I stopped cussing when I had kids as a way to lie to them and make them think I’m someone I’m not. Lately I have cussed in front of them a few times, surprisingly with much less remorse than I used to have when I’d slip up. I actually think it’s time they know the truth: They come from a long line of cussers, some of whom elevated cursing to an art form. They should also know that cussing can be a form of coping. When your life is shitty and you feel like you’re cursed, curse back! Don’t restrain yourself and mutter sadly to yourself, “phooey” or “drat”, because that’s called moping. You have to round up the biggest f-bomb you’ve got, ideally embedded among some other 4-letter words, and sling it back at life, hard. Now THAT’S coping.
I am coping very well these days.
I find people don’t mind this method of coping. Even if they are anti-cussing, they consider themselves lucky that you’re cussing and not crying, because no one likes it when you cry. It makes them want to cry, which makes them want to get as far away from you as possible and go shopping. The only thing they’d rather you do besides cuss is act like everything is fine. But that’s not coping, that’s pretending, which is okay if you are a mediocre actor in the community theater and you need some extra practice. If not, it’s not going to feel very good to say one thing and mean another. It’s actually kind of depressing to realize that your life is so bad that you have to tone it down just for other people to tolerate hearing about it without suffering a nervous breakdown by proxy.
I am an active coper, even apart from the cussing. When my husband started doing internet research on my problems AND scribbling illegible doctor writing notes on a brand new pad of paper, I knew I’d better get my affairs in order. I quickly jotted down a to-do list, which included:
- Burn naked pictures of old boyfriends.
- Burn all my old diaries where I documented in detail what I did with these boyfriends.
- Toast marshmallows over the naked picture-diary fire (after all, what’s the point of avoiding carbs now?).
- Write letters to my kids in which I give them advice for after I die, so that I can continue to boss them around from the afterlife.
- Write a letter to my husband requesting that he break with the family tradition of remarrying 5 minutes after my body is lowered into the ground. I know some of you (men) might say to that, “life is for the living” and that I’m being selfish, but I’m really not. I just think it’s hard on kids when you tell them, “By the way, I’m getting remarried. For the wedding, why don’t you wear that nice outfit you wore to Mommy’s funeral?”
- Write my eulogy.
OK, let me pause to explain that one. I’m not thinking of writing my eulogy because I want a bunch of nice things said about me at my funeral. I’m writing it to prevent a bunch of nice things from being said about me at my funeral. I mean, if there’s one time you don’t have to impress anyone, it’s after you’re dead. I just don’t see the point in having people come to a funeral to hear about someone they never knew. My fear is that if I let someone else write my eulogy, they’ll say things like I was a gourmet cook who was cheerful to the end, and my good friends will shift uneasily in their seats, and whisper to each other, “Oh my God, are we are at the wrong funeral?? I told you it was a right turn on Main Street!” It’s better to tell the truth, because there’s nothing worse than dying, except dying and then having to sit through some bullshit Pollyanna eulogy on your special day.