It’s Time To Retire My Beloved Swear Words While My F**kin’ Kid Learns To Talk
Well, damn. I thought I had some more time before I had to bite this f**king bullet, but these things have a way of sneaking up on my ass. The little f**ker is starting to echo my every f**king word, so it looks like I’m going to have to stop cussing. And yes, that’s what we called it in the s**thole where I grew up. It’s “cussing” and not that civilized bulls**t known as “cursing.” Damn straight.
F**k. My editor encouraged me to get this out of my system, but holy hell, it’s hard to swear in writing this much without sounding like a psychopath. Which is surprising to me, since I’ve been cussing my whole damn life. My parents always used to say “bad words” in front of me as a kid (well, the milder ones, anyway), with strict warnings not to repeat them when I was out of the house. But once I reached fifth grade and moved to a new town, that rule went out the f**king window.
I was short and always the youngest in any class, so everyone assumed the new girl was sweet and complacent, good, like the other small, smart girls in school. I was small, alright, but I was also angry – about all those things tween girls get angry about – and not really interested in complying with what everyone thought I should be. Saying bad words in casual conversation (and out of earshot of the teachers) became my first way of showing my peers I was bigger on the inside.
As I grew up and moved to big, bad New York City at 17, I sharpened my tongue a little more as street armor. “You can’t push this girl around, motherf**kers!” was basically my motto as I walked around. Of course, I also love to use these words for all their other functions – according to psychologists, they’re excellent, cathartic releases for anger, frustration, joy, and surprise. They also help us avoid physical violence. Even chimps use a form of gesture and sound to warn others not to get on their last nerve, and this is sometimes enough to avoid a physical fight. I’m not talking about the kind of bad words meant to insult or denigrate others. Just the ones that convey the strongest emotion about a given situation.
Lately, though, I’m realizing that I’m not fighting the same stereotype I used to. I don’t need to prove to anyone that I’m tough. And it’s maybe not so cute if I scream at an a-hole bike rider in the park to get off of the f**king sidewalk where my kid is playing. I don’t hear anyone laughing when I rant about the s**tty dryers at the laundromat in front of small children. I’m starting to look like a grown-ass woman with no self-control.
The little guy just learned to sing his ABCs this week. He probably shouldn’t move straight from that to sounding like he walked out of a Tarantino movie. So, goddamn motherf**king s**t, I’m going to have to find less efficient, more delicate ways to express myself, even as life with a toddler inevitably becomes more frustrating and deserving of a few bleepworthy outbursts. I’m a writer for f**k’s sake. Finding new words shouldn’t be too hard, should it?
I need help. At least until it’s time for me to be the funny old lady with the potty mouth.