Fairies Can Say Fuck Too. (How Swearing Heals, Helps, & Humanizes)

I was alone, struggling through a workout in my garage when I filled the sweaty air with a stream of fucks. When I let it spill forth over and over again, I could feel the release rush through my entire body- another escape hatch for my emotions, they needed to let out some energy too.

I was angry. Angry about a lingering pain in my left leg, the one without the metal plates, the one I hope will never betray me. The fear of 2 weakened legs haunts me daily.

And I was also amazed. Amazed by my own body’s ability to adapt to the tightness in my left tendon and also to welcome the 2 metal plates perfectly placed on either side of my right ankle to piece together my shattered bones. I made sure to follow my body’s cues as close as I could, checking in with her every mile…what pace feels good today?

Through swearing, I sewed together seemingly opposing emotions in one simple move- fuck.

I was simultaneously lifted out of the discomfort and frustration and also placed directly into my body’s feelings and feeble attempts to push through my pain.

I’m wrestling once again with how unladylike, unrefined, and impolite swearing still feels to me.

How can a woman who seeks to lead an enchanted life and see the magic in the everyday, also be an advocate for cursing? It doesn’t make sense, a glitch, a glaring contradiction. Uttering the forbidden words doesn’t seem to align with who I am. After all, fairies don’t say fuck. (And I’m no fairy!)

Up until about 3 years ago, I had never dared to whisper a single damn, hell, or shit in my life. I avoided books, movies, and any content over a PG rating. Vulgarity was for the violent, broken ones who lacked self-control, had unresolved issues or trauma, or a criminal background. Clearly, I judged the sweary folks. They were responsible for tearing apart our world, causing trouble and catastrophe wherever they went.

I looked down upon anyone who used damn it like it was part of a complete sentence. Shitty or fuck it was even worse. Coarse and crude, there were always more preferred options, a purer language to pull from.

I never wanted my good girl, gentle mother, and adoring wife’s reputation to be tainted.

Until I said fuck it.

I remember the day (Saturday), the hour (afternoon), and the place (a nearby hiking trail) where I finally came out. The moment I was caught with a curse word on my lips. Of course, my husband and kids knew I had been getting more comfortable with swearing for months leading up to this point.

I was with some close family members and my 4 little children, the innocent bystanders of the horrific scene.

I remember the shock on my family’s faces. How could Charissa use that word? Some tried to rush the children away, further down the trail, out of earshot.

From there though we couldn’t recover. The rest of the day went down the toilet- the air was awkward and weird.

I felt responsible.

The whole debacle sounds silly now that I’m relaying it to you.

To think we or anyone else could skate through this life without the use of some strong, poetic language is ridiculous. Swearing is not only acceptable but a necessity we need to normalize for everyone.

There is a wealth of words we can speak to express ourselves. And yet, sometimes a simple yet pungent SHIT does the trick. Turns out I’m not wrong.

I did a little bit of research a couple of years ago for a previous article on the topic and found countless resources written about why we swear, how it affects us and others, the origins of profane language, and the various positive and negative physiological responses swear words can illicit.

At that point cursing was for special occasions, I was only beginning to discover its secret healing, helping, and humanizing powers.

Now, though, I feel like the metaphorical sailor. There I am linked arm and arm with burly, bearded men who, while at sea and without their cute wives, found themselves free and finally unencumbered to speak their minds.

Swear words hold a commonplace in my everyday lingo and yes my children do hear me. I don’t mutter it under my breath or dart to the closet and whisper-yell to my folded clothes.

I let them come out when needed. It’s not a slip-up but a spiritually significant act for me. A rebellion against the religious culture I grew up in and my incessant need to label some people right and others wrong.

Today, when I hear someone use a swear word they instantly become a friend. I feel safe around them like I can put my guard down and share with them all my flaws and bad habits and they wouldn’t flinch or try to fix me.

Swearing draws me into relationships with people who have experienced the wild ride of being human and who aren’t trying to tame it down. They live from a place of raw, real intensity and help us all to normalize the swing of emotions and experiences we have from hour to hour.

In case you can’t tell already I am a passionate defender of swearing for the common good. I don’t want swearing to be associated with naughty sailors but with feminine elegance.

Furthermore, if we’re committed to leading an animated, wholehearted, nuanced life, whether we’re in red-hot anger or slack-jawed amazement then we must give ourselves and everyone else permission to say FUCK, including the fiery little fairies if they need to.

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