The message was largely nonsensical, and I suspect the sender was probably on some sort of intoxicant when he wrote it, but regardless, it bothered me for days. Despite my better judgment, I reread it several times, attempting to understand what would inspire someone I don't know to call me such a thing. Nobody I know personally has ever called me anything remotely like that--why would someone I've never met bother to sit down and send a multi-paragraph email, erratically detailing my cuntiness?
And what is it about that word? Why does it make me so nauseous? I'm a writer--a worshiper of words. Isn't it antithetical to my identity as such that I hate a single word so much?
Or perhaps, my aversion is simply a testament to the power of words. "Cunt" has rough edges. You spit it out, as though clearing your throat. The hard "T" at its end leaves your nose scrunched and your upper lip snarled, as though you just smelled something rotten. It's a harsh, sharp word, referring to the most sensitive part of my body. And it gets thoughtlessly hurled around as an insult.
The feminist part of me thinks maybe I should try to reclaim it. I should own it, using it myself, making anyone's negative use of it obsolete. But in truth, I don't want it. I don't ever want to hear it again, from a stranger or from someone I know.
Words hold weight--it's one of the most incredible things about them. And, as awful as it was to be on the receiving end of such a harsh epithet, it left me in great awe of the sheer force of strength behind a single word. A strength that goes beyond a combination of consonants and vowels--and beyond their understood definition. Words are more than the sum of their parts.
All the more reason to use them very carefully.