The Other F Word 

Anyone who knows me well, knows my vocabulary can be, well, colorful at times.  It drives my sweet and proper mother crazy, hearing a well placed F Bomb come out of my mouth.   I know that when I get really excited and throw out a couple, my father has a mixed sense of pride (he is from Jersey after all) and chagrin (we should never take the Lord’s name in vain).  My husband acts like this is some character trait that just appeared one morning out of the blue, when it has actually been present since day one of our relationship.

“Katie, I just don’t find it necessary for such a beautiful woman to use such crass language.  You are so much prettier than that.” (And the father like lecture from my husband INSTANTLY makes me want to see how many of George Carlin’s 7 Dirty Words I can fit into a relevant, on topic sentence, right then and there).

And now that I am a mom, with two, not so little anymore, growing every day, almost 4 year olds, who repeat every single bloody word that comes out of my mouth, I actually do find myself having to be more careful.   Like really careful.  Because I don’t need them using some of Mommy’s language at their Lutheran Preschool.

So far, one or both of my boys has thrown down a shit (used correctly both times, too. “Don’t be a shit” and “Shit! That hurt”), dammit, Goddammit (in front of an 80 year old at Whole Foods, no less), asshole, and Jesus (and not said in a Praise the Lord kind of way).  What they have not thrown down (yet) is the ole F Bomb, fuck.

I know it’s just a matter of time.  No matter how careful I am, things happen.  Like any mom, I’m juggling a thousand things at once and the Jersey DNA is strong. Sometimes a fuck is all you can give.   I just try to be more aware of who is at my my feet when I utter it.

And with all the judgment and concern about fuck that goes around, I realized that the F word I really need to be concerned with, for myself and my boys, is FEAR.

I have not written since well before the holidays. I mean, I have written about wanting to write on Facebook statuses and emails, and I have done some journaling. But I haven’t written anything for this blog.    Why? Fear.   A tricky little four letter word.   The other F word.   An F word that in my view, is far more dangerous than his other four letter little friend.

Fear has paralyzed me.  It took me by surprise, really.   That something and someone that really have no place in my life could cause me to shut down again.  Keep me from writing my story.   Keep me from writing my truth.

My biggest fear when starting this blog was that no one would read it.   As self confident as we all want to believe we are, we all have a desire to be liked and accepted.   As much as I knew my family and friends were rooting for me with this blog, I had no idea how others would react.   This blog is me.   It’s my life.   It doesn’t get more personal.   And I’m very protective of it.

So, being that my biggest fear was that no one would read it, I couldn’t believe when someone did and had nothing nice, or even truthful, to say at all.  About any of it.  That’s the tricky thing about putting it all out there.  You open yourself up to everybody.   And while I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with me, or to even like me, I didn’t expect to be attacked either.   And it completely shut me down and took me back to a place I haven’t been in years.   And, it sucked.   Because I knew what was true.   I knew what was reality.   But I was scared. And I hate being scared.

I spent so much of my relationship with my first husband living in fear.  Fear that he would drink.  Fear that he would drink and cause an accident.  Fear that he would hurt himself or someone else.  Fear he wouldn’t take his meds.  In the end, yes, for a time I even feared for my own safety.  Because mental illness is a tricky, horrible thing and it can rob you of the person you know and love for a second or a minute or days or months or years.

I have spent the last almost 13 years, since his death, trying to face fear straight up. Big things and little things.   Fear of being on my own.  Fear of loving again.   Fear of having a life and having something terrible happen to have it all ripped away.  Fear of totally screwing up my kids. Fear of flying. Fear of skinny jeans.  Fear of driving a minivan.  Fear of having maple syrup touch my scrambled eggs.

Today, in writing this, I’m taking a stand.  I’m not letting anyone get in the way of writing my story.  It’s mine to tell.  They can take it or leave it.   But they can’t attack and not expect a response.

Fear.   The dark shadow around the corner.  The “anonymous” commenter with nothing nice to say.

Today, I tell fear to fuck off.

Come find me on Facebook!