The Forbidden “F” Word

I am not a word prude.  I do not have virgin ears (or virgin anything else, for that matter).  Crass and vulgar language generally doesn’t upset me … Unless used by children and teenagers.  Then I don’t like it.  I think there should be an age requirement for swearing, like drinking alcohol or buying cigarettes.  At 21, you can drink, smoke and cuss all you want.  Have at it!  You’re an adult now, curse away!  But I digress …

While profanity doesn’t fluster me, one four-letter word does … Fart.  I am cringing just typing it.

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I know it’s natural.  I know we all do it.  (The National Institutes of Health reports that between 13 and 21 times per day is normal, in case you were wondering.)  And I know most people say this word without giving it a second thought.  But not me.  The word gives me the willies and makes my skin crawl.

There are many alternatives to the “F” word.  I hear moms of toddlers use “toot” when talking to their kids, but I’ve never been one for cutesy nicknames.  My grandmother used to say “break wind,” but I’m not a fan of that either.  And I occasionally hear the classic “cut the cheese,” but that expression also makes me wince a little.

I prefer to say, “pass gas.”  Clinical, accurate, innocuous.

The good news is, my boys have been trained to use this phrase as well.  They’d probably say the other “F” word in front of me before they’d say this one, and I’m okay with that.  The bad news is, their friends haven’t been duly trained.  Case in point:  One day in the fall, I was carpooling a bunch of middle school boys to football practice and had to suffer through 20 minutes of repeated “F” bombs.  Through the rearview mirror, my eyes pleaded with my son to end the discussion or at least get the others to stop using that word.  Thankfully, he understood and the topic was eventually changed.  Crisis averted.

I realize this is a bit ridiculous, maybe even juvenile.  I’m 42 years old and the word fart grosses me out.  (For the record, so does the word moist … Eww!).  At my age, I don’t think this feeling will go away any time soon.  As such, my genius theory is this:  If I tell enough people about my aversion, maybe they won’t expose me to it … Kind of like how I handle my dairy and gluten issues.  Ironically, dairy and gluten give me gas.

– LJDT

I Have a Dream, Too

Today was MLK Day, the day we honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  King was a great man with an even greater dream:  Human equality and justice in a world where people would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

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Martin Luther King, Jr.

As the wife of a black man and the mother of two mixed race boys, I share King’s dream.  As a citizen of the world and as a human being, I share King’s dream.

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Tarrs in Hollywood, Dec. 2014

But I have other dreams, too.  If I’m being honest, on a daily basis my hopes are far less global and far more self-serving.  Specifically (albeit far less importantly), I wish for …

  • thinner thighs and a higher tush
  • no gray hair, cellulite or wrinkles
  • a washer/dryer that folds clothes and puts them away, too
  • self-cleaning toilets and floors that sweep themselves
  • drama-free teen years ahead
  • and a world where dark chocolate anything is calorie-free

Yes, I admit that this list pales in comparison to the ideas outlined in MLK’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  These are not inspirational wishes, but rather self-indulgent ones, I am aware.  But let’s be honest ladies … Who doesn’t long for more toned legs?  And peace on earth, too, of course.

Despite what you may be thinking right now, I’m really not that selfish and myopic.  I try to do my (small) part each day to make the world a little nicer … Saying “please” and “thank you,” offering a smile or a compliment, holding the door open, teaching my own boys manners and compassion, among other things.  Being kind and helping others makes me a happier person (my goal for 2015).  That’s why I do it — not for recognition or a reward.  It’s just the right way to behave.

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That said, if someone wanted to thank me with a self-cleaning toilet or some calorie-free dark chocolate truffles, I probably wouldn’t say no.  A girl can dream, can’t she?

– LJDT

New Year, New Me?

Happy New Year!  I’m back.  I know, I know … I am really late, but it is still January, so “Happy New Year” still works.

The old me would have freaked out about posting this piece 16 days after the start of the new year.  The old me would have been a stressed-out, mean-to-those-around-her, grumpy lunatic who stayed up way too late in order to post on January 1.  But this is the new me.  The 2015 me … Calmer, happier, better.  Meet Lauren Tarr, 2.0.

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I see you rolling your eyes.  Less than three weeks into the new year and I think I’m a reformed woman?  Hardly.  The old me — the grumpy, stressed, overreacting me — has made a few appearances, but you know what?  I didn’t beat myself up for it.  I caught myself.  I apologized and moved on.  See?  Calmer, happier, better.

Last year, I publicly resolved to start a blog, learn to sew and stop cursing, yelling, complaining and planning.  Putting my resolutions out for the world to see was supposed to make me accountable and therefore successful.  It did, sort of.  I started my blog and I was able to mend a few small things with the sewing machine.  But that last one — to live in the moment more, to stop swearing and screaming, to quit complaining — was tough and I think I now know why.  I wasn’t a very happy person.  I was frustrated, bitter and even sad much of the time.  I focused too much on the negative.  I let daily stresses get the better of me.  I made mountains out of mole hills and felt sorry for myself more often than I should have.  Ridiculous, I know.  The crazy thing is, it took a pile of dog crap for me to see this clearly.

While we were in California during the holidays, my oblivious 8-year-old son stepped in dog poop and dragged it throughout my friend, Caitlin’s, home.  I was embarrassed, angry and belligerent.  Caitlin was calm, sweet and understanding.  She said, “It was an accident.  As long as no one was hurt, everything else can be fixed, replaced or wasn’t necessary anyway.  Shit happens.  Literally, in this case.”

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All smiles before the dog poop episode

You know what?  She’s right.  (THANK YOU, CAITLIN!)  Crappy things happen, but it’s not the end of the world.  Let it go and move on.

So this year, I’m taking a different approach to my New Year’s Resolutions.  The only pledge I am making is to be happy and cut myself some slack when I mess up (wait, is that one resolution or two?!).  Yes, I have still some tangible goals (lose 10 pounds before the summer, revamp my blog, get published on a national site, stop swearing once and for all, et cetera, et cetera), but if they don’t happen in a year’s time, that’s okay.  I’ll keep trying.  For now, I am just going to focus on being happy … Whatever that means to me on any given day.

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– LJDT