When things are too hot to handle

Are there days when you feel like you’ve reached your boiling point? When your potential temper feels hotter than the reddest sunset? Hot days can lead to hot ways …

I don’t handle the physical heat of summer well. It could be from a near heat stroke I had years ago thousands of miles away from home while boiling under the June skies of Israel. Loved the country but I highly recommend scheduling a visit during cooler times of the year. 

Or it could be from not following my mom’s suggestion to lay out in the sun like she did all the time. I remember her heading for her plastic lounger covered with a towel most sunny days when I was a kid. I had one of those, too, but I rarely “laid out” because I simply got too hot and bored. I’d join her once in a while but my patience and body could only handle a few minutes.

But I didn’t complain when she donned her bikini and read her Harlequin romances while I sold lemonade in our back yard, situated near the 16th tee of the country club golf course. I had a thriving stand for three summers, and I really credit that to the guys who came to the fence to get a closer look at my mom. Yes, I profited off how hot my mom looked in a bikini …

However, I also learned later the price of a gorgeous tan when Mom endured nearly 50 painful removals of skin cancer in her later years, anywhere and everywhere the skimpy bikini didn’t cover. And to this day, I thank God for me not inheriting her sun-worshipping ways and not following in my dad’s steps of working outside or playing golf all summer. He, too, had several bouts of skin cancer removed from his bald head.

I know what the sun, heat and humidity do to me. They weaken me. They make me irritable. So I steer clear whenever and however possible. And I do the same with possibility of volatile, emotional situations. I’ve learned over my 63 years that certain topics, constraints, obligations and individuals can make me lose my temper because I can’t control those circumstances or those people.

Do I use avoidance whenever possible? You betcha! Why? Because getting upset about “those” things isn’t worth my emotional or physical energy. I’ve learned to limit my “exposure” to things that tick me off. I discovered that I had more control than I thought I had. 

“Control” was digging in and just getting something done … finding more shade and taking necessary breaks and just admitting I can’t handle the heat … limiting my contact with toxic people with politeness and planning better escape routes so that they have no clue I’m distancing myself …

What I’ve also discovered is that it seems like more people get hotter faster these days … tempers flaring at the slightest provocation … hate, fists and bullets flying more than ever before. Has the temperature of our brains elevated so much so that the act of thinking before acting is melting faster than ice on hot cement?

When you pause to think before reacting to what someone says, it doesn’t mean you’re cold-hearted. It only means you’re being cool. One of my newest mantras is a simple word, “chill,” no matter if it’s 100 or 0 degrees outside. Even as I search for shade or a breeze on a hot day, I keep telling myself to “chill.” When someone is real close to sending me “over the edge,” I “chill” in silence.

Hmm, could our heated emotions be elevating our planet’s temperature … OK, no more “hot mama” for me! I’ll take “cool mama” or “cool dudette” any day … Want to join me in that cool pool?



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