July 17, 2021

Technically, I don’t have synesthesia. But my brain does something similar, with extra steps.

Each letter in the alphabet makes me feel a certain way. It’s sort of like an aura, but felt instead of seen. Colors also have auras – an emotional experience on top of a sensory experience. And a letter can feel similar to a color – for example, “K” has the same aura as purple.

So, I don’t actually see letters in color. But things happen as if I did. I mix up street names if they map to the same color combination, and I don’t catch puns if they depend on words that sound alike but are spelled differently.

I might call it synesthesia if I could easily tell you the color of a given letter. But there’s an extra layer of translation involved. I have to think about the letter, think about various colors, and pick the pair that fits best.

Synesthesia is very common in autistic brains. As with many classic autistic traits, though, my version is a bit more complicated.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.