One of my friends posted about a reputation service that will scan your Facebook and other social media for swear words. I never understood why people get so worked up over swearing. I can understand some people who went through abuse who are triggered by swearing because of being cussed out by an abusive person. However the holier than thou types who go out of their way with cutesy words annoy me to no end.
I admit that I swear a lot. When I am angry, I swear. When I don’t feel well or am in pain I swear. Having autoimmune disease (Lupus and Sjogrens) means that there are many days I feel like shit and am in pain. I’ve read studies where swearing can be a good distraction to pain. Have you ever had an EMG (Electromyography) test? That’s when they stick a needle attached to an electrode and stick it into your muscles and SHOCK THE SHIT OUT OF THEM. When a neurologist was testing me for general nephropathy and MS, I had that test in my legs. It hurt like hell. I dropped enough F bombs to make both Billy Connolly and Richard Pryor shit themselves. Maybe even Eddie Murphy. And don’t get me started on cortisone shots. Those sting. And sorry, if I smash a finger in a drawer or hit a toe on some furniture, I’m not going to say a cutesy phrase!
Video games make me swear. Actually, most of my female gamer friends swear more at games than their male significant others. Maybe we’re subconsciously taking out aggression out in the games on patriarchal bullshit.
I’m not stupid about my swearing. I won’t swear at work. That’s just unprofessional. If I do injure myself, I may say something in German or Yiddish. I also make a point not to swear around kids. Sometimes a curse word may accidentally slip out in front of a friend’s kid. They’re smart enough to know that kids aren’t supposed to swear. I explain that it’s not a good idea to swear early because then it’s more likely to become a habit where they just kind of slip out. They get it. They shrug it off.
I’m not sure when I said my first F Bomb. Perhaps it was in middle school sometime. That’s pretty average for a first F Bomb. I once got my mouth washed out with soap when I was in early elementary school. I think I said the word “shit” because my father swore a lot. My Mum got pissed at me and shoved a bar of Coast soap in my mouth. Several years later I found that very same soap in the linen closet with teeth marks. My Mum said that she felt terrible about it, but she wasn’t sure how to get me to stop saying “shit.” I think it’s hilarious now. I can’t smell Coast soap without thinking about that and being somewhat amused. And guess which soap my husband uses!
If someone is truly hurt and scared by swearing, I will do my very best to avoid it. I am a survivor of abuse and I understand triggers. It’s only fair.
Working in psychiatric and substance abuse, I’ve heard just about every swear word that can be uttered by humanity. Some of my coworkers would get really snotty with the clients about swearing. I never understood why. In a therapeutic setting, I tell people they don’t have to censor themselves. If they have to drop enough F Bombs to destroy a galaxy to describe someone who had hurt them to bubble out that pain, then I say go for it. Who am I to censor their voice when they’re trying to heal?
Actually, some of the kindest, most genuine people I know tend to have potty mouths. They’re the person who you can wake up at 3:00 AM when you’re feeling suicidal. They’re the ones who drop everything and come to you when your significant other decides to dump you. They will listen and crack some gallows humor jokes with you if you’ve had a shitty day. On the contrast, some of those holier than thou types* who say “fiddlesticks” or “shoot” and other cutesy words have been the most judgmental, self righteous, mean spirited people. They’re just too eager to gossip about you and tell you that you didn’t pray hard enough, so that’s why bad shit happened to you. They’re the ones who spit scripture at you when you come to them for help. No thank you!
I’m not trying to advocate for or preach against swearing. We all have our coping mechanisms. Some people only swear when they’re truly angry** and that means “watch out, shit’s about to hit the fan.” Some just don’t see the appeal in swearing. To each their own.
Could I reduce some of the swearing? Sure. Everyone can. However, before you judge someone’s vocabulary, remember there’s always reasons for behaviors.
* I remember this one chick back in high school who came from a very religious family. Her idea of acceptable was pretty narrow and it got narrower as we got older. I always felt I had to tame myself down around her to avoid her nasty judgmental behaviors. She would gossip about any mutual friend not with us. Shortly before my 16th birthday, she spread all sorts of horrid rumors about me. Some Christian she is, eh?
** The day that this dude called someone a “prick,” which is very mild in my world, I about shat myself. To him, that was a pretty harsh word, but I could tell that he was really upset and sick of what has been going on around him. I was proud of him like a sister would be. I was proud of him in that “no more bullshit” mode. Now if this one were to drop an F bomb, everyone should take notice because that would have a lot of weight. I have to admit that after whatever crisis that warranted an F bomb from him passed, I would find it rather funny.