Redhead = temper. I’ve heard it countless times, been the butt of countless jokes for it and had any hostile reaction attributed to my flaming mop.

I’ve no idea whether I can get away with blaming it on my hair, but I certainly can’t condemn the jokes – I do have quite a temper on me.

Angry prick sign
Sweetness and fucking light.

As a teenager, when it feels like there’s a hormone war waging inside your brain, my bitch fit temperaments were at their worst. As I got older, I learnt that flying into a rage over something tiny will have bigger consequences as relationships with those around you become more of a key factor in your life, and that a bad attitude will affect the people close to you a great deal. And because it’s your adult life, you then have to deal with those consequences. Not to mention that getting het up over everything that doesn’t fit perfectly into your ideal life vision is absolutely exhausting – there’s only so many fury headaches you can get before you realise picking your battles is important if you ever want to see straight again.

I’m by no means perfect at keeping my temper yet. But I do know my triggers and I recognise when I might need to mentally prepare. For my fellow lairy beasts, here’s a few things I’ve learnt about being a hot-headed madam:

It’s often about control

I don’t mean psychopath control, like only having one friend and not allowing them to have any other friends and having to calculate their every move. This is a yearning for control over your own life to avoid being let down and, ultimately, being angry that something doesn’t work out.

The main trigger for me is when my plans don’t tot up to an ideal that’s in my head. That YouTube video I’ve just spent three hours on? I’ve put the work in – why would it not work?! The meal I’m cooking? I’ve done my best to make it perfect, so why isn’t it coming together like it should?! It’s the let down feeling that will start a snowball of impatience, and it’s the fear of not being in control of everything turning out alright and so starting that snowball.

Unfortunately (and ironically), nothing is really ever in our control. Even though it’s the theme that runs through an angry reaction to any life circumstance, no one can physically do anything about the unexpected. It’s a reality check I need to have sometimes, and one that means I should really stop trying to plan everything and go with the flow. Not that that’s a thing I ever want to hear, obviously.

“Stepping back” should be your go-to reaction

Text conversation getting heated? Pull yourself away and reply in a calmer state. In fact no matter what the conversation is or how it’s happening, if it’s grinding your gears and your replies are getting too short, find the best way to curb it so you have time to step away. You’ll congratulate yourself a million times over for returning to the annoying person with a list of compromises and a concentrated state of mind.

The best line to use when there’s a disagreement in the ranks? “Ok I tell you what, I think there’s a few ways around this. Can you give me five minutes and I’ll be back in a tic with a few ideas to keep everyone happy?” Much better than a string of swearwords and flippant remarks that you don’t really mean.

Embarrassingly, if you don’t step back and just plough on in a bad mood, your argument becomes circular. Then to try and get out of the circular behaviour you say something more outrageous, which inevitably contradicts something you’ve already said, and then you look like a dick. Don’t be that person – it makes you appear slightly unhinged.

cake break
You know what makes me less mad? Cake. That’s what.

Love will be really, really hard

…And not in the good way.

The reason that I do so hate dating is because, as above, it’s a thing I have no control over. That insecurity is amplified by the idea that you’re placing your feelings in someone else’s hands and it could all go wrong at any moment.

Having a potential partner on the scene does really strange things to your patience. It will test it when you’re not yet used to each other and not knowing where you stand, and then it’ll test you when you’re too used to each other and someone acts out of character. I have to work so hard to overcome The Fear, because when I worry about someone I have been or am going to be vulnerable with, all rationalisation flies out the window.

When sense starts to slip away, stop and make a list. Normally it’ll be because you haven’t heard from them for a while or something similar, so list the perfectly reasonable explanations as to why they haven’t called/texted/emailed back yet. This is not only your chance to train your brain to keep logic on your side, but also intervenes with something that makes you step back. Because if your mind moves as quickly as mine, it’ll often manage to have made up a crazy, irrational situation that is almost definitely not taking place, purely because I don’t have the patience to just realise that the person I’m worrying about simply isn’t as up on immediate reactions as I am. It’s been a bloody tough one to overcome, but I’m learning!

It’s not all negative

The above rhymes and reasons point towards the key difficulties that impatience incorporates in a person. But you know what, sometimes it plays to your advantage. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Impatience tends to mean you move fast, and that’s a trait that – particularly in a work situation – is wonderfully valuable. Channel that instantaneous energy into work and you’ll be too exhausted to spend it on something pointless.
  • No one likes an indecisive person. Be proud of your ability to make quick, firm decisions. Even if you can be a bit out there sometimes, you rarely come across a hot-headed lady who’s completely aimless.
  • You wont be afraid to act on intuition. Sure, you probably wind yourself up quite a lot when something small gets on your nerves. But if something is really wrong you’ll be more aware of it because your natural reaction is to pick it apart, and there’s only so much picking you can do before you see something or someone is completely wrong for you.
  • An attitude isn’t all bad. If it’s kept in check, feistiness is pretty damn interesting.

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