The Curious Case of Badmouthery

I have a ‘bad’ mouth, and honestly? I’m cool with that.

Before I invite you to open your wallets folks (and I will definitely invite you to open your wallets), I’ll begin this little letter like a true Southern belle — by talking about being bad. Have you ever heard that line in movies about washing a kid’s mouth out with soap when they used a bad word in public? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about all the times I’ve been hushed throughout my life when I used my voice. I couldn’t count the times if I tried, but I’m sure the number would sit in the millions. Most times people have demanded I be quiet were because:

I was being too loud
I was being too smart
I was talking about race with people who didn’t want to talk about race
I was the sole dissenter of behavior in a crowd full of assholes
I was drawing parallels between the hate we oppose vehemently and the hate we subscribe to joyfully
I was being belligerent (aka speaking honestly and using human emotion when I spoke- *gasp*)

I’ve been silenced many times, and now I’m officially done with quiet. Because when you think about it quiet never saved a soul. Silence distributed on demand never changed minds. Badmouthery is the antithesis to gentle quiet and respectability. In the coming weeks and months, if you’ll come to know anything about me, I want you to know that I am not a nice person and I am not a respectable person. I pursue kindness, loud (as hell)ness, authenticity, and accountability. My pursuit of these characteristics precludes me from fitting into the categories of nice or respectable because they shun grit and un-lady-like behaviors like talking about what you believe in and speaking anyway when you’re signaled to hush-up.

Badmouthery are the words and expressions I use to convey things like:

Fuck you world, I won’t be quiet about Betsy DeVos’ eery similarity to a honey ham.
Let’s talk about race, politics, and society, everybody! It will be funnn.

Hey, this taco quality is sub-par!
You as a man have an opinion and I as a woman have life experience, guess which one actually matters in this conversation?

I came up with the term badmouthery to describe the act of bringing up topics that make people think and are consequently deemed ‘divisive’ or ‘horrible’ because they make people uncomfortable.So what’s happening now? You’re going to see me using this word (and other words too) more often. For the next three weeks, I’ll be hosting Badmouthery Mondays, soap-less lightening chats on Facebook Live about politics, race, pop culture, and society. And guess what? The first chat starts tonite on Skills Needed at 5p CT/6pET. Join me why don’t you?

*this letter was originally published on the Skills Needed newsletter. Want delight in your inbox about terrible things? Sign up here.*

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