“I’m gonna Spank your twat!” & Other Revelatory Moments of an Upwardly Misfit

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“I’m gonna Spank your twat!” & Other Revelatory Moments of an Upwardly Misfit

It was a balmy spring afternoon and my sister-in-sin, Jen, had brought her latest beau home to meet the family. This occasion was particularly important because the beau would meet dear Gran’mamma. This was all long before I knew any of them, but the story goes down into the annals of history. Why?

Because as they all sat around the table, engaging in the loving way that families attempt to do, when suddenly Jen did or said something that was not in line with Gran’mamma’s values. Gran narrowed her eyes menacingly and in her sternest tone says to Jen, “I’m going to spank your twat.”

Yes.

That’s right.

I, too, had that very same expression upon my face.

Because you and I know that granny shouldn’t be spanking the twat of any family member.[Tweet This. Duh.]

But this is one of the difficulties of upward mobility. Our families, bless their hearts, liked to tinker with the English language for all sorts of whackadoo reasons. When I reflect upon my own upbringing, I imagine that my parents – who read a fair amount – probably knew what things were called or how they were pronounced, but found it delightful to have tiny humans who were utterly impressionable.

Sometimes I wondered if they sat down and decided to intentionally fuck with us or whether, one day, mother simply couldn’t locate that one, particular word amongst the financial stress and relational unease and simply shouted out the first word that struck her. Little did she know that little Tiff was standing by, eager to learn the word of the day.freeimages-Aj Bethke-twat

It was like Sesame Street. Only not.

For example, it wasn’t until I was well into adulthood that I learned this thing isn’t called a “Gallywhomper.”

And, I don’t know just when it dawned on me that I should stop calling this nut a “Niggertoe.” I’m. Serious. I knew what a “toe” was – of course – and I’m sure I knew that the use of the term “nigger” was waaaay off limits, but somehow, when they were put together and used to describe a… (Brazil nut? – I’m still not totally sure) all of the historical, cultural and racial implications were simply decontextualized.

Why did my parents teach me this?! Why did they lead me to believe that this is what a… Brazil Nut(?!) was called? And why did I not realize this wasn’t the actual name of said nut until I was nearly in high school?!?!

One of the (many) nerve-wracking things about leveling up, is that you can never predict where or when your complex histories will sneak up on you.[Tweet It]

Perhaps you’ll be waxing philosophical at a fancy schmancy soiree when the “Help” will walk by and offer everyone a delicate cinnamon-dusted variety of a New Zealand harvested nut and you’d desperately like one of those large, toe-shaped ones, only you can’t remember what they’re called because you know they’re not called that one appellation that is almost spilling out of your mouth.

So, once again, you simply decline as all of those around you, who learned the proper names for insects and food items and genitalia, nod delightfully as the cinnamon simply “melts” upon their tongues.

Sigh.

When we see a lavish room filled with well-dressed professionals, we imagine that they all come from wealth, that they all had access to resources oh which we could only dream. And yeah, it is true that as you overcome each barrier and heave yourself up to the next level – be that measured in wealth, emotional intelligence or book-learnin’ – you’ll be increasingly surrounded by people who started out of the gate well before you.

And then, maybe you get a chip on your shoulder or feel a little insecure. Maybe you come off a bit arrogantly or aggressively, because you know that it’s unfair that these folks would never say, “My, the Gallywompers are out in droves tonight.” Maybe you even come into that party or professional conference or team meeting with that chip eating away at you, leaving you coming across as apologetic or withdrawn or bitter. Maybe you don’t even know these feelings are there, because all you notice are the ways people seem to ignore your contributions or subtly shift their bodies away from you.

Because you forget that you’re not alone. You forget that any one of these other people, despite appearances, could also be struggling to fit in. What Upward Peeps often fail to hold in mind is that there are legions of us – everywhere.

In talking with many individuals who are attempting to improve their station, the number one “secret” to their most successful wins is that they are able to embrace those revelatory moments that can feel so exposing. Rather than backing up in shame, or apologizing for their existence, these individuals laugh aloud and explain the origin story. Or, they simply continue on with confidence, while inwardly chuckling at the confused expressions of those around them.

These leveling up lessons do not come easily. They are hard won. You must put yourself in situations that will ultimately lead to growth, despite the discomfort that will come. Upward mobility is certainly not for everyone. But if you are one of those that, like us, has that itch to grow, change, create, live – then you’re in the right place and I look forward to taking that journey with you.

Mission: Share with this league of misfits – anonymously if you must – about one of your most awkward linguistic slip-ups in the comments below! If it feels like too much, you can always send me a direct email. I read every one.

Photo Credit: AJ Bethke, Céline Mackowiak

 

 

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By | 2015-12-09T16:56:24+00:00 October 11th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

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