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.