Yesterday was a big day. It started early and my phone and meeting schedule was unrelenting from start to finish. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and even managed to sneak in a 90 minute Thai massage between work and kid commitments, because self-care is important, and never more important than when you are under the hammer.
A small but strong therapist dug knees and elbows into my knots, and my joints snapped, crackled, and popped while he stretched and contorted me around the table. It is funny how pain can feel so good sometimes. It got me to thinking about the wincing some people do when I use my rather trademark colourful language. I swear like a sailor a lot of the time. It seems to be both a good and a bad thing. So, as ambient piano music wafted in the background, the chance to be silent got me thinking about a thousand different things, but strangely, kept coming back to swearing.
My internal dialogue is not nearly as sweary as my speech. I can trace my affection for shocking vocabulary to my pre-teen years. Growing up in an ultra-conservative oil/farming community, my grandparents Carl and Edna were pillars of society. They sat on committees and were invited to all the pot lucks and bible groups, and greeted with smiles and nods as they meandered around our sleepy little hamlet. They did not drink, smoke, or swear. They fulfilled their traditional roles as bread winner and baker, farmer and home-maker with absolute Austrian precision. My grandmother would not say shit if her mouth was full of it, and was always in total control of her faculties and put on the finest of faces.
I fucking hated that buttoned up bullshit so much. I was a weirdo from the word go. My path was, although not yet clear to me as a child, going to be paved by an over-active imagination, severe social awkwardness, a stal-worth desire for justice, and the gift of gregariousness and not having any more fucks to give after being placed firmly on the fringes of basically everything until I found my feet in a small island nation at the bottom of the planet.
The simple fact of the matter to me is, that swearing feels good. It creates a social construct that explains in absolute terms that I do not think, nor do I want, to be stoic or slotted into a social station or class above salt of the earth. As my best friend for well over two decades often reminds me; “Dee, you can win any award, climb any mountain, and have all the wealth in the world, but you’ll really never be anything but a cashed up bogan.” I find that quite comforting. I am what I am and that is all that I am, and I have a potty mouth.
After my massage and my mind meandering through my many meaningful moments dropping expletive bombs like a boss, I went to collect the kids and their friends. Strangely, the fruit of my loins do not swear, nor are they prone to rule breaking of any kind. I guess it isn’t that strange, as they have been raised in chaos and crave routine, in the same way I was raised in a bubble and craved chaos I suppose. Their friends are comfortable dropping the odd expletive in my presence. But really, they are all amazing kids with humour and manners, their social circles are seriously academic and often smart and sassy. They spend some of their time learning to correctly say seriously cringe phrases in a variety of languages. Then, they attempt to teach me and seem to relish the shock that shows on my face, as I am not easily surprised.
There’s no doubt that language is a very powerful thing. What we say, how we say it makes a huge difference. Swearing is so often shocking and I like to shock. Swearing is a kind of verbal armor I carry around, that separates the wheat from the chaff very early on in the piece.
There’s quite a few articles that sing the praises of the swearier types in our social circles. As is often the case, I do not only meet, I exceed the parameters of being extra in the swearing stakes. This time last week, I was having a 20-minute discussion with some near strangers at a conference on the use of the C bomb across different countries I’ve travelled.
I know that when I meet someone, if they pepper the conversation with some well-chosen and appropriately placed expletives, I tend to feel more at ease.
Regardless, I think the swearing, along with several of my other vices, will need to be re-examined and maybe shelved a little bit.
So. Have an excellent fucking Friday wherever you are, and thanks for reading.