I talk too much and take up a lot of space with my presence, because I have a need to be heard, to prove my worth and show that I belong where I am. Often I can't stop my thoughts and instead of listening, look for an opening for the next smart or funny thing I can bring up, so that everyone sees my brilliance and enthusiasm. And in a way, it makes me incredibly boring, as if I needed every conversation to be about my insecurities.
I have always admired people who are able to listen more, only bringing up their opinions for the things that truly mattered to them and not wasting their energy on most petty grievances. The focus they're able to have, that seems so alien to my scattered brain, always looking for something interesting to say, the constant me-me-me expressed loudly.
And recently it hit me - I have a very weak internal monologue. I need to write things out or say them out loud, otherwise I feel like I could burst with ideas. I don't stop for judgement of ideas in my head, as it never works to just think my thoughts quietly, I need to let them out or they'll overcrowd my brain. When I'm alone, I can do that by talking to myself, letting my voice be heard while I argue with multiple actors in my head. I can also do it by writing things out, pouring the monologue and organizing my thoughts on the fly. But I am missing the ability that many people seem to have, processing quietly and listening.
Talking to my family over the weekend, I realized that most of them have the same problem. We often interrupt each other, jumping between topics and throwing curveballs, in an ever-spinning fast-paced juggle of a conversation. We don't finish most of the threads, letting them die quietly as we jump to the next thing. And that way of communicating works for us, a loud big family with a lot of strong voices, but is not the most helpful when working with other people.
So I started working on some strategies to alleviate that. Putting events on my calendar and preparing for them ten minutes before, so I can brain dump my thoughts and only ask the important questions. Taking notes while other people are speaking, summarizing what they just said and checking my understanding. Getting a bunch of post-it notes and pouring comments while I read, do code reviews, watch videos, do pretty much anything that prompts my brain into an activity that takes me away from the current thread.
And then I mostly ignore the notes and the post-its, because most of my thoughts are not that useful long-term. They're for processing information that I can then summarize and use. Similarly to most of the thoughts I wrote out in numerous blogs and diaries, unless they have a detailed useful piece of information, like code samples or a recipe, I never go back to them. They're processing threads, not the purpose in itself.
It makes me want to write a novel, just to see how the filtering of thoughts would distill down to a coherent story. Maybe that's something I'd like to re-read and find myself in it.