I read something recently where a person was talking about her approach to teaching math - that she reassures her class that they are not "bad" at math, but that somewhere along the way, they had a bad teacher, or they missed a day, and the lacking knowledge accumulated so that now they are confused by various things. And I was thinking of how many gaps I have in my own knowledge of math, and how crazy these gaps drive me when they show up.
It's hard to even recognize that something is caused by a gap. A certain topic will show up (infinite series, say, or rules of limits) and my mind will just go "that's too hard" or "I can't do those" without asking why. Are these topics somehow such that I alone cannot learn them? Do I have some tiny genetic flaw that has knocked out the part of my mind that would let me understand what a Taylor series is?
No. I just don't understand something because I have some gaps, and the thing to do, then, if I'm serious about math, is to figure out what the gaps are and fill them in. It's unlikely I'm missing anything that I can't learn, so I need to just get on that, as it comes up. And now that I'm finally more of a badass about reading and understanding math, I'm in a perfect position to do so.