I write left-handed. I eat left-handed. I sit comfortably in the liberal left when it comes to politics, although I always carefully consider my options.
August 13 is international left-handed day. I am not sure what I am supposed to do, other than eat dark chocolate gelato*, which I have been enjoying daily anyway. Yes, I eat gelato left-handed and sometimes (gasp) with a fork.
Being born in the 80s, I have no recollection of the days when teachers forced children to write with their right hand. If I am not writing on a spiral notebook or trying to open a can, I don’t think about it. And who really cares whether I crown my capital ‘C’ with a perfect little curl or not? My handwriting is a melange of cursive and print, big proud letters and small ones. It isn’t precise nor neat, but I like that. It’s borderline illegible and somehow expresses exactly who I am.
It is sad to think about teachers shoving pens into the right hands of kids. And the kids, writing and cutting with their opposite hands just because they were told to. It must have made them both incredibly frustrated.
Why do we waste so much energy trying to fit everyone into the same mold?
There’s No Right Way
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t write with my left hand. I couldn’t imagine it. Me: a righty. I’d dress differently for sure. No more smudged notebooks. No more asking The Husband to open the wine. No more drinking from the wrong water glass.
Part of my charm.
All that time, teaching lefties to write “right,” would have been better spent accepting what is and accommodating those who can’t cut Christmas trees out of construction paper. Or turning them into great pitchers.
Being exactly who you are never leads you wrong. I learned this from my parents, who never bought me dolls because they knew I hated them, and who gritted their teeth and said nothing (or mostly nothing) during my brief punk/grunge/goth/whatever-the-hell phase.
They also let me join the wrestling team, although they did try to ever-so gently dissuade me from it on the premise that I wouldn’t like the intensive workouts (I didn’t). I only wanted to make a statement with my fellow 14-year-old riot grrrls. At the first weigh-in/practice, boys crowded around and hurled level-C gender slurs at us. This all happened in front of the coach, who let it go on for awhile before finally stopping it. It was a scene straight out of a Lifetime flick, only scarier and it didn’t end in a trial.
I grew out of all this stuff and ended up pretty well-adjusted, though I’d like to think I was well-adjusted in high school and society was the problem.
I recently met a pre-teen girl at the writing studio I tutor at. She had a strip of blue hair, big boots, a striped skirt and topped it all off with a tiara. One of the other kids began to tease her about the tiara (I suspect he has a crush). She glared at him and said “It’s not a tiara. It’s just a bit of sparkle.”
She is a bit of sparkle. And I hope it’s never dulled by bullies or work or normalcy.
Embrace your weird quirks.
*I found this amazing gelato called Talenti. It’s not the kind of sugary ice cream that will remind you of childhood (if you lived near a Baskin Robbins, which I did). But it’s so freakin’ smooth. It will remind you of an oceanside hamlet in Italy, one you swear you’re going to visit one day. It the gelato of future travels. And I promise they’re not paying me to say this, although I wouldn’t turn away a freezer full. I am about to try their blood orange flavor. Blood orange is the new pomegranate and I suspect the black currant will soon replace it as the hippest food in the produce section. Mark my words.