# How My Mom Taught Me Life Lessons with Math

As a kid, I did not understand math and like most people — I fear what I cannot understand. Other kids are afraid of snakes, 4 ft. of pool water, clowns and monsters under their bed. But for me, my nightmares consisted of counting to a thousand, being smothered by graphing paper and long division. Math is so foreign to me. It looks like a systematic squiggly lines that put fear on my mind.

Remembering the numbers and sequence is easy, and then comes the value of each; there begins my hatred for math.

Adding one from another becomes something more, taking its value as its own, consuming another to gain, to divide and become something less of its original self. Multiply and spread itself thin — this feels inhumane and utilitarian for me. .
My mom noticed my “special situation” with math, and she would help me review the lessons every night. We would stay up until 10 p.m. as she taught me how to add, subtract, multiply and “dibay-dibay” (divide) the numbers. She would write down the numbers and the process to transform it. It’s as if we were mapping out the direction, avoiding traps and finding the hidden treasure. I would look at her, look at her handwriting, back at her and I’d tear up. I could hear her voice but the meaning wouldn’t reach me.

She tried flash cards, reward systems, scare tactics and I’m pretty sure she even tried hypnosis. Unfortunately, none of it brought me closer understanding math. I would panic before every quiz or major exam. In grade school, we have weekly exams on Friday, and every Friday I would be so nervous to face the enemy equipped only with paper and pencil, ready to face defeat.

Nevertheless, my mom — not one to lose hope — continued to look for something to make me understand, and find it she did. The answer came from Popsicle sticks. She laid them down in rows and columns and I would count them. She would point at a stick and name it one, the other two and next to it three, so on and so forth. .

With the sticks, it was as if I could touch math. I saw it in a new light and felt something other than fear. I could smell the wood, see the paint and imagine the ice cream flavor it once was. I saw math and it was not scary. The terrible squiggly monster transformed into an ice cream-less stick. It was just misunderstood, and it failed to communicate with me without the creamy goodness — that is why we couldn’t see eye-to-eye.

Eventually, those Popsicle sticks became more than a representation of digits. They had their own name and distinct features. They had this alternate life and personality in my mind. I named the first stick Juan Solo. He sported a bluish color and had a purple tinge in good lighting. He had a glossy texture and a chipped top. Juan Solo was the first stick on the table, slightly shorter and more rugged than the others because of my careless handling. Beside him was Daisy Dos. She waas the same color but pinkish on top and would not go anywhere without her friend Threesha.

Adding New Eyes to the Equation

It was not a smooth sailing for math and I, we still had our own opinions on how to do things. I always g0t the short end of the stick when we’d butt heads. The teachers always sided with him. One time I was solving a word problem like this:

Susan has 5 apples and she gave 1 to Amy. How many apples does Susan have left?

I read the question. I identified the subject: Susan and Amy. Writing down the given numbers: 5 and 1, then deciding for the right process to compute the answer. P

I answered in the space: just enough.

Susan has five apples and she gave one to Amy. In my mind, Susan was a good friend and still had just enough apples for herself.

I did not grow up as a math wiz who can compute the trajectory of a projectile and how fast it can hit you in the face. However, my mom taught me not to hurt someone I do not like. I did not learn how to use trigonometry to find how tall a building is, but she taught me to open the doors for others and respect people’s personal space. I did learn, more than the textbook could teach me.

She taught me how to see the world from a different perspective and how there are multiple ways to solve a problem. My mom showed me how to conquer my fear.

Multiplying the Love

She did not give up on me.

While she was tutoring me on Math, the dishes did not wash itself and the house did not stay clean on its own. She spent late nights with me and still woke up earlier than anybody. She divided herself to do multiple things at once. She subtracted her share to add more to ours, transfigured a house into a home, and converted her potential energy to light our life.

With six kids, a house to run, a kitchen to command, an 8-to-5 full-time job on the week days and a 24/7 duty with no breaks as a wife and a mom, she defied the staggering numbers. What she did not have was a secret equation, a formula to follow or space for errors.

I can’t compute how awesome my mom is. I will never know how much she sacrificed or how much pain she endured. All I know is we have more than enough because of her. I learned with my struggle with math that there are things that transcend logic, digits and the physical, that there are things more reliable than a mathematical constant, and a mother’s love is a value raise to infinity.
posted also at : thoughtcatalog

# Cloudless Rain

Do you sometimes stop and feel the rain touch your face?

However, looking up you saw a clear sky, cloudless heaven and the bright sun glaring, like a sarcastic remark on your feelings.

You half expect people to stop and offer you an umbrella

But, you forgot no one dies from rain, unless it is your fire that’s underwater.

Everybody’s walking yet, you still stood there.

Waiting for the imaginary rain to stop.

For the imaginary hands to hold you.

For something to make sense.

Like a movie, a moving panaroma of the world sliding out of your mind

Grip tighter,

Snap.

You are the actor playing the greatest role invented.

Bite your tongue, right foot forward, left foot, right foot. Remember the steps to the choreographed dance,

now more fluid, let your self relax to the lies.

Walk again, wipe the rain from your eyes. Put the grin back on. We’re on a tight schedule, a decade less til the encore

# To The Wolf,

You were awkwardly beautiful that day. Every word you spoke felt like howls. I did not know where that refined savagery came from.

You speak of things simple minds think as just stories and tales.

But, I heard you. I listened and felt the narrative dripping from your fangs. Those tasty gore you live for.

They thought it was a play.

I know that was your history. Your life. Stripped for all to see. Decorated with the carcass of a once glorious culture. But still, Atlantis sunk.

They were mesmerized with your poetry. Vibration of your voice resounds the home you’ll never see. Your pitch was so sullen and haunting, I can still feel the chill.

When you looked back on that day, did you see the burnt bridges and the dried tears etched in the ground?

Did you get to smell the smoke? Remember it burning your lungs and kissing your lips. Does it cloud your eyes? Follow the ashes – the only reminder of what used to lay there.

Come back to us. What do you see? What do you hear?

Nothing.

Only glazed memories, thrown into the deep. You smile as it reflect the sky, your feelings, yourself.

All the audience witnessed was incoherent sound coming out of a troubled soul. They saw insanity. I saw it too, and it was beautiful.

# Strangers and Secrets

It’s on the job description of every friends to keep secrets. They do have the uncouth privilege to taunt you with it every time they see an opening, take it as a payment for keeping the skeletons. But even with the strongest bond of friendship, you still have that one secret you can’t admit to them. And it goes way beyond the weight of wetting your bed when you were five, or getting a boner in church. They became strangers.

Coincidentally, it is much easier to tell and pour all of our deepest dark secrets to a nameless face, a stuffed toy or dirty laundry. Anonymity becomes our trusted friend. (more…)

# OK

O is for OK

A new battle begins, as it is a new day

Against sorrows and fears that won’t go away

As you are pushed and tossed into the fray

Just smile and not worry because you’ll be O.K.

Be careful what you wish for

Always mean what you say

Mind not what they see in you

You know yourself either way

Find no joy in others’ ordeal

And help them find their way

For as you are pushed and tossed into the fray

Just smile and not worry because you’ll be O.K.

Laugh as if your last, cry if need be

Ease yourself and into my arms you lay,

Know your limits, understand that you are free

To learn and express, what it is you wish to say

And as long as you are pushed and tossed into the fray

Just smile and not worry because you’ll be O.K.

-Stroodlepup

# Sound of Life

L is for Laughter
If laughter is the best medicine and an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Then would a laughing apple be potent enough to cure cancer?
Well it would be an upgrade to Annoying Orange.
We all have friends who make us spontaneously combust with laughter when you’re in the same breathing space. That’s why they become a dangerous combination with you in the worst place to laugh like (more…)

# Intro to Insanity

Image by Chester Cabarlie

I is for Insanity

(Some bad things in here. Finally got the courage to post this. *deep breath*)

Crazy that’s what I’m afraid being labelled with. I was eighteen years old when I met my first psychiatrist. I didn’t even know where I am at the moment I was there. I can grasp so little in my head, the train of thought I was in was jumping all over the place and that focusing was an unpleasant task. Heck I don’t even know how I can remember those things. My mind was clogged with all the paranoia and fear that I don’t even know what day it was. I was a train wreck; pieces littered the street waiting to be burned.  With all the voices in my head commanding and upbraiding my actions, it was very hard not to be confused.  I sat at an office don’t know what I’m waiting for, along with my elder sisters. It was the first of many sessions.

The first symptoms of my illness showed its ugly face at the age of sixteen; I was hearing voices, I found out later that it was called auditory hallucination. At first it was just comments about the people around me, telling me things and criticizing people. Then it became demanding, aggravating me to no end. I didn’t confide with my siblings, thinking they would just shrug it off and blame me for just being weird; my parents are not living with us, as they are at the province. I tried to hide this to everyone. Tried.

I was scared and had no idea what was happening to me. Fighting this losing battle, I got worse. Voices in my head keep calling out. There were many times I don’t know what are real voices and the one inside my head. I started to alienate myself in class; I sometimes resort in skipping class just to appease the turbulent voices. I had my own world and spent many times at sea on it.

My grades was terribly affected by my illness, skipping class was no help. I was having trouble concentrating on class, and I was at lost in almost all of my subjects. I was plagued by the voices in my head. I could not get some sleep. It would be a lucky night if I could doze off at four a.m. My grades started to fall, my guilt of failing is killing me and the voices are at peak.

I was terribly depressed and found my way into cutting, I was terrified to cut myself. The fear was outweighed by the incessant coaxing of the voices, the first slash on my arm was just superficial just enough to bleed. The pain muffled the voices and my sadness momentarily. The bliss of being free of the demons in my head was refreshing. I resolute on mutilating to quiet the voices down. I would have six or more slashes on both arms each other day. The euphoria only lasted so short.

My siblings start to notice the slashes on my arms, I told them about the voices that I am hearing. At first they taught I was on drugs. But after a while they considered the possibility that something may be wrong about me that I might need help. Telling them felt like the weight on my chest was mislaid, I don’t have to pretend I am fine every time. But the fear being tagged as crazy is still there. I refuse to believe that I am crazy and that I am mentally ill. I was so terrified they would lock me up to hospital to rot. I would not be institutionalized! Luckily they see it like I do, so I would like to think. I agreed to go to a psychiatrist, but not to the hospital.

Fast forward to now and 2 different diagnoses later ( hoping for the lesser evil, *depression*)  I’m still holding on, keeping a tight grip on my sanity.

# Do Not Aim for the Head

The world being overrun by zombies is not far off.  No need for nuclear fallout or a brain virus to infect the human race. Media and Pop Culture is doing well in turning people to mindless drones eating away life.

Evolved from the typical brain eating zombies to a different class of mindless bodies that we see, they are more resistant to cure, spreading the contagion without even taking a chunk of flesh. The worst thing is aiming for the head is not an option.

Here are few types of zombies you might recognize.

1.  SMART PHONE ZOMBIES

You can easily distinguish this type of zombies by the trademark phone magically glued to their hand.  Taking pictures of their meal and posting it on social media is common ritual.  They have the tendency in seeing the event in the lens of their phones rather than enjoying the moment in real time. Follow, click, like is its daily routine. It stalks its prey in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. To communicate with this type of zombies, medium through texts and other applications is highly effective. Do not in any case touch the phone without permission, reading messages in their phone will guarantee an untimely demise.

1. VANITY ZOMBIES

Armed with layers and layers of protective gear this zombies main line of defense is their designer clothes, animal tested make-up and hard -toned bods. Filling the vast void of emptiness with everyone’s admiration is a need. Weighing every calorie that enters their system, you can see how hollow they are. Do not taunt with their obvious insecurities, they will chew and spit you out like a tasteless gum.

1. PLAY HARD ZOMBIES

They are like amphibians, living on different planes, the virtual reality and the boring reality. Immersing on the virtual plane gives them the high of being anything and anyone aside from their plain old self. Can be seen staring all day in front of a computer or a gaming console. Turns into a normal functioning citizen when in downtime (game is under maintanenace). Turns into a debater in a game forum and can be strongly agitated when called with the taboo word “NOOB”.

There are several more types of zombies lurking in every corner. Wasting away life, marching through the streets with glazed eyes reflecting emptiness. Are you one of THEM?

# Dark Days are Over

When I look back at my old writings, I cannot help but laugh at my outlook on life back then. Not just a laugh, mind you, a full blown LMFAO. I thought those awkward teenager phases were a myth, that there is no way, what I was feeling back then was just an effect of my hormonal imbalance body. I was a mess back then, so screwed up that its aftereffect is still haunting me. Ha! I was so dark back then; I swear I don’t have a shadow. Here is a drabble from 2009.

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Death is an awfully magnificent thing, isn’t it? It’s a loop hole in this god-forsaken-hell-game we called life. If our body is just prison to our soul, (if you have one) then dying would be like getting out from the jail card in this game.

Isn’t it ironic to live just to die, at the end of the day everything you’ve done doesn’t matter, the hard work, the money, your fucking grades it all adds up to nothing. We’re all in a waiting room. Anticipating for our turn, knowing nothing about what lies beyond the vast ocean of oblivion. What we do in this life is just a distraction to keep ourselves occupied until the inevitable claims us.

The acuity of death is contorted by the shallow mind of man; the misery, suffering; loss and pain that it entails are what man dreads for. Ignorance and not knowing what is outside our consciousness is a mine of fear.

Humanity fears what he doesn’t comprehend; it’s a basic survival instinct that is embedded in our genes. Curiosity is a bitch, and we’re it’s.. We destroy what we can’t tame, and hold terror on what is predestined. Death is a trivial matter; the perception of it is extremely exaggerated to fantasy.

It’s really simple. People live then die, and it’s the way things are in reality. It is bound to happen. What’s beyond death is a matter of belief, and what is the perception of the individual on it. This assures the restless mind of man

.It would be hypocritical of me to say to live your life to fullest, which is so cliché in so many ways, so then…. just pretend to live, and then drop dead.

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It’s funny, right? I thought so too. Reading this again makes me want to go back in time and punch myself square in the face.