I didn’t name my blog.
There it is. That’s the big, dark secret behind this website. For as much as I love my name, and no matter how perfectly it suits me—I wasn’t the person who came up with it. The person who named my blog is the same person who named me.
When I started writing, I didn’t quite know what I wanted to talk about. I knew I wanted to make people happy. I wanted to talk about all the people I’ve met throughout my peripatetic life. It couldn’t be fluffy (i.e. bullshit), but the string of the most authentic sentences I could possibly pull together.
This is the story on how For all the F words got its name.
“Mom, I want to ask you something. You’re going to think it’s weird, but I just need you to not laugh for a second,” I was walking down 11th Street near my old apartment in Logan Circle, DC. “I want to start a website. I’ve actually wanted to start a website for about two years, but I don’t know what to name it. I want to talk about my friends and family members, and I want to talk about fitness, and maybe food, and maybe…” I rattled off a series of seemingly unrelated topics that made up the pillars of my everyday.
“No, no—I think this is good!” my mom told me, after I vented three times that it all sounded better in my head. “Now what were the four things you wanted to focus on again?”
After our call, my mom sketched out a giant letter F on a sheet of paper, wrote all my favorite F words, and scanned it in. Focus, faith, friends, family, fitness, fun, food—combined with French fries and Friday, some of the best words in the English language begin with the sixth letter of the alphabet.
“I got to thinking, and before, getting an F was a bad thing,“ she explained over the phone, “But now, all your favorite words begin with the letter F. And I thought maybe—“
“Mom. You do realize you just told me to name my blog after all the F words, right?”
Boom. Best name ever, born.
If you know my mom, you know she is the most selfless person that has ever walked the face of this planet. If you don’t know my mom, take everything I am, and picture the exact opposite.
My mom and I have very little in common. Half the stories I write take years off her life. She absolutely hates it when I swear. I’ve probably been in half a dozen car accidents she doesn’t know about. She’s gotten one speeding ticket in her life. I got a $100 dollar parking ticket yesterday.
My mom is nothing like me, but brings out the very best in me.
She is the person who reminds me to be humble, to listen to even the most unsolicited advice, to ask for help when I need it, and to never do things for the compensation. My mom is the person who goes out of her way for people, and—like naming my blog—never takes credit for it.
The name of my blog started as wordplay between my favorite swear word (it’s really quite dynamic, isn’t it?) and my other, more PG-rated favorite things. It wasn’t until I started writing consistently that I realized my mom’s initial gut reaction—that the letter F used to represent failure—was where I wanted to focus. [Granted, she was picturing sixth-grade report cards while I envisioned growing from life’s incredible fuck-ups, but…]
My entire website revolves around life lessons from the people who know me best.
To me, For all the F words is about owning your flaws and learning from your mistakes. It’s about realizing your greatest failures often lead to your greatest moments. And the woman who stood by me, never judged me, and will always be my biggest fan is the one who named it.
Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. So this week, I’m doing things a little different and sharing the four greatest lessons from the woman who taught me more in the past twenty-seven years than anyone.
This week, it’s all about my mom.
I love to read all of these, but this has to be one of my very favorites every word is so true! Happy early birthday Ardel.
Thank you Mary Olson, i.e. Mom #2.
Kara, what an incredible tribute to your Mom. I am so blessed to work with her and have her in my life as a good friend. She lights up when she walks in my office with that special smile/smirk on her face and says, “I have a Kara story for you”. She is very proud of you and you’re right, she is nothing like you, but you are the best of her. She, like myself, lives vicariously through her beautiful daughter and we both take a little credit for the strong women you have become. For all the F words is the perfect name for your blog and I love reading it!!
Aww thanks Carole! And yes, she is awesome and absolutely nothing like me. I thought when I “grew up” the Kara stories would stop being so…frequent? That didn’t quite happen. But it makes for an interesting life.