Confessions of a Mathematician

A fun evening in an usual way tonight.

Did an hour of Classical Civilization homework, watched some TV and got into some maths. Yep. Maths. It’s been a while. Maths was my favourite subject in primary school, until I reached Yr 6 and got bored of algebraic equations. Never really enjoyed algebra. I used to figure out how to do sums in high school before the teacher told me how to work it out, and then she’d explain which algebraic equation I had to use to ‘show my working’ and I’d lose my marks for not explaining it right. Oh that drove me insane. I suppose I’ve always liked doing things my own way instead of being told the way to do things!

All the hassle meant I stopped enjoying mathematics in high school. And I didn’t take mathematics at college. But every now and then I’d pull out an empty notepad and jot down some numbers and equations and sums and lose myself in the pages, my hand running faster across the blank sheafs and filling them with numerical data which wasn’t particularly useful but somehow gave me a buzz. Pretty geeky really isn’t it?! (Example photographed above.) Tonight I pulled out one of old notebooks and continued a chain. I love the feel of numbers on my fingertips. Yeah that’s really geeky. Maybe I should stop typing.

Oswald Veblen in 1924 said that mathematics is one of the essential emanations of the human spirit, a thing to be valued in and for itself, like art or poetry.

But I’m not afraid to be different. I’m not afraid to stick out. I do stick out, whether I like it or not! I embrace it. And I hope that by confessing my geeky passion and fascination with numerical data, you can know that whatever you think people around you might find strange is a unique part of who you are. Just be yourself. You don’t need to change anything to make others happy. You’ll find people if you haven’t already who will love you for who you are, and love every inch of you. Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, family. God.

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One Response to Confessions of a Mathematician

  1. Well Rachael, this is not geeky at all. Your interest in numbers, and more, your interest in watching them appear on the paper, is the hallmark of a very creative person. Also, the self realization of being “different”; a very creative, out-of-the-box, if you will, view of reality. Have you read A.G. Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life or Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, Sparks of Genius? I think you might enjoy them. Both are on Amazon.

    Through our creativity, Christ Jesus leads us out into the desert; to search for others.
    Though it wasen’t written about creative people, Wilder’s poem “Homage” has always seemed fitting to me. Since I can’t find a web reference, I’ll paste it here for you. It’s in a few of his collections.

    Homage by Amos Niven Wilder

    To those who offer themselves willingly in the day of decision,
    In the great arbitrament,
    Who are prompt at the gate,
    And who present themselves foremost at the fords of Megiddo,
    And take their stations at the narrow issues.
    Theirs are the great jeopardies, the necessary role, the memorable name,
    Their encounter is with the heart of darkness.
    For some the searchings of heart, the scruple, the fastidious witness,
    For others the fateful evasion, the abiding reproaches,
    For many the frivolous and the usual occasions.
    But these on the crumbling levees match themselves with the Infuriate flood.
    These beneath the waves toil at the primeval sea-walls
    Whose courses were laid against chaos.
    These repair the moles erected of old against the ravining deep.
    These descend where the nethermost piers of history are building,
    And place their lives if need be at the foundation of all the ages of glory to come.


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