Krista Nelson's Blog
What if we were to fall in love with our challenges?
It’s true. I am involved in a hot-and-heavy, no-stopping-us-now love affair. How long has it been going on? Too long to even go there. Looking back at my upbringing I can see now how there were signs that I would be inclined to engage in this sort of behavior. I spent years resisting; choosing pens over pencils in flirtatious rebellion. Suppressing my passion, I buried my desire in denial and self-destruction.
The good girls wait for the right time and the right one. Don’t they? I’ve known women who cut their opportunities short for fear of exposing their inexperience, certain they could not measure up to expectations. I knew of one who was driven to destroy what she craved; absent-mindedly chewing the erasers off the ends of pencils. Grinding the rubber down to imperceptible bits, she spat them away in happy relief only to search out and destroy the next one. A doctor prescribed anti-acids for the fire that raged in the belly of another. Confronted each morning with a new math puzzle written on the blackboard of her young existence was just too much to bear.
The proliferation of rules like the trim of an officer’s uniform and starch-collared behaviors of this discipline nearly drives the delicate mad with curiosity. Threatening to show our wild nature that could be tempered only by our exact opposite and equal, we grew increasingly frightened of what this pent-up resistance would eventually produce. Surely such an explosion of emotion could prove incendiary. Short of being completely run over by what we grow to be rhinoceros in size and might, many of us cave albeit gently when no one is looking and find underground expressions for our supremely deep and sublime love for math.
When I noticed in my current writing project that I was once again using math to illustrate something wonderful, I knew it was time to come clean. In “My Secret Barack: Crowning The King”, page 25, after complimenting the reliability of math, I produced an ode to the pencil. Nearly an etude, that little bit was followed by a blog post with two titles, “Math Shatters Quiet” and “Whispering Sweet Math”. Maybe my love for math began in third-grade orchestra practice. Waiting for my cue, I’d count the measures and rejoice in the successful synchronization of musical notes; strings, brass, percussion, and winds. My high school math teachers were either despised or adored. Failing me in one class, teaching me in another, like boys at the dance sometimes rejecting, sometimes accepting, and always tossing me into the safe arms of the humanities. In college I had it all figured out, but only mildly excelled on exams until of course I studied the math of computer programming and particularly information assurance. Embracing my love affair, I suspect I’ll be bringing math to all my writing projects like a paramour at my elbow, a most charming escort, delighting my readers with its beloved clarity and candor.
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Krista Nelson's Blog
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