My Neurological Condition

So about a month ago I stumbled upon a blog in which the author made a comic about how she has, quite unconsciously, assigned genders and personalities to numbers and letters.

Copyright 2010 AK Tettenborn or something, probably. Don't sue me!

I found it amusing because I do the exact same thing, but what got me excited is when she explained that this was due to her experiencing a neurological condition called “synesthesia,” and this was a mild form of it called “ordinal linguistic personification.”

Do you know what this means?  It means that I HAVE A NEUROLOGICAL CONDITION!  Man, that’s cool.

I do exactly what she does, except all of mine are unique to me.  I also:

  • See various ordered sequences within a defined 3D space.  This is most prevalent with the calendar year and the alphabet, and to a lesser degree the days of the week and past decades.
  • Visualize shapes and colors when I hear songs, though it’s not as strong as some synesthetes, who can paint songs or even develop perfect pitch because they hear certain notes and keys as specific colors.  I once tried to “draw a song,” but I couldn’t pin the images down enough and it was hard to figure out how to draw them within a gravity-less, 3D space.
  • Involuntarily see groups of notes in a song I’m learning as hostile towards the notes I already know, and the tension doesn’t subside until I learn it all perfectly . . . though I never forget their anger.  Never . . .  That actually happens with anything I’m concentrating on immensely, but music is the most common.

I know the first two are synesthetic, but I haven’t found anything confirming 100% that the third one is.  It just seems like it should be.

So in case you’re wondering:

1 is a boy.  He’s the rounded guy.  The straight man.  The Mario to everyone else’s “Rest of the cast of Mario 2.”  The Michael Bluth to everyone else’s . . . the rest of the Bluths.

2 is a girl.  She’s mean.  Like Lucy from Peanuts mean.  It’s probably due to some form of insecurity she has buried.

3 is also a girl.  She hangs out with 2 a lot.  She’s not as mean as 2, but pretends like she is when 2 is around.

4 is a boy.  Just . . . a boy.  Who is unassuming and plays a lot.

5 is also a boy, who spends a lot of time playing with 4.

6 is a girl.  She lives next door to 4 and 5, but never plays with them because she’s too old for them.  Kind of like Angelica from Rugrats, minus the interaction.

7 is a boy.  His age is early teens, but early teens as seen by, say, a kindergartener, not as seen by an adult.

8 is a girl, as is . . .

9, and they are both in late high school and hang out at the mall together and can drive cars and talk about boys all day.

0 is a girl . . . and she’s that one who’s everyone’s acquaintance but no one’s friend.

10 is a boy.  That’s all.

The numbers 11-19 take on the same personalities and genders as 1-9, just a little older, and then 20 is female because 2 is female, 30 is female because 3 is female, and so on, up to 100, who is a boy, just like 10.  Any numbers like 25 or 56 or 92 are seen as pairings of single digits rather than having their own unique traits.

And the letters aren’t quite as detailed.  Due to the length of the alphabet, I’ll copy AK’s method to start:

A,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,T,X, and Y are all boys.

B,P,Q,R,S,U,V,W, and Z are all girls.

O is a girl, too, but she’s kinda butch.

So A, B, and C are buds and hang out a lot, as are D, E, and F, but D and F are closer friends than E is to either of them.  G-L are kind of like jocks.  No specific sport, just that “we’re cool and we know it” kind of thing.  But G and H are kind of their own unit within the group of jocks, though.  M and N are buds, too, and they split their time between being cool with the jocks and hanging out with the ladies, O, P, Q, and R.  S is a very mature girl, and T is her boyfriend.  U and V are T’s sisters.  X, Y, and Z are their own clique, and W is the only one that serves as a bridge between them and everyone else.

I’m not making any of this up as I write this.  Well . . . I’m defining it more than I ever have before, but I’m not making it up anew.  Also, what’s important to remember with this is that all of this was and is completely unconsious and not based out of any purposeful reasoning.  There’s probably some “relationships” that I’ve determined based out of how I learned them, but none of it was on purpose.  One of the more interesting things is that I see “B” as female, despite not only the word “boy” starting with a “B,” but both my first and last names begin with “B.” I can’t explain it; it’s always appeared female to me.  (And NO, it has nothing to do with the shape, either).   Among all the things that have fascinated me about this, what gets me the most is when I see A.K.’s comic, and her gender assignments are almost all opposite of mine, and they not only FEEL wrong, but her drawings LOOK wrong.  For example: 4 in hers looks like a cross-dresser to me.  Seriously.  Like, as cross-dressy if my dad or one of my brothers walked into the room wearing pearls and a dress and eye makeup.


College was confusing for 4, and eventually he moved to Capitol Hill.

What’s actually a little frustrating is that I’ve learned that more extreme synesthetes are able to utilize their experiences to accomplish tasks better.  I mentioned how some can develop perfect pitch, and others can do math faster, and some have incredible memories . . . where as I can be the focus of an interesting conversation at a party.  One conversation per party, though.  People look at you weird when you walk around the room telling everyone, “Two is a b*tch!  No one except Three likes her!”  Ain’t that just the way it goes?  I kind of feel like Meg when all the Griffins got amazing superpowers, and she got the ability to grow her fingernails really fast.  Oh well–no harm, no foul.

Special thanks to AK Tettenborn for the use of the images, of which she is the artist and owner.  So back up off that.  Her blog is awesome.  Go there.


4 responses to “My Neurological Condition

  1. This made my day… I can’t believe 4 grew up and moved to Capitol Hill.

  2. Congratulations on defining your Synesthesia. I have it, too. I wrote about mine here if you’re interested:

    Sadly, mine hasn’t made me better at anything. 🙂

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