You have better words than “fuck”, Sarah

No, no I don’t.

No, I don’t have better words than fuck. I don’t have them because they don’t exist. I don’t have them because words like fuck have the strength that I don’t. I can’t carry the weight of things without shuddering, but fuckFuck can take it. In fact, I can take the weight of them when I whisper/say/scream FUCK just as loud as I can or as quiet as I can.

I don’t have better words than fuck when I am angry or when I am sad or when I am scared. I don’t have better words than fuck when I want to tear my hair out (or yours). I don’t have better words than fuck when I see the inevitable coming and I know I can do nothing but hunker down and wait hoping that this, too, shall pass.

I don’t have better words than fuck because I have no use for them. I have no use for flowered-up language, for using five syllables when one perfect, shining, hard-stopping fuck will do. I have no use for softening myself or my reactions, and fuck is, if nothing else, an honest reaction.

Did you hear that? I don’t have better words for fuck because I don’t want them. If the word fuck has escaped my lips, be certain I do not care if I offend. If you hear me say fuck it is because I need the slow start of the “f”, the easily-stopped first consonant that could let people off with a warning. If you hear me say fuck it is because I need to extend the word, to draw it out with that smooth, soft “u”. If you hear me say fuck, if you hear it all the way to the end, it’s because I need something to stop just as hard and heavy and strong as the thoughts going through my mind.

I don’t have better words than fuck because my words do not depend on you or your opinions. My words are strong and harsh and simple, they are a constant re-arranging of the same 26 letters we’ve all been given access to.

Fuck. That’s a beautiful thing.


A brittle kind of peace

I’ve been trying to think of the word “brittle” lately. I knew we had a word that meant more than “fragile”, that implied that something was easily shattered, but it wouldn’t come to mind. It ran and I chased it, and I only just caught up.

Brittle is how I feel. The peace in my life right now – the knowledge that I did what I could, that the path I wanted isn’t meant for me – could shatter at any second and cut everybody around me when it breaks.

Most of the time, I’m living an adventure. Exploration has always been the name of the game, after all. Most of the time I think about the wide world opening up in front of me and I’m happy. Excited, even. For a while I let myself lose sight of it, I let myself think that settling down and putting down solid roots could be an adventure. I thought that it was going to be okay for me, that I’d be able to do it just right. And maybe I could have. Maybe I could have settled in, gotten comfortable. But visa restrictions being what they are, I couldn’t do it. I had to leave. And so I boarded a plane and told myself I’d be back one day.

I hope that’s true.

I’ve been in Sweden for the past week, recuperating. I’ve been sleeping as long as I need to, feeding my body good food, laying off the booze. I’ve been reading and writing and letting myself dream. And I’ve booked a ticket home.

What a funny word, “home”. What odd implications. I always thought it was the place you wanted to go back to. The place your adventures started from. But I think maybe Robert Frost is right – it’s the place that can’t turn you away. Scotland doesn’t want to be my home right now. I don’t want North Carolina to be my home. I want the whole damn world to be my home, I want Edinburgh to be my home. Can I have both? Can I explore and be rooted, especially to a place that won’t have me? I don’t know. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.

The people that tie me to a place have always been important. I’m going back to NC and I get to see some of the people I love most in the world – my family, my friends, my Amazons. I get to spend time with them and snuggle babies and meet new boyfriends and girlfriends and pets. And I get to do it knowing this is a temporary stop, and that makes it scarier and more precious.

I have a growing allergy to things. I am getting rid of them, giving them away, selling them when I can. I can’t stand the idea of stuff clogging up my life. I want to buy a backpack and wander. I wish I’d done it earlier, actually. I wish I’d downsized ages ago, then maybe it wouldn’t be so hard. Maybe I wouldn’t be so restricted. But I believed in the path I was on, and I embraced it whole-heartedly. And I believe in this path even more.

And so I am heading off into a world of adventure with a restless spirit and the knowledge that if I look back, I’ll turn to salt or shatter, and I think that maybe that’s exactly how it should be.