Are you talking to me?

618px-JeanLucPicardFacepalmThere are many signs of madness, a great number of which I’m pretty sure I exhibit far too often for it not to be somewhat worriesome. Those little things that you catch yourself doing in an unguarded moment, to which your only possible response can be ‘what the hell am I doing?’ I’m speaking from the perspective of ‘reasonableness’ – more man on the Clapham omnibus than Sigmund Freud, after all I’m no psychologist, but there are those moments when I think that any reasonable person would shake their heads in dismay and seriously consider calling the men in white coats to wheel me off to a softly-furnished cupboard.

One thing in particular that I find myself doing too regularly to be entirely healthy is having conversations with myself. Just yesterday, I caught myself discussing the mechanics of the washing-up over the dirty dishes… not just the odd, “you missed a bit there, you plonker”,  as I’m sure is perfectly normal, but having thus commented I then responded to myself in like manner. Within moments, I was having a a two-way conversation with myself, right up to the point that realisation dawned; resulting in the bizarre scenario seeing me adding a further voice of reason – myself – trying to talk myself and the other myself back to some semblance of normality. Freaky.

I imagine that this is partly the effects of living alone, having little to intrude upon my own small world and routines for a good few years now, but then again, I’m just as prepared to accept that it might be a sign of impending craziness.

Regular readers, and possibly some of those who know me inworld, will know that I’m completely socially inept when it comes to one-to-one conversations – the same is true in RL. Although I have no difficulty at all in conducting a conversation or delivering a message on a professional level, if you ask me to attempt social chit-chat or friendly conversation I just fall apart, find a corner to hide in and revert to my baseline position – best defined as: The International Standard Measure for Introversion. This may itself be manifested in those little chats with myself over the teacups: Maybe all that pent up talkativeness has to come out somewhere, and where better than in a conversation with myself, where at least some of the time I’ll know what the conversation is about and where I feel fairly comfortable with the other participant/s!

convo_001Alternatively, there’s Second Life, a place where quite the opposite holds true. Here I can be far from reticent when it comes to chatting away, indeed ‘motormouth’ is a description that comes to mind, along with ‘don’t you ever shut up?’

Yes, in Sl – particularly while gathered amongst friends – I have little difficulty in maintaining a conversation at any level. Although there is a caveat: when in unfamiliar situations or company, or amongst strangers, I do revert to RL type but even then I’ll usually make the effort, rather than run away. Perhaps it’s that good old comforting safety net that SL throws around us: Our avatars acting as go between, reducing the risks and creating a common ground that, for the most part, does away with social expectations and encumbrances and allows free expression without the need to reveal too much by way of non-verbal – and possibly more revealing – communication.

Then again, maybe that’s still not strictly accurate, because in this case I am actually talking about communication that is totally non-verbal. Allow me to type, and I can chatter away like there’s no tomorrow, but if we’re talking voice chat I’m back in my quiet little corner. That’s not to say I’ve never indulged in voice, but the occasions have been few and far between and certainly not comfortable experiences for me… perhaps that too – my aversion to connecting with others on a normal, everyday level – is another sign of my inherent madness?

Although, coming to think about it, what’s crazier: conducting a conversation with myself over the dirty dishes, or chatting away in text to a bunch of cartoon characters in a make-believe world?

Like I said, I’m no psychiatrist, so I really couldn’t say for sure, but if it makes me happy… it can’t be that bad.

Can it?

s. x

Come on baby I’m tired of talking
Grab your coat and let’s start walking
Elvis Presley – A Little Less Conversation

 

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3 Responses to Are you talking to me?

  1. jennspoint says:

    I’ve read about a lot of people able to communicate better online and/or within virtual worlds than they can in real life, and I’m truly glad you’ve found it helpful as well. I remember early on embracing the idea, hoping I would experience the same thing.

    For me, however, it wasn’t long before I began experiencing the same anxiety attacks in – world that plague me in real life. Basically, I’ll get through the customary greeting, engage in a little small talk (as is the “non-optional social convention”), then realize I can’t think of a single interesting thing to say. And just as in real life, I make some excuse and go offline to escape the awkwardness and humiliation. Weird, huh?!

    I’ve tried counseling, but so far that has been helpful only in that I’ve learned these are correctly called “anxiety attacks,” not “panic attacks.” Well, thank you. That was certainly worth five 45 minute sessions at $45 each. At least talking to myself is free. 🙂

    • I can certainly relate to those awkward moments too, and I’d suggest that it’s nothing to do with not having anything interesting to say, (i know that’s not true from your blog!) I think it’s more to do with what lies at the core of who we are.

      People express themselves in different ways – for you, emotion and feelings may find their expression in the images and artwork you create – when we’re forced by convention and social norms to conform to behaviours with which we are uncomfortable, it stands to reason that we’ll pull away and even experience crippling anxiety. It’s painful, but it is who we are. Weird, it is not.

      I think I’ve come to an understanding with that inner part of me that in those circumstances where difficult social interactions are a necessity, I’ll act the part – whilst cringing inside – but where I have a choice, I’ll do it my way, even if my way is antisocial, different or odd. I’m comfortable with that, others will just have to deal with it.

      Maybe SL has made a difference, writing this blog has certainly given me a voice that wouldn’t have even spoken up before, but at the end of the day, the real me is still sitting in the corner, hiding away and wishing everyone would leave me alone.

      However, I accept it. That’s me.

      *hugs*

      s. x

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