A whole new perspective on swearing has enlightened me. While hidden behind a private Facebook page, convinced I was playing the role of edgy writer, kickass rebel, and strong, wonder woman, my alter-ego became the authentic me, emerging from my cocoon. Wanting to belong to this muscle-wielding, kettlebell swinging, inner circle, I empowered myself to release preconceived notions, judgment, and my inner critic. My vulnerability shone through, I became comfortable in my skin, spoke my truth, and released fear that once stood to protect me. With an outpouring of support while releasing the “old” me, swearing helped to authentically articulate truth that formerly had no language.
The first time my mother used the F-bomb it hung in the air for a few seconds before anyone realized what she had said. My sisters and I flew into laughter, the irrefutable response to something absurd beyond reason. Almost immediately, she blamed me for her outburst, that my behavior had pushed her to the edge into an uncontrollable anger where bad words spewed like vomit. Hell, the S-word and the B-word were not foreign to my mom’s vocabulary. Yet swearing threw her into a rage when it left my mouth, punishments were handed out like candy, and I knew better than to swear in public, the line boldly drawn.
Defensively swears knocked my mother off her high horse, harsh words brought her to her knees causing relentless retreat. Unable to counter a verbal attack when swears were flying, she surrendered, and alone I was ashamed of “atrocious, inappropriate behavior.” Over time, swearing dissipated, anger diluted into resentment, and harsh words dormantly disappeared. As a math teacher swearing was off limits. Peaceful language replaced cussing with exceptions to certain social situations, like an alter-ego reflecting my edgier side during moments when swears depicted an exact emotion sharp enough to cut the air.
Swears draw authentic emotion from the deepest recesses, cutting deeply enough to ruffle the feathers beneath the surface. Without them, articulating what I truly felt became hidden below layers of unexpressed emotion. Leaving emotion constrained from exposure has a way of searching for an exit. Yet allowing such energy to flow periodically seems to liberate pent-up sentiment. Releasing it is truthful, authentic, and raw. Its organic makeup drives home a definitive heartfelt emotion that normally has no verbiage. Although seen as blasphemous in most civilized communities, swearing has normalized itself within pop culture. If you want to speak your deep truth, you’ll have to swear it!