Friday, May 9, 2008


I am a synesthete. A person with synesthesia experiences mixed perception; they involuntarily combine one sense with another. Although it can involve any of the senses, the most common form is when an individual associates color with letters and/or numbers. For example, the letter "A" may be known as red, "B" may be blue, "C" may be yellow, and so on. I borrowed the above chart from Wikipedia (that trusty source). I bothers me to read it because the color associations in it are not mine. 

My sister was the one who told me several years ago. Growing up, she and I played odd association games that no one else understood. I'm not sure how she learned she was, or what synesthesia even was. Personally I'm convinced that all people are synesthetes but according to more scientific sources on the subject, it is rare. It is not a big deal. [Trust me, I have weirder traits.]

One of my favorite books by my very favorite author (I know, big surprise, Amy) talks about an incident concerning mixed perception. A doctor's patient, who recently had gained sight after being blind from birth, "called lemonade 'square' because it pricked on his tongue as a square shape pricked on the touch of his hands." This is a lot like synesthesia.

I strongly associate people with colors. My husband "looks" like a Rothko painting, of dark green, navy, black and brown. My son Matt loves to wear green but it doesn't feel right to me, since I think he "is" blue (close to 7453, you Pantone freaks). Sarah is a bright fuchsia, with some sepia and sienna browns, although she says she favors blue. I have a feeling I'm celery green although it is neither my favorite color nor one I look good in. I experience synesthesia in other ways besides color but color is the biggest way. Color in general is very important to me, to see and to work with creatively each day. I get this through gardening, my house, graphic design, and sewing. And music has color to me.

All this brings me to my point, which is this: this week has not really been a sort of verbal week for me. I have nothing to say. What has been dramatic really isn't large to me, and what has been small has been large (does this make any sense?). So, I am leaving the colors of the week as part of my post. Anyone else experience this? Any other colors for the week to share?

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