I curse a lot.
It’s not even particularly creative. I don’t do it to be cool, or shocking, or edgy. I don’t do it because it contradicts what I assume to be the first impression people get of me — that I’m quiet and shy and not very special. That’s okay, too: I am quiet, and shy, and pretty ordinary. I’m not incredibly smart or incredibly beautiful or incredibly talented. I value joy over skill and put respect and consent above just about everything else.
I enjoy learning things, and I enjoy the results of doing what I love. I love a lot of things. I try to keep my emotions in check because they can veer into anxiety fast, or this weird overwhelming feeling where I just have to scream and jump and dance because I love my cat so much.
On the not so loving end of the spectrum — though, actually, there’s often love powering it — I also get angry easily, and furious not all that unusually, either.
A lot of that intensity goes out of me through cursing. I think swearing is a super effective resource if you use it well and I’ve never understood why you shouldn’t curse around kids or why swearing makes clean spaces dirty. The words are there for a reason. It’s only because I put respect or consent above everything else that I won’t curse if a space or a person finds it unpleasant. In that space. To that person.
But it’s bullshit. Chalk it up to my being a borderline Aspie if you want. I think it’s crap and I think it’s really fucked up that it’s normal to call people out on their cursing but you can’t call them out on being offensive in the ways that count — you know, when they imply that someone is less than human or anything because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, level of able-bodiedness, gender identity.
It makes me angry that people think being called racist is worse than racism. That they can’t be misogynistic if they’re a woman, or that calling themselves a feminist means they’re aligning with feminists who want to force certain choices on women. To me, feminism is about giving women the freedom to make their own choices. To me, feminism is knowing that there’s a lot of work left to do, that intersectionality is not optional, that the voices of the oppressed must be amplified, and that society reinforces isms in a lot of ways and those ways can be eradicated.
To me, feminism is putting respect and consent over one’s own ego. It’s never, ever, ever claiming that it’s more important for you to be able to say a word or a turn of phrase than for other people to not be hurt. It’s listening more than you speak, and shutting up when you fuck up.
My feminism is based on the principle that a person should never have to put up with abuse of any sort from other people. Any implication to the contrary makes me angry.
So I’m angry a lot. People call it a choice, and it reminds me of when people call depression a choice, or tell other people that they’re looking for ways to be offended. That’s when I start yelling that words mean things, and that’s important.
Like, y’all. I believe in respect and consent, so I make a point not to curse when people ask me to even though I think it’s fucking bullshit, and I doubt I’ll ever change my mind on it. (This is my space.) Why can’t you do the same with things that actually matter? Why do some people consider their words to be exempt of being held to the same standard? Yesterday someone called me hostile for being angry — hurt — at their suggestion (explicit, not implied) that I should “suck it up.”
There’s a lot of that going on around here. Never quite so clear, though. There’s this idea that you should accept life as it is because it’s never going to be different. Maybe not. But it’s definitely not going to be different if you sit back and let shit happen. I get that some people reach that stage of not caring out of self-preservation, which I can’t fault them for. But you can’t turn around and tell people to care about the same things you do to the same degree that you do. The fact that you call it “coping with” and “dealing with” says: these are bad things happening.
But the truth is, most of the time, bad things don’t happen. People do them. And no one is telling those people to not do those things. They’re saying “boys will be boys” (“trolls will troll,” “people will treat you like you’re less than human,” “people will blame you for your mental illness,” “people will call you lazy if you’re unemployed no matter how much energy you put into searching for work”) instead. And, well, they will if you don’t do anything about it. If you learn to roll with the punches and tell other people to do the same thing.
I don’t want to be punched. I don’t deserve to be punched. I want people to know that. I want people to know that I get angry, and I want people to know why. I want my feelings out there. I’m a glass half empty person a lot of the time, and do you know what I’ll always consider a stroke of luck? That I can do this. That I’m comfortable voicing my feelings and politics and that the way I work at the moment allows me to do this. Occasionally someone will tell me it’s unprofessional, and don’t I want to be treated like a professional?
Well, honestly, I want to be treated like a human being. A whole one that thinks and feels, and tries to do the best she can. Sometimes I’ll fuck up, and I’ll acknowledge it. I’ll apologize and listen and do better. I’m starting from scratch, so hiding things is a choice I’d make, and one I don’t feel comfortable making at the moment. The return on investment doesn’t look certain at all. I’d rather people who don’t like me step away from me.
That may not always be viable. So for now, I’m embracing my anger. And if you think I’m “too sensitive,” or “overreacting,” or that I need to suck it up and shut up, you can fuck right off with your fucking bullshit. I’ll block your ass and your comments and the IP address you rode in on.
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