So the time has come to blog about the F word. What better word is there to blog about than the most infamous one? It is a word that is used daily by many people but still considered to be offensive. Perhaps the offense comes in its meaning. The first time I used the word I was six years old and had no idea what it meant or even that it was considered to be a cuss word. I had made a mistake when my aunt was teaching me to knit and my father really tanned my hide for saying it. I think he was really embarrassed because the aunt in question already disliked him. Of course she was shocked by my use of the word as was my grandmother who was also there. I think everyone assumed that I had heard it from my father because my mother would use euphemisms for even the milder cuss words.
I was not told what the word meant at that interval. I would not have understood at that point either. Five years later I learned what the word meant when telling someone the story of how I got the whipping of my life by saying it. When I was first told what it meant, I was dubious. Of all I knew about sex at the time it didn't sound like that could be possible. Because I had been taught that sex was something beautiful that happened between two married people, and also because of the ways I had heard it used, I decided that this word must only describe when force was involved. It took another several years before I learned that it could be used to describe consensual sex as well.
I didn't use the word after that day when I was six years old until I had moved from my fathers house. After leaving home I heard the word much more frequently. My ex used it on a semi-daily basis before any of our children were born and his friends used it quite a lot as well. However, I had heard it from some of the teenagers I had encountered during my youth as well. In fact, when I was thirteen I heard it used for the very first time in normal conversation instead of when someone was upset. This is one of my more poignant memories for it is the first time I remember a group of children mocking me and I knew that was what was going on.
I really didn't like it or know how to deal with it. They kept asking me questions about my religion and mocking me for being different. I finally walked away crying. I was shocked by how often they used the word I had gotten my hide tanned for saying once. One of them came after me and apologized, I was grateful for that much at least. Since then many people, generally younger people, have mocked me for being different. I have learned to deal with it a little bit better though.
I do use the word on occasion, much more so when I am extremely angry about something. I no longer consider it offensive and don't mind when others use it in front of me. Although I might mind if my girls started saying it. Probably because they are young and I don't want them saying words they don't understand, especially because I can't be around them all the time. I will eventually teach them about how some words are offensive and you shouldn't use them around everyone. I think that is all I can do. I cannot expect that they'll never say these words, just that they'll be careful about when and where they do say them.
I would never spank my girls for saying a word they didn't understand. I think people should at least know that what they have done is wrong before being punished for it. Perhaps after they had learned that they weren't supposed to say the word, I would punish them if they continued to use it. Words can be potent, words can be powerful, but in the end all words are just words. It is up to the person who hears to decide how to take what is being said. If a person is bound and determined not to let something affect him or her, then words alone will not sway or persuade differently.