Over the years I've often changed the way I use words. I distinctly remember the first time I took the Lord's name in vain. As a chuchgirl, I knew better than to say was I was about to say, but as an out-of-place 5th grader longing to be friends with the carefree cool girls, I said it anyway. "Oh my God, he is so retarded!" Immediately afterward I hated what I had said. Even then I was a rule-breaker, but I knew, and tried to obey, the cardinal rules: the 10 commandments and that golden one.
My father had a mouth like a pirate, and never bridled his words in front of me or my younger brother. I learned while I was very young to dislike and fear certain words, and the people who used them. The overabundance of times I heard the F word, the N word, and GD did not make me immune to them, but instead made me accutely aware of them, and my skin would prickle when I heard them used.
As a teenager, I tested the limits of what I was comfortable with- in speech and in action. Aside from those most hurtful and hateful words (I've uttered GD exactly 3 times in my life, and I shocked myself each time), I spoke like no Southern lady ought to speak.
Then one warm and lazy August afternoon, nearly one month before my 20th birthday, two blue lines showed up on a little piece of plastic, and my life was changed in thousands of big and small ways.
I (almost) immediately stopped cursing, and as my belly grew, the nasty words and the space they occupied in my vocabulary shrank. I didn't even let people cuss around my hearing-capable fetus.
It felt good to rid myself of such negative language. Of course, there have been many (many. many.) times in the six years since my son was born that I've cursed- inadvertantly and, occasionally, on purpose. My language changes depending on my company and location- but I assume that's true for just about everyone. After all, you don't talk shop in church, and you don't discuss religion at a football game.
But lately I've been even more aware of the things I say; especially what I say in front of my children......
(Lessons in Etymology will continue after a short word from our sponsors)
(actually, we don't have any sponsors. i just found this cool shirt at zazzle.com)