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A year ago, I was served with divorce papers. And in those papers my almost-former spouse claimed I had a bachelor’s degree in English. He knew this was a gaping wound for me. He chose to pour salt into it.

It was a direct challenge to me. I could either let it slide, subjecting myself to the future income claims such a statement insinuated or I could embrace my shame.

I chose to own my lousy choices and embrace the shame.

I took freakin’ forever to get my degree. And in the end, I completed all the coursework for the English degree, but I simply could not pass the Mathematics exit exam.

I tried at least a half dozen times. I studied. I got tutoring.

I missed a passing score by one or two points every time.

It was frustrating, humiliating, demoralizing. With typical youthful arrogance, I decided I would deal with it later. I got a job. Then a husband, a promotion, and eventually a layoff notice and three kids.

Later is long past. It’s time to deal with this. I’m sick of feeling ashamed of myself for being such a moron. I’m tired of feeling like a liar.

I finally contacted the University’s academic advisors and started the ball rolling to find out what exactly I need to do to finish that degree. First, they have to go find the microfiche with my transcripts (not even kidding, I attended so long ago that my records are on microfiche). Then the transcripts will be scanned and evaluated. In the meantime, the extremely professional and understanding advisor recommended I take a math class at the community college. She was already trying to find a work-around for math-addled me.

I went to the community college and took the assessment test. Y’know what? I placed into Elementary Algebra. Go, me! I thought I’d forgotten every single thing I ever knew about Algebra (which really wasn’t much), and even though it felt like my brain would explode, I dug deep and solved those problems.

I’m going to make Algebra my bitch.

I’m going to take one of the decisions I regret most in my life and turn it into something I’m proud of. It’s going to take at least two college math classes, and very likely some additional upper division courses at the University, but I’m going to finish what I started 34 years ago.

Go to hell, Voldemort. I may have to find a part-time, minimum wage job and scrape to get by, but I’m proud of myself. I have nothing to be ashamed of.*

*Well, except ending that sentence with a preposition, but that’s artistic license, not shameful.