What’s Your Number?

by Genjourist Divi Gupta

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We were three when numbers were taught to us. We were told then that we’d be using them our whole lives, just never realised it would be to even define ourselves.

We think we’re made of numbers. Percentage on a test, pounds on a scale, likes on a photo, size tags on clothes, digits on a pay check etc. But we’re not. We have more substance than mere numbers. We are made of love and laughter, happiness and memories, late nights and past curfews, adventures and talents.

We are so strangled in the web of numbers that we seek to quantify every single thing. Even in hospitals, the doctors ask us to rate an emotion like pain on a scale of 1 to 10! A weighing machine can only really give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. And how does the size of your clothes matter? I say you rip out that tag! It’s anyway not about what size you wear, it’s about how you wear your size. Neither does your grade define how successful you’ll be in your life. You have to understand, these values, they don’t tell you what a great person you are, or how much your family and friends love you. They don’t define how you can melt a stranger with your beautiful smile, or how you have the power to choose happiness in the palm of your hand.

We let these numbers get to our head and make us go crazy even when we know that they vary each day and multiple times per day. Why is it then that we have reduced ourselves to mere calculations? Why do quantities soothe us so much?

If I had to guess, it has a lot to do with control. Numbers are the only thing in our life that we’re able to exercise some control on. They become our defence mechanism. We believe that maybe if we obsessively strive to be perfect on paper, we won’t have to reveal our true messy selves. We wear them as a disguise in this scarily competitive world.

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