That moment when someone you haven’t seen or heard from since you were 12 years old messages to tell you that although his politics are near-polar opposite yours, he’s been checking in on your Facebook for over a year to see if you’ve got any new political commentary and in the process realized that he’s envious of you because you have a clear gift for wordcraft.
And for a millisesecond, you experience the peace of a simple act of generosity, then he adds: “except for all of those obscenities, you’re an amazing wordsmith.” Then, in way of explaining— perhaps just to himself, for I didn’t inquire—why he has kept coming back he adds, having clearly resigned himself to the defects, “But: that’s just Amy.”
You know, even just a few years ago, I didn’t used to cuss as much as I do now. I took great care to stifle my own expressivity and feelings so as not to make waves, going out of my way to avoid conflict or offending someone—often apologizing in advance with “sorry” for any potential that I might—because I not only didn’t know how to make space for myself, I also didn’t see that societal conditioning had damaged me. I didn’t see that from within the dawn of my human existence, the only thing allowed to manifest were within strict societal standards so subtle they became a prison of “you have to be nice or they’ll say you’re a bitch” and other mindfucks that weren’t true yet I never questioned.
But experience paves new roads to truth. For in the last few years, things have gotten loud. Child trafficking, the meat “industry”, the double-barreled crises of anxiety and suicide, whales dying with tummies full of plastic and Trayvon, a kid, killed for wearing a sweatshirt, all existing as cattle prods for evolution, and it became that within the sights and sounds of a suffering world—amid the darkness of seeing my own self fall to the despair of others’ judgment—I woke to see that a society structured to be unjust, unfair, and unhappy is abusive and does not deserve me.
Because the real of all this societal bullshit is that we now have 12 years to unchain from lifetimes—a billion fold strong—of human assumptions we were clearly mistaken about, and the truth of this world is that we clutch pearls about cussing, and not about some homeless person pushing his dog in a shopping cart. We speak our offense about a women saying whatever the fuck she feels is best but not about wealth inequality or a planet so imperiled we’re counting down from 12 to when we won’t be able to exist here anymore. We grant tolerance to a wordsmith without questioning whether that’s even our place and don’t take offense that in so doing we’re missing the bigger picture that we might be wrong. And in panning out—to where the next 12 years we have to reverse the damage to the planet becomes our entire lifetime—we will need to cuss, panic, rage, topple and speak anger free of the societal constraints that have anesthetized us to THIS, because as I understood finally— after my life of conformity—everything we said, everything we thought, and everything we did were all wrong, and now to save ourselves and our world, we need to be all the things we never were.