I believe that self-expression is a gift from our souls that allows you to be OK with not being OK. At one point, I was in graduate school studying the art of counseling or, as I like to call it, the art of one honoring their self-expression while the other one proves to have focused attention in a conversation long enough that they've clearly honored their listening skills. True, right?
This was a part of life where I was often in a room full of peers who struggled with naturally being good at self-expression in conversations or even identifying how to express one's self in a way that releases the heaviness of our souls in a healthy way.
I begin to wonder why do we accept the mindframe that makes you feel as though you are displeasing to your spiritual self if you cuss.
There are women who sit next to you at work, in your family or that you meet for brunch or take girls' trips with, who was raised to feel as though having an occasional filthy mouth is shameful and a false liberation. The crazy part is, we consume this language from others in our music, TV shows and favorite movies but not within ourselves. Shit, Megan Thee Stallion had us wanting to live a Hot Girl Summer and we know those lyrics aren't clean. Consumed.
I've come across women who you'll never hear peep a single cuss word in public and if one ever slips through, you better believe that it's a disclaimer attached to it like, "Excuse my French!"
I have lived that life and when separating that part of me in my 30s to leave in the past, I named this woman in me, Kristen.
Kristen tip-toed around expression.
Picture this. She's vibrant and smells like the sweetest vanilla body spray everyday. She attends church most Sundays and even volunteers with a charity a few times a year. She works full-time after graduating as a first-generation college student. She's 26 and fearless with a "before I turn 30 plan". She follows every influencer online and is often seen posting about her attendance at places that grant her credibility and personal growth. Kristen knows how to put a decent caption to a bomb image and when she's disrespected, she takes the humble or nice-nasty (still humble) approach.
She's connected and self-made.
Lives in the heart of the city and is seen pictured in Fendi once a year, 'cause she feels guilty when showing off her designers or possessions online and when she does, it's always done in the most modest way. Only Kristen's close friends have seen that lioness side of her come out a time or two.
When showing respect to the elders in her family, Kristen wears her "yes ma'am/sirs" like a badge of honor and wouldn't dare let her folks hear one single cuss word slip out even if asked something personal.
She thinks she's a lion but you've never heard her roar. No one ever has it together all the time and that's OK.
Crazy! Kristen was me. Secretly living in frustration for so many years that I can clearly see her so easily now... I rarely ever told people how annoyed I truly felt about the way my life was turning out. And you better believe that when my vocabulary of shit, damns and fucks finally broke through, there was no disclaimer in sight. I felt like Auntie Maxine Waters, I was reclaiming my time. The frustration of life was too much, like damn that cuss-free mindframe is questionable as fuck, in my Ari Lennox voice.
In all honesty, no one ever told me directly that I had to be the strong one or the cautious one when expressing myself, I told this to myself. I became a master at helping women around me feel better while missing their cues and cries for real liberation.
Only thinking, 'She don't cuss in front of me but I see pain.'
As a similar meme states, Kristen is now the type of woman that when dating you, she'll burn sage in your house, put healing crystals under your pillow, sing love songs for no reason, leave yoga mats on your floor, throw out your processed foods and cuss your ass out in front of whoever if you disrespect the Queen. It took time, but she got there.
She's learned that to maintain her own happiness, keeping her feelings real is a must each time.
Just by being herself, Kristen's persona exudes peace, positivity and a hustle like no other but now she's unapologetically being true to herself. Her cousins may even call her the bougie one of the family but they love her though and have yet to meet this liberated woman but it's coming.
Over the years, I have become more and more liberated after every adversity that hit my life. If this is what it took for me to get here, and be centered with myself, I wouldn't change a thing 'cause I got here. And it all makes me the woman I am today.
Many of us are Kristens living a conservative life that doesn't empty our frustrations and pain. With every "fuck, shit, or damn" our smile returns. In a world of Kristens, our soul desires real balance that educates, laugh, cuss, sips tea, chill and then repeats.
It wasn't until I was last-years-old that I finally had the courage to release my mind. I felt so liberated and realized that it was me the whole time that hadn't stepped into my fullness as a lioness woman by the ideology placed on me. I still treated myself like I was unsure, incapable of expressing some things until I begin to live like I deserve this freedom shit.
There is healing in cussing and transparency. Find your tribe, release responsibly, and heal.
When someone plays with your heart and your feelings, you don't feel kind inside, you feel like fucking shit up, and it's OK to say that.
xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com.
Featured image by Shutterstock