I can taste words.
I didn't realize, when I was seven or eight years old, that this wasn't normal. I thought everyone would have the tang of a tangerine on their lips when they heard or said 'Thank you', or that everyone puckered their lips when they said 'Sorry' because the sour taste of a lime had settled on their tastebuds.
I didn't know, probably because I was homeschooled. I went to a normal school, in a new town, when I was ten. In the first week, I realized that there was something not normal about me, because when a girl in my clique said the word immortality, I grimaced because the taste of iron had appeared in my mouth. I had commented that the word tasted gross.
I lost a possible friend that day. I was too weird.
Quietly, I began to research it on my own, and discovered by the time I was 13 that I had Lexical to Gustatory Synesthesia. The nerves in my brain are all messed up, so when one of my senses is provoked, another one is, too. My family wasn't very big on money at the time of my discovery, so I kept my self-proclaimed diagnosis to myself. I think my family still doesn't know, I'm not sure.
My type of Synesthesia is pretty rare, but Synesthesia in itself is more common than most think. It's different for everyone; with mine, if someone said a word, like, say, 'Moron', my brain processes the word and the tone of voice that it's said in, and gives me a flavor in result. The word 'moron' in a normal tone of voice tastes like apricots. Angrily, it tastes a bit like pretzels.
I choose my friends depending on how their voice tastes, and how their name tastes. My best friend is named Sarah, which tastes like toasted coconut. When she talks, I get varying flavors of banana; banana cream pie, banana pudding, banana taffy, anything banana. Sometimes I get pineapple, but only sometimes. I really enjoy hearing Sarah talk. On the other hand, I had a friend named Sienna. Her name tastes like strawberries, which I really, really don't like. When she talked to me, I kept tasting raw fish. While she was a nice person, I couldn't hang around her and keep tasting raw fish. We only talk over the internet now.
My type can also, strangely enough, give tastes for emotions. If a boy has a crush on me, and he is talking to me in a tone which suggests that he likes me, it doesn't matter what he is saying- all I taste in my mouth is mint, and I will continue to taste mint in my mouth whenever he speaks to me until he stops liking me. If someone is speaking to me and they're disappointed, I taste sour grapefruit.
This also works for music, too. People have always commented on my odd taste in music, and I have to keep myself from replying that I like it because it tastes good. Different instruments have different tastes, and so I listen to a lot of intrumentals. Cello music tastes like a brownie. Piano tastes like hot tea. Tuba tastes like watermelon.
The tastes can get overwhelming, however; When a lot of people are talking in one place, the flavors get very strong, and I sometimes have to go to a quiet place for a while, or chew some flavored gum to try and drown it all out.
So, yeah. That's basically what my Synesthesia is. I decided to write this up, since I've accidentally let loose a couple words lately that I didn't mean to let out (I was listening to a guy in my science class talk to me, and when he asked why I wasn't talking as much as normal, I absentmindedly responded that I liked the way his voice tasted. In my defense, his name tastes like Rasberry jam tarts, and his voice tastes like Pecan Pie. How on earth could I give that up?! It's like Thanksgiving!), and I'm pretty sure that some people will want some answers on my odd behavior lately.
Originally published on March 19, 2013.