I got a comment the other day on that Out the Other End post saying, “You know, sometimes I don’t care for your blog because I try not to curse, and reading salty language makes me start using it. But posts like this remind me why I keep reading. I am farther along the motherhood path than you are, and can relate to every word of what you have written– curse words especially.”
I am not at all offended by this, I feel it’s a tactful statement of a personal preference. In fact, I am flattered that my writing has overshadowed the gap in style and that the commenter has persevered with this blog.
But, it did remind me that we are due for an explanation in the cussing department.
I love swearing. I have always cursed like a shore-bound sailor, and I don’t see any good reason that mothering should stop me. In fact I see every reason to keep at it– mothering is definitely the most frustrating, challenging, infuriating job I have ever done; creating daily, dire occasions for the work fuck. Swearing is a way for me to blow off dangerous steam, with minimal damage. Like beating up a pillow. It’s a safety valve.
I have tried to ease up on swearing in front of my kids, and have only twice slipped up and sworn at them (a line I am not proud to cross). It has been mirrored back at me, but surprisingly little. Our 4yo occasionally says damn, as in “Where is that damn crayon?” and one time she said, when I suggested she roll up a tangled rope, that it was “all fucked up.” Otherwise, although I have never explained it to her, she seems to miraculously understand that those second level cuss words are for grownups.
On this blog, I swear for punctuation and for fun, as well as for release. I have always been well aware that by using those second level words, I am cutting out a large swath of my potential audience. Some folks, like the commenter above, could probably excuse or even appreciate a few well placed curse words, but take offense at my extremely liberal usage, wondering (I imagine) if it’s really necessary to use the F word in a biscuit recipe for example.
On one hand you could say, don’t I want my “message” to reach the largest possible number? Why cut anyone out? Is it worth losing readers over a few words I could mostly do without? I would argue that the internet is a big ole place and there is no shortage of squeaky clean mom blogs out there, with very good content, that appeal to wider audiences. I myself want to carve out a small space where freaks like me, who do not see the irony in wholesome loving mothers cussing up a blue streak, can gather and feel less freakish.
Isn’t that what the internet is for? Gathering disparate folk together in cyber space, an infinite number of venues for an infinite number of freaks, proving to ourselves in a backwards way that we are not so motherfucking alone?