Day 189. Bad Words: Not Always Bad

Monday, August 29, 2011

When I was a kid I never swore…well, almost never. We had a deal with my parents, who would often be creative raising four kids. We weren’t allowed to swear, and we would get in trouble when we did, except for certain occasions. We didn’t know when those occasions would be, my mom was in control of that.

Basically, it went like this, we would be driving in whatever station wagon we had at the time, often coming home from the pool, and after some requests, my mom would say, “Okay, kids, you can have swearing time for the next three blocks.” The Houghton kids crammed in the back seat would excitedly yell out whatever swear words we wanted as fast and as loud as we could, we only had a certain amount of time and that window was closing quickly. People walking on the sidewalk must have heard a muffled cacophony of prepubescent  “s#@ts!” quickly come in and out of earshot, wondering what was happening in that Ford Taurus.

It worked. I guess it was cathartic. We got our swear time in, and we didn’t do it when we went to school. It set me up well, I haven’t really cared too much about swearing since. I don’t mind it at all, and I’m not offended by it, I just choose to pick my spots when I really want it to be effective.

Sometimes it is just the right time though.

Sometimes there just aren’t any other words that will do.

I’m generally a considerate person, or at least I try to be. Sometimes, I really restrain myself from what I want to do because I try to be considerate of too many people (I’m sure there are some that will dispute that). Generally, it’s true. What I’ve found recently is that I tend to do that with thoughts of all kinds, inside my own head, positive or negative. What this means is that I fully consider negative thoughts, which tends to lead to doubt. Does that make sense? I give full consideration to thoughts that end up producing, and fostering, unnecessary doubt. I shouldn’t do that.

This whole experience out here is a battle with doubt and with confidence. The thoughts, “You’re not good enough to be doing this,” or, “It’s not going to work out for you,” or “You’re messing up your life by trying this,” frankly, do not deserve to be considered thoughtfully. Yet, I do.

I just realized the other day that I do this.

How much better would it be if I didn’t give those thoughts the time of day?

How much more healthy would it be if I just nipped those thoughts in the bud?

It would be so much more effective and satisfying say:

“Fuck that idea.”

Ooh, did you feel that? I have certainly never written that word in this blog before. Scandalous. Those thoughts are worthy of that word though, and it’s about time I start dealing with them in that way.

“You’re not good enough to be doing this acting thing.”

Fuck that.

“There is no way that this is going to work out for you.”

Fuck that.

“You are messing up your life by trying this.”

Fuck that.

It feels good. Fuck is such a powerful word, and that is why I use it so sparingly. This blog post is my swearing time. I get to do it for this post, but I have to stop when I’m done, and I only get to use it occasionally after this.

Try it for yourself. You, the nice, considerate person reading this. You know that nagging, hurtful, untrue thought that pesters you and gets you down about who you are and what you’re doing with your life? Okay, think about it, acknowledge it. Now, rather than sheepishly saying the normal thing you say to it in your head, “Oh, hello, welcome.” Don’t. This time, turn to it and as harshly as you can muster inside your head, look it up and down with disdain and say, “Fuck that.” Then, mentally turn and walk away. (Disclaimer: if that nagging, hurtful, untrue thought comes in the form of a real person, please do not heed my advice, unless you are of the same gender, near the same age, and considerably larger than the person.)

If you are already someone who swears a lot, that’s okay, you can still do it. Just come up with a combination of swear words that you’ve never used before, and just say it really firmly, like you’re trying to shoo a stray dog away who is pooping in your yard. “Get out of here, you shitty fucktooth.”

The thought will turn with it’s tail between it’s legs and run home. Those thoughts aren’t very tough, they just need to be confronted. It works, and is occasionally just necessary. I am actually doing that in my head now when those thoughts come up. I have no idea what a trained therapist would say about this theory, but it works for now.

I will now step out of the station wagon.

*I am now concerned to see what new Search Engine Terms will bring people to this website.

**My apologies to my grandma who reads this everyday.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Day 189. Bad Words: Not Always Bad

  1. Brad

    i actually laughed out loud at the pooping dog comment. i feel so cliche and sophmoric to laugh at the poop joke. i thought i was more civilized than that, guess not. fuck you for making me feel this way.

  2. Allan

    Houghton, I love this post because of its clarity and ability to claim language that is culturally considered vulgar and use it to uplift and encourage.

    Fuck failure. You are the boss.

    *I’ve gone ahead and accepted your invitation to make this an isolated swearing comment.

    **My apologies to Mystery’s grandma who might read my comment.

  3. Fucking brilliant, man. As usual.

  4. Rick Parks

    I was smiling and feeling bad all at the same time. Fucking brilliant is the perfect description. Sorry Grandma

  5. Dave

    It’s called Cognitive Therapy. Our #%°$€ thoughts, doubts, and fears only have the power we give them.

  6. I didn’t dare cuss around you until like.. 3rd season Mystery Hour, and it seems like you said “What the fuck did I do with it?!” What a relief, you say the same words I do when I cannot find something in a panic. Have a good Kfucking day! 😉

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