Tag Archives: cursing

Some Healthy Adult Perspective

When I was in PreK, I said “damn” in class and my teacher, Mrs. Marx, washed my mouth out with soap. It was absolutely traumatizing and I will never forget the taste of those pearly pink generic-brand suds on my tongue.

I gagged. I cried. Pretty sure I puked. But more than anything, I was extremely embarrassed. I despised Mrs. Marx for the rest of the year.

Now that I am older, and have the experience of being both a teacher and a mom, I can look back and see with clear vision what Mrs. Marx was doing. She saw a reckless kid, and, rightfully so, it worried her. Kids need boundaries, and she wanted to create some for me. She knew I would have an easier time in life if I understood the consequences of my actions, took behavioral expectations seriously, and generally tried to fall in line with societal norms. She was trying desperately, in her own way, to help me.

So shout out to Mrs. Marx— now that I have matured and gained the wisdom of perspective, and am raising a PreK child of my own, I see exactly what you were doing, and you know what? IT DIDN’T FUCKING WORK YOU SICK TWISTED CUNT.

Standard 1st Grade Reading Lesson


Me: “Do you know the name of the bird in the picture?”
Kid: “No.”
Me: “Ok, let’s try chunking the word to make it easier to sound out. You’ll see that when you break up the word, it isn’t so big and scary. It’s all smaller words you can figure out and then blend together.” (covering up end of word) “Try saying this first part alone.”
Kid (concentrating very hard): “C-O-CK…C-ooooock…C-OCK!! COCK! COCK!!!”
Me: “That’s right! Cock!”

And that’s when her dad walked in.


Not a Bad Word

Kid: “My parents are not voting for Trump. They think he’s a dick…”
Me: “Woah woah woah! Ok, I can’t let you use language like that with me, even if your parents let you.”
Kid (shrugging): “Ok. It’s really not a big deal. It’s not even a bad word.”
Me (having a sudden realization): “Ohhhh, I cut you off. You were going to say dictator!”
Kid: <laughs, returns to his math worksheet>

(20 seconds later)

Kid: “No. I was just saying ‘dick.'”



Excuse Me While I Meet My Idol Jenny Lawson and Ask Her To Sign My Prozac-filled Pill Case

On Thursday, at a Barnes and Noble book-signing event, I had the honor of meeting my idol and hero, Jenny Lawson. For those of you who don’t know her, she is a hilarious blogger (known as “The Bloggess“), a NYT bestselling author, and an inspiring mental illness sufferer and advocate.

Basically, she’s me.

But way funnier and hugely successful and totally established.

So, ok. Rewrite.

Basically, she’s who I WANT to be.

Up until about 8 months ago, I actually had no idea who Jenny Lawson was. In an ironic twist (and a twist that has surely prevented my blog from being more successful), I am a blogger who doesn’t really read blogs.

You know those tv actors who are asked what their favorite TV show is, and they say, “Oh, I don’t actually watch tv, I don’t really have time.” I’m one of those assholes. Except I do have time, I just spend it doing other things, like napping and eating and drinking Bloody Marys.

Basically I’m the worst.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I discovered Jenny out of sheer luck– one day, someone commented on my Facebook page that my writing reminded him of Jenny’s writing, and that I should check out her blog and her book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I skipped the blog part (because again, I’m the worst) and went straight for the book.

Holy shit, y’all! (as Jenny would say. God I wish I had the right to say “y’all,” but I don’t think Potomac, Maryland counts as the deep South.) This woman is fucking HILARIOUS and she DOES kind of sound like me! (again– WAY better. I don’t for a second want anyone to think I think I’m as good as her. I’m clinically mentally unstable but I’m not delusional. When it comes to this, at least.)

Jenny is gleefully blunt, self-deprecating, has a beautifully foul mouth (she cursed about 17 times at the Barnes and Noble event, and my love for her grew a little more with each “fuck/fucking/bullshit” that came out of her mouth), is totally honest in her writing (and sidebars with long, hilarious, often barely relevant, ADD rants), bares all her flaws, and speaks candidly about her mental health issues in order to fight stigma, help others, and, most importantly, help and heal herself.

Like I said– she’s me. But awesomer. (Fuck you, spell check. Awesomer is a word).

So what did I do when I met her? Yes, like a normal person, I asked her to sign my copy of her new book about living with mental illness, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things (read it immediately. It’s fantastic. If you suffer from mental illness or are trying to understand someone who does. Or if you’re a human who likes to laugh and know things.) Then, like a NOT AT ALL normal person, I asked her to sign my pill case.

jenny lawson

Because Jenny has a saying– “Depression lies.” And it’s so true. And when you’re not in it, you know this for a fact. But when you are in it, you forget. You’re utterly convinced that the voices telling you that you are worthless, shameful, and a burden are real. You’re certain you are nothing.

But Depression is a big, fat, fucking liar, and sometimes you just need to be reminded of that. Over, and over, and over, until it eventually fades and you’ve made it through.

I use my pill case every single day (and so does Jenny, by the way– “Oh! I have this very same pill case!” she exclaimed as she took it from me with what I think was compassion and understanding, but might have been fear). I wake up and diligently swallow my Prozac, doing my part to fight the demons (note: the Prozac is just one small part. I see a psychiatrist weekly, run my heart out, fundraise for mental health org Active Minds, write/blog my thoughts as honestly as possible, and surround myself with the most supportive, awesome family and friends– all forms of depression-fighting therapy).

Some days, though, none of this helps. Some days I wake up feeling like I am absolutely nothing. Some days I need that constant reminder that DEPRESSION LIES.


And now, thanks to Jenny Lawson, I have that. I’ll see those words every single morning– and when she says it, I believe it. I know it’s true. Because I know she’s been through it. Many, many, many times. She’s had it worse than I have– rather than just wishing she was dead, she’s actually had thoughts of wanting to kill herself. She’s hurt herself in an attempt to feel. She’s stayed in bed for months at a time because she could find no reason to get out.

But she makes it through and she keeps going, and she is fucking FANTASTIC at what she does.

So when she tells me Depression lies, I believe her. Because I look at her and see how Depression lies to HER. If someone like her can believe she is worthless, then clearly Depression is a fraudulent, deceptive douchecanoe. (Also a word, spellcheck. BACK OFF.)

So thank you for being you, Jenny! And keep doing what you’re doing– you are an inspiration!


Emily (the girl who whipped out her Prozac-filled pill case at your book signing. You remember.)


#bestfriends #youjustdontknowityet

There’s a Lesson Here

Last night at dinner with my whole family, we discussed the various reactions to my post “I Should Fucking Curse Less.” My dad said it made him feel that he should have cursed less around the house when we were young. This made me think two things: 1) If that’s your takeaway, you missed the point entirely (classic Dad) and 2) That actually does remind me of a funny story that may or may not make you feel better:

I distinctly remember, at around age 10 or 11, being on the sidelines of my soccer game (on this particular state-champ team, I was almost always on the sidelines and not in the game because….well…I sucked.).  It was a big, end-of-season game and we were tied. In the very last minute, the other team scored a goal, so I muttered (loudly) “God damnit!”

The father of another girl on my team was standing next to me and looked at me, horrified. “Excuse me?”

I looked back at him, genuinely thinking he wanted me to repeat myself, as I saw absolutely nothing wrong with what I had said. I looked him straight in the eye and said it louder, “I said ‘GOD DAMNIT.'”

“You better watch your mouth.”

“But…I did.” I replied, genuinely confused (after all, I had wanted to say “FUCK, we are SO FUCKED!”, but I kept it perfectly clean with “God damnit.”)

Again, he stared at me, clearly disgusted and assuming I had been raised by wolves. He walked away shaking his head.

That guy’s daughter went on to become a huge whore.

I Should Fucking Curse Less

Many of my friends have told me that their parents love reading my blog, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. It has recently come to my attention, however, that not all of them are thrilled with the amount of cursing in some of my posts. I’ve heard this from several people. Just this week my friend told me her mother read one of my posts and then declared, “Emily said the f-word. I really didn’t like that.”

I know, Rhonda. I totally hear you, and I 100% get why you didn’t like it.

Because for most of my life, I didn’t like it either. Once I became aware that cursing was no longer socially “appropriate” for someone of my gender, age, and background, my foul mouth became my least favorite thing about me. In fact, every single New Years, I would vow to curse less. This was a great way to start off my year– by disappointing myself. FUCK. Why is this so hard? (Side note: To be clear, I never curse at work. In front of the kids, that is. Give me some credit, people. Or don’t. I get why you wouldn’t.)

I grew up cursing as a form of self-expression. This was not a result of bad parenting– my parents are amazing role models, and none of my siblings curse as much as I do. But there were no strict rules about it in our house, and for whatever reason, I’m the one who decided to take advantage of this and adopt “fuck” as an emotive tool. I had (and still have, as any one of my scarred ex-boyfriends can attest to) a LOT of feelings– feelings that need to come out or they’ll eat me alive. Cursing helps me express those feelings. And not just the bad ones– “fuck” works great for excitement (I’m so fucking excited!), anticipation (I can’t fucking wait!), amazement (Are you fucking kidding me?!), joy (I’m so fucking…ok you get it…I have a tendency to over-explain. It’s the teacher in me)— basically any feeling that you’re REALLY feeling. I am someone who feels feelings HARD, and for me, cursing more accurately captures the strength of the feeling.

Also, it’s fun.

But as I emerged from childhood and became more aware of my surroundings and critical of myself, I began to feel self-conscious about it:

“Smart, educated girls shouldn’t curse.”
“Guys don’t like girls who curse.”
“You sound immature.”
“It makes you seem abrasive.”

Unfortunately, cursing had been my reliable and trusty form of self-expression for so long, it was hard to stop. But I kept trying. And failing. And when I failed, I beat myself up about it. So you see, it was an extremely healthy, productive, and air-tight cycle of self-loathing I created for myself. We’re talking George Costanza levels of self-defeat.

Years of therapy and a huge nervous breakdown later, I have come to see that my struggle with cursing is a just a small side-battle in the larger full-scale war of my young adult life— my war with “The Shoulds.” Since my teenage years, I’ve been trying desperately to do and achieve all the things someone of my background SHOULD do and achieve. I have spent so much time measuring my thoughts and actions against the long mental list of “Shoulds” that I (with the help of society) have created for myself.  And when I wasn’t living up, I berated myself and felt terrible. It wasn’t until I learned to start letting go of “The Shoulds” that I began to feel more comfortable in my skin, more content with myself, and better able to accept who I am, (copious) flaws and all. (This, by the way, is and always will be a huge work in progress, lest you think I am an example of a truly evolved being.  Oh, you weren’t even remotely thinking that? Ok, cool. Good.)

So, that’s me. Or part of me, at least. I curse.

And you know what? I feel pretty fucking great about it.