Breaking Up with 4-Letter Words

A few weeks ago, my 4-year-old daughter was playing upstairs on her own. I could hear her sweet musings to her stuffed animals as she led them in a very convincing classroom lesson; her feet pitter-pat across the floor as she ran to get her fairy wings and astronaut costume (worn together, of course); her invitation for some imaginary friends to a tea party. I heard her pick up the sweet teapot Santa had brought her for Christmas to pour for her friends. Then I heard the teapot drop on the wood floor. Followed by a crash. Followed by a sort of hushed, but severe exclamation:  “Oh S**t!”

That’s when I knew. My love affair with 4-letter words had run it’s course. It was time to break up.

Since I am obviously in a state of real grief and mourning over here over this break up, please allow me to wax poetic for a minute. 

I love curse words. And I have a whole theory behind why I love them so much. I am a trained professional musician–I’ve been studying piano since I was 6-years-old, and I went on to major in music in college, where I studied in depth the many intricacies and wonders of all different types of music. I am passionate about artistic expression of any kind and find it even more powerful when sounds are strung together in a way to evoke an emotion. Like the quick hurried 16th-note passages of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Flight of the Bumblebee that perfectly portray the rush of a busy bee on a mission; or the undeniable gloom presented by arguably the most famous first four notes of music ever written in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

Which brings me to my point about cursing: Curse words are powerful because they are percussive. They are short and strong and loud and more often than not, end with a hard consonant, making them the perfect vehicle for emphasis when you really need it most. The sound of a curse word mimics the emotion that caused the use of said word perfectly. 

Back to a few weeks ago–I’ll admit my first thought upon hearing my daughter react to breaking her teapot was, “That’s exactly right!” I was impressed that she had channeled her frustration into a perfectly succinct statement. And I knew right away that I had taught her that! Yes! Great job! Pat on the back, mama.

But then, the inevitable doom set it. I slowly came to realize that my love for so many curse words is probably not shared by many others. In fact, I came to the very difficult realization (thanks to my incredibly supportive husband/mortified father of our children) that perhaps NO ONE loves curse words as much as me, especially not in my daughter’s preschool classroom. 

So, we’re breaking up. Curse words and me. There’s just no future. I can’t see how we can go on this way. I’ll always hold onto the memories of the good times together. And maybe in a dark corner with only my adult friends, I’ll revisit our relationship. But I’ve got to move on. For my kids (and their potential future detention sentences and wild-eyed judgements thrown their way from the more straight-laced people of society).

So farewell, my 4-letter friends. I’ll see you again once my kids have moved out of the house.

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2 Responses to Breaking Up with 4-Letter Words

  1. Margie Gonzales July 18, 2018 at 12:47 am #

    Oh, how wonderful to discover I am not the only one addicted to those choice four letter gems!

    It is true there is nothing else that so effectively releases the pent up emotion that could either

    cause me to have a stroke—or kill somebody. However, I, too, must restrain myself but for the

    love of my truly wonderful husband. He did graduate from seminary so, naturally, harsh

    language is not pleasant to him. He never badgers me about it, but curbing the language is

    just one small thing I can do for him. I am getting better about not expressing myself with

    those words and I find I am naturally saying them less and less. My darling hubby has noticed

    my improvement and it does make me happy to make him happy. So, now, how did you say

    I can keep from having that stroke?

  2. Emma M March 12, 2018 at 4:46 pm #

    I love this! We too are battling these challenges in my house. I come from a very expressive family, and sometimes I feel like I can only share my feelings effectively if I use a few, well placed four letter words in my sentence. However, my two year old is in parrot mode, and the other day, she proudly used the s-word right after mommy did. It’s time to break up with those words for me too!

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