11.13.20: From the so-called desk of…

… Helen.

A Life Narrated

Conversation between myself and my son Jesse from two different rooms.

Jesse: “Sorry to interrupt Mom, but who are you talking to?”

Me, after a short pause: “The cat.”

Jesse: “I don’t think so”

Me: “Why not?”

Jesse: “The cat is in here with me.”

Me: “Are you sure, I thought she was in here?”

Jesse to cat: “Listen to mommy, isn’t she silly?”

So I ask, do you know anyone who talks to themselves? Maybe you do. I’m not sure how it’s possible, but until very recently I’ve been totally oblivious to the fact that I talk to myself out loud… all the time. It’s kind of like my internal dialog has gone amok, and while it is not particularly loud, it is definitely audible.

Unfortunately I am also not a particularly good listener, so while I’m busy not paying attention to what I’m saying out loud (but hopefully to what I am doing) I shudder to think what everyone within earshot is hearing me say. And now that my family and I are home and together all the time, I’m pretty sure they are getting more annoyed by the day at having to continually shout out “Are you talking to me?” I tried suggesting that these are my “private conversations” and that everyone should immediately cease and desist from eavesdropping. But in spite of my high hopes, my family knows me too well to fall for that one. Still it was worth a try.

However, unlike children’s charming play with imaginary companions, my private speech is actually more of a running monologue of my entire day. So no one should ever be surprised at overhearing me using an abundance of four letter words, along with things like “Oh dear!” or “That can’t be right.” Even so, you are just as likely to hear me mutter “What day is it?” or “What the heck am I doing here?”

At the same time I really started to worry that I might be genuinely off my rocker, and ended up spending a stupid amount of time scrutinizing all the endless possibilities. Putting aside the more serious articles, I stayed exclusively focused on the “unlikely to be crazy” group. It was startling to see the enormous amount of time and effort that has been put into studying the joys and pleasure of talking to one’s self. And what a relief it was to learn that the act of narrating your day might actually help you to organize your thoughts and stay focused. So be of good cheer my fellow self-talkers, it’s all perfectly normal.

But please note, all of the well-documented information that I came across did come with two important caveats. First, never talk down to yourself, and try listening to what you’re saying, you just might learn something new.