Total Sensory Input

Has anyone ever told you, “I am a visual person. You have to show me.”? Maybe you know someone who is auditory who needs the instructions read to them. Tactile people have to do it themselves to learn how. Then, there is me.

It is a cruel twist of irony I would birth children with sensory integration disorder. I am a full sensory input person. My autopilot has a three-story brownstone with a guest house.

music notesFor me, having merely one stimulus is unsatisfying. If the music is beautiful, I want to feel the rhythm. If the song is worth hearing, I want the lyrics to talk to me while the music makes my hips move. If the scene in the movie is going to be one you want me to remember, the sounds need to match or punctuate the dialog, and the scenery needs to be seamless. Food needs to look and smell fantastic before I put it on my tongue for it to feel and taste orgasmic.

Many have told me I have the feline ability to land on my feet. My sister tells me every time I leap I soar. My late husband, man of eloquence, told me I had a horseshoe in my arse.


Did I lose you? We are still talking about the same thing.

Multitasking is doing one thing strictly by senses whilst you concentrate on doing something else. I listen to music or talk on the tele and type or code at the same time. That definition you know.

When I am using my senses to assess my surroundings, the actions of the people near me and the possible outcomes, I am merely multitasking. It really is not luck at all. What is more, where most people find it all distracting, I find it exhilarating.

Like every adrenaline junkie, I do like to relax with a simple scaled-down model. We are talking about my scale though. The music is more mellow, but just as full. The lyrics more soothing, but just as poignant. The scene just as memorable, but stroking softer emotions. The food, well, no change there.


checkboxFor me, it means I am able to catalog what appears to be far more memories than any person could in a lifetime. I have memory banks which appear to be bursting at the seams, when in reality they hardly have scratched the hard drive. It applies to more than just the everyday tasks.

The happenstance which most see, without committing to conscious memory, is all around us. When you commute to work, you see it everywhere. The couple arguing in the car beside you. The man jogging with his dog. The smell of a paper mill. The television in the lobby. The music in the elevator. The client on the cell soothing a child out of a panic. The texture of the office chair. You see, feel, smell or hear them but make no note of them.

When asked soon enough, you can recall some of them, yet you would not be able to give a full account of all you encountered. You applied a filter, exercised judgment and concluded these events would not change the outcome of your day, which essentially made them of no value to retain.

What would happen if that filter were missing? What if you could keep all those bits in your head? What purpose would they serve?

I do.

Have you ever wondered what happened to something? You know you held it in your hand, but you cannot remember where you set it down. You pick up a book you know you did not finish, but you cannot remember where you were in the story. You return to a city years later, but you need GPS to get around.

cropping iconThink of this as cropping pictures. I can see items in juxtaposition to others. I try to keep enough information in the cropped picture to allow me to know where items can be found, what the page number was where I stopped reading and which direction I am likely to find my destination.

They are not just visual cues. Occasionally, a sound, texture or smell will be part of the picture. Hearing the sound of a kitchen timer helps me remember I left the book in the kitchen. The feel of the third floor landing under my feet helps me remember I was on page 316. (Bonus if you know why 16 is integral to this association.) The smell of the bakery helps me remember where my favorite store is in another town.


In the vast morass of this filing system, there is one set of cues which is missing: people. With very few exceptions, I do not associate people and either places or items. To my mind, it seems one-dimensional, unfair and prejudicial.

Very few things in life are truly one of a kind. Knowing there are other people who have one, or one just like it, means to associate a person with an object would leave a skewed vision of the object’s potential. If the person uses the object in one way, the mind is less likely to explore other equally or greater beneficial uses because the memory of the object is set to one specific use.

The same is true for places. No place is the purview of merely one person. Others have influenced the place and/or lived there before. To allow a place to be dominated by a single person devalues its heritage and renders the experience there into a single dimension.

People MemoriesI do remember people. In my cropping, I put them in the foreground and leave only enough detail in the background to stir fond (or not) memories. Intentionally, the places and items are not associated with the person in the pictures.

We will discuss the people portion of this exercise in another post. Until then, I am still just

Red Signature

Are you visual, auditory or tactile? Can you take multi-sensory input well? Do you know the answer to the bonus?

Hashtags: #memories #sensoryinput

Thank you for sharing The M3 Blog with hashtags.

© Red Dwyer 2014
Image credit: Icons used in “Missing” section came from
Re-Blogging of this or any other post on The M3 Blog
is expressly forbidden.
Copyright and Privacy Policy available in The Office.
Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. cat

     /  August 18, 2014

    Like your post … a lot … made me realise that I don’t know which category I fall into … depending of the situation and the people around me I could be this or that or the other … and that’s fine with me … I like me … smiles … meow … Love, cat.

  1. Wake Me Not | The M3 Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.