When I was a boy of eleven, I started talking to myself on a regular basis. I was an only child and my father had just died. So, it was really my mother and I against the world. I felt very alone, but self-talk gave me comfort.
My self-talk involved explaining to myself what my daily experiences meant to me and who I was and why I acted the way I did. Also, what I needed to do to survive without a father.
When I grew up, not only did I talk to myself but I started writing. That’s when I began explaining myself to myself through my writing…
“Hey cousin, what’s all this “explaining to yourself” stuff, a form of therapy?”
“You could call it that, writing can be therapy.”
“Sometimes when I’m depressed, I feel like I need therapy,” said my cousin, soberly.
“What I’m talking about is explaining to yourself how you see the world in terms of your own life, occupation, and your immediate preoccupations, and how you should proceed in life.”
“This is getting deep!”
“Not really, you know the stories I write?”
“Oh yes, I like your stories.”
“Well, I usually ask hidden questions about the world through my stories. Why are we here? Who do we think we are? Looking for explanations and answers, the writer uses words to explore concepts.”
“Oh, I get it, we have gaps in our knowledge, so you fill the gaps with words.”
“Right! You’re getting the gist of this.”
My cousin smiled from ear to ear.
“When I write, I ask myself: What I’m thinking, what I’m seeing and what it means, what I want and what I fear, this is the explanation process of writing.”
“That’s interesting, you’re writing your self-talk!”
“I try to explain myself to myself so I don’t become someone I’m not. Life is difficult enough without being an impersonator too!”
“Hey cousin, I like that line! But how do the stories you write explain things to you?”
“I write dramatized explorations of all the emotional turbulence I experience, anger, love, hate, guilt and so on. Through my words I try to make these abstract concepts, concrete. So I understand myself better.”
“Sometimes, cousin, I wonder who I am, maybe I should start writing!”
“Just be yourself, you can do that better than anyone else.”
“You’re a philosopher, cousin.”
“When I read my own stories, even though the story itself is made up, I can tell that it has been molded by my own life experiences. And this helps me explain myself to myself, in other words, to understand myself.”
“Cousin, I’m going to take this “explaining yourself” stuff to heart.”
“I hope my rambling on has helped you,” I smiled.
“Oh yes, I’m going home now, to EXPLAIN to my wife that I’m going to lay down the law in our house, but I will probably have to accept all of her AMENDMENTS!”