Synesthesia: What It's Like To Hear Colors

Synesthesia: What It's Like To Hear Colors

Senses being intertwined is pretty cool.
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The idea of hearing sounds, tasting images, and feeling colors makes no sense to most people. As we reach the age of around three years old, our senses start to form clear boundaries against one another and they stop sharing the same space in our brain. For some people, like me, those boundaries never become very rigid. This is called a neurological condition called synesthesia: a “confusion of the senses.”


Scientists don’t have a very firm grasp on synesthesia yet. The scientific community does know that everyone experiences synesthesia at some level; for most people it’s very low. This is why everyone can understand “sharp cheddar” and “piercing sounds.”

There are many famous people who had or have synesthesia, particularly artists and musicians, such as Vincent van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe, and even composer Franz Lizst. Many famous artists and figures are what as known as “pseudo-synesthetes;” people who expressed a form of synesthesia in their art but do not actually have it. There is also a lot of speculation of past and present well known people who may have been synesthetes based on things they have said in their art or otherwise -- for example, Friedrich Nietzsche describes Shoepenhauer’s words as “green and black.” Many people with synesthesia involuntarily assign colors or personalities to words and numbers -- this kind of synesthesia is called ordinal linguistic personification. For example, I see the number eight as a woman who is sort of stuck up and vain.

There are two generally accepted umbrella forms of synesthesia: projective and associative. Projective is when one will actually see colors and hear sounds when their synesthesia is triggered; i.e., if a projective synesthete sees the color sage green, they may actually hear the sound of a water bottle cracking. Associative is when one feels a strong connection between the stimulus and the sense; like when I see green and blue plaid, I’m very much reminded of the smell of a park I went to as a child, but I don’t actually experience the smell.

There are several subcategories of synesthesia -- my mother and I both have spatio-temporal synesthesia, which is when one can see time as a spatial construct. It is thought that the most common type of synesthesia is chromesthesia, which is when sounds translate to colors. This is often where pseudo-synesthesia and speculated synesthesia for famous people comes into play, mostly in music and visual art.

While synesthesia is technically a neurological condition, most of us synesthetes do not view it as a hindrance to our lives, in fact, most of us feel blessed to have it, since it can be an aid to creative practices and memory. Many people with synesthesia do not know that our intertwining of the senses is unusual until we learn that the general population does not share these experiences.

If you have ever attached a color to a sound, or a taste to a physical sensation, I urge you to look further into synesthesia and consider the fact that you may have it. There are some books written on the topic, as well as some online resources. Becoming aware that one has synesthesia can be open a lot of doors, especially for artists and creatives.

(Statistics, facts, and general information on synesthesia paraphrased from the Wikipedia page on synesthesia.)

Cover Image Credit: wiseGEEK

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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If I Had To Choose Between Eating Roaches Over Shopping, I'd Say Hand Me The Roaches Every Time

Over many years, I have developed a strong disliking for shopping.

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Dear Shopping,

I hate you. I hate you with a burning passion.

Sure, I might like looking for shoes occasionally or buying some clothes, but all those times when my mother and sister dragged me along to shop were horrendous. Hours spent staring at aisles in which I had no interest, with the rest of my family bickering about what they should buy and what they should not.

Weekends, evenings, gone in an instant. Parts of my childhood that fell victim to boredom as a result of you. Extreme boredom, stuck with you, spending long minutes and hours with you, without you pleasing me or enticing me in any way. You interest me so little and have never ceased to bore me, even to this very day.

The amount of time and money wasted on you is torturous. I understand the necessity of you, but do you have to be so difficult? You suck the energy out of me every time I am with you. My memories of you when I was younger return in the form of nightmares when I sleep. Endless possibilities of fun snapped away when dragged to you.

Sure, you may be fun for a little bit, with all the goods you have, but multiple-hour trips to Costco? No, thanks. You disgusted me with all those trips to multiple grocery stores at once: one mainstream grocery store, one ethnic grocery store and so on. You have wasted full Saturdays and Sundays scrambling around trying to find the most random items that exist in the most random places in the most random stores.

The only type of you that I can bear is your online version. Amazon saves time, has relatively cheap pricing, good shipping times and a large array of goods. And even Amazon has a grocery option, to save you even more time. And with basically every store going into the online version of you, including Walmart, Target, Best Buy and more, what's not to like?

But even then, the hassle of payments and shipping, having to return items, looking at reviews, being scammed, are still a burden on anyone's soul. Hunting for the best deals and finding coupon codes only add to the stress. But hey, if it saves some time, its worth it to me.

And I know one thing for sure about my attitude towards you. It will never change. I despise you and will do so for the rest of my life.

Sincerely,

A Shopping Hater

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