Mathematics is my secret— my secret weakness. I feel like a stubborn, helpless fool in the middle of a problem. Trapped and crazed. Also, thrilled. I’m gnawing on a bone and I fear for anyone who comes near and tries to make me stop. I growl. I refuse to drop that bone. I am dogged— did I mention that math is funny too? It’s hilarious how much time I secretly waste on it, when there are more productive things to do, like walk my dog, fold my laundry, or finish my actual homework. No one in my family thinks all this math is healthy. Get some sleep. Here, eat something. Go outside for some fresh air! And they’re probably right. But here’s another secret: I don’t care About rest or nutrition or any of it. blah blah blah I’m not even really listening. Too busy gnawing away. On a different day Back out in the blaring, glaring, glittering world I feel unfurled and chatty Eager for random conversations and observations Nosy for other people’s secrets, which surely must be as weird and wild as the ones that define the inside of me. And I notice something fascinating exasperating in all the talking talking talking. Here’s what a lot of people say: I’m just not a math person. Insert shrug and sheepish smile. I can barely figure out the tip. Wait, you take extra math classes? What for? What do you mean, just for fun? Wow, you must be a genius or something. Here’s what no one says: I’m just not a words person. Insert shrug and sheepish smile. I can barely read a sentence. Wait, you read an entire book this weekend? What for? What do you mean, just for fun? Wow, you must be a genius or something. I feel silly being mistaken for a genius, when I’m really just a nerd. Struggling, stumbling, pushing, reaching for more of something that makes me feel mesmerised and uncomfortable, lost, hopeless, hopeful, real.
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