Ain’t No Spring Chicken
It’s been a while since I sat in a math class. Maybe close to 10 years. I never liked math in the first place so even a basic course like College Algebra-one that every university student has to take-has the means to kick my behind. I really didn’t need to retake the course since I already have my bachelor’s degree, but I really want a good chance of getting into grad school and scoring higher in this class will definitely help. I made it out on a hope and a prayer last time...
The semester started off feeling like cranking rusty gears that never liked turning math in the first place. To say that I felt in over my head from day one is a gross understatement. Here I am, a working adult in my 30’s acting as a classmate to a modest handful of 18-year-olds who probably saw some of this stuff last year! Their minds were fresher than mine was. I am still young, mind you, but my mind seemed to churn more easily when I was their age. At times, I felt like my professor was wringing my brain out for answers. It took so much more effort in order for me to get a loose grasp of polynomial inequalities. And when was the last time anyone’s seen long division? Imagine long division with something like x-2. What do you even do with the x, am I right??
There were times that I had to speak some solid words of self-affirmation just to keep from giving up and letting my mind wander off in class. Math and I were never friends. Ever.
On the other hand, singing, writing, and performing were very natural to me, historically. It was nothing for me to find myself on stage belting out my favorite Whitney, Mariah, or Deborah with absolutely zero practice. My mother always worried that I was nervous, but upon her inquiry, I shrugged and said no. Of course, back then I was as fresh as the 18-year-old sitting in math class with me. Few responsibilities, wittier mind, stronger body. Life hadn’t really even happened to me yet. I was fresh. But then came an abusive relationship, a few more broken hearts after that, debt collectors calling, finding and losing jobs, struggling through college, cars breaking down, losing family members… after a while, music took a back seat. Stress threatened to claim the driver’s seat and stuff me in the trunk. I decided that I was given a gift that I didn’t want to waste.
So here I am, trying to crank some more rusty gears, except these ones used to churn with little effort. I thought I’d lost my touch when pen-to-paper yielded no results. But I’m past the season where it was easy. I’m not growing a succulent plant, the kind you find in grandma’s window sill. The kind that you could forget to water for a whole month and would still probably be alive and thriving. I’m growing orchids. The really finicky ones that are really beautiful and exotic-looking and require just the right amount of sunlight and water. It doesn’t mean I’m giving up, it just means that I’m going to submit what is required. I have to warm up my voice even when I don’t feel like singing. I have to learn how to use the new equipment. I have to put words on paper, even if they aren’t very good and I have noticed that in my going-along, I found the gears churning a little easier with each passing session. I’m starting to get the juices flowing again and it’s exciting!
- Adrianne Marcia