mad men, betty draper, aim, fire, shoot, gun, annoyed, angry, pre-annoyed

Do you get pre-annoyed?

Anticipation is intolerable for many of us: waiting for the results of a medical test, watching the bubbles as someone composes a reply to an edgy text, managing our panic before a big meeting or interview, sitting with the courage to ask for more money, preparing to have the big talk, wondering if we are pregnant, hoping our offer has been accepted, sitting in traffic about to arrive at a party where we will know no one, wondering how a person is going to react to something. Much of our lives is spent sitting in anticipation. Twitching.

And so we do many things with this anticipation. We ignore it and live in the moment. Ahahahaha. We sink into a gloom because worst case scenario is easier than opening the door to hope – disappointment is harder and harder to deal with. Or we get pre-annoyed.

Now. Pre-annoyance is the popular choice. Internalised yet aggressive energy that helps us cope with the bridge between now and what is soon to happen. Sometimes our pre-annoyance is fed and fuelled by probability because these things can be pattern-based. If a person is unreliable/melodramatic/self-centred/insensitive as a matter of course, then why would this time be different? But other times pre-annoyance is self protective: wouldn’t it be a nice surprise if this scenario turned out to be un-annoying? But it probably won’t. So my pre-annoyance will act as a shock absorber and stop me feeling hurt.

This is one of the things that people get wrong about grown-up women. And that we get wrong about each other. We don’t get pre-annoyed because we are dark, impatient, intolerant souls (although obviously we are). We get pre-annoyed because we are frightened of feeling pain. Of the let down. Of vulnerability. Pre-annoyance is armour. We think it keeps us safe. Actually it just keeps us annoyed. Forever.

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