Acousticophobia – the fear of sounds, including your own voice.
We’ve all experienced it. You watch a video recording of yourself speaking, or someone plays back a message that you left for them while you’re there. “Is that what I really sound like?!” Cringe. Yuck.
I was relieved to hear number of my classmates expressing a dislike for their own voices in the first week of our class. One of my biggest concerns for taking IST 646 was not that I was going to have to record myself telling a story, but that I was going to have to listen to it over and over again as I edited my projects AND that I was going to have to share it with the internet world on my blog.
My hesitancy to share a recording of my voice made me think back to how I used to feel about sharing my writing. I always enjoyed writing as a teenager, but that didn’t mean that I liked anyone else to read it. Handing in assignments was agony for me. I couldn’t let myself think of my teachers reading my assignments without a visible cringe and an odd disgruntled noise of some sort. But, that fear was cured during what I like to refer to as a “band-aid moment.” You know, like when you just rip the band-aid off quickly instead of slowly tearing each tiny hair out one by one?
When I was in grade 11 I took Writing 12 as an elective (because I was a keener like that). Our first assignment was to write a short story. The day that the teacher was planning to hand them back to us she announced that she wanted to read a couple out loud to the class. I wasn’t worried- I didn’t think she would pick mine. Well, she started to read…and I recognized the words. My heart started pounding- hard and fast. It leapt out of my chest and forced its way into my throat. I started sweating, and I could feel the redness creeping up my neck and into my face, settling heavily in my cheeks. I was dizzy. I put my face in my hands and focused on breathing until she finished. But guess what? I survived, and it wasn’t that bad really. Everyone liked it, or was at least kind enough to pretend they did, and like I said, I survived.
So when faced with recording a podcast last week, I focused on the band-aid technique. I was going to power through and it wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought it would be. Right? It took me a few days to convince myself to get started, but eventually I planted myself at my desk with a gargantuan mug of tea. I was damned and determined to get this thing done. Armed with my tea and a blank word document that was supposed to be my story, I was off to the races. So I sat and thought. And I though a little more, and a little more, until finally, I started to type. I ended up with a story about my grandparent’s garden. I’d love to share the stream of consciousness that got me there, but I really don’t think that is possible. It came somewhere from having spent most of the former evening being amused by my older sister’s rather thorough approach to learning to garden. That girl doesn’t do anything halfway. For some reason, I have an image of her out with her plants, wearing scientific lab garb (goggles and clipboard included, of course).
But I digress, so back to recording my podcast– it was written, and I was ready to go. I foolishly attempted to record it without a headset and quickly realized that it wasn’t going to work. After a rampant dig through all of the drawers and recesses in the office space of my house with no success, I went out and bought a headset with a microphone. I was in and out of that store in a flash–I was doing this band-aid style, so I needed to move quickly.
When I arrived home, I was more determined than ever. I was going to get this thing done. My first try was…breathy. I did not have the microphone in the right place, and apparently I breathe, um, kind of loud? Who knew? After readjusting the microphone and doing a few takes, I managed to get a recording that I was happy with. Phew. What a day. I felt accomplished and I actually had fun with the assignment despite my initial reluctance. Most importantly, I didn’t hate the sound of my voice, and as it turned out, I wasn’t even worried about sharing it with the world! So, there you go. I did it.
PS- If anyone ever needs someone to step in for a wheezy-voiced character, I’m pretty sure I could pull it off.
Featured image: Creative Commons-“Photo of a Band-Aid manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, by Svetlana Miljkovic http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BandAid.jpg