What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?
That’s a good question. I don’t particularly care for either but why? I suppose that I don’t like to see myself the way others see me but then everyone sees things differently don’t they? What I perceive about myself and what other people perceive may be quite different.
When I was a small child we had family spread around the world, one aunt and her family in South Africa and another aunt and her family in Australia while the rest of us were still in England. I think it was mum’s brother who started the idea of sending audio tapes to them. When the family was gathered together he would bring out his great big reel to reel tape recorder and microphone and all the adults would record a message for them. Then it would be the turn of the children; my cousins, my sister and me. My cousins had no problem with this and my sister who was very young could usually be coaxed to say a few words. Not much was expected of her because she was little but I just freaked out at the idea of doing it. As I’ve often mentioned I never liked drawing attention to myself and family situations were no different. I didn’t see mum’s family very often as we lived in different towns. I hardly ever saw my uncle and never really knew what to say to him. I had never even met the relations who were overseas. Having to speak out loud in front of everyone was my idea of torture. I felt very pressured with all the adults trying to convince me that it was easy and that my aunties would be disappointed if they did not hear my voice.
It took me years to get over that phobia about tape recorders. As a teenager I bought a cassette tape recorder and made myself speak into it and that helped.When mum and I made audio tapes to send people we always did it as if we were just having a conversation with each other. It felt more comfortable that way and I had no problem with making them. Do I hate the sound of my own voice? Not really but I do think it’s probably too loud and I know that I speak too fast sometimes.
I haven’t, thank God, had to watch a video of myself recently. Watching our wedding video is embarrassing enough and the family home movies from my childhood are even worse! I don’t really enjoy seeing photos of myself either. I like the ones taken when I was a little girl, well most of them, but pictures of me from about 9 years old onwards remind me of how awkward and uncomfortable I felt during those years. I do have a few that I like that were taken when I was in my twenties, thirties and forties. Pictures of me now remind me that I’m grey haired and over weight. However I do like to have one taken now and again when I know I look nice or at least when I am smiling. I suppose I want my existence to be acknowledged after I am gone.