I have a horrible habit of cursing like a sailor. It’s true—I can’t go a day without uttering my fair share of profanities.
“Holy shit!” “What the hell is going on?” “He’s so fucking hot!” “What an asshole.” “She’s so bitchy!”
Profanities are a large portion of my vocabulary, especially when I’m angry or extremely invested in a show or movie. I can’t quite complain without curse words, it just doesn’t work. And so, at midnight on a Sunday, my roommate challenged me to go one week without cursing.
For this week I wouldn’t be allowed to use any curse words while speaking, typing or writing. I had to keep it clean and PG in terms of profanities.No flipping people off, either.
In order to keep myself in check, I wrote “DON’T CURSE” on my hand and made it my lock screen. I also stuck notes on my laptop with another reminder—I needed a lot of reminders because without them I knew I’d forget about my little journalistic stunt. I also told all of my friends about this challenge—most of them just laughed because they know me and my vocabulary all too well. Luckily my roommate took on the challenge with me.
Here’s What Happened:
Sunday, Day One
“Alright, let’s do this. I’m gonna document this shit.”
First five minutes I already failed. Let’s try this again.
This whole challenge forced me to find a new and more eloquent way to express my anger and annoyance.
I was doing pretty well all morning until I asked my roommate to take pictures of me “posing like an ass hole” so I could write a post about styling flannel. Even though I did curse, I automatically covered my mouth right after and apologized for cursing. So far, the cursing issue has not been fixed, but my awareness of such is increasing.
At noon, I then cursed two more times while explaining what my homework assignment was to my roommate and how I didn’t think I should have to do it.
“You need to stop talking about things that make you angry,” she then advised while staring at me in shock about how I just cursed twice and DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE.
After the day was mostly over I realized that most of the times where I slipped or almost slipped was when I was calling myself an ass hole. I never realized how often I used curse words to demean myself—it was definitely eye-opening. By the end of the day I was catching myself before I cursed and swapping out the word for things like “pinecone” or “crap.”
My housemate’s friends also decided to join my challenge of not cursing for a week—yay for spreading positive challenges.
Monday, Day Two
I didn’t curse all morning (mostly because I was in class) but I’m pretty sure the lord decided to test me and my commitment to the project because a lot of horrible and annoyingly angering things happened during the afternoon. Although it took a lot of restraint, I didn’t curse once.
Admittedly, I did slip about five times by the end of the day but I caught myself and corrected myself for each. Most of these times I was describing myself—are you noticing a pattern here? I am. I also noticed how I called a lot of people “turds” that day.
Anyways, by the end of day two I realized I was forcing myself to be calmer because I knew I couldn’t “adequately” express my rage and anger via excessive profanity usage.
Tuesday & Wednesday, Day Three and Four
I only slipped once—I caught myself each time I was about to curse and swapped out my words instead. I noticed, by day three, that most of the time when I was going to use profanities I was just using them in casual conversation—not even when I was angry or sad. Phrases like “shit show” or “bad bitch” had become so mundane and prevalent in my vocabulary that when I was forced not to use them, my way of describing certain things was tested. Isn’t that so frightening how casual profanities had become in my daily vocab?
Day four went without any profanities at all. I think telling others about my experiment made me really have to stick to it.
Thursday, Day Five
I did not curse at all today either and it’s become much easier not to. I’ve sort of tricked myself into being kinder and happier solely because I knew I couldn’t curse to express anger or annoyance. I found myself being nicer to people. That’s something I definitely did not expect from this experience.
I’ve noticed most of my friends taking my not cursing for a week as a challenge to get me to break my little vow and get me to flip them off or curse at them. They failed–even insulting my hometown or beloved music artists couldn’t break me. Ha!
Friday & Saturday, Day Six & Seven
By the end of this I’ve realized just how much my friends and those around me use profanities. I became hyper-aware of it and truthfully it bothered me. It seemed so excessive most of the time and just unnecessary. I also felt incredibly hypocritical for thinking that way—I was usually the person using profanities in every other sentence.
With all of that being said, as soon as the week was over I was back to using the occasional profanity. I’ve definitely lessened the amount of curse words I use on a day to day basis. So, yeah, I still curse…but it’s a whole lot less.
This experiment definitely was eye-opening and made me hyper-aware of my potty mouth. After this, I tend to think twice before uttering a curse word but, truthfully, some sentences need a little bit of sailor mouth spice.
I do think you should try this challenge if you’re a fellow sailor mouth like me—it definitely makes you more aware of yourself and how you speak.