- The production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.
- The poetic description of a sense impression in terms of another sense, as in “a loud perfume.”.
Until I was in my early 30’s I had absolutely no idea that the way I saw the world had an actual scientific term.
I don’t remember what prompted me to mention it, but many years ago, during a conversation with my first high priestess, I explained that every letter, number, and sometimes words were in color, even if the text was black on a white page. That each letter had the same color, unless it was in a particular word that had it’s own color scheme. Truthfully, I’d never told anyone this information before, it simply never came up.
I further explained that I can recall a phone number or date easily based on an emotional response. Each number has it’s own color and when I read a series of numbers those color combinations then evoke an emotional response for me.
Days after this conversation she called me to tell me she’d seen an episode of 60 Minutes where they discussed a condition called Synesthesia. Apparently THIS was the name of my “condition”.
Frankly, I never thought much about it. It’s how I always remember things being and it was sort of like breathing, it was just the way things looked for me and it never dawned on me that other’s didn’t see the world this way.
So I did some research.
Turns out I have the most common form of synesthesia called Grapheme – Color Synesthesia. Though many of us might associate the same color to a few letters, such as the letter A is most often red, which it is for me, no two people will have the same color associations across the board.
I can only assume that this would explain why I can sometimes be overwhelmed by colors or look at certain abstract art and have both an emotional and physical reaction to it based on the color combination.
When I was little, my mother would take me with her to the fabric store and I would make a bee line for the button display. I would marvel at all the pretty shiny colors. Now when I go into an art supply store I have a similar reaction in the markers and paint aisles. The downside of this is that I become a bit of a color-hoarder. Haha! You should see my art and nail polish supplies!
I can also get incredibly overwhelmed in similar situations. Certain shapes and colors can either mesmerize me or make me so uncomfortable that I want to run and hide.
I have a similar issue with shapes. At a very young age I remember being massively creeped out by the front grill of our Datsun B210 because it had a honeycomb pattern. For some reason I just couldn’t bare to look at it without wanting to be sick. Any type of honeycomb pattern would deeply upset me.
Fortunately that changed in time, it no longer upsets me now, rather it can mesmerize me if it’s done with clean lines. Repeating circles have a similar effect on me. Also, I chose the stone for my engagement ring to be square because most of the rings I tend to wear are either rectangular or square. I’m soothed by their shape.
Last night Chris and I were looking at wedding invitations and we came across one that had bold red and purple zig zag lines in the background. I just wanted to sit there and gaze upon it for a while, but Chris felt the opposite, it was difficult for him to look at.
My kind of synesthesia is only one of several kinds that people have. Some might hear, taste, or smell color, while others may taste, smell, or see sounds! It’s all really quite amazing! To date scientists have documented approximately 20 different varieties of synesthesia.
Doctors aren’t certain as to why exactly people have this crossed-senses condition, but many believe that it’s hereditary and have found that it occurs more in women than men. They believe that about 1 in every 2,000 people has a form of this condition.
As I’ve been writing this post I’ve come to realize that my kind of synesthesia is much more complex than I had originally realized and that I should look further into it. There’s a number of organizations and even an annual conference I may look into attending.
I’ve only met one other person who has a similar reaction to color as I do, but to date I have not yet met another synesthete.
Simply because I can, I’m just going to add a music video to the end of every post…
Did you know there’s a German Reggae/Dancehall group? Here’s a band that always manages to get me up and dancing. The second song on this video is the music I use for Chris’ ringtone: “Wonderful Life”. Sich Erfreuen!