Post Eurovision Depression — Synesthesia

And so it has begun, this post Eurovision depression we all sink into. Months and months of build up to the Semi Finals and Grand Final. Listening to our favorite, watching videos of our favorite, and rabidly discussing and defending our favorite songs and countries, in hopes the ones we feel are most deserving take the crown. We engage on Twitter, YouTube, through blogs, through Facebook, and even SMS. Some of us use Snapchat, Periscope and Instagram to keep up to date with all that’s going on in the world of “ESC”. We make friends, we make enemies, and through it all, we remain passionate about the music, we love it, or we hate it. We are both positive and negative. Some of us are more one side than the other. I myself find myself extremely passionate and viciously negative against the songs and countries I dislike. It’s gotten me into trouble a few times. Other times, I am positive and compassionate and support those I like. However, make no mistake, I critique thoroughly the things I like and dislike. While I can’t call a winner by any means (or if I can, I like to deny it), I certainly expect a winner to be perfect. But maybe that’s not fair… Only the next year’s hosting nation can show us what their style of perfect display of love of music can be. Till then, we wait.

When a season ends, as it did tonight, some of the friendships we made also end. People we connect with, people whom we enjoy speaking to, messaging, and feel kinship through this journey of musical wonder sometimes just end and stop. Sometimes it’s a simple unfollow, others it ends in a block, for others, it may be just a mute of the account till next year. But when it happens, its upsetting. It’s upsetting because you rely on and want to keep the good feelings going from Eurovision even if sometimes you can’t help but be brutal about another performance or disagree. Positive and negative talking is healthy, and there is a yin and yang balance in the world I believe. Some people are more positive than others, people like myself however, are a bit more negative, or as I like to say, a bit more realist. We try to keep in check what we perceive as false hopes, sugar coatings, and yet we also know we walk on egg shells and tiptoe around some of our true feelings. Unfortunately, when a few of these real feelings come out, totally from our passion and frustration of what we like and dislike, we can tend to be shunned, blocked, muted, or unfollowed, and these things sometimes hurt us, it hurts our feelings, but most of all, it feels we are being let go, and breaking what could grow into great friendships because our extreme desire for one to win over another and our vocal ability to express this, possibly in not the most healthy manner, is looked at as negative and never seen or accepted as just part of the Eurovision passion. We are positive as well, but we also can be the pits. It’s not meant to be that way, it happens. But it would be unfair to base all or even most of our behaviors that will be seen outside this event solely on what happened in the last few months of it. We are normal people other times of the year, at least I think I am.

Last week, I had a conversation with Sandra, a girl from Sweden, one I barely know, who was amazing enough to let me into her life, give me some pointers, and she said that I really shouldn’t hate on Ed Sheeran’s music (I can’t stand him — see more negativity), because while I may not like it, that song, that artist, or that music might have saved someone. Someone who thought about the end, someone who needs hope, and faith to keep going, someone who might be in a bad situation for one reason or another and looks toward Ed’s music as a savior and comfort. I understood what she meant, though I also have a reason to dislike particular types of music, and I let her know I wanted to continue the conversation — unfortunately we haven’t had that chance yet, but I hope this gives some insight to that conversation, or is at least THE conversation itself. Additionally, I hope those who unfollowed me for my antics about Eurovision see this, and realize the reasons why I may seem over the top, or even negative about some music and artists. So here goes.

First thing is first, text holds no context or tone. It is cold emotionless letters strung together to form words, those words are chosen very selectively form sentences, those words in those sentences when put together in the right way create something beautiful to the eye, the mind, and the ear depending if you are reading, imagining, or listening to them. They are the music of text. They define our passions, desires, positivity and negativity. They are not always pleasing however, sometimes we can’t help but dislike what words and sentences are used. We feel and see and sense unease and we do our best to make it right, and change it. For myself, I can’t always change it. I was born with a condition called Synesthesia, and I have multiple forms of it. One of the forms I have is gustatory-lexical, which means I sometimes can taste things in words spoken or sung. I also have another form of it where I can feel touch, sometimes good, sometimes bad, pleasure and pain physically, when a word is spoken or sung. Yet another form I have is one where I see color in music, like an aura, rather than color in the words or instruments themselves, however this often combines with the sense of touch where I hear music or words spoken or sung, and can feel pleasure and pain as a touch, but I can also feel emotions like anger, love, happiness, comedy, and terror from music and singing. For me, music, while I am terrible at making it myself, has always been something I have turned to for comfort. If I needed to get myself sad for a reason, say a part in a stage play, I’d listen to something that would make me sad. What could be a fantastic symphonic movement to you, might actually be heartbreakingly sad to me because of my synesthesia. I may even be vocal how terrible a piece of music it is because it makes me feel horrible.

When it comes to Eurovision, this applies fully. I rarely talk about my condition because most people don’t know it exists, those who do are skeptical, and those who aren’t skeptical are always trying to test me. I felt it’s best to come clean and be honest, while I have this condition and it affects me daily, like all day long, it can be fun, but often it really is draining. When repetitive sounds come through to my ear, if pleasing, I’d want to listen to them over and over again case in point, Italy and Sweden, Macedonia and Serbia were extremely pleasing to my ear. They are uplifting, positive songs that made me feel good, they made me feel hope, have faith, and gave me that feeling (the song everyone in ESC loves) of Euphoria (which surprisingly to me is very dark and scary sounding song, explaining why I don’t like it).

What happens is I become passionate, like a drug addict, I ONLY want to, ONLY accept, and ONLY praise these feelings that are both physical like touching my skin, and emotional inside. I see the colors from the music, and voices sung, and I tend to enjoy the brighter colors of yellows, bright fire engine red, pinks, blues and purples, and shy away from the colors that are darker like brown, black, dark green, navy, blood red, so on so forth. Because of this, when I hear music, often I will become rabid about what I hear, vocal what I don’t like hearing, and other times I remain silent in words but will shake my head and make a sound of “uhhuhh” which means I don’t like it and need to leave from hearing it. This year, this came to a head for me in Eurovision. A close friend on Twitter told me I obsess over songs and need to get over things. That hurt. Comment like that really stabbed my heart. Why? Because a song like Bulgaria, lyrically, vocally, and musically has a bright green, yellow, and purple kinda feel to it. It was a song that I felt deeply inside as it reminded me of my partner, who remains missing in Venezuela for going on almost 60 days at this point. The colors I saw from the song were the colors of the clothes my partner wears, they are colors of the Pride flag, they are colors that are emotional, yellow makes people happy and feel warm like a hug, green makes people like me feel fresh and free and renewed when we are down, and purple is that deep heartfelt cherished rare color that represents something you never can find much naturally, and in this case, it was love. The love I felt was in the song colors. I felt strongly for this, though I didn’t want to express it.

I was a bit hard and negative on Portugal, and that really upset many people. People I really wanted to connect with, and bond with. People who may think this first impression of me, is all I have to offer. I am more than just some negative comments that were upsetting though and I hope you see that, and give me another chance. Aside from my anger of arrogance and smug behaviors I felt Salvador exhibited in ESC, I also can recognize the song is a good one — the music is also colors I normally enjoy, blues, yellows, gold, and just a little crimson thrown in for sadness. Where I disliked it, was Salvador’s voice and singing, which were dark greens, black (both colors presented in the performance tonight on stage) and a swirl of grey and brown, his voice is physically to me dizzying, like my head is being spun around my shoulders. It hurts. His sister however, has a very cream colored voice, with slight streaks of white, which are heavenly to me. Like a marshmallow streak in vanilla ice cream is one way to put it. Tasty and divine. It was like a light caress across my cheek, safe feeling. When you combine how I felt about Salvador as a person and how I dislike him, with the sound of his voice and what it makes me feel or see, it’s not hard to understand why I disliked this song as a whole, it was ruined according to my synesthesia by the overwhelming touch, sight, and aural overload. To that extent, Italy was ruined mostly for me with the lack of the second verse, instead of moving from a red and orange song into a blue and green song, it went from red and orange to more orange to more orange then to a green piece of chalk screeching across a black chalkboard to inally finish red again. I know this doesnt make sense to anyone, but that’s ultimately why I said, “I knew this wasn’t a winner” but I kept hoping all the way through the end.

So now that you know why I am passionate, positive, and negative about music, now that you know that it actually makes me physically feel pleasure and pain, emotional pleasure and pain, and sometimes I can even taste what music …tastes..like, is it any easier to see that I don’t necessarily mean to be negative, I, like many others in the world, think its okay and take for granted our belief we should express ourselves when we feel or don’t feel good. Perhaps I can’t explain it best here, perhaps it sounds like a cop-out excuse, but the truth of the matter is, when you live with something like this, that is both equally fun and horrible, you can’t help but need to express yourself in all ways good and bad — after all, it’s a constant barrage of things touching your skin, seeing flashes of color in front of your eyes no one else can see, and hearing inanimate objects making sounds in your ears. We’re not crazy by any means, we just literally feel different. Sometimes thats positive, sometimes thats negative, but its honest, its fun and scary, and its given us so much pleasure and pain in our lives and to share it with others sometimes seems what we need to do, so people can understand we aren’t really being negative, we are just expressing our hurt. We aren’t being positive, we are expressing our joy. We aren’t being bitchy, we are uncomfortable. We aren’t being bombarding, we are just comfortable. We express what others take for granted, in a different way, the same way we feel, see, smell, taste, or hear our synesthetic conditions.

I hope this has given people insight into why I am the way I am, I hope people don’t judge me for the way I behave. While I can control how often I speak about things both positive and negative, it’s never meant to be personal, it’s never meant to be upsetting, and it’s never meant to drag anyone else down through a negative tunnel so to speak. In my years growing up, thinking everyone else felt this way, and had this same condition only to realize just a few years ago my friends don’t, asking doctors if this was real, and coming to terms with it, I would never have wanted it if people would dislike me for feeling things differently, and expressing negativity about what triggers it. I dont like losing friends, I have so few that can understand what this is like. I have very few people to talk to and feel those pleasurable moments of yellow and orange and blue with, I have only these crossed senses that make me say things the only way I can translate them from what they do to me, to something others can understand. My words are my music, and lately, some of them have been not so beautiful, the sounds they make are scary sometimes, but they aren’t always. Sometimes my words make beautiful music, and I wish sometimes people would give me the chance and listen to them.

That’s me, that’s what I’ve lived with all my life. This has made it hard to bond with people online, and in person, except at live music shows when I am around others — it is only then I realize, I’m not the only one seeing and physically feeling the music, they are too. I hope that you can hear this, and feel this as well. I’m sorry if anyone was put off by my passion and veracity in things I say, not just during Eurovision but every day. I hope to rekindle the lost friends who mean a lot more to me than just someone from online. Believe it or not, while people don’t always see eye to eye, that makes us better friends. If we can be honest about who we are and our likes and dislikes, it only helps us to make each others lives better by putting ourselves and the other in those areas, places, playing music, so on so forth to make the other person feel just as good as we do. I don’t know what else to say to those I’ve upset other than I’m sorry. I wish you the best from my heart, and my door is always open — if you knock, make it a bright color friendly knock, not a dark scary one. Now you know what that means.