When I was a little girl, I had an older sister who had a fondness for getting me into trouble…when she wasn’t partaking in whatever ill thought out scheme I was up to, that is. One of our favorite “let’s be bad together and not tell on each other” games to play was house. But the real house.
Like, crayon cigarettes and cussing till our eyes popped out of our heads, house.
We stood there in our bedroom, alone together, door closed tightly and parents safely out of earshot, and created sentence after contentious sentence trying every bad word we could muster on for size. I’m pretty sure those conversations never made any sense. How could they? They were completely and totally construed of brainless, asinine words which made less sense than normal when strung together so densely.
We were trying to one up each other, rebel quietly, and be total bad A babes.
But then I grew up.
I find swearing to be so… childish. It’s like, when do you first begin swearing? When you’re old enough to learn how to tick your parents off. When you’re trying to act cool with all of your friends. When you’re attempting to fit in by sounding like a typical teenager.
And then we no longer need to swear to be noticed and…what? Learn nothing new between puberty and menopause? Like, we’re intelligent, incredible women and we can’t find more impactful ways of expressing ourselves? I realize this is a matter of opinion, and from me to you, I used to give an angry sailor a run for his money.
I literally can’t even anymore.
This isn’t about church or being godly. This isn’t about being a prude or embodying the characteristics of an 80 year old, which I often do (hello 830pm bedtime). This is about being a creative individual and realizing how insanely basic people make themselves sound by cussing.
Okay, true, I have nothing against the occasional curse dropping. I mean, for the most part, I don’t do it…but I don’t judge anyone who does. To that end, I’m really not trying to judge anyone at all. It’s just that trying to be shocking by frequently and intentionally using the F word because you quite literally can’t think of anything else to say just confirms my opinion: you quite literally can’t think of anything else to say.
The other day, I saw a video that made me a little nauseous. It wasn’t the first time I saw it, but it was the first time I watched it and really tried to understand the point. Little girls all decked out in princess pageant wear, discussing a super important topic, and garnering attention by dropping the old f-bomb in almost every single screen.
Little kids swearing, lovely. But that’s not what made me cringe (although I do find it incredibly “low IQ” to teach that to a child). What made me hurt was that these little girls are being taught that conforming to and sounding like every one else on the planet is what makes them empowering and impactful.
“Daughter, you want to make a difference? Swear. Swear in every sentence about everything. Because then people know you’re serious. And they know you’re cool. And they know you fit in and belong. And they’ll even think you’re tough because you’re emulating the habits of a juvenile delinquent. So swear, dear daughter, and prove your point to the world through your lack of vocabulary and persistent immaturity!”
I mean, is it just me, or does this seem a little backwards to anyone?
Wanna know what I’ll be teaching my girl? That fitting in is weak, cowardly, and intentionally denying who you really are in an attempt to popularize yourself with the people around you. What makes you brave, what makes you strong, is going against social norms! Your depth as a person is what is going to change the world you encounter, not your ability to fit the F word into every sentence you utter. Your heart for kindness, compassion, and gentleness is what’s going to inspire others, not your propensity for vulgarity. Your inner peace and self-assurance is what is going to encourage others to claim their own worth and value, not your habit of infusing every thought with witless verbiage.
That’s what swearing is. Mindless. And, according to Mr. Webster, mindless means: so simple or repetitive as to be performed automatically without thought or skill.
Sounds about right.
I’ve given myself a new standard with which to measure myself against: if anything I’m doing, saying, or feeling resembles that of an insecure “mean girl” cheerleader running for homecoming queen then it’s a definite and resounding: No. No thanks. Not even a little. I’ll pass.
And I’ll be praying that my ability, my husband’s ability, and the ability of the people in my daughter’s life, to speak in thoughtful, intelligent, respectful sentences, will inspire and encourage her to do the same. Except when she goes through that rebellious stage. Ya know, when she’s 14 or 15 years old.
Look, a word is just a word, right? But “ain’t” is to “isn’t” and we all have thoughts about the type of people who use the word ain’t, correct?
I’ll be me, and you be me when I was eleven, and let the world be the world. That’s all we can really do anyways, ain’t that right?
Okay, let me have it, how ruffled are your flipping feathers right now?
P.S. I have a slew of friends who cuss. And I love them. I also deliberately limit their exposure to my 4 year old kiddo…but just until she outwits them in a few years. #ikidikid #kindof
((Photo Cred: the lovely and beyond talented Allison Phythian))