Stop Telling Me What the **** My Words Mean

“I swear to God if you say that one more time I WILL kill you.”

“Ha! You said 'God,' you can’t possibly be a real atheist!”

Having been very outward about both my religious and political opinions from a relatively young age I have always subjected myself to harsh criticism. However, the last thing I expected to be judged by was my diction. It seemed like a wholly inconceivable idea that someone might be able to determine what I believed in purely from my word choice. While in theory that’s true, in practice society seems to think otherwise.

As young girl, I grew up in a relatively conservative neighborhood with parents who mirrored the ideologies of my neighbors, and though things have drastically changed I was always taught to keep a “clean” mouth. This meant no swearing, no taking the lord’s name in vain, etc., so much so that saying “sexy” actually felt sinful. Though as I grew older and the influence of my highly conservative neighbors wore off both me and my parents, my word choice began to expand. And like any other rebellious kid my endeavour through the forest of prohibited words was only just beginning. The next thing you know I was saying things like “Oh my god!”,“What the hell?” , and  “Are you shitting me”. I went from saying “Gosh Darn It” to “God f*cking damn it.” It was the most liberated  I’d felt in a long time.

The evolution of my language surprisingly came long before the evolution of my religious and political ideologies. Though it seemed that the more outward I was about such opinions, the more the two became synonymous with each other. It was a head on collision that I had no way of stopping. Now people were telling me left and right that “It’s not ladylike to swear” and “You can’t possibly be atheist when you say stuff like that”. I was growing so frustrated. I couldn't understand why anything I was saying made me less of a woman. Or that saying 'God' somehow meant I acknowledged his existence. None of it made sense, they were just words that were the birth of a newly liberated self. I was used to criticism for my overbearing personality, or for being too outgoing, but this was new. I’d suddenly become the most predictable person on planet earth, because people seemingly thought they understood me.

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I had learned two very important lessons. The first being it wasn’t these assumptions that were actually infuriating me. While it was frustrating, yes, that was not the root cause of my lividity. It was that people assumed they knew me before they actually got the chance to. In some ways, it was the ignorance of their assumptions. I was being shut out before I even had a chance. Most importantly though, I learned that I actually don’t give a fuck, and I shouldn’t ever have to. I am respectful enough to know when and where swearing is appropriate, but I’m also smart enough to know that these are all just words. After all the people who think they know me before actually asking anything about me are probably not the people I want in my life. So to all of you out there who are sick and tired of being put in situations like these, remember that you’re no less of a person because you chose to say things others might not. At the end of the day you’re going to be left with your badass self, and you should have no reason to be ashamed of your place in life because of what you chose to say.

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