March 29, 2016

Some Thoughts on Swear Words

Photo courtesy of Alex Shook

For as long as I can remember I've been in trouble for swearing. I could never understand it. In my mind there were far worse words to use in the English language than four letter ones. Fat, ugly, midget, and other words I don't even like to use. But fuck? Fuck is fun. Kids these days use abbreviations - FML, WTF, or af to describe their avocado toast on Instagram. Hell! I just gave my sister a birthday card that had bitch in it and she loved it.

Attending Catholic school they ingrain some old-fashioned principles into you. Some I'm even to this day I'm trying to shake. Honestly if I see a woman with her bra strap exposed I have to check myself not to judge. It's such a terrible mindset and such a ridiculous rule. But as much as they ingrained silly judgmental rules that slut shame women, one rule that didn't penetrate was swearing. There's a very notorious story among my family that in the 4th grade I wasn't getting along with this girl and she wrote down "Kim is a piece of garbage" on a piece of paper and passed it around to the class. I put an end to that fight pretty quickly with "Ashley is an asshole." It was the only real trouble I've been in school. My mother would always scorn me:

"A lady never swears to which I say 'FUCK THAT!'"

I remember for a long time she tried to implement a no cursing rule in our house but my father never followed suit so me and my siblings could never understand why we had to. I can understand because my grandmother was the most passive aggressive holier than thou woman. "They must have heard it in the home" she would say whenever we cursed. However, my grandfather used "God damn!" so freely. My Uncle Joe (rest in peace) joked that for the first few years of his life he thought his name was "Jesus Christ." My grandfather never went much further than those type of cuss words. Although at his funeral, my father told a story that had the line "shit in your hat" and my grandmother was so horrified that she said he was not allowed to speak at her funeral. Well sorry Mary, he spoke at your funeral but without any swear words. 

It's all about the intent of the word. We loved my grandfather and never thought less of him for using the Lord's name in vain or having sayings like "Go shit in your hat." He never said it in a malicious, hurtful way. Fuck is my favorite word. I have shirts that say "Zero Fucks Given" or "New York Fucking City." P.S. Wore that shirt and nearly gave my mother a heartache. To me "Fuck that" is like "nah" or "whatever." But to some it can be perceived as abrasive or rude. I understand so I'm happy to oblige and "tone down" the cussing. Which some friends have asked me to do. Or sometimes mistake my cursing as being aggressive. I'll respect your wishes and if you don't use swear words. That's cool. No shade. Don't shade me and I won't shade you.

But if anyone ever says that I shouldn't curse or a lady never cusses I will quickly respond, "Fuck that!"

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