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Landscape of Time


Since I was very young, I've experienced the passage of time as a physical experience around my body - before I could read and write or tell the time or tie my own shoes, I knew that I could stand in a specific place in my physical calendar and look into any day or month or year or century and I thought that this is how every other human being experienced the passage of time.


It wasn't until I was in my late twenties, that I learned about something called, Synesthesia and this discovery only took place while at a neurologist appointment where I specifically asked for a sound colour and shape when they were hooking me up to machines to read my brainwaves. Apparently, this wasn't a normal question and resulted in learning about Synesthesia which was described to me as a mixing of the senses. Seeing sounds or identifying numbers and letters as specific colours seems very straight forward to me as I simply don't understand how anyone can go without these abilities especially when needing to recognise someone's footsteps or voice or knowing that specific colours in letters are washed out by their capitals or that adding and subtracting have as much to do with colour as with numbers themselves.


I think that there must be endless types of synesthesia that haven't yet been explored or realised which I find fascinating. I mention the landscape of time because it is for me how I function in life and something I relate to constantly. It's better than a smartphone and if I'm going through something challenging in life (for instance breast cancer) then I can use my physical calendar as a structure around me that offers support and gives me future speculations on where I will stand and how I can look back to see where I've come.


It feels so difficult to explain so apologies if it's not making sense. To break it down even further or better explain myself - my past is always to my left and my future is always to my right. Each hour and hours and day and days have a landscape that twists and turns and holds specific colours and within this these days in their months and in their years also are structured by colours and twists and turns. I can travel along my own timeline into the past and even centuries before. I can pick an hour, day, month and year in the distant past and know exactly where I need to put my physical body and which way to face to be in that moment. Of course, I'm not time travelling but this is just where I can physically put myself to fit into those time slots. It's made me wonder quite a lot about how time works.


The interesting thing is that I can't travel forwards and have never been able to but I can see the coming landscape shape of the year ahead though it's without colour. It's so strange trying to explain what is like another limb and something I don't often think about.


So in trying to handle my coming fight with cancer as chemotherapy looms on the very near horizon, I'm finding myself putting out feelers into the coming months of the summer which I see as a shallow basin in the landscape of the year that slowly rises up to meet yellow September and white and crisp October and I'm feeling more confident of this coming fight because laying out a visual landscape plan gives me a feeling of security in a scary time. I've already had several doctors and nurses tell me to stop looking at structuring time in this way because fighting cancer doesn't follow a plan aside from what the doctors hope to achieve in their medicinal goals for me. But for me, if I can see the yellow shores of September then I can hold that as a lifeline throughout the greyness of the coming landscape of cancer.


I just hope that the chemicals they're going to pump into my body don't erase my physical calendar or any other synesthesia tendencies I seem to have! In some ways my physical calendar feels at this time like the scaffolding that will hold me up during this difficult time and hopefully reinforce who I am by the time I can declare myself a survivor.


I've never met another person like me who experiences time all around them, but I hope to in future so if you're reading this and can relate or know someone who could relate, then please get in touch as it would be wonderful to connect with another physical calendar!


#physicalcalendar #synesthesia #cancer #franceskadrawstreesandfightscancer #landscapeoftime #cancerchronicles

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