(written in response to Can’t Stand Me)
Blushing has always been a problem for me. When I had to speak in undergraduate seminars I would feel the red flush spread from my neck to my face and chest as I staggered through what I had to say. I didn’t feel nervous, I didn’t stammer. My only feelings were a desire to express my thoughts and a desperate hope that this time I would not go red. But I always did.
These days I usually only notice it at the end of a conference presentation which, while still horribly embarrassing, is at least not distracting. I find that when I have something I want to communicate, I concentrate more fully on my paper and my subject, and my self-consciousness just floats away for about 15 minutes.
I still hate watching or hearing myself back. And I hate the idea of others listening to recordings too. But I push through it, and, in the interests of self-promotion, link to podcasts and photos of myself, telling myself that it has to be done.
(Like this horrible one that I only found when I googled myself in google images. Very much regretting wearing the boots with that dress…)
I have heard that self-consciousness, or hyper self-awareness, is a function of the frontal lobe. The reason older people don’t give any f*cks is because of deterioration in their frontal lobes, i.e. brain damage.
In some situations self-consciousness can be good. The idea of others’ eyes upon me, as an object of interest, as I just go about my daily life, can awaken me to the reality of my life, of my existence in the world – and remind me to put some makeup on, or change my food-stained sweater…
I think I’m going to embrace self-consciousness. I’d rather that than brain damage.
Do you have any thoughts about self-consciousness and self-promotion in academia? Leave me a comment below.