And it’s not c*nt.
Except for children and the elderly, most people who spend enough time with me know that I enjoy a good swear. Profanity just seems to roll off my tongue ever so naturally, especially when I’m around those I feel most comfortable with.
I rarely take offence to ‘bad’ words, even if someone calls me a ‘fucking cunt’. Because when you break it down, that’s not really such a terrible thing. If ‘fucking’ is a verb and ‘cunt’ is a noun, then that just makes perfect sense. So if someone happens to refer to me as a ‘vagina in the act of sexual intercourse’, then, unless you’re doing it wrong, that’s not really an unpleasant thing to be.
The more you desensitise yourself to the swears, and see them as stupid or humorous accessories used to jazz up an anecdote, emphasise an argument, or hurl some ill-thought-out abuse at a stranger, the easier it will be to shake off that ‘stick up your bum’ feeling and start to enjoy the saltier things in life.
In my opinion, there are far more damaging words in the English language, some of which can stick with us our whole lives, wreaking havoc with our confidence and self-worth. One such word makes my neck hairs stand on end, my chest tighten and my throat fill with lumps (and it’s not ‘anaphylaxis’).
Harmless enough when describing an inanimate object, the word ‘useless’ fills me with the greatest unease when used to describe a person. It’s a word that I can remember from my childhood, and is now beginning to resurface again, and again. I don’t use it (out loud), but my Mum does, to describe herself, and I find it fucking heartbreaking.
My mother is the polar opposite of useless. At 70, she currently cares for her elderly parents, chases her three young granddaughters around, maintains a home, does Pilates, helps me with everything I’m shit at (domestics, numbers) and tolerates my stubborn and lazy father, bless him.
She manages all of this while recovering from a knee replacement and grieving the loss of her son. Prior to surgery, when her knee was at its dodgiest, she cared full time for my late brother, who lived with aggressive Multiple Sclerosis for 16 years.
She took care of him through the countless physical and intellectual challenges he faced at each step in his heartbreaking life. She gave him every ounce of her being and so much more. Before that, she worked full time, survived two bouts of breast cancer, raised three kids, and she has always, always done her hair. She is, was and forever will be, a champion at life and caring for others. So very far from useless.
So it brings me so much pain when I hear that word exit her mouth. If she’s bought a new toy or activity for my daughters, which doesn’t quite work the way she wanted it to, she’ll get so down about herself and say, “God, I’m useless”, or if she makes a mistake or has an accident, it’s “You useless woman”, and by her tone, she bloody well believes it.
I would so much rather hear “Stupid fucking piece of shit toy, who makes this crap?”, or “Bugger it to motherfucking hell, you bloody bastard”.
I would fully piss my pants at that, rather than feeling despair for the way my mum regards herself. Throwing out pointless and vague profanity would make light of what are usually pretty non-events anyway, instead, every time she calls herself ‘useless’ or ‘hopeless’, my heart drops into my guts and I try my best to get her to see the situation differently.
I can’t exactly put my finger on why I hate this word so much. Obviously there’s my Mum’s current use of it, but I think it stems back to my childhood. Don’t get me wrong, I had a bloody ripper of an upbringing, with the best parents and siblings ever, but there’s a little part of my memory of that time, that seems to recall a moment when I was called ‘useless’.
I don’t know who said or it if was said at all, or maybe I just watched Muriel’s Wedding too many times, but it’s somewhere in my subconscious and rears its ugly head in times of self-doubt. That word, coupled with anxiety, has stopped me from trying new challenges, having confidence in my abilities and probably contributes to my fear induced procrastination. So I guess my inner voice is just as bad as my mum’s outer.
Well, fuck that shit! It’s time for a change.
I have always questioned my life’s purpose, and I know my mum does too, so perhaps that’s why we fall prey to the dreaded U word. When you think deeply and want to be a successful contributor to your life and the lives of others, there’s bound to be some negativity in there somewhere.
‘Useless’ is a poisonous and destructive word. The next time I hear it either inside or outside my head, I’m going to stop that bastard in its tracks and hit it with a few cheeky swears instead, until it fucks off out of my life.
Or if I’m talking to Mum, then I’ll PG it, “Rack off with that flamin’ crap, Mum. You’re a dead set bloody legend, and don’t you flippin’ forget it.” Or perhaps something a little less ‘Alf Stewart’.
So this will be my personal development goal for 2016, because isn’t it about living a fuck yes life, after all?