To Personify a Statistic: an introduction

Dear reader,

I would like to preface this by saying that I have never taken a statistics course.

I think, unknowingly, I’ve always been fascinated by numbers (no matter my distaste for math. Arithmetic is the bane of my existence). Numbers — manipulating, interpreting, experimenting — culminate in final theories that define the very scaffolding of the world. They allocate resources, education, and attention to and from specific people thanks to those small Arabic numerals, shaping who gets what in the grand scheme of, well, everything.

It’s a numbers game. And it’s one I intend to crack.

I think we often forget how good statisticians are at separating us into groups (race, sex, socioeconomic status, location, cereal first vs milk first, etc) to the point where we often lose sight of own individual identities. It’s kind of like those universe simulations we used in middle school science classes — we see ourselves in comparison to an ant, another human, the planet, the solar system, the universe, until we feel like a tiny insignificant speck in the grand scheme of the world.

It’s existentialism at it’s finest, and as much of a mood the emo void and that G-note are, forgetting the unique intersection of stories and identities each of us have contained within us is almost a disservice to our experiences. 

A friend once told me that statistics are only so powerful because we often ignore the fact that each person contributing to those statistics has their own stories within the labels they are confined by. The hodgepodge (isn’t that a funny word?) of communities each of us intersect is what grants us individuality. 

You and I, we are the paradigm of intersectionality, and each community we absorb shifts the puzzle of our identity, stretching and shrinking every other part of ourselves until we are a tangled mess of stories and truths unable to be lumped together with others within the confines of a statistic. 

I hope that with you, I can begin the arduous task of unraveling myself, tugging at the strings of my individual identities that act as puppeteers to my every thought, every action. Understanding my personhood seems like a task more terrifying than my AP Calculus homework (did I mention that I really don’t like math?), but I think that with you by my side, we can make this journey a little less crazy. 

Feeling weird about life,

Mahika Arya