I wish there had been swearing tournaments in the 70’s. My parents would have dominated in singles and doubles, at the international level. They were swearing phenomenons. My mother ranked slightly higher than my father, with long prolific phrases like, “goddammit motherfucker cocksucking sonofabitch.” The two of them could string together profanity so artfully it would have been beneath them to even consider using words like “hell,” “shit,” or “damn.”
As you know, I also swear. Especially when I’m agitated. But it sounds more like I just arrived in America and only know the words “hello” and “fuck.” When I lose my mind, I say stupid things like, “fucking fuck [flustered word search], fuck.” Given my heritage, the lack of creativity is shamefully unimpressive.
My parents’ ability to turn a profane phrase will never be rivaled or duplicated. Therefore, I don’t even bother swearing in front of Anna (my 8yo for my new WP pals). The most I could ever hope for is third place, and I’m a first place kind of girl.
Another reason I don’t swear in front of her is because I’m a southern mom. We quietly smile through blinding fury if there’s a child or old person within earshot. It takes years of practice, but we’re particularly committed to repressing negative feelings. We take great pride in it, until we go to therapy or it gives us ass cancer.
I envy parents who swear in front of their kids (related articles below). They’re willing to share their true and whole self no matter how messy that might be sometimes. Transparency in any relationship is a gift.
My parents probably could have dialed it back a tiny bit on the transparency, but I knew who they were as people, and I knew where they stood on everything and everyone. I imagine it’s similar in the houses of the people in the articles.
It’s not that way in my house. But I’d like it to be. Thanks to locking myself out, two days in a row, when it was hotter than hell outside, and humid as fuck, I got some practice.
Being bitter shit-pissed on the inside is easy. Making a scene outside your own front door yelling every foul word you know while your child is in the car 10 feet away is hard. Like impossible. I thought about it, and I really wanted to do it, but I couldn’t. I maintained my composure and politely whisper-shouted, “fuck” through gritted teeth.
Note: this does zero to help express or release anger. Accordingly, I was still silently fuming when I got back into the car. To make the situation more dysfunctional and neurotic, I transformed my fury into a pleasant smug feeling by congratulating myself on not breaking my eight year track record of not swearing in front of my daughter. [Except for the time I said, “ASS” on purpose for effect]. That feeling disappeared when I heard this from the back seat…
Anna: “Mommy did you just say the f word?”
It was 98 degrees outside and the humidity was 1,000,000%. My brain collapsed in on itself.
me: “Yep totally just said the f word.”
Anna: “I thought so.”
Here’s what you should know about stifling heat. In addition to converting ordinary frustration into an imaginary DEFCON 1 scenario, heat makes you tell the truth against your will. The sun systematically melts your brain through your hair, which makes it impossible to think quickly, or to lie properly. Any temperature above 86 degrees in the south is a no-lie zone. In arid states you can safely lie for another seven or eight degrees.
I stopped moving when I heard my mouth admit to saying the f word, and then I panicked. No no no! Say you said “luck!” as in what bad luck about the door and blather blather blather.
Another person in my head said: lookit jack ass, you‘re honest to a fault with other people, and it’s one of their favorite things about you. Being your whole self is the cornerstone of every important friendship in your life. Why the fuck would you hide that from the one person you love more than anything on the planet you idiot repressed dumbshit?
Me: “The next time I say the f word I’m going to shout it real loud and do a fantastic freak-out dance at the same time.”
Anna: “Mommy you’re crazy.”
Me: “Yep totally doing it. It’s about to get real up in here.”
She smiled and looked out the window. I think she was relieved. It must be exhausting to live with someone who hides negative emotions. It could also cause her to believe any negative feelings she has are weird or wrong. Not bueno. I wasn’t thinking about that while I was busy impersonating Mrs. Cleaver.
It wasn’t always comfortable seeing the array of negative emotions in my parents and hearing the swearing that came along with them, but it beats the shit out of feeling like you live on a TV set.
My mom and dad will always be the legends of Swearville in my mind, but now I see they were also the ambassadors of Realville.
I’m headed there now. And I’m taking Anna with me.
- Fuck Your Delicate Sensibilities, I’m Going to Swear as Much as I Want (jezebel.com)
- Mommy’s got a potty mouth (salon.com)
- I am PROfanity! (anonymousannielee.wordpress.com)
- Swearing is Caring, and I Care a Shitload (heyjoeonline.com)
- Yes, I’m a Mom and Yes, I Swear Sometimes — Big Fucking Deal, Right? (jezebel.com)