I have long been on a quest to find the word (or words) to eloquently describe that exquisite mix of emotion so many of us feel when gazing upon something sparkly. I recently asked my audience on social media for help and they didn’t disappoint – whilst no one could conjure up specific word to describe that particular sensation, I yielded a response of words that included: uplifted, mesmerised, happy, euphoric, deeply moved, fizzy, enchanted, spellbound, elated and entranced. What a heady mixture! Put together, they probably sum it up nicely, but most people acknowledged that one word was not sufficient to translate the feeling fluently. (Speaking of fluently, I do wonder if another language has evolved to include a dedicated word for it – I’d love to know!).
After a fair bit of digging and researching, I learned that what we are experiencing is an aesthetic emotion, a genuine emotional response to a visual stimulant that is beautiful to the observer. I’m no scientist (although I do technically have an ‘ology’, albeit in glitter!) but this joined some dots for me. We respond emotionally to things we feel a deep connection to. Now, this bit is entirely theoretical, but I think it could be argued that one of the deep connections we feel to all things glittery is learned. We have grown up believing in ‘magic and sparkle’ – from all the twinkly splendour of Christmas, to the magic of Disney and all the fairy-dust Tinkerbelle can leave in her wake. Glitter reminds us of all the very best bits of a magical childhood – remember that all this was REAL to many of us. So the reaction to seeing glittery things may be a wormhole to all those associated feelings.
This bit is not theoretical at all, it’s widely accepted that we are naturally hard-wired to be attracted to sparkly things, as a basic human response to that life-giving and -sustaining compound, water.
Interesting stuff. And of course some people are drawn to sparkly things more than others, but deep down there’s something there in everyone. So if you’re drawn to the twinkly stuff, don’t suppress your feelings, shine on! After all, we are all made of stars!