Sunday, September 7, 2008

30 Days: "F Word" free...

If there were a twelve step program for habitual cursers, I'd be in it. I am addicted to swear words. I don't know what it is about these words that society has marked "bad", but, they are the driving force behind most of my conversation.

I'm not afraid to admit that I get a little thrill from the shocked look on someone's face when I drop those higher echelon swears. You can take your bullshits and sonuvabitches, I prefer to take it all the way, the motherf*ckers, the c*nts.

Now normally in writing, I wouldn't have bothered to "censor" (as if replacing a letter with another symbol is somehow less offensive) the above words, but you see, I'm on a quest. Starting on Saturday I started my journey toward being 30 days "F word" free.

I have a theory that I want to test, and figure that with all the thought and discussion about language itself I'll be encountering over the next few months, now is the best possible time to put my hypothesis to work.

I have never thought that words themselves carry any inherent offense, so the fact that people get riled up over a particular arrangement of letters has always seemed to be a bit absurd to me. I have never wanted to limit my expression based on the fact that I might offend, so I haven't. I'm a workplace curser, a teacher who cusses, a foul-mouthed gal, and I'm ok with that, in fact, I really like it. I like pushing peoples buttons with a few well-placed utterances.

However, I have realized of late that I am losing control of my language. I notice it in my writing, and I certainly notice it as I speak. I feel at times like I suffer from Tourette's, all based on my relationship with this single four-letter word, that mother of all American swears...F*CK.

I can't control it coming out of my mouth. From "F*ck you!" to "Motherf*cker" to "What the f*ck?" it peppers nearly every conversation I have. There's something so satisfying about that ffffff sound countered by that hard CK. That word means business. It's hard for me to not use it to describe the feeling, that uttering the word feels just so f*cking great. And that's part of the problem, right? I was always told when I was younger that swearing was a feeble mind's attempt to express itself. Knowing myself to not be feeble, it seemed alright for these words to stand in for others, because I knew those other words, and swears fit better. I'm not a swearer by ignorance, but rather a curser by least I once was. Now, in conversation my mind reels to find the word that fits in that slot, and admittedly, that list feels much shorter than it ought be, and the hole seems to be shaped in such a way that only the so-called f word fits well.

This makes me incredibly anxious. For countless reasons, I am a control-freak, and become overwhelmed with panic when I can't regulate a situation that should be in my realm of control. Hence, the 30 day challenge.

I don't want to give this word up forever. I love this word, but, I realize that it needs to be taken out of the rotation for awhile. It needs a rest. I need a rest. So for 30 days, I will be without it, and its shoddy substitutes. When I want to say f*ck, I will not say "eff" or "freak", I will find another word to suit my needs. I realize that for awhile I will be at a loss (I've already noticed it over the weekend) but am hoping that other words will make their way back into my vocabulary so that when I actually need the f-word it will be relevant and not just a filler.

I'm also hoping that the emotional/psychological consequences will manifest themselves in a positive way. I'm beginning to think that while we might be able to speak a taboo word and recognize the fact that its nature as something taboo is societally imposed, and thus not essentially that way, we are still impacted by using it. Because a word can carry the baggage of rage and hate and misanthropy, I'm hoping that by taking it out of my arsenal I can eliminate some of these emotions from running rampant in my own experience.

I'll be keeping record of this experience at my other blog and think that the whole process could prove to be interesting (if not maddening).


Vegor said...

Who would have guessed that Errin's first, shall I say "fuck up", during her experiment came from a flip remark during an episode of Top Design? So un-Fuck worthy.

Jacob I. McMillan said...

I'm no linguist, but is there any word in the language more versatile than "fuck"? It can be a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, prefix, suffix, it can even be inserted in the middle of words to give them more emphasis. Funny how it loses so much of its power with overuse, when it's designed to be used in practically any situation.

Fuck that.

Scott Abbott said...

Does this 12-step program require belief in some higher power? A splendid adventure you've got in store.

armycoug said...

I can't offer info about Fu@kers annon. But I do host a group of Appleholics Annon, for those who can't help but dropping $500 everytime you enter the Apple Store.

Loz said...

I guess i've never really liked the word, but then I have parents who hated the words, stupid and Crap. It's funny how acceptable certain words have become. I don't bat an eyelid saying bugger or bitch, but its just those main four letter words that it's been ingrained in me to believe as bad.

amusing thing #1: There are only two words that if shouted in public in England can get you arrested. F@#* and C#@$

Amusing thing #2 Childishly, any of these words makes me chuckle when the letter Y is added to the end.

Grabloid said...

Errin not saying 'fuck'...impossible.

Jennif said...

i love the fuck word so much. But I have to say congrats on this endeavor. I will be trying to catch you! :)

the narrator said...

i can't help but think of the south park episode with the 'words of curse'. you doing thing may prevent armageddon.