Talking to Myself

The Voice

"There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you--just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”
― Shel Silverstein

When I was a kid, I thought that cursive was a different language.  Printing was English and cursive was another language.  I used to curlicue it up, hoping that somehow these fancy letters would translate into another yet-to-be discovered-by-me language that would permit me entry into another world.  

Teenager and adult conversations, were like the cursive of the childhood languages.  I would be sitting on the edge of my lawn, in front of my house, playing, talking to myself, when teenagers would come walking down the street towards me.  They would amble by talking about very interesting things, things that I couldn't even imagine, but that I supposed was about boyfriends and homework. "He said...then I said...oh I don't know, what do you think, yes I guess you are right..." and on and on they would go.  

The subject could have been very mundane, probably was, but for me, their words held so much allure.  I would mimic their style of speaking as they walked on.  I would assume their posture and move my hands in gestures that they used.  For me, the words were not so important, the intonation, that was key.  

Throughout my childhood, I would speak out loud in the voices of so many other people, usually teachers.  I know people whispered about me behind my back.  I was considered odd in some respects, but talking to myself made the world so interesting and pliable and enchanting.  

I still talk to myself.  Now it usually takes the form of swearing under my breath. Occasionally, I'll talk to myself out loud, as one does to gear oneself up for something one is dreading.    But for the most part, all of the talking to myself is quietly done inside of my head, a voice that narrates my reactions, prompts my responses or comes up with possibilities.

The beauty of talking out loud and participating in imaginary discussions was that no one talked back. All the come backs were deliciously executed, the jokes hilarious, and the retorts witty in a world where those conversations  kept the walls of that tent aloft all afternoon. 

In those curlicue days, talking out loud to myself, with myself, was like painting a world and then creating the circumstances and filling in the details of that world I inhabited.  The words were the air that kept that invented world inflated just for a little while.

Now, I hear my children talk to themselves in their play. One does it more than the other.  I wonder why?  How does it help them enjoy what they are doing more, what world have they inflated today with those conversations?


  1. My earliest confidence building memories are of me--by myself--emulating adults. Most good (pretending I was the band manager for the Backstreet boys and leading their concert moves, pretending to drive a car using rocks as the peddles and a frisbee as the wheel. My two goals as a parent (today--it changes daily)...1) Have fun and just BE with each other 2) Yep, it is our job to teach right from wrong and hope they go for the former. Okay, and 3) When they choose the latter, give them the ability to choose the former. But really, the most important is to learn that when they choose the hard choice--they have people that will support them no matter what they choose. Yes?

  2. Yes, that's true. Today it was really hard for me to meet those goals, but yes, those sound like great goals. Being content with "just" being with each other is often the hardest for me.


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