December 19, 2009

A Lefty in a Right-Handed World

Ella Greer wrote:

As a child, I was always different. I was deathly afraid of a fatal contraption, otherwise known as the bicycle. I wrote backwards, I preferred crayons over markers, scissors were considered the root of all evil, and three-ring binders were the enemy. I frequently exasperated my parents with these idiosyncrasies, my dad especially; learning how to ride a bike is an experience that I will never be allowed to forget. My father will never let the scene of my careening down the street, hands in the air, feet off the pedals, and screaming that I was going to die, fade from the album of family memories.

Because of the attention and the belief that the world is attempting to asphyxiate me, I have found the desire to find out who I was as a lefty. The quest of self-realization began, and I soon found myself amongst friends with the relief of knowing that I was not alone in this tragic game between the world and left handers.

I am often the subject of ridicule and stares inside the classroom. Many a time, peers will proclaim that I am a “freak” and that my entire life is “screwed up” or “backwards.” My colleagues are not trying to be spiteful (even though I have reason to believe that one was), nor do they wish to become the cause of my insecurities. They are just simply mesmerized by the phenomenon of genetics and independent assortment.

First things first: I learned that the bicycle incident was not my fault. Left-handed people find it harder to keep their balance than right-handed people do. Therefore, it took me longer to conquer the death contraption than it took my brothers, who happen to be right-handed.

During my quest, I soon realized that I was not as weird as I first perceived myself to be. It is normal for a young left hander to write backwards in attempt to move away from the spine of notebook or the rings of a binder. The favoritism of crayons over markers was easily explained; when left handers write, the ink of the writing utensil smears on the paper and on their wrists.

Although left handers today have it hard, the hardships they face are nothing compared to the trials that fellow left-handers went through in ancient history. Egyptians saw left-handers as bad omens and threw them off the side of a cliff or used them as sacrifices to the gods, to show that they have repented and cleansed themselves of evil. In Latin, the term left means “sinister.” It is also said that witches greeted each other with the left hand, signifying that they were a part of the evil community. The phrase “someone got up on the wrong side of the bed” originates from the belief that stepping out of the bed on the left foot is a sign that the person was destined to have a bad day.

One day during class, a peer of mine looked at me and thought it appropriate to inform the entire class that my life was screwed up because I wrote upside down. Because of this, I began my odyssey to find other lefties like myself. I longed for the knowledge and assurance that I am not a “freak of nature” and that my life is not “screwed up.” To all the lefties reading these words of assurance, and to those who are struggling to find their place in this world, you are not alone.

6 comments:

  1. Oh my god, I'm not alone! Oh man I cannot stand those three ring binders. I mean I've learned to cope with it over time but it's probably my biggest pet peeve about right handed materials, because those cold metal rings dig into my left wrist everytime I write notes. Sometimes my wrist hurts afterwards, and I'll flip the page to avoid writing on the right side, but that bugs me too because my elbow bumps into the person sitting next to me if I write on the left page instead of the right. Grr!

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  2. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I too have been degraded for being a lefty. One time my friends had this girl over at our house, whom I'd only just met and they told her I was a lefty and they all thought it was cool but then she said, "I don't like left-handed people." I felt so rejected.

    And then in class the teacher mentioned she was a lefty and I blurted out happily, "I'm a lefty too!" And this mean kid sitting behind me yelled, "Left-handed people are gay."

    I feel your pain woman. :'( Sometimes it hurts.

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  3. Damn, this site makes left-handedness sound like a disability. :? I've never really had any problems other than the occasional elbow bump with a neighbor. And the only person who says anything against left-handedness is my mother, everyone else thinks it's pretty cool. =] I don't believe I've ever had any problems with a bike though, I was always pretty good. ;p Well hey, for your sake I hope more things will be made for left handers so the world can be better for everyone. ;]

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  4. Yeah I'm with Summer. I've NEVER had these things happen to me. I was always a wonder on a bike, I've got great balance, and I've never been discriminated for being a lefty (except my friends think I'm weird for playing XBOX with my right stick inverted, but maybe that's not a lefty thing). I still do stuff like use a computer mouse and write with my right hand, mainly because society kinda dictated it, sad to say. but I play sports, throw, catch, eat, play guitar (just started), and do everything else left-oriented.

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  5. Summer - The owner of this site adamantly states that left-handedness is NOT a disability! I've never had a problem with it. It may even be an advantage when it comes to creativity and adaptability. But there are still people who have a weird point of view about it, just as there are people who react weirdly to redheads or to tall (or short) people or to people with various skin colors.

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  6. Lots of kids have odd fears and quirks. I don't think it really has much to do with handedness.

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