Talk that Talk: the benefit of conversing with yourself

Talking to yourself is an art form. I have spent a good part of my 19 years on this earth talking to me, myself and I. The problem with this habit of mine, though, is that people just don’t seem to get it. They see me in class moving my head and lips slightly as if I’m whispering to them. They turn to me with their raised eyebrows, expecting me to repeat what I just said, but I shake my head apologetically, “I was talking to myself,” I say for the 204th time in my life. They turn away in disgust, and I can tell how hard they’re judging me. Newsflash, people! I don’t have to be talking to anyone!

Like everyone else in this overpopulated world, I get lonely sometimes. But I have absolutely no idea what other people do when they get lonely. Do they watch TV? Curl up into a ball and sing along to “Let Her Go” by Passenger? Does anyone do that? Do they stare at pictures of themselves with their friends, thinking of what could have been? Probably. When I’m on my lonesome, I reflect on my day so far, telling myself not to think about when I fell down on flat ground in front of that cute guy who is my mutual hookup on Friendsy. Or, if it’s only the beginning of the morning and my roommate has left for her class already, I pump myself up for the day to come. “Don’t worry, Lily, you won’t cry today in women’s studies, no matter how down you get about the patriarchy.” In general, I never go a long time without talking, so that if I’m in a situation where I can’t talk the conversation in my head just gets stronger. Professors have noticed how I laugh to myself or make faces reacting to something in my head. They’ve assumed that I’m reacting to their lecture, when in reality I’m not listening to a word they say and I’m just thinking about what I’m going to eat for lunch.

Usually, though, I save talking to myself for the walk in between classes, which is probably not the wisest choice. I make fun of the person who is running with their backpack, or I wallow in how everyone else is dressed so nicely while I’m most likely wearing the same shirt I wore on that exact day last week (because I only have seven outfits). Sometimes I think about movies I saw a long time ago and I remember a particular funny scene and I start laughing, which definitely makes strangers worry about me. Don’t think I don’t see you start to walk faster, it only makes me resent you and talk to myself more about how you think you’re better than me. That makes me think of the SNL skit called “You Think You’re Better Than Me?” which just makes me start to laugh again, and prompts you to break off into a sprint.

Being able to get all my own jokes and not having to explain my humor to anyone is definitely the best part of solo talking. I laugh at many things I say to myself, and I’m amazed that when I repeat them that others don’t find them equally hilarious. It’s fine. Maybe they think they’re better than me, but at least I get to laugh more than they do, which is good because apparently laughing strengthens your abs, and Lord knows those puppies need help.

The thing that worries me the most, though, is how I refer to myself in the plural first person. “What are we gonna do today? Who do we think we are?” This is the most evidence that I am a multiplication, or whatever Walt Whitman said 200 years ago (I don’t take math or poetry so I don’t really know). I wouldn’t necessarily say that I “hear voices” other than my own, because when I have conflicting feelings about something I have no problem arguing about it with myself. And I mean I go in, I lay it on thick, teach myself a lesson. If I liked someone but didn’t want to admit it, that’d be a source of contention within myself. “You don’t know what you want, stop being stupid.” “No you’re the one being stupid.” “No you are.” “No you.” That’s how the conversations go until I get tired and start playing Sudoku on my phone.

I see people on TV lose it in solitary confinement, doing push-ups and getting super into shape, but when they are released, they’re just a shell of who they used to be. Their problem is they don’t talk to themselves! If I were in solitary confinement, I’d never do any push-ups or pull-ups or any “ups” of any kind, I’d just talk to myself about why Scary Spice was the best Spice Girl or how annoying it is when people take the last breakfast calzone at the Deece. “We don’t really need them,” I’d say to myself. “They don’t get us like we do.” No, Lily, no one gets you like I do.

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