Back on New Year’s Eve, I posted a video of myself on YouTube addressing my younger self. (If you missed it, it’s at this link.) I bring up that video because, for one, it was the very first time I presented a video of myself as Allison online. But also, I thought of that video when reading today’s Daily Post writing prompt, which asks which one of these do you find unbearable: Watching a video of yourself, or listening to an audio recording of your voice?
Well, I’ve previously been on record as not having a very good ability to impress others when presenting myself — no, not as Allison, but in a situation such as a speech, a job interview, or even a date.
But the question here comes down to my moving image or my speaking voice. And to be honest, when it comes at least to Male Mode Me, I can’t stand either one. I have squirmed uncomfortably when viewing myself (as Male Mode Me, that is) after making a videotaped presentation. Even after practice, my lack of confidence shows through my body language and my verbal skills.
If I’d have to rank one above (or below?) the other, I’d have to say my voice really makes me squirm. Did you ever have those feelings when you record your voice on, say, your outgoing voice mail message, then play it back and wonder, “Yikes! Who is that person?” Yeah, I get that feeling every time I hear my own voice being played back. Hearing my live voice coming out of my mouth, I think it’s a voice of, if not authority or confidence, at least one of competence and simplicity. Hearing it played back, however, I hear less of the “drive time DJ on adult contemporary radio” I think I hear in my head and more of “that doofus from the Northwoods with a nasal whine.”
You’re probably thinking, since I stated I can’t stand either looking at myself in a video or hearing my recorded voice, “Why do you hate your voice more?” I suppose it’s due to looking at myself in the mirror every day and being used to seeing myself that makes me think seeing me in a video (preferably a silent one) is the lesser of the two evils. I’m not the best looking male in the world (far from it, in fact), but knowing that how I look is as good as it’s going to get, and knowing at least some in the world will accept that reality, allows me at least a little bit of visual confidence.
Which brings me back to my recent video performance as Allison. I knew going in that I had a not-very-demanding audience (i.e. anyone who would come across the video). I also knew that my feminine voice would not be perfect, and that my Wisconsin accent would be noticeable. Still, the end result, while not perfect, didn’t make me squirm as much as if I was recording the video as Male Mode Me. I tend to think it has to do with the whole Clark Kent/Supergirl setup I have in my life: Male Mode Me is a shy klutz, but I have at least a little bit more self-confidence presenting as Allison. Also, that video was the end result of several tries, as I indicated in my accompanying blog post. Having several opportunities to get the video just right before posting certainly helped my comfort level.
So, to sum up: I’m not in love with either my moving image or my recorded voice, especially when I’m plain ol’ Male Mode Me. As Allison, however, I’ve found I do have a little more of a comfort level on both. Of course, that’s just based on one video as Allison. Will this prompt me to record more videos as Allison in the future? Well… perhaps, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to rent out a video crew and churn out one YouTube entry after another. For now, I’ll be satisfied with what I just posted (even though it may not have been Oscar-winning caliber) and think of what to improve on in the future. Whatever the result may be, I hope Allison’s video presentation skills can rub off on Male Mode Me.