For those raised outside of the Deep South of the United States, a hissy fit is a term used to describe having a tantrum, a meltdown, a good old-fashioned come-apart. Any form of hysterics in a child or even adult might be referred to as throwing a hissy fit, or a hissy for short. It’s easy to see how this term was coined if you’ve ever witnessed an angry cat. They hiss, they yowl, they show teeth and claws. Pretty much like any pissed off person in the full flow of anger.
So why, you might ask, would one want to throw a hissy fit? You know, on purpose? Anger is an emotion that many of us look at as bad. Wrong. Inappropriate. We have so much guilt and shame for experiencing an emotion that isn’t either good or bad. It’s just a normal thing to feel. When we get angry, many of us try to suppress the anger rather than expressing it. It builds up over time, and then we either implode, collapsing in on ourselves or explode and spew it on others. Still others explode at the slightest provocation. Perhaps anger isn’t wrong, but sometimes the way we choose to express it could be if it results in harm to ourselves or others.
Which is where the Hissy Fit comes in. Just as a Pity Party can be a useful way of expressing one’s sadness, a Hissy Fit is a perfect opportunity to get out the anger in a healthy way. When one throws a Hissy Fit, there’s no need to invite anyone but oneself, unless company is preferred. While a cake isn’t necessary, appetizers are fine. There’s actually a Pinterest recipe for Hissy Fit dip, which can be paired with chips. No invitations needed, a simple dip prepared, and we can proceed.
There are many ways of getting out all that anger. My favorite is exercise, and if you just rolled your eyes, I’m not talking about hitting the gym. Unless, of course, that’s a thing you enjoy. No, I’m talking about getting out some real energy in a way that is satisfying. Maybe trying out a kickboxing class could channel some of that aggression. Or heading to a batting cage to smack the hell out of some balls. Heading to an indoor trampoline park or rock climbing gym can expend that energy without the necessity of hitting something. Even throwing a bowling ball at some pins isn’t the worst way to get some energy out. As long as it’s active, it’ll work.
Remember, a Hissy Fit isn’t a party, although there is the great tailgating dip I mentioned. It’s a fit. As in fitness. So ride a bike or go for a run, find a game of adult dodge ball or join a community pillow fight (yes, that’s actually a thing). Paintball and laser tag also work well.
The community pillow fight brings me to an idea I have long advocated. If we want to make our fit a group event to express communal anger, there’s a great way to plan events that are both fun and active. We can take to social media to organize a meet-up. We can choose the event type: pillow fight, nerf gun battle, water gun war, or water (or shaving cream) balloons. We schedule a time and place (say, a public park), and at the appointed time, everyone shows up. Of course, we want to set family-friendly rules and caution people about bringing anything that resembles an actual weapon. We certainly don’t want our events to become causes of additional stress. We also need to plan for cleanup so that we carry out any litter we bring in. We may also need permits for events so we’d want to look into that. But organizing a fun meet-up with friends can be a great way to expend energy and get out our anger or frustration.
Other ideas for a more low-key Hissy Fit include painting out our feelings, coloring a swear word coloring book (Amazon has a wide selection of these), or even journaling our experience. Preparing bread dough or playing with Play-doh are also great hands on ways of pounding out our fury. The point isn’t what we do; it’s all about making the time for our anger.
Anger isn’t this bad thing that happens to us. It can be a great opportunity to explore our own thoughts, feelings, and perspectives, but we need to figure out a way to express ourselves in a way that isn’t harmful to ourselves or other people. A planned Hissy Fit is a perfect way to do it. Hey, we’re going to get pissed from time to time. We might as well have fun with it!