Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Facing Math Fears

This semester I am taking two classes. Language of Math meets Monday nights from 6:45 to 9:15. Contemporary Poetic Voice meets Tuesday nights from 6:45 to 9:15. During the day I am getting a jump start on writing my thesis which I will need to complete in order to receive my degree in my individual-designed major, Publishing.

I am so looking forward to my Contemporary Poetic Voice class tonight! Writing and reading are things that I LOVE to do, am passionate about, and do pretty well and quite frequently. But, Math... Well, Math and I are more complicated...

You see, Math and I got along pretty well at the beginning of our relationship. My Mom introduced us when I was very small by hanging numbers on the wall of my playroom underneath the letters of the alphabet. As I grew she taught me the names of the numbers and how to count. Then one summer day Mrs. DeLorenzo came to visit. Turns out she was going to be my kindergarten teacher at a place called school which she assured me would be glorious. She was just stopping by to meet me and get to know me a little because we would soon be seeing each other every day, except for weekends. During our visit Math came up in conversation. I showed Mrs. DeLorenzo the numbers on the wall and told her their names. She seemed pleased that we both knew Math and I had a feeling she and I would learn more about Math together during kindergarten at the glorious place called school. And she and I did. When Mrs. D. and I learned all we could about Math together she passed Math and I off to Mrs. Long and Mrs. Long to Mrs. Skiber and Mrs. Skiber to Mrs. Wood and Mrs. Wood to Mrs. Burbine. With the guidance of these amazing teachers, Math and I grew to, well, love each other really. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division were all part of Math's lovely makeup. With the encouragement of these fine women, I had found shortcuts into Math's heart and begun to perfect my ability to recognize Math's silly tricks. When I look back on our time in Elementary School I recognize it as our heyday and feel a longing stir somewhere deep within me. Little did Math and I know, but our love was about to be tested.

When I went to Middle School I brought Math with me. In the beginning we really liked it there. We had a few challenges, but we seemed to be making it through o.k. And then I had to leave the Middle School we'd just begun attending and move to a new one. In the madness of this unexpected, hasty move, Math and I got kind of twisted up and torn apart. Math didn't want to move. Math was happy where we were together and wanted to keep going at the same pace we'd been going with the same teacher who'd been guiding us. I tried to explain to Math that I didn't have a choice about leaving, but I really wanted us to stay together whatever it took. We were at an impasse in our relationship so we decided to give each other a little space, but it was harder to be apart than we expected.

Much to my delight, when I arrived at my new middle school Math was there waiting for me. Reunited and it felt so good. Unfortunately, that feeling was short lived. It soon seemed wildly apparent that in the month that Math and I were apart Math and Mrs. B had been seeing each other and moving ahead without me. This is where things got tricky. I felt betrayed by Math. How dare Math find Mrs. B. so quickly after his and my choice to give each other a little space and how could he feel so ready to move forward without me! Math thought it wasn't a big deal. He and Mrs. B were just hanging out and now that he and I were back together we could all hang out together. He convinced me that he and Mrs. B. were just friends. I still didn't like it and I felt so left behind and always trying to catch up in our conversations. I wanted to stay with Math and work on our relationship and learn and grow together because part of me still loved him, but things just didn't feel the same after the incident. We both knew there was something missing, that our relationship just didn't feel the same, so we decided to just be friends. From 6th through 12th grade we kept up an awkward, tumultuous friendship at best. Our best times were had in 9th grade. It was our freshman year in high school, certainly we could let bygones be bygones and start fresh. Mrs. Pepin, the Algebra teacher, helped Math and I make great progress and I even thought Math and I might get back together, but it was not to be. The next three years, especially the Geometry part, divided us more than ever and after graduation Math and I never saw each other again.

In the intervening years Math crept into my mind every once in awhile like when I was playing bills, buying groceries, or when I heard someone had had a new baby and was assured that the baby had all of it's fingers and toes. I wondered if Math ever occasionally thought of me.

Well, last night, Math and I ran into each other. We were a bit shy and awkward at first, but he invited me to sit at his table with him and 7 of his friends and I accepted. It was surprisingly easy to be with him again and before I knew it two and a half hours flew by. Listening to Math and his friends talk I learned lots of things about Math that I never knew and I began to realize that maybe part of the reason why our relationship didn't last was because I knew so little about Math's past. Really, when we met he just presented himself like "here i am. this is me. this is what I'm made of", but we never talked about how he came to be who and what he was. After last night, I am intrigued about his past, about his origins. Math asked me to join him and his friends again next week. I told him I'd be there. Maybe if I could learn more about Math's beginnings he and I could have a future together. Here's hoping!

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