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Confessions of a Synesthetic

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by , 6th February 2013 at 03:00 PM (294 Views)
One of my biggest pet peeves (and believe me, there are a lot of them) is people. People in general - in my line of work, you don't grow to be their biggest fan. I get an up close and personal look at our species' less admirable sides all day, 8 or more hours every day, taking crap and giving them sugar in return so I can keep this poor excuse for a job.
But one of these peeves actually doesn't involve my job... it's people I know personally. I will be asked what sort of music I like, and I decline to answer because it always ends up like this:
"What were you singing to in the car? I saw you rocking out when you pulled up."
"Nothing really, just something on the radio."
"What was it?"
"Er....One Direction. Don't look at me like that! I happen to like that song."
"Typical female. No taste in music."

Give me a second to defend myself; here, on this forum, where I am in no danger of being read by friends, I can vent without fear of judgment of anyone who can directly affect my life. I have only told two people close to me about this for fear of being labeled crazy.

I recently found out that I have something called color graphemic synesthesia: the perception of letters or numbers having colors. It's a real thing, and until about a year ago I thought I was a freak. It's not that I see these letters as colors; it's more that when I think of the letter E, for example, the letter brings with it the essence of a dark blue with lavendar undertones. "V" is a very lovely olive green. The only letter in the English alphabet that isn't tied to a particular shade for me is the letter "o", and subsequently I have a strange obsession with that particular letter. Numbers used to have the same ties, but as I've grown older that has faded away.
The strangest part is that I am the exact same way with music. Certain songs have colors that flux and flow, like an ever changing background in my head. It is an involuntery neurological response to auditory stimulation. I simply can't help it.
It doesn't have any logic attached to it, really...I've tried to find a formula or an equation that will hint as to what causes the colors, and what triggers certain shades. I can't put a finger on it.
I'll give you an example:

Come Away with Me by Norah Jones is one of the first albums that so exploded with colors that I took notice of this strange habit. One of my favorite songs, "Turn Me On," is a gorgeous slow wave of magenta, violet, gold and silver, with the bridge bringing in strands of white highlighting the other shades. It's probably not fantastic musical taste, but I love the added presentation in my brain when I hear or sing that song.
On the opposite end, the Foo Fighters are not one of my favorites. Not because their music sucks, because it certainly doesn't - they are very good at what they do. I really just don't like the colors that their songs bring to my mind. "Monkey Wrench" is, in my opinion, a great song but I just can't listen to it because the colors it evokes clash so completely: ambers, whites, reds, blues...things that really don't fit together.

There is no color wheel puzzle piece connection that makes any sort of sense logically. I wish I could sort it out and be able to flesh out what evokes what - but it isn't the instruments, it isn't the voices, it isn't even certain keys or notes. It's simply a visual sensation simulatenous to auditory stimulation (does that make sense? Those are my words and it sounds like a strange sentence. But I'll go with it.)

So, my dear friends who will never read this, don't call me names or condescend to me because of what I listen to. It's a stupid practice in the first place, and I have specific reasons for my erratic tastes in musical past times. Yes, I like Aqua! They are very neon and happy, even in their saddest songs. Yes, I like One Direction! Their melodies are very warm and velvety red. And yes, I still like Alanis Morissette. I love the greens and light blues. And Rammstein, I admit, I love their dark silvers and deep indigos.

Am I alone in this? Maybe. I don't want to tell many people in my daily life...I'm already sort of a ditz, and a nut, and I am the target of enough derision that I don't want to add fuel to their amused fire.
Does anyone else experience this sort of thing?

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  1. TheMissingno.'s Avatar
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    I have that as well. Not with letters at all really, but with music a lot. I used to think that everyone was that way, but when I talked to someone about it one day I found out that that was not the case. I don't really see why people would ridicule you for it though, they don't seem like very good friends.
  2. Hedface's Avatar
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    You're right, they're really not great friends. They're "macho nerds," I'm sure you know the type. Me being the only female and their superiority complexes along with their bewilderment at their own virginity makes me a constant target. Need new friends.
    I am glad that I'm not the only one, though :)
  3. TheMissingno.'s Avatar
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    Do you mean the kind that will call you not a true nerd, or a poser nerd, or a fake nerd girl or whatever for not achieving their arbitrarily established standard of obscure subcultural knowledge? Yeah, I don't like that type either. I tend to avoid the term "nerd" as it is loosely defined and people use it for several different purposes, kind of like the term "rock" in reference to music.

    I can't help you with real life, but I can be your internet friend if you want. I have more of an inferiority complex and if I were a virgin then I wouldn't be bewildered by it.
  4. Hedface's Avatar
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    Exactly! That's precisely how they are. They're "my boys," since I've known them for ten years and my role is more of a mother hen, so telling them to shove off is more difficult than just saying so. Inferiority is so much better than peacocking. An Internet friend would be great, although I warn you my social awkwardness is a bit jarring at first, until you learn Em-speak.
  5. Buoy's Avatar
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    but you are a virgin, themissingno :}

    only i can change that
  6. GuitarHero's Avatar
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    Don't let being judged by others get to you. I it is human nature and you will face it a countless more times in your life. People always have to one up you or put you down. I thinkit comes down to the fact people have to justify things they think are wrong with other people to make themselves think they are of higher status or a better person.

    As for the colors and such of music... This sounds really cool! I don't see this in my minds eye when I listen to music but I guess for me there is always acid

    o. O just kidding! *steps out*
  7. Hedface's Avatar
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    Thanks GuitarHero :) I suppose acid would be awesome for colored music...although I don't think I'd risk finding out, haha!

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