Numbers Have Defined My Life
Every stage of my life has been controlled by numbers. Before I get to meet someone new, they already have a preconception of who I am. Simple integers have always been used to prove my worth, or lack there of.
High school is when I noticed this issue reach its peak. It did not matter to my guidance counselors or teachers that I was challenging myself with difficult classes- they pushed me to take courses that came easy to me so my grade point average (GPA) would be higher. They saw more value in SAT prep and study groups than participating in new clubs and activities. I was pushed to focus on my test scores than learning something new. After all, they cannot quantify my personal growth.
Things did not get better when I managed to make time for performing arts clubs and classes in my schedule. All of a sudden my height, weight, and clothing size were all subjects open for discussion. Since I did not have the money or foresight to take extra dance lessons, my peers in the dance class my school provided only saw value in me when they discovered I was light enough to lift.
How I viewed my body changed in the blink of an eye. Suddenly I was weighing myself seven times a day, tracking my calories, and wrapping measuring tape around my waist daily. Every single calorie was accounted for. The numbers blinking back at me from my bathroom scale flashed in my head throughout the day.
After graduating, my age was not an issue. It did not matter how much training or skill I had at my job— some customers refused to work with me because they felt I was too young.This was a harder pill to swallow. I could not snap my fingers and change my age. In my work uniform, it was impossible to manipulate my image to appear older to outsiders’ eyes. Day after day I had to call a supervisor so I could continue doing my job.
Perhaps the most sickening number that was discussed is my “body count.” People I interacted with in a professional environment were laughing and taking bets, guessing how many people I had been intimate with. Their discussion led them to deciding the hypothetical number was far too few and assuming I was a prude that has been sheltered.
Even my future is impacted my numbers. The amount of money in my bank account determines if I can afford college for my dream career. My credit score determines if I am deemed responsible enough to get a car, a house, or a loan. In our new world, social media followers and likes now determine if a person is desirable or successful.
Weight, height, age, grades— I have grown tired of numbers having such a strong impact in life. If people were solely judged on their character and their actions, we would be living in a better world.