Saturday, September 3, 2011

(In)Voluntary Silly Voices

It was pointed out to me (not recently) that I have a surreal silly voice that I use sometimes. I've also been told that this voice is really grating/annoying, and that it can have the effect of disconnecting me from the people around me, and possibly cause them to take me less seriously.

I noticed that I used it quite involuntarily yesterday at work, in front of a lot of my co-workers. I was kind of embarrassed, in part because no one laughed, no one else was really talking, and so it probably stuck out quite a bit. I'm not sure how it received, and whether the person who brought the silly voice to my attention is right or wrong generically about how annoying and disconnecting it is for other people (besides them). I know that my readers/responders tend to be more supportive than not, and might say 'feck 'im and love the way you are,' but understanding this behavior and when it may be inappropriate is important to me. I don't really want to alienate myself. I agree that the effect it has, especially in situations when I need to be grown up or professional or just not stick out as odd, is alienating and can seriously affect negatively how people see me.

I love my sense of humour. I love being silly, saying wry things, pretend or surreal things, things I don't actually believe for comic effect, and since I can't do deadpan, I'll tend to go the other way and be totally silly about what I'm trying to be funny about. I don't want to shut down feeling amusement at my thoughts that are amusing. So I'd like to partially transform my behavior (as opposed to completely), rather than squelch the naturally good things about this phenomenon.

Since I can't/won't publish an actual sound clip, you'll sort of have to take my word for it. It's higher than my normal voice. It's kind of like a cartoon character. It happens more often, I think, when I'm nervous, but also [in combination with] being kind of elated, happy, or just in a good mood. 

I'm trying to think of examples of what I'd say in this silly voice. 

"Uhoh, burned the rice again. Silly rice cooker"
"Oh, but Ms Palin is the smartest person in the world."
"Look, it's a monkey!"
"But my brain! It's melting...."

I suppose when I quote movies (which I don't do often enough for it to be a stereotyped feature of my speech), I use the silly voice.

When I say something I don't really mean, but it is ironic or pretend, I use the silly voice.
When I am being sort of childish, but mocking myself in doing so, I use the silly voice.

So. First step to changing anything, right, is awareness. After that, compassionate modifying, maybe by not using the silly voice in certain situations, like work, and if I find myself doing it, slipping up as it were, I can not berate myself about it. Maybe I'll find out it is really truly involuntary. But maybe it's possible to change it. Maybe, like at work, I have to actively not share some humourous thoughts I have, even if that means I'm appearing a tad too one-dimensional. I'm not sure. 

I suppose, boiling it down, this is about NT humor and my odd aspie kind of humor, something I did develop from interacting with my (undiagnosed aspie) family, and it's something that I enjoy. It's not something everyone will understand, and I'm better off being seen as odd but enjoying life than squelching what brings me joy. 

[Deity] knows I spend enough time in hand-wringing anxiety, depression and pain.

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