Self Talk

As a kid, I talked to myself a lot. I still do. I also talk to trees and other plants, I lecture spiders who have the audacity to turn up uninvited in the bathtub, I talk to deer and to the dog. Luna and I talk about politics, discuss the weather, and speculate what the neighbor’s chickens might be saying to each other when we walk past. When we lived on Cape Hatteras, I could hear one of the teenagers who lived behind us singing loudly when he walked home along the trails through the dunes. He was a big kid, much bigger than his age warranted, didn’t excel in school, and wasn’t extraordinarily gifted as a singer, but none of these things seemed to matter and I loved hearing the unselfconscious pleasure he took in singing. When it was dark outside, I found it especially comforting to hear; it made it seem everything was somehow right on schedule. I’ve been told singing is not one of my strengths and in fact, once on a treadmill in a hotel exercise room, someone asked me to please stop singing along with the music on my headset. It happened to be “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen and now I smile and sing a little louder when that song comes up on my phone’s shuffle feature. Singing in a choir is thought to be one of the most therapeutic things you can do. I’ve never been much of a joiner but I haven’t given up singing solo and so far, no one else has complained. Self talk may be genetic. One of my sisters used to live out in the country with no close neighbors, but the kids from up the road would sometimes stop to visit when they were out riding bikes. One time when her car was in the garage, she was surprised to see them, as they rarely showed up without first making sure she was there. They said, “Oh, we knew you were home, we heard you talking to yourself.”

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