Me, A Mathematician’s Best Friend

A poem.

You think I know

Like I live for the Pythagorean Theorem

As if scrawling numbers on paper

Means I have the answers

But you don't know me

Growing up in that school they're shutting down

A teacher, four years, no lessons to be had

Just guys scantily clad, shorts and tees

Jerseys on barrel-chested men kicking around that ball

Black and white beat around a field

While we sat and watched

Math wasn't a subject we really held

Self-teaching was how I got by

Nights spent serving fast food

Home after midnight only to not sleep

Insomnia my curse

I can't sleep but want to,

Eyes pulled at the sockets by imaginary fingers

Whose goal is to keep me awake

Aching for rest

Doing my best to do my work

Spending nights doing math

Math I thought I understood

While my teacher gave us all A’s

Thinking he was a help,

Not knowing he wasn't doing us any good

Fast-forward my days and see me

SAT testing, final scores mean community college

The only ones who will take me

Bombing the math section

Left me making the election between taking math there,

Or putting it off til later

Fast-forward some more and I'm a senior in college

Graduating this December

Not remembering the last time I had a real math class

Oh wait,

Seventh grade

Ten years ago, when simple algebra was my friend

But then again, my new teacher makes me wish I understood more

I can see the door, I have less than a week

To act like I know what I'm doing

To get myself together and ace that final exam

Because not acing means repeating

And I’m not looking back

Back to high school when sports were more important than math

At least in my teacher’s eyes

Back to high school when I self-taught and thought I knew what I had

But I'm glad I bombed that SAT

Because I wouldn't be where I am

Sitting in my last math class,

Taught by a man who actually cares about me

Who loves the subject but loves his students more

To truly understand math- maybe that's not what I'm here for

But not understanding it doesn't mean I'm lacking

Lacking in the mental capacities to grasp what I'm seeing

Numbers on paper, another language,

One I've hardly had the time to learn

The numbers take me back,

I'm in the recesses of my mind crying inside because I'm almost a college grad and can barely do simple math

Calculations aren't for me

I see that now,

But it's not my fault I never learned in my time

The problem with not understanding math isn't mine

If I had been taught, things would be different

But different doesn't always mean bad

I'm here because I've tried and failed

But I'm here because I've conquered

I am not stupid because I don't understand equations

I am not lacking because math suppresses me

I am not a halfwit because I never benefited from a full education

I am here,

I am wise,

I have lived,

And I will continue


About the Author: My loves are Jesus Christ, rock climbing, photography, classic novels, the Nationals, Scooby-Doo, and the Killers. For more, follow me on Instagram heinstagram.com/notmealonephotore.