Thinking in color
Contributor
Written by
Rose Deniz
December 2009
Contributor
Written by
Rose Deniz
December 2009
For as long as I can remember, I have thought in color. I envision the calendar year, for example, as a line drawing shaped like a dissected pie, each month represented by a wedge of color. Cheerful spring and summer months are aqua and pink, fall colors green and yellow, and winter ashen and purple. Colors have a particular sound and pitch. I grid what I see, make visual lists that hang like objects in space. The senses, handily there for our survival in a vibrating and chaotic world, are not always easy for me to differentiate. This hearing color thing, tasting shapes thing, is called synesthesia. I never understood why I didn't like malls or crowded spaces until I understood this extra-sensitivity factor. Sounds and motion reverberate in such a way that I can't chronicle the individual movements fast enough. Instead, I shut down. Moving abroad to Turkey, I found myself fatigued by even short trips to the grocery store. I would listen to Turkish, a language I didn't know much of at the time, and its tonal value would set off a flurry of reactions I thought was mainly from shyness and sensitivity. Everything I did outside of my house had to be done slowly, while inside I could work for hours sewing or drawing or reading without even noticing the time pass. And nearly always in silence, because music competed for attention, filling the airspace with more color and shape. The ability to visualize numbers and forms in space is the only reason I passed Algebra and Geometry in high school. Useful when trying to remember a sequence, like items on a menu, or when learning a new alphabet, it's less convenient when needing to block out noise, or quiet spaces are not to be had (like at a Turkish family gather under bright fluorescent lights with tea glasses clinking and aunties yelling over each other and uncles moodily discussing politics). I've carved out a nice space at home, though, where I can brush off the words that circle like ribbons of color and chatter like clacking keys and hush them to sleep. Is this you, too? Or are your senses more tame and obedient? [Slightly abbreviated version of original post found here.]

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Comments
  • Phoebe Wilcox

    This was very interesting. Summer evenings are lavendar or faint aqua. I am so busy looking at what people are wearing that I can hardly hear what they're saying. Or I'm looking at how sharp their teeth are. Things like that. And feeling anxious. Being near people makes me anxious! But I'm becoming a better, a more "here' person, I think. I'm pret-ty out there though, generally. Loved the blog, the wording. very nice. It was all different colors!

  • Rose Deniz

    Thank you, Gwyn, for your note! I've found that many people share some sort of perception quirk or heightened sensitivity that they may not comment upon because it doesn't seem extraordinary to them. It was only by comparison that I realized what I sense could be considered different from the norm. When I started to feel one step out of sequence with others. However, probably with more rigorous study, it would be found that "normal" perception is a myth, that the spectrum is far reaching. Happy Holidays! Thanks again for commenting.