A new perspective on swearing lends itself to truth. While hidden behind a private Facebook page, playing the role of edgy writer, kickass rebel, and strong-armed, wonder woman, my alter ego emerged from a cocoon. Wanting to belong to this muscle-wielding, kettle bell swinging, inner circle of women, I empowered myself to release preconceived notions, judgment, and an 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.
Growing up with limited swear exposure, this engagement was novel. My recollection of my mother using the F-bomb for the first time, the word hung in the air for a few seconds before anyone realized what was said. My sisters and I flew into laughter, the irrefutable response to something absurd beyond reason. Almost immediately, she blamed me for her outburst, my behavior 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 mother’s vocabulary. Yet swearing threw her into a rage when it left my mouth, she handed out punishments like candy, and I knew better than to swear in public, a 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 dormant harsh words disappeared. When I was a math teacher swearing became nonexistent in the professional education environment. Peaceful language replaced cussing with exceptions to certain social situations, when an alter ego reflected my edgier side, moments when curses depicted an exact emotion sharp enough to cut the air.
Swears draw authentic emotion from the deepest recesses, cut deeply enough to ruffle the feathers beneath the surface. Without them, articulating what I truly felt hid beneath layers of unexpressed emotion. Leaving emotion constrained from exposure has a way of searching for an exit. Yet allowing such energy to flow 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 will have to swear it!