This morning I read an article on Medium as well as the posted replies to the article and am feeling really dumb. It was about math, education, and how it is geared toward “whiteness.” The fact that it was about math isn’t the reason I feel dumb, but the way the article was written and the challenges to the facts in the article through the replies and responses that make me feel like, WTF am I doing thinking I can write a blog??
I don’t feel like I know how to write a convincing argumentative essay, or just plain essay. The author was able to defend his words by pointing out things in his essay and in the poster’s response that made sense to me. Will I be able to write something that is defensible?
I find myself allowing scattered thoughts around a huge to-do list of my own making to take me away from pursuing the meandering thought that I’d like to concentrate on in my writing. I got up this morning with this journal in-hand, thinking that I’d write something that I could later transfer to my blog – something pithy, interesting, would make people stop and read for five minutes.
This is how bad I am at math. I should clarify – how bad I am at simple math, not calculus or some other professional-level mathematizing (yes, dear spell-checker, I know that’s probably not a word).
Ok, so back to my math problem. I am so bad at math that when I get one thing right, I think to myself, “Hmm. Maybe I’m good at math after all.” Not considering that the balance of the good math/bad math examples in my life is pretty skewed toward more bad examples than good.
Take two examples from the previous week. I had to figure out how to add two fractions for determining the length of quarter-round I needed for a room remodeling we are doing. Truthfully, my tape measure is marked in a way that is very helpful with eighths and sixteenths and whatnot, so I could add 13 and 3/8 with 28 and 5/16 in my head and the quarter-round fit nicely. I’m good at math!
However, I know it is easier for me to picture fractions in my mind than multiplying numbers together on paper. As proof, my second exercise in math was trying to figure out 36 multiplied by 36. I did it on paper, got an answer and then decided I should probably double-check the answer using the calculator on my phone. I was off by about 1,000. Don’t ask me how. I’m bad at math.