Stop Cursing Challenge

Akaky Akakievitch

I was doing well these past several months with avoiding use of curse words, up until this past week. I recently took on some labour work, as I wanted more of a physical challenge and have a lull between jobs at the moment and needed extra cash. It's a pretty basic job, unskilled labour transporting furniture for big events at an exhibition hall. I thought it might be humbling also to do some work at the bottom rung of the ladder, so to speak, by performing some basic labour, after doing WFH admin based role for most of this past year.

Most of the guys I'm working with are from poor/rough backgrounds in and around the city, some black/mixed race, distinctively urban in character, either in the army or ex-forces, etc. They swear a lot, they're blunt, act like mini-gangsters, the whole package. Being around them for just one week has driven me to use more profanity, not very intentionally, but inbetween words and phrases, almost subconsciously falling into old habits, just by their influence. I think it stems from a weakness of trying to be a part of the team, maintain a certain harmony, as well as getting on with the demands of the job. I've observed that their rough-and-ready characters are defence mechanisms from being brought up in difficult/challenging circumstances in crime-ridden neighbourhoods, although they certainly indulge in that behaviour excessively now and it is very habitual to them, though I wonder if they didn't feel so threatened in their social environments whether they would use profanity at all.

I think God has placed me in this role to show me the opposite extreme, from a previous role that involved elements of woke/admin-based globohomo uber-polite nonsense, to profane/derogatory abrasive testosterone-fuelled banter. It seems that both are undesirable, as I'm not sure there's a mean between those two that would be worth attaining. At least now I've experienced how difficult it is to maintain ones sense of self among strong personalities and just how vulnerable I am to others' influence. Working from home, for all its convenience, does create an illusion of self in ways, as one can maintain their character in isolation, but the true test is felt when we encounter others from different backgrounds, to see how we compose ourselves then, whether we remain staunch and steadfast in our disposition, or adapt to other personalities. It can come back to class-background too, which here in the UK has always been a strong element of identity, as I'm sure it is elsewhere. I have working-class roots, though I've been brought up lower-middle-class, and most of my family use curse words liberally. Being around these new workmates has extracted this part of my personality that I thought i had put away for good. This will remain a challenge for me moving ahead.

Rambling on a bit there, but I'm sure others have been through similar difficulties.