Coming out as a Synesthete

One of my go-to sites, ,  often has interesting articles I like to read and share. Recently that site featured a brief article on synesthesia, something I had BAD case of as I was growing up. I suspect  it was linked to the epilepsy that plagued me as a child, because as I grew out of the epilepsy, the synesthesia also diminished.

Try, as a child, to explain to others the compulsion you feel to say or at least think to yourself a word when you taste a particular food. This apparently very rare form of synesthesia is called lexical-gustatory synesthesia, and it’s the variety I exhibited.

Another, more common type is called color-graphemic synesthesia, where, to the synesthete, words and numbers have “colors.” I only know this because a friend of mine once told me, “Words and numbers have colors to me. I have synesthesia.” I immediately recalled my old “word/food association thing,” as I called it, and described it to her. “That’s another form of synesthesia,” she assured me.

Well I’ll be darned!

So I researched synesthesia,  and sure enough, there’s information on this yet-again anomaly I’d had as a child that only served to set me apart even further from others.

Now, as a woman in my mid-50’s, I embrace the synesthesia as another aspect of my uniqueness. The condition has all but disappeared, but even now, when I do eat a particular food, I will remember, “Oh yes, that food went with this word once upon a time.”

Wish I’d known what it was back in the day. I could have embraced it as a superpower.

photo of abstract painting
Photo by Anni Roenkae on

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