When I was a young man in high school and university I was in the habit of always talking about myself. It was always me, me, me in the manner of my breed. In adult company - my parents and their friends - I talked about what I was studying at school, what books I was reading, what movies I watched recently, and what I thought of stuff. Schools encouraged, cultivated and promoted this, and rewarded pupils who were good at it. Looking back on myself, I guess I look kind of silly, but not atypical. I don’t suppose people’s opinion of me was mitigated by the fact that I was an authentically interesting person with interesting things to say.
Later, after my children were born and began to grow I evolved into talking about my children instead of myself. Now that my children are pretty much grown I don’t say/speak much of anything anymore, although I write a lot. I’ve learned that no one really cares about what I think on the one hand, and on the other hand saying what one really thinks in social situations is an extremely ill-advised enterprise. (We’ve got the right to free speech, but don’t be stupid enough to actually try it.)
I read a lot, and that is a form of self-expression. Plus I write a lot: my Personal Newspaper; my blog; by Facebook page; occasional Reddit posts; occasional letters-to-the-editor of print newspapers; occasional stories in print magazines. But I readily admit that what I write might or might not be true. The thing is that when no one cares what you think (or when you are denied permission to an opinion) that leaves only two options: 1) say nothing at all to anyone; or, 2) say ANYTHING at all to everyone. Number 2 is more fun. To give fair warning, my speech as well as my writing are habitually accompanied by a disclaimer that what I am saying or writing only might be true.