I’ve been feeling a little sweary lately. And by lately I mean for the last year and a half. And by ‘a little’ I mean I have dropped more f-bombs in the past year and a half than in the 36 previous years combined.
To be fair, I am using them as descriptors, never as personal attacks. I will not name call or personally demean. But some situations have resulted in the need for – ahem– stronger descriptors. When the kids aren’t around.
The other day I was listening to music, specifically this song.
I know, right? Not really my usual style to be perfectly honest. I wouldn’t really call myself an Eminem fan (although you have to respect that kind of talent). This song talks to me, and I DO listen to the explicit version.
When the kids aren’t around.
I like this song because its raw and real and taps into the emotions of struggle and drive and failure and determination. Above all, getting back up and never letting anyone shut down your path towards your goals.
Sometimes I choose this song instead:
What can I say, I’m complicated.
But sometimes I need grit. I go for the gut punch of emotion. And sometimes that involves swearing.
I think my journey to reclaim bits of language is not so different from many people. I was always the peacemaker, the one who would concede to make things ok. I always had a feeling that deep down anger wasn’t ok, so I would set it aside (as best I could). Over the past few years, I have reclaimed many things, but one of the most important was my anger.
Here’s the amazing thing – I haven’t lost my positivity. I haven’t lost my ability to try to see a situation from the lens of compassion, or to try to encourage those around me. In fact, I think those attributes have all gotten stronger with my anger in tact.
Anger tells us something isn’t right in our world. There are lots of kinds of anger (many quite destructive). The one I am really referring to here is ‘righteous anger.’ That is, anger with a justifiable cause that most reasonable people would agree is unfair or wrong. While both justified and righteous, it can also become destructive if not managed. After all, how much easier to hold on to anger that is reasonable? Too much. The much (much) harder work is to see things for what they are, recognize there are not what they should be, experience the anger, and choose to either use it or let it go.
Sometimes anger can fuel us into action. It still can’t just stay anger. It really does need to change into fuel to move forward in the work you are doing to bring about change.
Sometimes we have to let our anger go. Not to say the situation is ok, but to say we won’t allow it to make us toxic.
So, sometimes swearing helps. Sometimes it allows us to name the situation the way it feels.
I don’t really swear when I write. I’ve always considered relying too much on swearing to be lazy vocabulary. When writing, I prefer to find ways to express feelings with other words. My thoughts, on the other hand, are an eerily accurate reflection of my mood. In fact, hearing my inner thoughts get all sweary was one of the things that allowed me to get back in touch with my anger. I could look at it with interest, ‘Well, will you look at that! It appears I am angry about this. Why? What do I think/believe?’ Suddenly all these thoughts and feelings would fit themselves together as if just waiting for the invitation. My husband is very familiar with this as it usually immediately precedes me ranting for a while. He doesn’t mind because I still have a tendency towards well-reasoned ranting, not just crazy shouting. I prefer to use well-placed profanity to raising my voice.
You know what, its ok. Its expression. Its finding the write words to translate our immensely complex feelings into something we can share with others. Sometimes the only words that fit are a bit, um, salty.
You know who else advocated for swearing?
Mark Twain, that’s who.
And he’s right.
So I encourage you to embrace all your feelings. Some comfort you, some fuel you, some you eventually have to let go. In my experience, it helps to embrace your whole vocabulary as well (don’t let it make you lazy – swear words lose their power when used too freely).
So, swear if you need to, Mark Twain says its ok. So do I.
Take care friends,
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