Friday, November 7, 2008

it's all about math

so i was talking to my co-coach yesterday...about hsing, whatnot. i told her how much i loved math...particularly algebra. you can jump in the problem almost anywhere you want, work it forward, work it backward, work it sideways...as long as you don't break any rules, it'll work out. and then bonus, you can always substitute your answer back into the equation to make sure you got it right. i mean truly, this is healing stuff...settling stuff...the kind of thing you grab onto when your childhood is bouncing all around, ricocheting off of young parents, dating parents, parents who are still trying to figure out their place in the world and forget, sometimes, to check on the little person along for the ride. i loved math...way down deep in my toes.

i didn't say all of that to my co-coach. no way. but i'm sure she could tell i was not making it up in the least when i said i loved math. she likes math, too. she also likes sarah palin, so it's not like we're ideological twins or anything...i mean, she loves sarah palin. but i digress...

she said not many mamas that she knows like math, much less love it. and so we went on talking....

we talked about trampy family members. i know this sounds weird, but i do have some sort of trampy cousins and she, apparently, did too. it's funny though, because i was talking about inviting my cousins to thanksgiving and she was talking about distancing herself from hers. now, in all fairness, she was talking about high school and i'm talking about this month. so there's that.

but what struck me was how absolute her judgment was of some of the things we discussed...some of the issues that came up. we talked about abortion, for some reason. she shared some of her thoughts about it...i shared a few stories that my spouse has had come up in the hospital...instances where the life of the mother was at risk if they didn't induce labor for a fetus everyone knew was too young to survive. i didn't mean to be challenging, but it is a pattern in my behavior that i've long noticed...my storytelling shifts to cover the other side of the issue...

i've always been like that. tell me about a population of people that take advantage of governmental support, and i'll tell you about someone i know who's risen above. tell me how women who have a child with governmental support should be sterilized to prevent them from doing it again, and i'll tell you how my first son was born on medicaid. tell me how people who work hard for their money should be able to keep it and not give it to those who don't work hard and i'll tell you that i've earned lots and i've earned little, and i'll gladly pay my taxes to help someone who was in my situation. i'll even tell you that someone who loved us said we could use their taxes to have that first son so all the other folks who think i was stealing from them don't have to worry...

i know there are trends. i know there are stereotypes. i know there are even statistics that can prove some trends or stereotypes may be, well, statistically sound. but i also know that which way those generalities lean has a lot to do with the perspective of the person looking at them. and that there will always be things that we miss. always.

so...going back to math...it really is all about math. because numbers in algebra are pretty absolute. people, however, are not. and while i found solace in the stability of math from the unpredictability of people, i've had to learn to be comfortable in the world of peeps because, well, numbers aren't so conversational or supportive or even humorous on a tough day, i guess. and so when people call me liberal or bleeding heart or sensitive or aware or enlightened...it's really just that i hate feeling like i have the one absolute right answer and finding out i don't. math did this to me.

because i have had people make assumptions about me that just weren't true...apply generalities to me that just didn't fit. and while it didn't end my life, it did hurt my feelings. and i'm just not into hurting people. but it also hurts me to assume i know something about someone that i don't. it takes away from my depth as a person and my opportunity to see myself reflected in someone else...often someone i don't think i share anything in common with, or even don't want to believe i could share anything in common with. no, i obviously don't always get that right or pull that off in a way that i'm proud of. i often fall short. but it's a goal i have embraced and the learning in trying to achieve it is huge...learning about the world around me, the people i share it with, and myself, too.
peace

4 comments:

Becca said...

I love you - I absolutely love you. (blushing)

But seriously though - I get you. I feel like you write from my heart.... well not exactly the math stuff - LOL. I mean I like algebra - But I'm not going to marry it like you will. ;)

We are kindred souls, sister. Always trying to look at things from a new perspective, while sharing our own with others. It is how we evolve as people, and as a society when we share what we've learned and at the same time can learn something ourselves.

earthmama said...

thank you for the compliments, mama... <3

LanaTron said...

This was a tremendous post, mama...just beautiful in thought, emotion, and wording.

Thank you.

earthmama said...

thank you very much, lanatron. (hehe...that sounds funny) it is always good to have friends who can help you find "up" when you're tumbling. you've always been one of those kinds of friends for me...