If admission is the first step to recovery, I’ll just blurt it out.
I’m Terrie and I talk to myself.
My co-workers can attest. Although I do keep it somewhat in check at work, they’ve gotten used to me muttering at my desk as I think my way through tasks out loud. The best part comes when I finish one thing and am ready to move on to the next. “Okay. Now…” is the official signal. Lucky for me, my colleagues are gracious enough to ignore it. Either that or they wrote me off as a loony tune ages ago.
Last month, I wrote a Municipal Accounting exam and talked the entire three hours. Thankfully, I sat in a room by myself. There’s no way I could begin to pass a test while surrounded by other test-writers expecting me to zip it. It’s like my brain needs to not only see the words, but say them and hear them as well before there’s any remote possibility of new information seeping into my overloaded noggin.
It gets worse when I’m in my car. A vehicle is a great place to think aloud because no one can hear me, and if anyone sees me, I can start bopping my head as though singing along with the radio. No one needs to know the radio in my car hasn’t worked for years.
That raises another question, though. If it’s okay to sing to yourself, what’s wrong with talking to yourself?
At home, it’s worse still, especially if I’m alone. Oh, it’s not as if I look in the mirror and chant Stuart Smalley’s daily affirmations or anything. (“Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”) But I’m convinced I cannot cook without talking myself through it, especially when it’s a new recipe. If I don’t read the instructions aloud, I forget what it said in the split second it takes my eyes to leave the printed page and focus on the food.
You might be thinking I should acquire a pet, so I can talk to them instead. But who needs a cat or dog when you can talk to your appliances? One day I accidentally opened the dishwasher while it was running. “Oh, sorry,” I said. Then again, I suppose most polite Canadians apologize to inanimate objects all the time. So maybe that doesn’t count.
Another day, I went to put a dirty dish into the dishwasher.
“Oh wait, those are already clean,” I said.
“We’ve had this conversation already,” I said.
And we had. Or I had. Whatever.
My next words were probably along the lines of “Good grief, I’m outta my mind,” followed by, “I know you are, but what am I?”
But that hasn’t stopped me from continuing my habit.
I’m pretty sure I inherited this trait from my mother, and a quick check on the internet tells me we’re not alone. Lots of people wonder if they need therapy. Wiki-how even offers an article called “How to Stop Talking to Yourself.” The suggestions sound a little cruel to me, like pressing two fingers over your lips to keep the words inside.
My head would explode.
Maybe I don’t truly want to recover. After all, sometimes I overhear the most interesting things. Occasionally I even tell myself a pretty good joke. Besides, I can’t afford to let my cooking take a nosedive. And I certainly don’t want to fail any exams.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have standards. You know that annoying thing kids do when they copy everything the other says in a nasally, irritating voice?
Yeah, if you ever catch me doing that while I’m all alone, just lock me up.