Monday, February 19, 2007

The Colors of the World

So I found out late last week that I have a neurological disorder. Cool, huh!

I’ve tried explaining this weird thing my brain does probably a million times, and every time I do people end up looking at me like a freshly-shorn Britney Spears. But it’s completely true; there’s something special going on in my noggin. I swear I’m not making any of this up.

I should probably first clear up the fact that although this thing I’ve got—technically referred to as synesthesia—classifies under the category of “neurological disorder,” there’s nothing unhealthy about my brain. What I’ve got is no more or less than dangerous than color blindness or perfect pitch.

With that little caveat taken care of, allow me to delve into what exactly this whole phenomenon is (which might be hard because I’ve never written about this before).

I see/associate colors with absolutely everything—days of the week, letters in the alphabet, numbers, personalities, rooms, temperatures, music, names, and even situations. Before I figured out that these were called synesthesiae, I always called them “auras,” because there are literally colors enveloping everything I see, hear, and experience.

These colors aren’t physically there; so I don’t look at a person and actually see red or blue around their bodies, but in my mind’s eye, and in my gut, that person feels red or blue (or yellow or green or whatever). People have colors, and those who I know better and are more comfortable around tend to be warm colors like red, orange, or yellow, and those I do not know as well, or with whom I’m not as easy around, I tend to feel green or blue.

With music, more upbeat, full-sounding songs are warm. The more I like it, and the more it energizes me, the closer to red the aura is. Ballads are without fail a cool color, and the more emotional the song makes me feel, the closer to blue it will be.

Letters are a crapshoot, but every character has a color. Red always seems to be for things I like most, and as a result the red letters are B, R, M, and J. It’s probably no coincidence that these are the dominant consonant sounds in my own name.

Days the week and months of the year are wrought with color, too. Some make sense (October is orange, November is brown), while others seem to have no real rhyme or reason (April is yellow, June red).

In school I always used my colors to help with me things like tests. For example, I’d tackle multiple choice questions by lining up possible answers with the question until the colors matched. I’ve always studied for tests, but it was this method that made me absolutely sure even more so than just knowing the answer. I knew the answer because the colors were right, if that makes any sense. I guess it kind of worked like photographic memory.

I’ve also let color dictate a lot of my social interactions as well. If a party had a bad, weak, or muddy color, I wouldn’t go. If it were vibrant and warm, I’d be there. Bars around town that have cool colors associated with them are ones I tend to steer clear from, and ones that are warm are more enjoyable for me. I even had a couple of instances in high school where a situation felt great (red), but would change colors very quickly, so I’d bolt. Sure enough, Gates (who I’d be roaming the halls with during homeroom) would get caught doing something stupid minutes after I headed back to class. He called me “Angel” because I managed to do this so many times over our homeroom wandering careers.

It’s definitely made my life simpler, and it’s also why I enjoy simple organizational tasks. It’s sort of like fung shui, but actually based off of real feelings that I’ve got, and not some stupid commercial book that tells you were to put stuff (some of their suggestions I agree with, others not).

I probably don’t sound any less crazy than before I started writing this, but I swear that synesthesia is a real thing. See, even MIT acknowledges it! Besides, you shouldn’t call me crazy. I’ll use my super powers on you and douse you in magical colors. Mwoohahahaha!

Sorry. That was just the neurological disorder talking.

1 comment:

Wade said...

I always knew there was something strange about you! :)