When I was about 7 years old I remember, after coming inside from the cold, repeating something my dad said, “that was a hell of a snowball fight!” And he yelled at me for swearing. I wasn’t sure what I said that was wrong, especially since I was repeating exactly what he said 10 minutes earlier. Language can be offensive or empowering – sometimes the same words – it depends on who is saying them. I learned at that time that an adult can say the word ‘hell’ but not a child. Or not a daughter? I wonder if my brothers ever got in trouble for swearing…

So, I decided that my swear word would be Rats! Anytime I stubbed my toe, or didn’t get what I wanted, I would say, Rats! I felt very clever and sneaky because I was swearing but adults thought it was cute.

What do you think about language? about swearing? What words do you use that may be offensive to one person but empowering to you?

Leave a Reply