Math+Life #26: Beam Balance of Identity

We all have a thin line of identity,

A function that strikes through the graph of life,

For some it may be constant y = x,

For some it may be a rollercoaster y = x^2,

And for some it may not even be a defined function.


Nevertheless, the line of identity defines the way we function,

And when you are below the line, 

It glides above our heads,

We are under an umbrella of safety,

An area of comfort,

Our past selves and identity protects and comforts us,

So that we can define who we are,

Without the influence of the clouds of pressure to change,

Which gloom in an area above the line, 

Or as the clouds call themselves, “adaptation” to your surroundings.


Speaking of, let’s explore the area above the line,

The side that exposes you to the rest of the world,

You’ll go up, up, and up, as you try to climb the graph above the line,

As you explore on, you gradually become distant from your identity,

The tiny voices will whisper, “adapt”, “fit in”, “leave your comfort zone”,

Your confusion will start to bubble,

Wait, is leaving your comfort zone = distancing yourself from who you are?

It sounds a bit immoral to leave your individuality behind,

Is adaptation and fitting in another word for changing your identity?

On the contrary, it sounds cowardly if you stay where you are,

Are the whispers which dare to say the most intimidating word of all – change – really that evil?


The question remains whether you should stay sheltered in your identity bubble,

Or if you should gradually crawl away to see the rest of the world,

It’s your choice,

Adaptation or stability?


The truth is that you will find a balance one day,

If you stay in your cocoon of stability,

And accept that you are allowed to be a butterfly too,

Your identity will fly with you,

Yes, it is hard to explain the concept of how you can,

Smooth smoothly with who you are,

while balancing on the oceans of pressure, adaptation and safety,

But I promise, that line of equilibrium exists.



Math connect:

One of the fundamental theorems/questions of calculus is how to find the area under a curve of a graph. One method to do so is place rectangles of different heights and maximize their area so that they are close to the area under the curve. This methodology is known as Riemman’s sum. The definition of a left Reimann’s sum is when the rectangles touch the curve with their top-left corners, meaning that in an increasing function, the rectangles will be an underestimation. Similarly, a right Riemann sum is when the rectangles touch the curve with their top right corners, meaning that in an increasing function, the rectangles will be an overestimation and larger. 

In this poem, I compared the function (line, curve, etc) to our identity. I drew a parallel between Reimann’s left sum to the concept of staying inside our bubble of safety, and I used Reimann’s right sum as the concept of exploration and adaptability. I believe that there is balance that can be struck between both, just like in Reimann’s sum. The concept is illustrated below.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 3.00.32 PM

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