I did it, I usually avoid doing this but I did it. Okay, I know you are like what the hell are you talking about? Well, I have to give you a backstory of why this is such an important moment for me. I was diagnosed with dyscalculia in middle school and even before then I knew I could not learn as fast or as efficient as my classmates. I remember just staring at the board trying to put the pattern of everything to make sense but it just wouldn’t or I would catch on so late, If there was a work sheet that needed to be done before class was over with I’d either copy a friend or take it home only to be even more confused about what it was I was suppose to do.
I know, “Elisa, if you were struggling, why not ask for help?” I was scared, I knew I was different from my friends who seemed to have it all together in math classes, how they would get through problems with ease and turn in the work or even when they would help me, they would end it with “See, its easy.” maybe for you buddy but not I. I was always thinking that If i made it too obvious I was struggling I would be made fun of because the school would undoubtedly put me in special education classes and people would know that something was wrong with me, mentally.
You cannot hide for long because after failing plenty of test, quizzes and regular class worksheets, I was taken to the office and there was a lady there in a suit, she had a brief case and asked me my name, what my favorite subject was and what subject was I “struggling” with the most in school. I was honest but I was so nervous, I did not want to be seem stupid.
Anyways, she had a board and would flip through asking me to answer simple math questions 2+2 , 1+4 , 7+5 etc and I was doing well until she got into more detailed questions like word problems, fractions and especially multiplying, I just sat there and I felt my nose burn and knew I was about to cry, I felt it in chest, I wanted to run out of there, (I know this sounds really dramatic but this is something really hard for me.) I just sat there and looked at the problem and I would try to do it in my head but i’d mess up somewhere and the answer would be wrong, She would not tell me that but I knew, I just knew but seeing that I was really flustered and was on the verge of tears, she says something along the lines of “you worked really hard today, that’s enough now.” and she would come everyday during my math class and I would be in there, this happened for some weeks then I guess she had made her diagnosis. I have a learning “disability” and the big reason I still hate the term “learning disability” is because It made me feel like there was just no way that I could… learn like other kids like I would not ever be able to grasp math problems.
As I predicted, I was put into remedial math class where there was only a few of us in there, we had two teachers, they were both the nest people in the world my ‘favorite’ being Ms.Hannah, She was the sweetest teacher in the world, She worked with me diligently and no matter how many times I would cry because I did not understand something, throw a tantrum because I got it wrong, she would still work with me, no matter how long it may have taken. She worked with me, she would consistently be my side making sure I was following along, If one way of learning it did not work, she would try one hundred different ways until something worked for me. She did not make it as though I had to adhere to doing it how she was taught to but what I could do, what worked for me and that along with her not giving up on me are the biggest reasons I will forever be grateful for her.
So, a couple of days ago, I was thinking of last minute things I needed to get before I got back to college, I was getting money form family members before I left and I usually would just use that and the little money I had left but no, not anymore. I told myself this time you are going to practice better habits and you are going to budget with the money you have now. So I got up, in the middle of the night and I got all of the money I had and I counted it and I started a list of things I actually needed and I went online and looked at the prices, I added up (yes, i added tax too.) the amount of all the things I needed based on the online prices and though it took a long. ass. time. I did it, I had to recount so many times, re-add, take things off etc but I stuck with it until it made sense to me and I cried because I had done this all by myself, math, something I try so hard to avoid and have others do for me. I had challenged myself without anyone telling me to do so. This may seem very dramatic and stupid to you but coming from someone who had to take the math portion of STAAR (Academic Readiness Test) over three times to pass, or would have an anxiety attack when left at the register alone. yeah, I’m damn proud of this small achievement and no one is taking that away from me. It was a special moment of “see, you can do it and do it right by yourself.” I am proud of me and how far I have come in my struggle with dyscalculia.
Wow, I really dragged this out didn’t I? Well, if you are still reading this, thank you. Hopefully for somebody out there, this spoke to you in some way. Again, may be small to you but a huge deal to me. Thank you so much for reading.
“you can do it and do it right by yourself.”