Numbers matter to me.


I’m somewhat obsessive when it comes to numbers. It’s something that I do…

I remember in the first grade, when you had to do those timed math sheets and had 5 minutes to finish 100 problems. Tests were addition and subtraction, and then later in school you got hammered with multiplication and division. And then, to really make you hate life, they mixed them together.

I sucked at them. I was slow. I couldn’t finish them in the allotted time. But I began practicing, I began getting to know numbers like my life depended on it. I memorized anything to do with numbers – addresses, phone numbers, Pi out to 9 or 10 decimal places (I can’t even remember 4 now…), the numbers of people in a room, the ration of women to men in that room, etc.

Flash forward to college and I whipped calculus problems like crazy. I became so detail oriented, and mastered methodology like there was no tomorrow. I even passed a Calc III final with a 100% after sleeping halfway through it. I even remember, the very last final I had for my Bachelor’s degree was for a class in Chemical Engineering called “Transport Phenomena”. I giggled the entire way through the exam. Seriously, I’m deranged like that.

The problem for me is this: Real life doesn’t involve numbers. It doesn’t involve the cold calculations involved in getting the right answer. No, real life involved feelings, emotions, striving for other things than finishing a class. Real life’s problems are not clear, they don’t involve an exact answer.

And this is why I drink. I drink, because I don’t know how to deal with emotions very well. Not my emotions, mind you…I’ve already accepted that I’m FUBAR. No, I don’t know how to deal with other people’s emotions, and specifically, I don’t know how to deal with other people’s problems – especially when those problems involve me. I drink, because I don’t always “get it”. I drink because I don’t understand why the world isn’t laid out in front of me, like I was promised growing up. I drink, because the biggest lie ever told is “You can do anything you put your mind to.” (That’s the biggest fucking boondoggle ever, by the way.) I drink because I feel like a failure when trying to make others happy. I am conflicted between the things I do well and the things I don’t do well. I’m confused about the things that make me feel happy and the things that make me feel accomplished. I worry about my ability to take risks, I worry about my ability to handle emotionally difficult things.

Today is my 44th birthday (Thanks for the songs, Rita! No one has ever played the piano for me, before.). And because I obsess over numbers, I also obsess over dates. And I want my birthday to be a day I can remember with pride – and it’ll make it easy to remember the exact date of my sobriety. And I want this to be a memorable one, because I want this to be my last try at being completely sober and dry. So, today, I am beginning…

…Day 1.


48 thoughts on “Numbers matter to me.”

  1. Happy happy birthday, Sweetness. I wanted to let you know that this post (prior to the announcement of your bday) really struck me. You are so articulate, honest, intelligent and refreshing…and, while I can relate to much of your strife (especially the numbers sentiment; I am a “counter” also and always have been), I also feel like it’s quite possible that you ride yourself waaaaaay too hard in your perceived failures. You are a total gem, sweetie…happy birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

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