Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which two senses are connected in a way they usually aren’t. For example one might experience that a certain letter has a specific colour, one can “see” a image of how time passes or connect different passages of music to colours and other visual images. Synesthesia often runs in the family and is generally considered a gift by those who have it. Some have a lot of synesthesia and others less.
My synesthesia is mostly connected to the passing of time, even though I also connect some letters to colours. A for example is a red letter. Actually my entire name is red. I made that connection as a child, because my natural hair colour is red. D is yellow because my sister Danielle’s natural hair colour is blonde. But mostly, the passing of time is where my synesthesia kicks in.
This is how I see the passing of days and weeks in my minds eye when I think about them. It’s a line divided into squares, each square representing a day, which disappears into the distance like a rail road track. I see numbers in the same way. Starting with 0 and going off in the distance the higher the number.
When I think about the passing of months of the year there are lots of images mixing together. First of all I see the house I grew up in with it’s garden. The months of the year circles around the house. The garden is divided into different seasons and each part of that season is divided into the months of that season. The black lines and writing isn’t something I see in my head, they’re just there in this image to better illustrate the concept.
If I think about a specific month, October for example, I see memories of myself from past Octobers during which I lived in this house, taking place in the area of October in the scene. I never see memories from a specific season outside of that seasons area and I never see memories which took place before or after I lived in this house. I guess that’s because this synesthetic scene developed during my early childhood during which I lived in this house.
For the same reason I don’t exactly see the seasons as they actually are where I live now. This scene is based on how the seasons were in the northern Sweden where I grew up. Up there November-April are winter months and the only real spring month is May. Where I live now March is spring and May summer so this is not at all an accurate picture of the seasons for me any more. Still, this is how I see the yearly cycle in my head.
When I think about the passing of years in my life I see a line of houses I lived in and schools I’ve gone to. They’re 3-dimensional of course but for simplicity I only drew them as squares in the same colour as the buildings were.
All buildings except for my middle school holds a chunk of years rather than individual years. My middle school is different though. It was a long building and the higher grade the further down in the building you had your classroom. That means I see the age of seven in the beginning of the building because that’s where the grade 1 classroom was located while I see the age of twelve in the end of the building because that’s where the grade 6 classroom was located.
I see all years as exteriors of buildings except for age 23-27, there I see the interior of the apartment I lived in during that time. I don’t see any buildings after age 27. In time, probably after I’ve left this apartment, I’ll most likely see the exterior or interior of my current home when i think about age 28-29.
Just like with the scene of months passing the scene of years passing also has memories on top of it. When I think about age eighteen I see memories from that age, not limited to taking place in the building of that age though, compared to the months passing scene which only holds memories taking place in the garden.
When I think about the passing of years in general and centuries rather than just about the passing of my life, I see a scene bearing resemblance to both the week scene and the passing of years in my life scene. Years runs like a rail road track which disappears into the distance. Centuries are divided into chunks. Instead of putting memories on top of this scene (for obvious reasons, I was born in 1983) I see pictures of how I imagine life during different phases of time on top of this scene. If I for example think about the year 1890 I focus on that part of the image and may see a picture of a cobblestone street with a horse drawn carriage and people walking down the street in clothes typical for the year of 1890.