I Confess: I’ve Used the “N” Word Before

I was going to write a blog post about how I catch myself being extremely negative and thinking I am totally worthless, and in my head, I’ll think, “Nigga, please.” Note: I would NEVER, EVER use this word to refer to another person. I am the person this is directed to, in the privacy of my own home. I use it to snap myself out of feeling anxious or depressed. I take the phrase to mean, “Dude, I love you enough to be honest. You’re being ridiculous and too hard on yourself. You are not a worthless piece of shit, you’re a good person who’s doing the best she can.”

I told my writers’ group I was thinking about blogging about this, and they warned me that this word is still so emotionally charged, people would be upset just knowing I say it in my head. I’ll be honest, their warnings took me by surprise.

The problem with "know thyself" is sometimes you find some pretty ugly stuff in there

I adopt voices and phrases from things I read and hear. When I was in New Orleans for a few days, I came home and said, “My pack” with extra long vowels, just because I’d been hearing that way of speaking for a few days. Even when I read books written by British writers, the voice in my head mimics their rhythm and phrasing.

I’ve heard this phrase mostly on TV shows like “The Wire” and “The Chris Rock Show.” I get that this is only acceptable for one African-American to say to another African-American. But is it really offensive for me to say it to myself? Does saying it mean subconsciously I support racial discrimination and oppression? I don’t think so.

Still, it indicates to me that I’m not being sensitive enough about the discrimination that millions of African-Americans face. This post was originally supposed to be about trying not to be so hard on myself, and instead it’s reminded me to be “impeccable with my word,” even in my thoughts.

Even though I’m aware that some people may still post hateful comments, I’ve made a commitment to be authentic and honest on my blog. Writing this stuff is painful, and I’m not proud of myself for my many sheltered, ignorant thoughts, but I can’t let them go without first becoming aware and being accountable for them.

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4 thoughts on “I Confess: I’ve Used the “N” Word Before

  1. Mara Migraineur December 8, 2013 at 9:09 am Reply

    I think you are braveness personified. Listening to Brené Brown, I think that what you’re doing is exactly what she talks about – the importance of allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Now to discard any shame (not saying that you are ashamed, or that you should be). I stand in awe of you, my friend.

    • Frankie Laursen December 8, 2013 at 9:45 am Reply

      Thank you so much. I feel a bit like I’m following your example. 🙂

  2. Selvi December 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm Reply

    I think that the words we use are indicators of our assumptions and beliefs, so I do understand why people are sensitive about them. But the underlying issues cannot be addressed only at the level of language. We have to also examine our assumptions and beliefs, and make the effort to learn more and to have meaningful discussions with others. I think you are doing those things on this blog, and I think that matters more than what phrase is that you use to mentally encourage yourself. Thank you for being so open.

    • Frankie Laursen December 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm Reply

      Thank you, that is a really good way of putting it.

      I really appreciate you reading and commenting here. Thank you.

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