“Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly.”
– Spencer W. Kimball
It was if my skin was steel, and my mouth was the only escape for pain. But there’s something malfunctioning, keeping it all stuck inside.
I hold onto my pain as I let it suffocate me until I burst – frantic to be freed from the pain I feel. It wells up inside of me, becoming like fire in my bones, but words to adequately tell you how I feel remain stuck on my tongue. What I feel does not match the words that fall out of my mouth.
But pain was beginning to turn on my arduous system of control as it leaked from holes in the rusty skeleton I have been stuffing it into for my entire life. One day, it felt like someone pumped me full of angst to protect what I have long felt has been tuned out.
“Fuck you,” I said – my whole body shaking, eyes crazed – as pieces began to fall from me, freeing me from the prison of “goodness” trapping my voice inside.
I felt a small dose of shock and guilt that I had just said fuck you to another human being. I was “better” than that. I loved Jesus, and Jesus would never say that.
I said it with such ill-intent. I hoped my friend felt the same sting I felt at his relentless mocking.
Those feelings were quickly overshadowed, though, by a new power starting a revolution in my soul. I was so angry. I was so hurt. I couldn’t stop shaking. I felt so calloused, yet my heart was bleeding everywhere.
There is something about being a writer – about being a human, even – that, by default, causes me to choose the precise language to convey what I want to express. But I have found I live with a glaring ache, a sore spot where all precision of language ceases to exist.
I silence myself and amass it inside. Packing pain into every available space from my fingers to my toes.
There’s something that being broken, hurt, and helpless does to a person. After enough time, a fire is lit and you have to fight to survive all that is burning down around you. It was as if the world had invaded, taken over, and stolen all that I knew about myself.
From that very moment, it was an angry fight to find my voice. With heightened defenses, I was like a wild woman defending the only thing I felt I had left, and I clawed my way out of silence. I was desperate to be heard.
I would not be silent anymore.
Finding the language of pain was a feisty time of leaving behind decency. For the next 6 months I felt like I was on autopilot. If I was hurt, “Fuck you,” was my first response. Slowly, as I learned the art of profanity, I was able to express a part of my emotions I was never able to put words to. I was now able to speak with force what my feeble heart felt.
I was finding – at an alarmingly slow rate – that freedom was waiting for me in the trenches of my being. There could not be light and healing in the places of my heart I refused to go. Fear of being found out as sinful and a failure is the most isolating lie we tend to believe. We detach who we are to maintain an illusion, all the while drowning in our hurt. We get so afraid to let go and trust Jesus’ unending and uncompromising devotion to us.
As I vomited my wounded soul onto the world around me, I didn’t realize God had began a sluggish recovery process by feeding me grace and freedom like they were Sprite and Saltines.
Until I hit the recovery process, though, I felt numb to the world. I felt too much in my heart. The pain felt too overwhelming, and I felt comatose and devoid of emotion. I couldn’t feel, unless to seethe, “Fuck you” to someone.
So I started drinking. Not to not feel. But rather to feel anything normal. Anything other than emptiness.
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