The man has told me I use the ‘f’ word too much. He’s referring to my writing.

I tell him, yes, I know you think that.

Clearly, his message has not sunk in with me as he intended.

Sometimes, it’s contrived, he says.

There. That should get me. Nothing could be worse than calling my writing contrived.

But, you see, that also doesn’t get me.

Not on this point. On other issues, sure, but not on this one.

You see, I do use the ‘f’ word a lot.

I use the ‘f’ word a lot when I talk. Much, much more frequently than I do when I write.

I like it. It’s a good, solid, definite word. It is very clear and very, very expressive. Both hard and soft. It expresses anger, happiness, shock, hurt, and desire. It’s a verb, a noun, an adjective, and, sometimes, just plain old punctuation.

Yes, I admit, that as a girl-child raised to believe certain words only for men, I’m sure I do sometimes employ the ‘f’ word as a confirmation of my equality in a male dominated world.

And, as the product of embarrassing social stratification, I know that this is a word that symbolizes a blurring of those social lines.

But, it’s more than that. I know that for some of us – those like me, those who really enjoy the simple thrill of this four letter word – for some us, this word just slides right past. I also know that some of us, some us feel a little discomfort at this profane language. Is it necessary? But why must she use this ‘bad’ word when there was no need?

Why not?

I have made it a life goal to ensure that I and that those around me do not settle into complacency. That we do not become so comfortable with where we are and with those we are surrounded by that we forget about the vast diversity of the world around us.

I enjoy mixing in things that ‘don’t fit’.

I enjoy throwing a spanner in the works, as they say over here.

More than enjoying it, though, I think it’s important.

I need to remind myself that everyone is not like me. I feel it is my responsibility – and yours and all of ours – to maintain an awareness that just because things don’t seem to ‘fit’, it doesn’t mean those things are wrong. That sometimes our assumption that something doesn’t fit means that we are wrong.

By not considering ‘the other’ we are failing.

When I am in the US, I am regularly on the receiving end of this. People, without thought it sometimes seems to me, tell me to ‘pray’ for them or to have a ‘blessed’ day. These are not phrases I use in my daily life. These are words that symbolize things I am not comfortable imposing on another person.

Yet, their frequency reminds me that my views are not the only ones out there. That whether I agree or not, there are other worldviews to be considered and respected.

Now, let it be known, as much as I like the word (and, I admit, the activity), I am not suggesting that the ‘f’ word represents my world view.

It is, after all, just a word.

Four letters on a page.