Can’t Stand Me

Today’s post comes courtesy of The Daily Post‘s daily prompt, which asks us: “What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?”


This prompt piqued my interest because as I read and re-read the question I realized that my answer would have been completely different just a year and a half ago. What happened within that year and a half to change my mind? My YouTube channel happened!

Back before I started my YouTube channel I would have absolutely said that watching myself on video was the more unbearable prospect. I’ve always found myself to look so awkward and pathetic on camera, so much so in fact that when I first got the idea to start a YouTube channel I almost threw that idea right into the trash. I thought it would be fun to do unboxing videos, but I also loathed the idea of actually sitting down and talking to a camera, only to then have to review the footage and deal with the reality of how ridiculous I would look. I’m a naturally awkward person when it comes to things like public speaking or being the center of attention, and somehow video felt just as bad, if not worse. Those first few videos I shot were actually a strange form of self-torture. I would sweat and stutter through the entire recording, and then cringe and twitch as I tried to edit the footage into something that didn’t make me feel like burning my camera.

But it’s been a year and a half since I first started recording those videos, and I’ve really become rather used to it. I still have moments when my brain completely shuts down on me – you’d be amazed to see how many flubs and bloopers I actually edit out of every video – but I feel much more comfortable in front of the camera these days, which means that the recordings themselves turn out significantly less torturous to my own personal senses. I’ve even been known to get a chuckle in at myself. I no longer mind at all watching myself being played back.

My voice, however…that’s another story. Technically you could say that the recording of my voice is part of the videos, but somehow when video and audio are linked it doesn’t seem all that bad. It matches. It works. But when it’s just a recording of my own voice, when I can’t actually see my own mouth moving and the words coming out… I shudder just thinking about it. And I think many people feel the same way because, as we know, our voices sound different inside our own heads due to the vibrations within the bones in our ears. Every one of us sounds different to ourselves than we do to everyone else around us, and usually when presented with the voice that everyone else hears we recoil in horror. “Do I really sound like that?” It’s an extremely common notion.

Mind you, most people don’t have to listen to themselves on audio recording all that often. Personally I avoid it at all costs, which is the main reason I run to another part of the house whenever my husband starts watching one of my videos; I can’t stand to listen to myself blaring over his laptop speakers while I’m trying to do other things. It’s unnerving. Uncomfortable. Unacceptable, even.

Or maybe I’m just crazy. What do you guys think? Which is the more unbearable thing to have to experience?

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10 thoughts on “Can’t Stand Me

  1. I have a hard time watching myself on video if I’m talking directly to camera. It’s okay if I’m doing something away from the camera and someone is recording me. It’s weird to see my own facial expressions while I’m talking. I don’t mind listening to myself, though.

    • I’m actually the opposite. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been doing YouTube videos for quite a while now, but I don’t really mind watching myself talk to a camera, but when it’s a video that, for instance, someone recorded without me knowing…*shudder*

      • Perhaps that’s the difference. In videos T recorded of me doing/saying something it was weird to watch. I’ve never watched a video of myself simply talking to the camera as in your unboxing vids. Crash really wants to start his own Lego channel. Good idea?

  2. About talking to a camera, I have had occasion to do some presentations on TV and I found that when I took time and prepared well, I usually liked the way I performed. Meanwhile, I have never thought my voice on radio to be great; but many people think the contrary. For my photos also it always looks to me like others always look better than me in photos.

  3. Totally agree with you! I hate to hear my voice. Previously working in a call center meant I had to suffer thru it often. *shudder* but I don’t seem to mind as much thru video, even if I seem to have weird facial expressions. Haha

  4. I’ve been on camera a few times. It doesn’t bother me much. But my voice… I sound like the dullest English professor any poor student could ever suffer. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, but I’m sometimes surprised I have friends.

    • lol That DOES should a little harsh. I’ve often felt the same way when listening to my voice though…I don’t think I sound dull, but when I listen to myself in a recording I find my voice sounds ridiculously un-feminine and annoying, and it makes me wonder how people don’t cringe when I talk to them.

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