Is Me Saying Fuck Really What Most Offends You in 2017?

In the last week, I have been language policed twice.

Now, many of you know that I am very liberal with the swears so perhaps you are surprised that it’s only twice in the last week.

However.

Regardless of the quantity (nevermind the quality) of my swearing, it’s really none of their business unless I am swearing AT them or their children. I will even concede swearing in front of their children.

Neither of these instances were that.

Let me give you some context.

In the first instance, I posted my article, Why I Homeschool, on a bilingual homeschooling Facebook group. Keep in mind, I post my Chinese and homeschool related blog posts there approximately twice a week and have been for the last 2-3 years.

I do not edit my posts for this group and many of them contain curse words – often times, MUCH more than the two F-bombs I had in the Why I Homeschool post.

I have never had a problem. Not once. Not even a whisper or private message saying, “You know, perhaps you should lay off the swears.”

Well, that is, until last week.

In the comment section of the post, I see this:

Quite frankly, I’m amazed that I had the self-control to not write something scathing back. But you know what? I recognize that she does not like swear words. That is her right. And I also recognize that my blog is not for her. That’s fine. Not everyone needs to like my blog or find it useful.

I accept that.

But then, she goes and insults and personally attacks me and everyone who was not offended by my post and possibly, even liked it. And not only that, when confronted by multiple people, including the admins, she doubled, then tripled, then quadrupled down with really questionable logic and then left the group in a self-righteous huff.

Some examples:

She says, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Of course she is a Trump supporter.

People.

Trump and his normal human behavior in public is acceptable to her but my two uses of the F word in regards to white supremacy and my kids being woke as fuck on my own private site are NOT.

The amount of self-righteous hypocrisy is astounding.

Look. It’s not as if I walked into her living room and dropped F bombs at her and her children. It was on MY site. I left a LINK. Where it is generally common knowledge that the internet MAY HAVE SWEARS.

Furthermore, as a friend said, is using curse words to express myself worse than insulting others with zero curse words? Because saying that discerning people would not like a blog that uses curse words is actually insulting, to both me, the writer, and the people who enjoy the blog.

It was intended as an insult.

I would further break down her fallacious arguments, but why? WE ALL HAVE EYES AND BRAINS.

Plus, she pulled in another person and between the two of them, advised me on how to use my words and be a better parent. Clearly, they did not take the hint that yes, it’s possible for other people to have different opinions – even on the subject of curse words and their appropriateness on the internet, for children, and as a human.

I am not providing screenshots of the second person because later, they messaged me and apologized – which I appreciate. Personally, I find it hard to admit when I do something shitty or wrong or inappropriate – let alone apologize to a total stranger on the internet. So, I absolutely appreciate her apology. It took guts.

Anyhow, back to the drama.

Keep in mind, the main reasons I did not eviscerate either of these women in the comments were because:

1) I do not want people to think I am an asshole.

I mean, I am an asshole. (And if this post is any clue, I’m petty as fuck and DON’T YOU FORGET IT. Also? I KEEP RECEIPTS.)

But at that point, public opinion was most likely on my side, me being the victim of this sanctimonious eyeroll of a human.

However, if I annihilated her publicly on Facebook, she becomes the victim.

THAT CANNOT BE TOLERATED.

So, I screamed and vented and came up with scathing commentary to my friends, but in public, I did not.

Side Note: I don’t believe in doxxing or ruining someone on the internet (unless they’re a white supremacist – then by all means, doxx the shit out of them) so I have blurred out her name and her kid’s face (because I’m not a savage). But since I also believe in public shaming, I have kept her face in tact.

2) My friends were the admins and I did not want to put them in the awkward position of having to delete my comments or even remove me from the group.

I know from personal experience that administrating Facebook groups is no fun. There was no need to make their lives harder.

3) I would have felt awesome temporarily and then I would feel like an asshole. But by then, everyone else would also know that I was an asshole so even deleting my comments or posts would be too late.

Yes, I realize that this is mostly a regurgitation of Point 1 and not really true remorse.

What can I say? I’m shallow.

I thought this instance was a one off situation until the other day, on another Facebook group, someone posted an example of text that a teenager or adult could read with ease.

I wanted to see if I could read this text (despite it being in Simplified) and what should I find but CURSE WORDS. The word, “fucking,” to be exact.

I found it hilarious and thought to myself, “OMG, what if they had posted to the homeschooling group?”

But then, someone posted a translation of the story in the comments without the offensive word and I was really confused. So, of COURSE I had to stir shit up and ask:

AND LO AND BEHOLD, one of the next comments:

PEOPLE!!!!

PEOPLE!!!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?

We are literally talking about a curse word that is ALREADY in the text – but in Chinese. This group is FULL of LITERATE Chinese people.

And if the original poster recommended that parents could test their teenagers on the topic, THEY SHOULD KNOW.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO PEOPLE??

I feel as if I am living in some strange, alternate universe.

Since when has the mere presence of a word become so terrible that it’s more offensive than pretty much EVERYTHING that is going on in this world – including, but not limited to, our current sitting president?

I am so annoyed (because mad is too strong for what I’m feeling) and bewildered that I want to react in as juvenile way as possible and just write a post with some click-bait title and then have the post be just an endless string of FUCKS.

Instead, I have written this screed because it amuses me and I am petty and I guess I really am puerile.

People.

This is the fucking internet.

There will be things that offend you. And unless it’s dangerous, incendiary rhetoric (oh wait, that’s 45‘s Twitter account), you can choose to not go back to that site, not engage, and scroll on by.

You do NOT have to insult people or tell them they are wrong and are bad parents. Perhaps, you can tell them they are bad writers. I accept that. (But don’t all go rushing in to tell me this, ok?)

Just because I swear does not mean I am incapable of not swearing. I swear because I choose to use those words because those are the words that I want to use. By no means do I think that these words are always necessary, but that is my choice to make.

And sure, who couldn’t improve upon some judicious editing? But again, that would be my choice. After all, even though the original posts that I turned into my book, (affiliate link) So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese, included many swear words, I excised them from the book because I felt that was more appropriate.

I have plenty of friends who do not curse so on their Facebook wall and in their presence, I choose not to use words that offend them because that’s what kind and respectful people do.

Likewise, when they are at my house or on my Facebook or my site, they do not preach and tell me that they are super offended by my swearing because they, too, are kind and respectful people.

And to be clear, I am not annoyed at the lack of swearing or even the belief of not swearing.

I am pissed off by the self-righteous hypocrisy exhibited by the people who are moralizing to me about the “obscenity” of my words while behaving abominably using “clean” words.

So, yeah. My petty is showing in full force today. But at least I own it.

What Do I Really Want?

I know I say it a lot, but it bears repeating. How is time flying by so fast? And why does it always seem as if I am treading water and accomplishing nothing?

I know it’s not true. And yet, it always seems as if my ambition outpaces my willingness to work (and work hard). I could blame the children, but let’s be brutally honest. I highly doubt I would be busy working hard on my ambitions even if I were without family obligations.

I mean, seriously. What did I do before I had kids?

Nothing. A fat lot of nothing.

One could argue that it was the forced break from things that having children required that finally shook me out of my farce of being a financial advisor. And then, even a few more years of being a SAHM that made me really consider what I wanted to do.

Would I actually spend all day writing and hustling after paying gigs if I were unencumbered by my kids? Or would I do what I always did? Fritter away all this precious time with the usual suspects?

I have my money on me pissing away my time like I always did. Because although past performance does not always predict future performance, it’s a good indicator.

Is this what a mid-life crisis looks like? Albeit, a bland, milquetoast, non-explody kind that doesn’t detonate an H-bomb in the midst of my family life?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not UN-happy. I am pretty OK with the way things are going.

But is that all we are made for? To be OK with things? To be floating along on the river of our life in an inner tube of contentedness?

Not that there is anything wrong with contentedness.

In fact, I thought I was content with my life until this moment. That is not true.

The absence of unhappiness is not the presence of happiness. And as I was about to write, “the absence of discontent is not the presence of contentedness,” I had to stop because I realized that I am discontent.

I have been discontent for a long time. Perhaps for always.

Discontent doesn’t mean that I’m not happy. I am often happy. I am even content with most areas of my life.

I AM MAKING NO SENSE.

I feel disintegrated. Scattered.

I have been going to my therapist for two years now. Maybe three? And yet it always seems to circle back with what Dr. T mentioned that first appointment. She thought I was in there to speak to her about my identity – and I laughed at her.

But it’s so true.

Who am I and what do I want? And once I figure that out, will I do what I can to get it?

I am afraid to want so many things.

I feel as if I just started going after what I want – and instead of being satisfied, it opened up a giant maw. A gaping mouth. A hole in my soul demanding to be fed.

More.

More.

Always, more.

That’s why Roxane Gay’s book, (affiliate link) Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, struck such a chord inside me. She hungered for so many things.

I hunger for so many things.

I feel greedy. Ungrateful.

I feel as if I am just like my father. Always grasping. Always lusting. Always leaving.

Always.

Always.

Always.

But that’s the lie, right?

That’s The Lie.

It’s okay to want things. It’s okay to pursue things. It’s okay to hunger. To want.

It is okay. And it is human.

It is in the how of things where it can go awry.

How do I fill this hunger? How do I fill these wants? And do I fill these wants? Or do I do what I always have and shove them down, deep down, burying them in the minutiae of daily life?

For me, I am choosing to be different than I have been.

I know.

I seem to be constantly choosing this. Constantly blogging about this.

It seems as if I will always be stuck.

Always.

I tell myself that changing directions in life is not a one and done.

It’s like changing directions in a large battleship cruiser at full speed. You can’t just make a sharp turn and then expect to be in a different direction. First, you have to decelerate to a safe speed and then turn, slowly, and then re-accelerate.

Making change in life is not just ONE decision to change your life. It is a constant series of small decisions. Seemingly insignificant decisions.

Do I go to sleep early or stay up late to work? If I stay up late to work, will I actually work or will I Facebook or watch TV or read or goof off? If I will actually waste time instead, am I okay with that or should I just go to sleep instead?

Do I stay at home and work or do I leave the house? If I stay at home, am I okay with my children constantly interrupting me? If I leave, am I okay with spending money or burning through the time with commuting? In all instances, am I going to actually work or am I going to procrastinate even more?

A million little choices.

Our dreams are made or broken from a million little choices.

It’s Not About Me

I have been hiding.

I was on a good roll for a few weeks, posting almost daily, writing and typing to my heart’s content and then, last Friday, my brain ground to a halt.

wanted to write about stuff. I even created time and space to write about stuff.

But I didn’t.

I couldn’t.

I felt fake.

I felt on the surface of things. Unwilling to delve deeper into what I was feeling. And most writing – at least the kind that rings true – requires some type of emotional honesty.

How can I be honest to others when I am lying to myself?

Even now, I know I need to write this piece. For myself.

But I keep procrastinating. (Which, let’s be honest, is what I do anyway. But MORE SO.)

I do not want to face myself.

“It’s not about you,” Dr. T said. “It’s not about you at all.”

I squirmed.

“I know, I know,” I glibly reply. Not really knowing. “But it’s sooooo hard!!!”

“We can address your behaviors and try to fix them all you want, but at some point, we have to break down WHY you keep doing these things. What is the underlying belief that is behind it?”

“And you think it’s because I’m still mad at my dad?”

“Possibly. It’s not as simple as ‘Oh, I’m mad at my dad. Now I am taking it out on the kids.’ But it’s related.”

“Ok. I’ll think about it.”

We were interupted by Glow Worm needing to poop. Since there were only five minutes left to our session, we ended early.

Sometimes, hauling four kids to my therapy sessions really was inconvenient.

I went home and picked two all out screaming fights over really stupid things with Hapa Papa right before he left with the older three kids to LA for the long weekend.

He apologized, as usual. Ever the conscientious grown up.

I ignored him.

How long after a divorce is it reasonable to wish ill upon the offending party and their co-offenders?

I ask because sometimes, I forget why I have cut my father out of my life.

I think, if my parents are no longer married, why does it matter who he is with now? What their lives are like? Whether my nine year old half-brother is happy and healthy?

It feels like betraying my mother to think these thoughts.

My parents have been divorced over four years.

No, the math does not work out.

And then I remember.

My father is a consummate liar. A con. A cheat.

He is a man who faked being stooped, old, and frail for years when he was around us. Gingerly sitting down in a car, then painstakingly using both hands to lift his legs into the car one at a time. Talking constantly about his ailments, refusing certain types of foods because they made him ill.

Only to be found out when he and my mother were in China and she couldn’t understand how he was walking so quickly, standing up straight, acting as if he were a man decades younger in age.

What is the point of such a lengthy deception? And how much contempt did he have for us that he no longer cared to keep it up?

My father and his new wife (of more than four years – again, the math does not work out) have three homes in Texas.

I know because Google.

To me, the only silver lining to Hurricane Harvey was the possibility that they have lost some or all of their homes.

It seems fitting that such a shitty person would have a flood of actual shit in his homes.

I don’t want my half-brother and his half-sister to be hurt or injured or to suffer. (Well, no more suffering than the average human, anyway.) I don’t like children to suffer for the sins of their parents. They’re just living their lives. (I am reminded of Beatrice from Kill Bill killing Vivica Fox’s character in front of her daughter.)

And I don’t want my father and his second wife to die, exactly.

But I don’t NOT want them to suffer. I don’t NOT want them to experience hardship or crippling financial disaster. I don’t NOT want them to be unhappy.

My brother says the best revenge is for us to live well.

My brother is a good person.

I am not.

I am petty as fuck.

Here’s the thing. In previous posts, I have talked about how before I had kids, I could perhaps understand why my father was so selfish a human. Full of want and thwarted ambition. But that after getting married and having kids, your life is no longer all about you.

To quote myself, “Much of marriage and parenting is selflessness – a daily dying of your self to serve the other person.”

Ah, irony.

It is so much easier to be theoretically selfless. It is another to actually be it.

Here’s the thing.

My father was an abysmal parent. He was abusive. He was unstable. He was an asshole.

He would tell me he knew what I was thinking and that I wasn’t even allowed to think that.

Really? I wasn’t even allowed the privacy of my own thoughts?

What a fucking shithead.

He made me feel small and worthless.

I would never, in a million years, wish this feeling upon my children.

And, yet.

I always did what I was told.

I don’t recall being mouthy or disobedient. I ate all that was set before me. Cleaned. Did my homework. Was a good kid.

I did what he wanted when he wanted how he wanted.

And if I am honest to myself, though his methods were execrable, he got what he wanted.

Sometimes, I would like to get what I want from my children.

On my birthday this year, Gamera told Hapa Papa that she wanted to go to the wishing well by Whole Foods and make some wishes.

She wished she wasn’t stupid (because when I yell at her, she feels stupid). She wished she had a secret room to hide in when I yelled at her. She wished she didn’t talk so much (because I often shush her because FFS sometimes, she doesn’t stop talking at ALL). She wished she didn’t cry so much (because she really cries a lot and I tell her to stop crying all the time).

She is 5 years old.

I have done this to my beautiful little girl.

My sweet, sensitive, thoughtful, funny little girl.

I have broken her. I am breaking her.

It’s not that I treat Gamera any differently than I do Cookie Monster and Glow Worm. Ok, that’s not entirely true, but for the most part, it is. She just internalizes everything I say whereas Cookie Monster and Glow Worm do not. Or, at least, they do not thus far.

But it is true that she pushes my buttons the most.

I love her. I love my girl.

It’s just. She is hard for me.

And I don’t know if it’s internalized misogyny where I’m ok with my boys showing more of a full range of human emotions, but I want her to suck it up and get over things because FFS the world is hard and judges women so harshly so why does she have no sense of time or direction? Why does she seem to play into female stereotypes?

But it’s not fair. It’s not right.

Dismantling patriarchy means that BOTH my boys and girls deserve to live the full range of their emotions and be whatever they are – with or without a sense of direction.

It’s just – could it be possible for her to still be herself but possibly with less crying and with a little more speed?

I have made my bright, shining girl think she is stupid and hate who she is.

I remember wishing I weren’t so loud or chatty or whatever I was. I hated it. I felt miserable in my skin.

How can I be doing this to my precious baby girl?

I have spent so much of my life stuffing my emotions. Pretending how I feel isn’t how I am feeling. Denying who I am. Blunting everything except anger.

This is not a life I want for my Gamera.

Why am I doing this to her?

It is not about me. And yet, it very much is.

I don’t know how to end this piece today. There is no tidy resolution. I have not magically turned into a good mother to my daughter.

I do not have trite bullet points skimming over the hard work of denying the easy cycle of exploding at my children and then apologizing and then exploding again. (Or the occasional shame spiral and picking fights with Hapa Papa to avoid feeling the pain of being such a shoddy human.)

I cannot fast forward through the years of therapy wherein I am working on my relationship with Gamera and the other kids by working through my anger at my father – and to be honest, my very real anger at my mother.

I cannot conceive of a time when I am not a seething bundle of resentment desperate to escape my children on my bad days and then weeping at the inevitable silence when my kids head off to college and live lives of their own without me.

I have no idea. I can only hope.

Let us hope together.