You know what—I like to talk. Not that I like to talk to myself, so maybe I should say I like to have conversations. I almost always have interesting things rolling around in my brain (what I’ve been thinking about, what I’ve been reading about, what I’ve been going through) and I’m usually interested in what other people are thinking about/reading about/going through as well.
Sometimes (often?) I feel anxious about my talking tendencies. Sometimes when I’ve gone too long without regular talking outlets I’ve ended up verbally vomiting on the first unsuspecting person that comes my way—and that’s really embarrassing. But even when that’s not happening I can feel uneasy at the disparity between the amount of talking I’m doing and the amount of talking the next closest person is doing.
[Many years ago I heard a statistic—that women usually spoke about 25,000 words/day while men spoke less than half that. I don’t know how true this is, but I certainly do seem to have a lot more words than some people.]
Anyway, back to my anxiety. Because this blog post really is all about me.
One time I missed my book club in North Carolina because I was out of town. When I got back home several people said something to me about book club just not being the same without me. And then one book club friend said something that I just loved—she said, “We really missed your gift for conversation.”
Gift? A gift? Clearly I had never considered myself “gifted in conversation.” If I thought about it at all I was more likely to think of my self as “conversationally needy” or “overwhelming to non-talking people” or something like that. But I would much, much, much rather think of this as a gift. (While still trying to keep it under appropriate control, of course.)
Recently something happened that made me think through all of these thoughts again. Two days after Erin’s wedding, (after Russ & Josh had flown home and we had left Jenna to spend an extra week at Cindy Lynn’s house) Jared, Rachel, & I picked up Ken, Alisyn, and Connor and drove with them to central Washington for the second wedding reception. My motives in this were completely selfish—I had figured out long before that if I provided transportation to this reception that I would get to spend more time with them and that they would come and stay a day at our house before flying back to North Carolina.
My plan worked exactly as I had hoped. Hours and hours in the car with some of my favorite people, and no vomiting at all. (Yay!!) But here is where the slightly embarrassing part comes in. I will preface it by saying that I really hadn’t talked to Ken in quite a while—we try to talk every couple of months, but it’s hard to mesh our schedules with the 3 hour time difference. And while I talk to Alisyn much more regularly, she’d been really busy with last minute details leading up to the wedding. So there I was, in a car with the two of them (and the three kids, of course, but they were each in their own digital world) for 10 hours.
So I talked.
Almost without stopping.
The whole day.
All of the pent up thoughts and conversations and long drawn out explanations and everything else you can think of came spilling out of me.
Don’t get me wrong—they weren’t gagged or anything, they talked too. But I am enough of a realist to know it was so much more me than them. And that they were so so so kind to let me keep talking.
By the end of the day my throat hurt. My voice was all dry and crackly.
But oh—it felt great. I’d spend 10 hours in a car with Ken & Alisyn anytime!!
I’m still not entirely comfortable with my talking tendencies. I still worry that I overwhelm people, that I’m not following social cues well enough, that I should be embarrassed about the amount I talk. It’s been interesting to write about this and see how much concern I have about all of this. (Interesting—as I looked inside I sampled many stronger words like shame, embarrassment, and anxiety. But the right word was much milder—just concern.) It’s definitely something I need to keep working through though. Here’s a start:
“Hi, my name is Cindy and I’m a talker.”