My left parietal lobe
I talk about other people's brains all the time so it is only fair that I share something about my own.
I have dyscalculia.
What's weird is that I didn't realize this until VERY recently. Figuring this out, by accident of course, has been like looking at one of those optical illusions where once you see the other image you can't switch back.
I started talking to friends about it lately, online and in person, and I'm finding a lot of people relating the same symptoms, to differing degrees. Also differing levels of defensiveness, resignation, and embarrassment. I have experienced all three, but mostly an intense curiosity about it. This discovery has explained SO many things about the trajectory of my life. Telling right from left, reading a clock, dealing with maps, doing simple calculations in my head, the complete inability to play backgammon... Why learning a new sequence of tap steps is so much harder for me than my classmates!
I know now that I found a zillion ways to compensate for these gaps in my brain, and that these compensations helped me in other ways to be successful - and also that I "decided" not to do certain things in life and "don't care" about certain things that may be more simply explained as "I can't, therefore I choose not to value that." Despite this number dyslexia I still tutored people in math, ran businesses, got an M.S., and manage my family's finances. I probably worked four times harder at these things than other people might, but I get by.
One thing I've discovered as I've researched this is if you can't read and write well people judge, but math weakness is written off as less important. Also that weakness in math may be associated with greater ability in writing (this, like other possibly apocryphal tales, is the kind of stereotype no writer will dig too deeply to dispute), but not the other way around.
I wonder, lately, if there had been a name and a recognition of this when I was a kid whether I would have been discouraged from doing things, or failed to try. Being labelled - an active debate in all mental health issues - is a double-edged sword. I'd like to think the naming of things helps develop tools and insight, rather than stigma and defeatism, but of course I know both are surely true.