Every year, on New Year's Day, I make a resolution to stop swearing. Every year on the 2nd of January I give up on that resolution, until the first day of the following year. This will have been happening for 20 years come January. I know this because the first time I made this resolution was on the January after Rox was born, I didn't want my child growing up around a mother who curses like a bad-tempered sailor.
I swear. I am not proud of this fact. I think swearing is horrible, it's unladylike, it's common, it's stupid. And yet, I swear. Most people are quite surprised to hear this, it seems I don't look the "swearing sort"! I'm matronly and mousey looking and it would seem that matronly, mousey people are more inclined to say things like "Oh my goodness" than "Oh shit". I'm afraid I go with "Oh shit!" every single time.
I have tried to analyse why I feel the need to curse at the drop of a hat, ...or a cell phone, ...or a phone line, or a...... you get the picture? And the theory I have come up with is this: (1) I think in swear words. The sentences that form in my head are littered with graphic, descriptive, techni -coloured swear words. (2) I am an emotional kind of person and I feel things really strongly. I don't just feel tired, or happy, or cross; I feel utterly exhausted (in my head I'm thinking... buggered), ecstatically happy (in my head I'm thinking....as happy as a pig in shit), or totally fed up (in my head I'm thinking...pissed off) Do you see the problem?
I have learnt to control this "issue" of mine. Basically what I do is censor the words before they come out of my mouth. It goes something like this:
I think "Oh shit, I forgot my bloody shopping list again!"
I say "Ag no, I left my shopping list at home."
I think "Would you look at that ar$ehole, overtaking on a blind rise! F.....ing idiot!"
I say "Hmmm, these taxi drivers need to go for driving lessons"
It works, but it's exhausting and I have to watch my tongue the whole time. And it also makes the world seem, I don't know, dull? And boring?
In any event, it works. So what's the problem you wonder?
The problem is, that the self-censoring only works most of the time. It does not work when I get a fright, am taken by surprise, or hurt myself...... Problematic.
I once tripped going into church.....enough said.
Or take for example the excrutiating moment, on a boat with our tour group, in the middle of Lake Lucerne, when I thought I had dropped Rox's camera into the flipping lake! Oh dear! What came out of my mouth was loud, it was descriptive and it was not at all lady-like. I froze with my hand clamped firmly over my mouth too late and my family froze, wide-eyed, looking at me in horror. I blush and squirm just thinking about it. Fortunately my girls saw the funny side of it later and we giggled late into the night about my Most Embarrassing Moment. (Rox's camera was fine, it landed on a little ledge and was retrievable....thankfully) But seriously who wants a mother who does stuff like this??
Then there was the moment when I made a complete (uh, insert rude word for breast) of myself by dropping my shoe between the tube and the platform in London and found myself hopping about a tube on one leg (well would you put your foot down on a dirty tube floor?) to the amusement of half of London.
Anyway, the bottom line is that I have realised that it is time to rid myself of this stupid weakness. I am trying to cultivate a more...gracious, ladylike and dignified persona for myself.
We'll see how that works out for me.........
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