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math madness embroidery art

Math Madness: Overcoming Numerical Challenges Through Art

Mathematics is a subject that has both fascinated and confounded people throughout history. While some individuals excel at numbers and equations, others grapple with the complexities of numeric reasoning. I, too, have faced my fair share of struggles in mathematics. As someone who struggles daily with dyscalculia, a condition characterized by difficulty understanding and working with numbers, my journey through mathematical challenges has been both frustrating and enlightening. In this blog post, I will share my personal experience and how I found solace through art that inspired the creation of Math Madness embroidered hoop art.

The Spark of Inspiration

During my first year as a psychology major, I found myself doodling and sketching to cope with the major changes of returning to school after a long break from academic progression. Little did I know that one of these illustrations would catalyze a creative endeavor to help me navigate my mathematical hurdles. The drawing was an abstract representation of mathematical concepts encapsulating the rawest emotions. It became the foundation for the Math Madness embroidered hoop art, which served as an outlet for my frustrations and a celebration of my resilience.

original art by Lis Sun Crandall

Understanding Dyscalculia

Before delving deeper into my journey, it’s essential to shed light on dyscalculia. Dyscalculia is a learning difference that affects an individual’s ability to comprehend and work with numbers. People with dyscalculia may struggle with basic arithmetic, number recognition, and mathematical concepts. Dyscalculia affects individuals differently, and I do not have a problem understanding mathematical concepts; the saving grace helped me achieve above-average outcomes in mathematics.  This condition can often make numeric reasoning extremely challenging, leading to frustration and feelings of inadequacy.

Spatial Awareness

While dyscalculia primarily affects numerical skills, some individuals with dyscalculia may also experience challenges with spatial awareness. Spatial awareness, on the other hand, refers to the ability to perceive and understand the spatial relationships between objects and to navigate and manipulate objects in space. It involves recognizing shapes, understanding distances, and visualizing objects in different orientations. People with dyscalculia may struggle with spatial awareness to some degree. I am among those who are strongly affected by spatial reasoning deficits.

A Drastic Decision

During my early academic journey, I made the drastic decision to change my business major after attending just one class in statistics. The complexities of numbers overwhelmed me, and it seemed like an insurmountable hurdle. I pursued a different path, hoping to avoid further encounters with the mathematical realm. However, life has its way of guiding us back to our unfinished business.

Embracing Psychology Studies

Years later, as I rediscovered my passion for understanding the human mind and chose to pursue psychology studies, I realized that I could not escape mathematics entirely. Statistics, a crucial component of psychology research, loomed ahead, causing anxiety and trepidation. I knew I had to confront my fears head-on to succeed in my chosen field.

The Breaking Point

One incident that left a lasting impact on me was my first statistics assignment. Sitting at my desk, I forced myself to tackle the problems, but the numbers seemed to blur together, mocking my efforts. Overwhelmed and frustrated, tears streamed down my face as I grappled with the assignment. It was a poignant moment of vulnerability, but it became a turning point in my journey.

Finding Comfort in Art

Amidst the tears and frustration, I turned to my creative instincts for solace. I laughed at my illustration that portrays a clueless-looking girl with explosive hair and haunted by the statistical formulas. After a good laugh, I completed the assignment and realized I was not the only person struggling with statistics. Psychology students often demonstrate a high level of literacy reasoning but usually fare poorly in numeric reasoning. My fellow coursemates had trouble grasping the statistical concepts despite not having dyscalculia.

A Universal Experience

While my journey may be unique to me, the challenges I faced with mathematics and dyscalculia are shared by many others. The fear, anxiety, and inadequacy that arise from struggling with numeric reasoning are experiences that transcend individual circumstances. Through sharing my story and embracing art as a means of self-expression, I hope to reach out to those who have faced similar hurdles and offer them a sense of understanding and inspiration.

Mathematics may continue to pose challenges, but I have discovered a powerful tool for self-expression and healing by creating Math Madness embroidered hoop art. By sharing my experience, I aim to foster a supportive community for individuals who struggle with mathematics, dyscalculia, or other life hurdles. Remember, it is through our creativity and resilience that we can find ways to overcome our obstacles and embrace our unique journeys.

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