This is a post for Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Come play! Today’s prompt is “No. Try to think of a specific number, as “no.” is often used as an abbreviation for “number,” and write about it. Or, use it as a word.”
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I said no to numbers quite early, I think, as many females seem to have done. In primary school I was able to add, subtract, divide and multiply but by the time I got to Year 8 maths with Miss Vric I was already giving into the invisible voices internally and externally that said “I can’t do this.” Everyone knew that you were either maths or English, science or mysticism. Like a good little western Cartesian, I sliced myself deftly in half when algebra and trigonometry began to be a thing. Which is weird in a way because algebra seems to me now closer to language than anything I’d come across in maths thus far. But no. I had a vagina and therefore I probably wasn’t any good at this thing. It was too hard. I didn’t have the brainpower to do it, right?
It was a foregone conclusion. It felt as if it had been decided for me beforehand, delivered into my head (girls don’t do this sort of thing and so if you do it then that means that the horrid shame you carry around with you is right and you are not only a loser piece of shit but you’re also weird too). It doesn’t occur to you that you could develop into maths as a form of rebellion. You’re super into rebellion, after all, in your trying to remove yourself from your shame, so why not rebel against expectations and become good at maths?
Because that’s too nerdy. You prefer the more self-destructive forms of rebellion like drinking and vomiting on weekends and, in the not-too-distant future, sleeping with people that you don’t really want to sleep with. Your rebellion must constitute some self-punishment. Being good at maths is not destructive enough.
And anyway, you can’t be good at maths because you’re good at English. Or you would be if you stopped distracting other students and learned to apply herself. I was applying myself. It was just in things like staring out the classroom window into the hallway because Marc Ward’s locker was there and the days were punctuated not by class periods but about when I got to see Marc. If that was a subject on my report card, i’d have got an A++