I spent the day battling a toothache on and off. I’ve got a molar that’s needed extraction for about a year. I’m not usually a procrastinator and I do not fear the dentist. But I am a busy man who don’t got no time for time off. When I was first told I’d need the tooth pulled I was given an antibiotic to prep for the pulling. Guess what? Pain went away and I used the opportunity to put off the deed. Happened once more a few months later. Same result. This time I’m getting it done. Tomorrow after work I’ll go from 28 teeth to 27…
I wonder if that will alter the sound of my voice…
Which brings us to tonight’s prompt.
What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?
Clever, huh? Not really? Well who asked you anyway?… I did? Oh yeah!
Having worked in the wonderful world of television production I learned long ago simply to suck it up, bite the bullet, and come face to face with your image as others see you. My first day working for a major network’s station in New York (the City) I had an opportunity to record both my vocals (a voice over) and to do what’s called a stand-up (me, standing up of all things, on camera giving a report). I watched and listened to both playbacks. Truth is, I knew what I looked like but very few people ever hear their own voices the way others do because of the way sound travels through the Eustachian tubes in the skull.
What I learned quickly was that, even though it made me cringe, it wasn’t that bad (my voice). In fact, I learned that I had good pacing, good timbre, and good inflection. It still sounded weird but I made the decision to willfully “get over it”. Rather quickly I began to almost bypass the sound I heard in my own head when I spoke with the sound I know others hear. I did this by consciously listening in other ways, almost straining at times to hear it. It’s really not that bad.
Now, what’s probably more terrifying is to come face to face with how others see you. This is something I’ve wondered most of my life. I kind of like myself. But what do others think? I’ve often wondered whether my friends see me as I want to be seen or, rather, as I believe I truly am. Do they see the guy who loves to joke around, have a cocktail, and share witty banter? The guy who cares deeply about his friends and enjoys their company? Or do they see what I fear they sometimes see. That is, do they see me as pushy, coming on too strong, desperate for companionship? I’m not saying I am those things. Just wondering aloud if people see me that way.
Either way, when they see me coming at them to ask if we’re going to hang out this weekend and they hear my pleading I know the actual voice and image they see and hear is that of a well-polished, one-time wannabe news anchor in the top market in the world. And that, my friends, makes me feel pretty darn good about myself.