Yes, I swear

blog january 15th 2019


I’m perfectly imperfect. I make mistakes. I know that I do things differently from others that many do not agree with. I’m crude, I’m tactless, I say things first then rationalize and apologize later. I enjoy fart jokes. I laugh at inappropriate humor at the dinner table. I march to the beat of my own drum that only myself and the woodland fairies can hear.

I am a firm believer that how you were raised and how you were treated at a very young age will determine how you become as an adult. I was raised with crude humor, a lot of swear words, and a less than prim and proper upbringing. Does that make me a horrible person? In short, the answer is no!

I was; however, raised in a Roman Catholic household. I spent the first nine years of my education in a Catholic private school. When I began high school, that was the first time I entered the public school system. My values altered and changed and as I grew up and became an adult I veered away from religion and decided to follow my own path towards spirituality. Do I chastise others who are religious regardless of which religious denomination they choose? Absolutely not. Everyone needs to believe in something. This world is already a disheartening place, of course, we, as humans, need to believe in something. I will never fault another human being for their beliefs.

I don’t believe in getting into a sanctimonious debate about people who go to church vs. people who do not. I don’t believe in forcing one’s beliefs on another but I wholeheartedly respect other’s beliefs and would never minimize their feelings.

One common theme that I find on social media is how people perceive posts and videos with swear words. After all these years, human beings still have contentions with swearing. I’m also not going to argue with someone about their preference over swearing. I have learned to know my audience and if you are not the swearing type, then I know you may not enjoy my writing (aside from my children’s books) and that’s perfectly alright with me. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but those who know me know that I do tuck an f-bomb neatly into the conversation now and then. Even in my Podcasts, you will hear me swearing on occasion. Does that mean I’m ignorant and uneducated? Nope. I am very well-educated, more so oftentimes than those who oppose the swearing. Does that mean I lack a proper vocabulary? Nope, again.

Swearing has been around since time immemorial. I accept that others do not like it and they may have been raised a certain way to perceive people who do swear as unsavory and troublemakers. I don’t see it that way. I was raised as a free-spirit. I was raised to be a free-thinker. I don’t take what others tell me straightaway at face value and will never parrot what others have told me about a given topic. I learn about it myself, then I make my own opinion on it. I don’t hide behind the opinions of others. So many times, I’d read comments saying, “well, that’s not how my parents raised me!” or my personal favorite, “I go to church every Sunday, so you’ll never hear me swear!” Those are both judgmental statements.

I don’t judge others for who they are. Once again, I’m not perfect, I do slip up, I do tend to put my foot in my mouth more often than not but I feel it’s important to recognize when you see you’ve made a mistake, apologize for it and move on. But I won’t apologize for swearing. It comes as natural to me as breathing. You’ll see it in my blogs, my Podcasts, and my writing (other than my children’s books obviously! I said I liked to swear, didn’t say I lacked common sense! LOL!) Once again, it’s called learning your audience. I recognize that there’s a time and a place for that kind of talk. I recognize that when I’m talking to an elder, that I change the way I am speaking to suit their comfort. I recognize generational speech and respect other’s wishes wholly.

In an unrelated example, I remember one of the last times I was in a teaching position, I was administering mid-term exams to my students. I remember it was during the transition time where students were still heading into their classes. This one girl walked by and she dressed like an old-school punk rocker chick with her hair as high as the ceiling in a full-blown mohawk. Stunned, I remember the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Wow, that’s some hair! I’d love hair like that!” Now to an outsider, that may have appeared to be a sarcastic and bullying comment, but to someone who was in the conversation and knew me, knew that wasn’t my intention. I knew the student in question and would never purposely insult or offend someone for their choice in look. I myself have an alternative way of looking and dressing and it’s certainly not my place to judge others on appearance.

Anyhow, I remember one of the guidance counselors came in and overheard what I said and said, “Excuse me, can I help you with something?” I repeated what I said because I honestly didn’t feel like I had said anything wrong. I stated, “I was just saying, ‘Wow, that’s some hair!'” The woman then proceeded to chastise me stating that the girl was really nice and didn’t deserve to be talked about that way. Complete eye roll. I just held my head down and did not engage. I allowed her to believe she was right and let her walk away. There was no way I was going to argue with her. At the time, I was still hoping to find a job at that place. If it were the “me” that I am today I would’ve ripped her a new asshole because I didn’t say anything wrong other than a statement of shock at the girl’s hair.

It is so sad that we live in a world where everything is misconstrued. Everyone’s offended by everything and it’s no wonder people would prefer to stay indoors instead of interacting with the outside world. I’m not saying to openly offend each and every person you come across. That’s absolutely not what I’m saying. I’m saying that people’s opinions will vary and of course, mistakes will be made. The woman in question was a guidance counselor and she could have turned a nasty encounter into a classy teachable moment where she could have professionally took me aside like a fellow adult and told me how she perceived my comment. I could have instructed her what my original intention was and then that person should have informed me of the culture of that particular school and that my exuberance was unwelcome there. I would’ve accepted that and altered how I spoke for the sake of peace. But quashing a perceived bully with more bullying is wrong as well.

The point in all of this is recognizing that people come from all walks of life. Accepting that people may have opinions which differ from yours. It’s how you handle those differences with grace and sophistication instead of a sloppy-tittied harpy lacking in finesse and regality (There’s that swearing again!). I may not be a churchgoer or identify as a Roman Catholic any longer, but I’m a big advocate of the Golden Rule. Love one another and treat them as you’d like to be treated. Don’t love one person and then chastise another for the sake of one person’s comfort. Love is understanding one another and teaching them the right way to be and not wounding one while saving another. Crucifying someone for their perceived differences and then rectifying the situation with equally harmful strategies, to me, is hypocritical and damaging all on its own.

The moral of today’s story is “Swear if you dare but beware to not share about one’s hair!”