October 29, 2009

Fianlly Figuring It Out

EleanorRigby wrote:

So, I'm 22 and was forced to write with my right hand for about half a year in the third grade. There were six left handed children out of 16, and my teacher took the high number of lefties as a sign something needed to be done. He saw left-handedness as a sign of a weak will. My parents were hesitant about agreeing to switching me, but were told that all the other parents of lefties had already agreed (so basically pressured into it). One day I came home and told my mother I wished I could cut my right hand off so I wouldn't have to use it anymore. I've been using my left hand for everything ever since.

However, I always considered myself really awkward and clumsy and I could never figure out why I couldn't do simple things like draw a straight line with a ruler - or why the arrow keys on keyboards were in such an inconvenient place. The biggest thing, was I always hated taking pictures because they came out so blurry and it the process was so awkward. I never realized that this was due to having to press the button down with my weaker hand, which I'm unable to hold as steady. It's such a relief to know that it's not cos I'm dumb or bad at things - just that I'm a lefty! So I've started switching everything I can (computer mouse, hold cameras upside down) around to be more comfortable for me. My friends think my obsession with pointing out things that are designed to put lefties at a disadvantage is annoying and whiny. When I point out places where there is no left-handed equipment (I used to work in a deli - all the slicers are for right-handers) they tell me that it's not a big deal - however, I've seen right handers get really, really worked up when they come into a class and find a left-handed desk where they usually sit (and things like that).

Has anyone else had this kind of experience with their friends/peers?

Also, I have a really hard time telling right from left. I usually say left when I mean right and vice versa. People hate having me give them driving directions. I've heard that this is a lefty thing? Has anyone else found that to be true?


  1. dear lefty,
    i too have struggled with simple spatial tasks as a result of my left-handedness. when i watch someone do a dance move, or perform an action i am supposed to mirror, or if someone is pointing in a particular direction, i have to think really hard about which part of my body corresponds to theirs.
    i think it comes from always having to adjust to a right handed world, and in some ways, i think our clumsiness and awkward tendencies are more from second guessing our true nature, than any real spatial deficiencies.
    its a weird thing that many right handed people NEVER think about . unless you have someone in your family, or are in a close relationship to a lefty, it often doesn't come up. my partner is quite sensitive to it, and often eats with his left hand so we don't have to bump elbows. but when i have trouble following simple directions, he is also quick to call me his "poor, left-handed, polish girlfriend".
    certainly this "disadvantage", (or even "disability" as your teacher believed), must have some useful applications...is it that we are supposedly more creative? should we give up driving and trying to put together IKEA furniture? i could do that, but would someone please get me a pair of left-handed scissors?

  2. When someone says it is not big deal that lefties should put up with right handed tools my answer is that if it not such a big deal why not make them all left handed. After all it is not a big deal. If they fuss at that option it is clear evidence of a bias on their part.

  3. Up until the nineteen sixties left handers were sometimes forced in schools to write with their right hand as the left hand was tought to be associated with the Devil though this was only in chatolic schools. Thank god they came to their senses. Is it true that Barak Obama is also a lefty.

  4. when I sit down in the language lab at my university, I immediately switch the mouse to left-handed, and I leave it that way when I leave. No one has complained. Some right handers know how to switch it back, but most don't, so it often stays that way for a week or longer! One day the teacher sat at that station and she thought the mouse was broken. I happened to be in the room at the time, so I explained to her what I had done. She was not upset or bothered in any way.

    By the way, the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge, does not allow lefties to switch the mouse buttons! I urge everyone to complain to them about this unfair discrimination.

  5. I have my mouse set to left handed at work since I have a left handed work station. I have it set to right handed at home since my wife also uses it. Don't yell at me to turn the car left or right. You are wasting your time. It just doesn't get processed properly and only distracts me from the situation at hand. When I first started to print I did mirror images. I consider this to be a deffinite indicator that I am left handed. Now I do some things left and some things right. If I take an online left handed test I get stumped. When I have to stop and think wheather I do some things left or right I can not come up with an answer.

  6. lol.
    well, I think I know what you mean...
    when I was really young, and so eager to learn, I used to shadow my older sister - she was already in school. She seemed to have a problem to remember left from right, so my mother offered her a simple way to always know: "the right hand is the one you use to write, the left is the other", and I thought to myself "noted!"

    ...needless to say that wasn't so much of a good idea. O, I can tell left from right, but if someone asks me too quickly, I'll have it the other way around...

  7. When you said that you say right but mean left or the other way round, i have the exact same problem. It gets very annoying!

    I swich my mouse to the left at home but i dont know how to do it on macs. Does anybody know how to for macs?

  8. when I was a kid I had trouble with telling my left from my right, and every now and then I'll say left when I mean right (like today at work) or vice verca, but for the most part I have it down.


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