I grew up with my mom telling me to, “Watch your mouth!” She hated when I said I hated something, when I sang at the dinner table, or told her I couldn’t see my mouth so I couldn’t possibly watch it. She even washed my mouth out with soap once. I don’t remember what I said, but the next day I got tonsillitis and my grandmother blamed my mother for giving it to me. I was vindicated.
I did, for the most part, try to please my mom. I watched what I said and did. I became so good at it that I developed TMJ before it was called TMJ. My parents thought it was normal that I had to hit the side of my face to get my jaw to open in the morning to eat my Special K cereal.
I don’t imagine this was so unusual for those of us raised in the late 50’s-60’s. We were managed to be polite extensions of our parents. It was our job to make them look better than they felt about themselves. Especially us girls.
It’s a hard habit to break, this watching your mouth. “What if I offend somebody?” I would worry. My mom told me the reason a boy I liked didn’t call me again is because I told him a story using the word “poop.” She said, “No boy would want to date a girl with a mouth like that.” Fuck.
It seems the older I get the less I watch my mouth and the more I speak my mind. I am a lot less tolerant of what I see and experience. I am “mouthier” these days because some things need to be said. I started a list…
That I carried each of my kids for 9 months, changed my body forever, did the lioness’s share of the parenting, and they have their dads last name.
That when I watched MSNBC, for the 25 minutes I was on the elliptical at the gym, there were 22 white men, 1 black man and 1 Hispanic man interviewing and being interviewed on the state of the world. Four women appeared in the same 25 minutes. Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Diane Sawyer and a Congress woman whose name I can’t remember. I wish I could. (That isn’t right either!)
That women trash each other when what we need is each others support.
That rape has to be defined as though we don’t all know what it is.
That violence against women, by men, exists…at all.
That children are not safe from harm by adults who should be their protectors.
That women’s health has become a political platform to be argued.
That a model wearing a size 12 is considered a plus size model.
That cancer is so unforgiving and takes loved one so quickly.
It’s just not right! And it needs to change…soon!
I know I am not alone in my complaints. What bugs you? What is on your mind? Let me know
(My mom doesn’t own a computer so she won’t be reading this, I won’t be in trouble with her. She can go to sleep thinking I am still watching my mouth.)