manabananafox asked: Could you explain to me more about your Synesthesia? I read a little on wikipedia after I saw it in your 5 random facts. Mainly because I may have this. Always had strong associations with people and colors (and visa versa). Not worried of course (unless I should be?), just mainly interested as I never knew there was a term for it.
Sure! I have a few different kinds. They’re nothing to worry about, though autism spectrum disorders have been anecdotally linked with synaesthesia. It probably doesn’t mean you have Asperger’s though. x3
These associations make me happy and amused and I don’t think anything is wrong with em. Probably just leaky neuronal paths in the brain that have formed into associations. (i’m far from an expert in neuropsychology, but it is interesting as heck) Sometimes they help me remember things, like when a street name is a number (there’s 620, 2222, and 1341 that i use fairly often, they’re orange and red and green respectively in these configurations).
This is a common one, but numerals are colors, 1 = red, 6 = peach, 2 = orange, 3 = green, 4 = bluish green, 7 = yellow, 8 = orange, 5 = blue, 9 = purple; they have personalities too, 1 is firm and straightforward, 6 is sassy, 2 is like a nice distant relative, 3 is the jerk who picked on me in elementary school, 5 is a really good friend.
Letters have personality and gender (examples: a = female, shy; b = male, gregarious, h = male, gentle; r = male, gruff). This can change depending on how the letters are rendered, for instance single-story a’s are shy but double-story a’s are almost off-puttingly sarcastic. (see here for explanation, double on the left and single on the right) Font choices on things carry a lot of personality, and I think design-minded people can sense it, but it’s pretty strong for me. It was stronger when I was younger though.
Voices become flavors, usually sweet things, and more often than not ice cream. Creamy cherry, rocky road, orange sherbet and licorice are some of my closest friends. I don’t actually taste them, but they bring about the memory of a flavor. The memory might change over time, like I have an old friend who is generally cinnamon, but has become like a fruit salad over time.
Music is colors and shapes, kinda like Kandinsky had, but more geometry and texture and setting. Instruments in general feel like different textures. It’s also space to an extent, like a particular room or a mall or a museum. Rhythm is pockets of space or decorations in the walls, nooks and indentions and moulding.
Some musical associations I have (you can generally skip to the middles of these songs to get an idea of what they sound like, if they’re unfamiliar):
- “The Private Psychedelic Reel" reminds me of this Galaxy s2 wallpaper like fast forward-directed motion and straight lines
- “Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House" is unfocused bokeh circles, bright against a dark background, and a very small room looking out
- Harpsichords like this (Vampire Weekend’s “M79”) feel like patterns like this, soft and structured, but pliable, diamonds in particular, as if a wall were covered in knitting instead of wallpaper
- “Glasshouse Tarot" is isometric-view video games like Landstalker with its choppy, echoey, pixelly sounds, very rhomboid
- Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter” is like a ride on an airship, unsteady and grand, fluffy and starry
- “November" is black and blue and splotchy like a dark impressionist painting, cold and slimy, full of icicles and uncomfortably open space probably one of the most depressing songs I’ve ever heard
- Speaking of Tom Waits, he has one of the most amazing voices, something like sweet chopped hazelnuts from an old can and “Johnsburg, Illinois" is warm flannel and probably my favorite song of his
- Ratatat’s music is bands of orange light on warm colors on drywall, soft and warm and basement-y, but with an almost colonial flair
- “Runners Standing Still" is hard and warm bakelite (beige and black and shiny) but with breaths of water vapor and neon lines
When I’m listening to music, the associations will be enough to drown out the actual notes, lyrics, or whatever accoutrements it has. Or it will mix with them like a bit of idea on a brain-palette. I’ll often miss out on a meaning until someone points out lyrics or I listen to a whole bunch of times.
Sometimes it goes both ways, like a well-done architectural drawing will look like complex chords or blinking lights are a cacophonous drum circle. I once was really stoned and watched router lights blink madly creating impromptu drum and bass beats. Nonmusical sounds like a fire alarm or washing machine will have certain melodies. I really like harmonizing with droning things like microwaves because they have so much softness to them, it’s like laying on a soft mattress.
Anxiety causes either music to loop in my head, with more anxiety creating shorter loops of song. It might be something I’ve heard, or something new. I’ve turned this into a song before. I’m not sure if this is really synaesthesia since anxiety isn’t a sense, but who knows.
So uh yeah, I enjoy talking about this a bit. I could go all day. I hope that’s not too much! Talking about the thing is kind of awkward in a sense because it can’t give a feeling of the thing. But it can expose the weirdness, I suppose. For another kind of perspective, check out this writeup on e2.