So I’ve done it…got myself into trouble for using the F word at work. It’ll pass, and I’ll work on a Galactican alternative: “frak”.
There are two things in this that have me thinking. One, I can do nothing about. That is my own belief that swear words do not hold as much power as non-swear words. The words that question my values and integrity are far more hurtful to me than a swear word – in my opinion. I can’t even remember my precise wording, but it was probably “for fuck’s sake” – which does roll off the tongue most pleasingly and carries just the right degree of contempt when faced with something petty or small-minded. “For frak’s sake” will have to suffice, in future. (I’m not sure why substituting a different word makes it less of an offence when in the meaning is identical, but people are very strange creatures.)
The second thing is this – why did it matter to me to use a simple, unimaginative word like “fuck”? Why has it been mattering to me? Why have I seen myself as compliant in the past, when others see me as anything but? The answers to these sorts of questions don’t rise swiftly and easily to the surface, but if one pays attention to the right calls and cues, the answers come.
This morning it was Currawongs. There were several calling and crying to one another just up the road near the rose garden. Their voices were insistent and I dressed quickly and slipped out into a day of pristine blue and bright sunlight. I wish I could explain how particular birds call to me. They create sort of tug on my solar plexus and I simply have to go and investigate, and sometimes, like this morning, just listen. They were scattered around in several trees, nearby and further up, and across, the road. Most of their discussion centred around the nature of the surroundings and what sorts of food and features could be found where. But underneath that was the gathering of elders and sense of ritual, and I was invited to be present.
As I listened and walked between the roses, taking in the loveliness of dewy petals and end-of-season scents, the answer broke through. Using the F word represents breaking free from all those years of being “good” according to the dictates of the church. With that, goes the importance of not forgiving straight away, holding grudges and remembering wounds – all those things that being a “good Christian” does not allow. I need that rebellion. I need to scream to the sky that I am my own person and NO-ONE, deity or otherwise, will take my power from me again. I will make my own decisions – and they will ultimately be the right and good ones – but they will be on MY terms and in MY time, and not because some great organisation that has sucked me in tells me what I should do. And there it is….
Why do I feel as if I have been meek for so long and not standing up for myself? It’s not something from the last five or so years, because I’ve been fighting that hard. Those who know me know have seen only the fighter and wondered at my level of fury.
No – it’s twenty-five years of being a deeply committed Christian that’s done it. Twenty-five years of the wise words of “love your enemy”, “pray for your persecutors”, “’It is mine to avenge,’ says the Lord”, “turn the other cheek”, “return good for evil”, “blessed are the peacemakers”, “blessed are the meek”… They sound lovely, but they have denied me, stomped all over my being-ness, my here-ness. They have not allowed me a self that can also be violated, hurt, denigrated, abused, ignored, downtrodden, misused and otherwise slapped around. Instead those words have told me I must take all that and sweetly return nothing but good, after all, “I am a worm, and no man” (or woman) in the eyes of the Lord.
So, yes, I am angry – a quarter of a century angry – I will not back down any more. Frak that!
But, I need to learn a new way, because losing my temper means losing power in a different way. When the student is ready…