I wrote recently about this superpower I possess called synesthesia. How I see letters and words in full color. And how I am going to defeat fear once I manage to harness my power properly.
It occurred to me this morning that my superpower might be the cause of quirky compulsions I also possess like the one that prevents me from listening to the Beach Boys in December, or drives me to listen to Van Morrison when the leaves start to change color and fall from the trees (even if I’m not living in the country in which they do.)
The connection between music and emotion is a studied one that’s not unique to me, but actually quite documented in human beings. But what about music and season? For me, the music must fit the weather outside. And there are singers or albums that are just completely inappropriate in winter, or off limits when I’m driving with the top down in July.
I looked into it a little. And guess what?
There’s a connection…and suddenly my strange compulsions don’t seem so compulsive anymore.
Studies show that music is connected to color and color is connected to emotion — particularly for people with synesthesia. From there, the connection is easy. Emotion as it relates to season is a no-brainer. Lots of babies are born in August, nine months after couples snuggle up together inside supposedly to warm up from winter’s cold. I think it’s more than shelter from the cold they seek; but love and interpersonal connection that is often sacrificed in the isolation that winter brings.
Ask the average Joe or Jane which emotion is aroused when they envision summer. Most will say joy. Freedom. Fun. Ask the same person to describe the accompanying emotions to winter, Most will say introspection, introversion or sadness.
What about you? What do you say?
Having superpowers can make a girl feel lonely sometimes. Like I’m the only one whose heart hurts as fall moves towards winter. But when I get like that I cry it out to Randy Newman … whose voice and lyrics match perfectly the melancholy and nostalgia that crop up for me in fall.
Or I listen to this video — a performance of his “I Want You to Hurt Like I Do” in Berlin– and I laugh. Knowing I’m not really as alone as I think.
9 thoughts on “One compulsion leads to another”
So true, all of it! While I don’t have your magical powers, I do feel the same deep emotional response to music. My husband was just playing an album of piano music called December, and the whole house now has that sort of bittersweet, snuggled up winter melancholy feeling. Like relaxing on a weekend by a fire while it snows outside. And like you say about the Beach Boys, I have trouble listening to what I refer to as my “hippy, happy music” unless it’s summer. Nope, you’re definitely not alone!
Hippy, happy music is totally summer! 🙂
This is so great to hear about firsthand. I gave a lecture on sensation and perception as part of my psych undergrad and really got the students attention with this topic. Such a gift you have!