Also, I've sorted out the comment thing so that now anyone can comment. Please feel free to if you've found this in any way interesting. This is a completely true account of how I think of things, and hopefully I've worded it in a way which makes some shred of sense to at least one of you.
I see things like they’re colours. There’s a name for it, but I can’t remember what it is. I don’t think I’ve explained myself very well; what I mean is, when I think of days of the week, months, numbers – whatever, my mind associates a colour with it. Wednesday is yellow, February is an icy sort of blue and the number two is red. Sometimes ‘two’ is big and red on a yellow background, but that’s not all the time.
I swear, by the way – in case you were wondering, that I’m not under the influence of any alcohol or drugs – this is an ‘all-the-time’ thing. Synaesthesia. That’s what it’s called. There are other types – some people personify these things, rather than just let their mind colour them in.
I place so much emphasis on colour; perhaps because of my ‘condition’, perhaps because I’m mildly obsessive-compulsive in my tendencies. I like to put coloured pencils and felt tip pens in ‘colour order’. My idea of colour order is essentially the order of the colours in the rainbow. Sometimes I like to start with red and move through orange, then yellow, through green then blue, purple, pinks etc. Sometimes I mix it up and begin with yellow; as long as it’s logical in my mind. Sometimes I spend minutes, sometimes ordering my stationary can take half an hour – there is no greater joy than getting a set of coloured pens of pencils which are already in the right order.
I also eat sweets in colour order. Although, that tends to be flavour-based; unless it’s M&Ms.
It’s not as uncommon as you might think and it’s not unpleasant. It only becomes unpleasant when something interrupts the order in which I place my colours; I hate so much when someone else uses my pens/pencils and put them back in the wrong places. I hate this for two reasons; firstly, it makes me physically uncomfortable to see colours in the wrong order – yellow should never go next to dark blue, green should not go next to red unless it’s Christmas. Secondly, I feel really awkward and regimented sitting there swapping them all over in front of them, so I have to be uncomfortable about the placement of my pens until I can move them. It’s fine if they’re in a pencil case as they move around by themselves, but if they’re in a line, it makes me crazy.
The only thing about being obsessive about colour order for whatever reason, and also seeing things as colours, is that I get pretty irritated that I don’t see the days of the week, the months or number sequences in colour order. I can live with that in terms of months and numbers, which I’ll explain – months have more pastille colours than weekdays so the colours look far more pleasant together than Wednesday and Thursday do. Numbers are brighter colours, typically, so also look more pleasant together. In addition to this – numbers are rarely (past the age of 6 or 7( orange and purple)) placed in order of 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. Therefore, numbers present less of a problem in my mind because they jump around a lot. I should/could also mention here, that numbers don’t often remain still; they sometimes pulsate and expand and shrink. I think that comes under the same umbrella as seeing things as colours; like I said, there are different types of Synaesthesia.
Going back to days of the week – they’re a sequence, and are written one after the other generally, or at least are thought of in order. This then becomes like the pen thing, where dark blue and yellow look awful and uncomfortable together in my mind. I think I said earlier that Wednesday in yellow; Thursday is a dark purple, so looks marginally better than dark blue would, but the yellow of Wednesday is murky and mustard like – not a nice canary yellow like the number one is.
The honest truth about this is that if you don’t have Synaesthesia, you won’t really understand synaesthesia. This has probably been the best way I could describe and/or explain it, without getting super technical. The other truth, of course, is that I have very little clue as to the technicalities here; I think it’s to do with synapses in the brain interacting in abnormal ways – which is fun.
Life is so good with this much colour, and I can’t imagine a world where things weren’t colours; probably in the way that you can’t imagine which kind of crazy I see the world through.
One last thing I will say is that I’ve seen things in this way since I knew what numbers and letters and colours were – so as far as I know, it’s not something you develop. The colours may have faded as I’ve gotten older, but that could be down to the day; sometimes colours are just more vivid. If only you could see the plethora of colours which I can see right now while I’m putting this into words. (Mostly it’s purple, but there are splashes of red and orange here and there, and bits of blue - it’s nicer than it sounds.) I will tack a quote I found when I was looking for the name of this which I totally got, and which made me feel pretty warm inside: '...Pat Duffy told her father, 'I realized that to make an R all I had to do was first write a P and draw a line down from its loop. And I was so surprised that I could turn a yellow letter into an orange letter just by adding a line."
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy the rest of the festive season, Laura