I never get used to hearing myself. I know it’s something I have to do, the more I intend to perform in public, but my voice sounds so different from how it does in my head that whenever I hear it on the radio (or wherever) I think it seems very nasal. It makes me feel like I’m two people: in my head I’m Helen Mirren – but on the radio, I’m Janice from Friends:
But Mark says I don’t sound like that to him, so maybe it’s just me. Maybe my ears are nasal…
It’s not only what you sound like though – it’s the way you look. More and more these days people are being videoed, photographed and splattered all over youtube, like me in this clip from Sound Cafe:
Even people with a high public profile have this problem: we’re all used to the sight of Stephen Fry and I guess most of us don’t analyse the way he looks; we just think, ‘Oh, there’s Stephen Fry.’ But apparently he hates the way he looks and spends as little time looking in the mirror as possible. I don’t much enjoy looking in the mirror either, but that’s something most of us get used to. We prepare a face to look in the mirror: but when you see yourself on video it’s a whole different ball-game. You don’t only look different from the image in your head; you behave differently. There are gestures you weren’t aware of; mannerisms you’d forgotten; facial expressions you didn’t know you made. It really takes you aback: and you look at the screen and say, ‘Is that really me? Is that weird woman really me?’
I don’t think I look particularly weird on video, but I do think I appear a bit dumpy. Mark (bless him) says not, but I think so. I’m really not fishing for compliments here; it just interests me the question of image, how we see ourselves and the imponderable question of how others see us. When you look at me what do you see?
Don’t answer that…
On a positive note, I’ve had a couple of very encouraging and supportive comments on my Mslexia blog-posts, so that’s all good. Read them here:
What do you think of the profile pic? I was going for ‘studious and slightly scary.’ Does that work?