The Shameless Demise of the F Word
Don’t worry, I am not going to say the F word. I won’t say I haven’t ever said it. But I will say, I can do better. I suspect we all can, but that isn’t really the point.
While out running errands the other day, in an offensive blaze of Texas-sized,supped-up Ford glory, a monster truck roared past me. Flapping behind him in the wind were two, quilt-sized flags that read “F*** Biden.”
Truly, not all Texans are lunatics. No, really.
I clutched my pearls and gasped, just like any respectable lady from the Bible Belt would do. And then I reprimanded the son of the south, out loud, from the comforts of my non-confrontational, VW Beetle. “We are trying to live in a society here fella! Do you take your mother to Bingo in that truck?”
A few moments later, stopped at a red light, a work truck pulled alongside me. The sign on the truck’s door read, “Maverick: 30 years of integrity and quality work. Call for an estimate.” There were no phone numbers listed. I scoped out his vehicle. A couple of toolboxes lined the bed, but no tanks or smaller equipment made his quality service estimate any clearer.
Again, I spoke out loud, “An estimate for integrity? WHAT DO YOU DO SIR? AND HOW WOULD I CALL YOU?” Then I thought, we are trying to live in a society here… right?
Within that society, some of our signage is just, ew. And sometimes the signs around us are completely unclear, leaving us baffled, talking to ourselves in our cars.
Lately, it seems like society is living us. Like all of a sudden whatever anyone says, goes.
And every conversation starts with “Now they are saying…” I simply would love to know, who are they? And why do they get to decide anyway?” I tiptoe into this space, I don’t want to sound old, but I guess I just am. It just seems there has been a rapid decline in societal standards. And no, the work truck guy just needed a little direction in his ad campaign, all is not lost on that glitch in business 101.
But there was a time when there were certain things no one said, things that were just the worst things to say. There was clarity, and words were not simply to provoke, but to soothe, encourage, and unify. There were nice words, and not-so-nice words, but then “cool” didn’t cut it anymore. And “awesome” turned into “wicked,” and still no one knows why “i” is before “e” except after “c”… but not all of the time.”
I only recently made the observation to my friend, “have you noticed the F word has lost its shock value?”
Of course, she had. The F word is everywhere. It seems to be as common as “that” or “the.”
There was a time when it was THE WORD. The word you didn’t go near it unless you meant it. And if you meant it, and said it, everyone believed you.
That is how the F word rolled. Thunder, blazes of filth, and the summation of all that needed to be said, even if it was the bottom feeder’s way of saying it.
Or bomb. The F just landed.
And all the Gen Xers recall the first time the word crept from their virgin lips. Millennials? You remember?
But what now? Have you seen the commercial for the soup… “cluck yeah?”
Remember? The closest we got to even discussing the F word was when poor Ralphie dropped the tire nuts in A Christmas Story.
Even then, as we were leaving the theater, you could hear the hushed whispers, “mommy, what’s fudge?”
Is nothing sacred or off limits? Ralphie my boy… you crossed the line man, and at Christmas time?
Still, here we are, living in a world where Ralphie could have said the literal word, kept his PG rating, and hardly a creature would stir at such a filthy mouth.
Suddenly three-year-olds go viral in videos laced with what used to be called filth and is now just another way to express we are having a lousy day.
Word power, what will matter when nothing matters anymore?
Certainly, I am not suggesting that we form a band of rebels whose main objective is to bring offense back to that which no longer offends. You know, “if what we resist persists,” the F word just proved that hypothesis with its newfound ability to join random conversations about stale coffee and paper cuts. We fought long and hard to keep the F word in its high tower, and now it is the guest of honor.
My issue isn’t the lack of offense, it is a simple curiosity about how easily we have ceased to recognize, some things need their power. Furthermore, we have now proven that we can become desensitized to things that some still think we need to cringe over.
As a writer, I know that it can be challenging to adequately convey the harsh realities of clipping your toe on a bed frame at 3:00 am, on the way to the potty. But how generic and boring would it be if all I had to say about nearly chopping off my pinkie toe in the middle of the night was… “ouch.”
At the same time, how crude and ugly would it be to throw, what was once a culturally unacceptable word, into a “clean” blog post, just to convey a hurt?
For the better part of 18 months, I have been writing, creating, and researching the mind. My latest book, which launches in November of 2021, Rest Girl, was the result of much of this work. That work has also resulted in two parenting tools, Socialwised U and Honorable U. I have come to the same conclusion as many of my predecessors: the mind is our most powerful tool.
If what we resist persists, what we practice we perfect. When we practice offense, we are offended. When we are offended we are in a state of judgment. Our emotions are vibratory responses to our circumstances. And the environment we are in is wholly impacted by the vibratory responses within our minds and bodies.
We need our responses to alert us to that which is not for us. It is of benefit to know not to touch a hot stove or when to say, “I think that three pieces of cheesecake will do me fine for now.” While fear is the lowest frequency we operate in, love is the highest. From the lower vibratory states, we are overcome with worries, doubt, and are triggered to operate in fight or flight modalities.
Knowing what moves and motivates us further empowers us. Knowing what offends and recoils us also empowers us.
In the past, we were most often surrounded by like-minded humans, with similar offenses and parallel passions. Technology has invaded the power of words and robbed us of many levels of separation. Folks who used certain words or displayed certain, flamboyant, or overtly sexual online activities weren’t part of the daily routine of a homeschool mom of six. Now, your second-cousin’s, ex-wife, whose middle name starts with F, and is widely popular in the strip club scene, comes into your social media feed in between the shout for volunteers for the church bizarre and a desperate plea for someone to drive a busload of 12-year-olds to skate night.
This new reality leaves the mind in turmoil.
Unbeknownst to the mind of the unknowing, we are being chased by bears in our living room, left to make heads or tails of the good, bad, terrible, and “not our problem.” Furthermore, with so much to process, and the brain’s inability to decipher real from imagined, we are a society raging, solely in our minds, against a wide range of things without a compatible bodily response to accompany the feelings. We aren’t REALLY being chased by a bear in our living room. But from the luxury and comfort of our Lazy Boys, we are experiencing the turmoil and stresses of being in the “cyber” company of humans that do not support our passions or our offenses.
Perhaps I am naive, I hope I am.
But I do not think the world has lost its good, I just think more has been exposed. And once something crawls out of the dark, there is light. No, the F word is not light, but it is an opportunity for us to be light, and speak love instead.
There are still a large number of beings that want clarity and honesty, we all need some level of discernment. I think there are plenty of people, whether or not they are spitters and cussers, who might take offense to a gas-guzzling Ford or disrespecting our President. This leaves me to conclude, the power of offense comes from within us.
Actually, the argument could be made that the F word only had power because we gave it power. We said it was bad, we said it was offensive and we drew a line in the sand. Still, sand lines are easily crossed and once you cross over, there really is no going back.
I can’t fathom a scenario where all of the sudden the F word gains back its untouchableness. But its fall from power has made me more conscious of words I don’t want to take for granted or reassign from bad to good.
It would have been easy to string together a rant of harsh words about the collapse of morals and a society gone mad. I got my break in the writing world ranting about some offense or another, sometimes a shout in the dark reaches the masses. Sometimes those shouts turn into books, articles, and big ideas. The moral of each of our stories is that peace of mind begins and ends within us.
We do not get to choose how the world responds, but we do get to choose how we do.
It seems to me that this is the greatest gift we are afforded as individuals coping in a society that has encroached into all the nooks and crannies of privacy, modesty, humility, and dignity, is the intimate quiet space of our minds. And no, mine is not always quiet either. But it is my space.
Operating from an organized mind does allow me to separate things I need to be alerted to and other things that just aren’t for me.
So while R Ratings lower their minimum standards and humanity seems forced to comply, we can each still hold to convictions and passions, without bending over backward to keep it clean, prove ourselves, or spend precious hours grieving over “the good old days.” What is the old church hymn, “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me…”?
Yeah, it’s an oldie, but peace is the ultimate goal, along with, love, joy, hope, patience, happiness, abundance.
I propose even the most foul-mouthed would agree those words convey all the things that truly matter. After our long absence from human touch, a consequence of the pandemic, those things seem to matter even more. I do wonder, did the lapse in normalcy also cause us to be more expressive, freer to spit into the wind?
Perhaps this generation will be afflicted with social and verbal interaction issues like the children of the depression struggle with penny-pinching and bread rationing. Or maybe, they will rise up as great communicators, that strive to say things that bring about change, justice, and more love. Maybe they will write sonnets and greater works because they will be forced to come up with more effective ways to convey emotion than just dropping an F here and there.
By all appearances, it is as if the last word has had its last word.
I mean if we use that word to convey the deliciousness of a can of soup, with a shelf life of 44 years, it really isn’t as powerful when making a grand exit in the heat of battle.
So then, if there is a sunny side to a post about a less than fabulous word, let it be this, we were created by a master Creator. He invented us out of dust. His creativity is unmatched in the ways of butterflies, babies, and the platypus. And with that divine DNA in each and every one of us, there is room to grow and express ourselves in ways not yet seen.
The individual thumbprint on each of our hearts and minds allows for us to pick and choose, but it also convicts and directs when invited. Sometimes that mark in me is aggressive and all of a sudden words flow together into a story and I am at my best. Other times, I fall flat and one-word soliloquies fly. But at the end of the rant, post, or novel, I am still His, and peace still begins and ends with my own little-rated PG thoughts and feelings.
That leaves me wandering in a world that God alone told us to pray would be on Earth as it is in heaven.
I find this freaking fantastic and I chose to believe, we are going to be just fine.
Jesus be all over you. Love, J
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