply being fearful of something. If we procrastinate or stall, it might be a fear of potential frustration and disappointment if we were to throw ourselves in and to no avail. We might yearn to succeed more but feel overwhelmed or unequipped. Our inaction, however, can be vanquished when we realize that it’s better to try than never know what we could have accomplished. That said, the difference between being a downright sloth and being lackadaisical does exist. There is a tremendous benefit to stalling and doing absolutely nothing for a while, in order to charge those powerful batteries and allow the mind to fertilize genius ideas.

EVERY day is an opportunity to re-evaluate who we are and how we’ve been. Confucianists believe we are improvable through personal endeavor, self-cultivation, and self-creation. Who we were yesterday does not necessarily mean that is who we have to be today or tomorrow. Normally this kind of slow metamorphosis needs undistracted lengths of time spent in a robe, slippers and disheveled hair.

WRATH:

Yes. Our fits of wrath are really just a tender reaction to our deep hurt, panic, or anxiety inside. What we most need in these circumstances is someone to listen and kindly understand our hidden wounds and fears. We just want others to appreciate our fragility, and not punish us for our wobbly raging lunacy. That said, there is quite a difference between scorching wrath and fighting for what we need. We can fight for our happiness, our values, and our desires… (Our frivolous whims and extravagances most definitely count too😉.)

PRIDE:

Rubbing proud comments in someone else’s face is never agreeable. In this case, Pride is simply a means to fill a sense of unimportance or being unrecognized. We all deeply need to assert ourselves. But there is a distinction between excessive pride and our self-value and how we express it to others. 

We can turn “ugly” pride on its head and be proud to care for other’s opinions. As well as our own.

Purse your lips. Wink your eye. There is always a reason to be outright proud of yourself. Be wholly committed to refusing gloom. Choose Pride.

ENVY:

To be envious has always carried a negative connotation. In the traditional sense of the word, it can imply the notion that we feel inadequate and desperately flawed. But to feel envy can also be a valuable way to know ourselves better, to understand what it is we yearn for and feel we are missing. Next time we turn green, or feel the grass is greener on that other side, we can smile at the relief of knowing what our next goal is. We can be thankful for the mirror that has been placed in front of us — for the reflection of something we identify with.

Thinking of someone in an envious way really just means they or what they represent to us matters. So even if it is with an ‘envious’ heart, Envy can be a feeling of identifying with someone else. 

CRAVE and COVET MORE. Make that which you want yours.

GREED:

The world is not enough. More is always more. As the “ugly” sense of the word would imply, Greed stems from a deeper feeling of lack, a sense of not being enough as we are. In this respect, it drives a need for more. But Greed, if seen properly, can be a sign of wanting to care more for yourself. What could possibly be wrong with that?

LUST:

Lust can have many targets. A desperate desire to make someone our own, a need to relieve a sense of loneliness, or a need for a deeper bond are often the case. Our ordinary, often perfunctory lives, might not permit this level of bonding which we so crave. Our best solution and greatest hope could be to aim for a risk-free target. We could perhaps ravish a mouth-watering chocolate-dipped banana or plan a romantic date with our trusty erotica plaything. 

Reward yourself. Bond deeply. You deserve it. And most importantly, be relentlessly curious and dedicated to the school of LOVE. Desire and strive for vitality and deepness in all your different love experiences.

Indulge yourself, and shrug at the levity of it all. There is beauty in the ugly. But is it really ugly? You decide.
Uh oh, I done it again

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