No matter how nice it was called, core maths or elective maths, give it to me and I will reply with a polite, “No, thank you”. Saying no is easier than sitting down to solve some pointless equations, determining things and looking for missing variables. How and why did they get lost in the first place?
I was in a Business class in senior high school (Don’t ask me how I ended there and much more in the best Business class. That is a story for another day) yet I had a major headache or rather subject-ache… Maths!
It followed me everywhere and try as much as I did to let it go, it stuck like a leech determined to suck the academic life out of me. You see, my favourite moments would be sitting under a good source of light with a well woven book that I could read for hours on end and fix puzzles. Maths did not offer that option. The few times you had to read meant that a problem followed the literature. I decided that Maths was out of my league and it was a plague.
From my basic school days, I would score high marks in all the reading subjects and manage to get a befitting low mark in Maths. Fortunately, my other subjects always balanced the equation for me so I was not considered a poor student. Truth is, it was not that I could not. I just had a mindset that Maths was unreasonable and there was no need bothering about it. I did what I knew best and ran as far as I could from it!
I learned later that, like all other problems, my Maths problem won’t just go away.
I managed this tag and run relationship with Maths until it was a few months to the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE). I had heard of how Maths frustrated people and prevented them from furthering their education and fulfilling dreams. Me, myself and I had a long internal meeting. I had goals, Mr. Maths stood right in the middle of it. He was asking for attention and for more than ten years I had ignored him and gotten away with it. I had to stop running and face him.
I made the decision after the internal meeting to face him squarely. I made new friends who were the Maths hot shots in my class, made time after school hours to solve loads and loads of Maths questions so much so that at a point it felt like I had been doing it forever. It worked. WASSCE came and to my delight all the hard work paid off, I had a comfortable B. Something I had never had in my whole Senior High School life. I thought back and realised that it wasn’t a big deal after all, I should have stopped running a long time ago.
Sometimes it is not so much as packing bag and baggage and heading elsewhere. It is just pretending that the problem doesn’t exist or avoiding it. The thing with all problems is that you either solved them or they stay pretty much where you left them. They wait on you and fantastically compound themselves. They marry, have kids and invite the rest of the extended family members to occupy the space you have given them in your life and sooner or later they suffocate you because the other family members start making their own families until a whole generation is created. Then when you least expect it, boom! They spill out in your life and everyone becomes a witness to your problem ridden life.
Depending on how you look at it, I am neither young nor old but there is one thing I know, I have run away from a lot of things, Maths was not the only thing. Relationships, public appearances, business opportunities and many others. Like everything I often run away from, I built resistances so it didn’t matter. But often, after a long while, you remember some of them and you are faced with the question of why did you run? A question to which you have no reasons, only plain excuses.
Yes, a lot of times running feels like the easier option compared than showing up and doing or tackling the issue head on. Especially when Miss Little Negativity constantly whispers to you that you better not try it lest it goes wrong.
The year is young and we just made it into the third month, opportunities will come knocking, open the door and let them in, don’t hide. Explore and make all the mistakes that you can. That’s how you know you are living. One day, you will look back and smile at memories and achievements dotted along your life’s path.
Today, you and I can make a solemn pledge to no more running. Oh hey, live a life of love. Open yourself up to some good loving. Stop running from that good man who has been making frantic efforts to get your attention. Stop ignoring that lady who smiles and says the most thoughtful things whenever you meet. No more cold feet. Stop running.
Amakuor – Excellence Personified.