I am intimately familiar with the nuanced flavors of Dial, Zest, Tide, and Palmolive, to name just a few. My mother had used all of them in a vain effort to wash “those dirty words” out of my mouth before the tender age of eight. Even the twenty-mule team of Borax didn’t stand a chance of pulling out the cantankerous roots of my heathen vocabulary. At nineteen, I found myself sitting across the desk from my supervisor in a major retail chain, being lectured on the inappropriateness of a sailor’s mouth in their fine establishment.
I swear. Apparently, I’ve done it nearly all my life. Collecting swears has been just as natural as collecting the rest of my vocabulary. Words, like people, fascinate me; all of them, not just the socially pretty ones. In our fast-forward society, I’m not quite sure why it surprises anyone anymore, but it obviously does.
Last month, I was leading the same chapter of a women’s networking group that I’ve led for over a year now. Two of the women in attendance left scathing reviews online because of my foul language. One was new to our group, the other had only attended once before.
I thought it was awesome!
Of course, I wrote each of them a very nice note and thanked them for their feedback, then offered to assist them in finding networking groups that are more closely aligned with their needs and preferences.
You see, I swear. I’m fully aware that I swear. I come with a disclaimer, “This game is NOT rated E for Everyone.” I make no bones about, and no apologies for, my swearing. I don’t require anyone else to swear. I just require that I (and anyone else who chooses) be allowed full freedom of expression. These ladies were obviously not comfortable with that and, ironically, fully expressed themselves on the matter.
My networking group, coaching, training facilitations, and the majority of my social interactions, all are set up to be judgment-free zones where people can be fully themselves without having to squeeze themselves down to fit into little, politically-correct sized happy-people-boxes. I want authenticity and transparency, and I want it in a BIG way! Thus, I demonstrate being open, authentic, and completely me in a BIG way.
Too big for some, and that’s okay, too. I’m not here to serve everybody. I’m here to serve those who resonate with me. There are plenty of networking groups out there that will monitor language. They have their niche, Powerful Women Networking has ours. We serve a particular age range, and more specifically, a particular need. Authentic relationships, not salesy cliques, form the cornerstone of our membership. Because there is little pretense, our members form relationships deeper and faster than they do in other groups, relationships that are both the backbone and heart of genuine networking.
So, yes, I swear. And, I will continue to do so. I’m 51-years-old and have absolutely no motivation to change. I love the people I serve, and they love me just the way I am. Conveniently, I happen to love me just the way I am, too.
It’s a great gig, loving myself. I hope you’ve signed up for one very much like it for you! Loving you and being your most authentic self is the greatest gift you could ever give the rest of us.
What social customs do you (or would you) eschew as you more fully embrace your wonderful self? I’d love to read your responses in the comments below.