On Fridays I will choose a topic on which to give my take. Take being a nice word for opinion. I will simply share my thoughts on whatever random topic comes to mind. I look forward to seeing where this section leads us.
Saying I have a temper is an understatement. When I am mad, I have the irresistible urge to smash, throw, slam, and hit things. Sometimes I make it to a pillow where I can stick my face inside and scream my lungs out, but usually I find something to destroy.
I have countless stories about my flareups from middle school and high school. I was unmedicated, and my temper was out of control.
My memories from middle school are rather vague, but I remember being in the gym one day during volleyball practice; the coach had left for a few minutes, and none of my teammates were taking anything seriously. I got mad and started throwing volleyballs out of anger. I cannot remember if I threw them against the wall or if I threw them at my teammates.
My memories from high school are a little more vivid. I always studied in my bedroom. I had a desk, and I needed everything to be quiet. I struggled with a dual credit college algebra class the spring semester of my sophomore year.
Our algebra teacher was nice and only gave us the odd number problems, which had the answers in the back of the book. We still had to show our work, but at least we could check if we got the answers right. I couldn’t get the answer to one of the questions no matter how many times I tried. Instead of asking one of my parents for help, I rashly threw my book to the opposite side of my bedroom. It hit the wall with a thud, and the cover fell off.
Luckily, the binding stayed intact, but I avoided taking my book to school for the rest of the semester. I used one of the extra books our teacher had in her classroom, and at the end of the semester, I utilized Gorilla Glue to fix my book. My parents knew what I had done, but no one else ever found out.
That same spring, during softball season, we had a tournament, but our starting catcher was going to be out of town. I’m not sure how I was nominated to fill in for her, but I think it had something to do with my dad being a catcher when he was in college (I somehow let it slip when the coaches were trying to decide who they wanted the substitute catcher to be).
On the first day of the tournament, I forgot the catcher’s mitt at our school, a good two hours away. Our head coach knew one of the other coaches, and he graciously let me borrow his player’s catcher’s mitt.
Truly, forgetting the sorry excuse for my school’s catcher’s mitt was the happiest accident. I didn’t realize that every pitch didn’t have to hurt your hand. With the borrowed glove, I wasn’t in constant pain, and I played really well.
I fell in love with that glove, and thus, the position, that weekend. It was decided that I was going to be the starting catcher. I needed my own glove, obviously, so my dad and I found the exact glove I had borrowed online. We paid an inordinate amount of money on expedited shipping. I needed it as soon as possible.
The website claimed I would get it within three to four business days. A week later, I still didn’t have it. I was incensed. I want to say another week went by, and it still hadn’t been delivered.
It wasn’t just the late delivery that irritated me so much, the school-issued glove was more like a first basemen’s mitt rather than a catcher’s mitt. There was no padding to speak of, and my hand would be set on fire every time I caught the ball.
I got home from softball practice one day and looked on my parent’s porch for a package. No package. I lost my mind. I came back into the house, and slammed the front door. Our door is huge. It’s probably two to two and-a-half inches thick and very heavy. I slammed it so hard the door bounced off the frame and came back into the house. You still have to push your shoulder into the door in order for the lock to latch properly.
In both instances, I was so angry, I saw white. Oftentimes, my anger is better described as rage. I raged countless times against my siblings growing up. I can’t even see straight when I’m that irate. I cry when I’m mad as well, which further clouds my judgment because I get even more angry when I cry from anger. Can you say irrational spiral?
I am in a much better place now than I was in high school. I still have quite the temper, but it flares and then dies more than anything these days. I can come down from a spike in my mood relatively quickly.
My progress has been slow, and most of it has come in the last year or two. Maturity has something to do with it, and I also have a close friend who has—on countless occasions—helped me see what a fool I am when I let my emotions get the better of me.
There’s something to be said for this kind of kick in the pants coming from a trusted friend versus a family member. It probably shouldn’t be that way; I should have learned from my parents long ago that anger is rarely the answer to problems. Yet, it carries a different weight for me when it comes from a friend.
This friend probably sees darker sides of me than my parents or siblings, and it means a lot that she is still my friend. I’ve lashed out at her an inordinate amount, and it is rarely justifiable; she just calls me on my crappy behavior and is ready to move on. She doesn’t come down to my level, much as I want her to.
Brooding in anger used to be my modus operandi (and if I could fight with someone in the meantime, all the better), but now I see how lonely and pointless it is. I’m indubitably derisive and mean-spirited when I’m angry, which is childish behavior from anyone over the age of two.
I’ve lost friends because of my bizarre taste for fighting, and it’s a wonder I haven’t lost this one. She is made of a different metal than anyone I’ve ever met, and she is steadfast beyond measure. I have grown in maturity and as a person since becoming friends with her, and I will be forever grateful.