I still remember the first time I swore in front of my high school friends, probably because of the astonishing remark it invoked:
“Oh my god, [insert first name, last name] said *uck!”
That was a year or so after graduation and I’m sure had this scene taken place just ten years later, that moment would have been documented on Snapchat.
A stickler for following the rules, I was known as the quiet good girl. I never spoke out of turn and certainly didn’t swear (or cuss as we called it down south).
I carried on my clean dialogue into my adult years, mostly because I had little ears listening. But all that went to hell during my fourth pregnancy.
In my mind, I thought, “F*ck it!”
It gradually became a permanent obscenity in my vocabulary – fu*k – or some variation of. At first, it felt so uncomfortable to say and sounded even more unnatural.
But I didn’t care. It was liberating!
Pretty soon, nothing was off-limits. Filter off, I spoke my mind, including using the word a$$ to tell the kids to do things.
“Get your -ss to your room.”
“Get your -ass outside, now!”
And I didn’t realize how often I said the phrase, “Are you frickin’ kidding me?” until I caught my four-year-old saying it.
Then, one day she asked, point blank, “Mama, what does ‘fu*k’ mean?”
Since then, I’ve backed down a bit, at least around her.
Post being told she should never say that ever again, she’s become the bad word police. If my husband or I slip and use it in front of her, she’ll whisper, “I’m never saying that again.”
Should one of her older siblings say any number of words I’ve deemed bad, she’ll put her hands over my mouth, point, and tattle.
“[First name] said a bad word!”
Well, at least now that she knows, she’ll be a big help to her kindergarten teacher next year.