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Being Left Handed: My Way to Stand Out

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It always felt right to go left. Instinctively, I would throw or kick with my left side. My left hand would pick up my pencil or turn the page of a book. Being left handed is intuitive - something I cannot provide an explanation for. As I matured, writing became lengthier, sports became more intense, and paintings became more complex. Whether it is due to my genes or random chance, there is a sense of comfort and confidence that has grown within me from relying on my left side. No matter whether I am playing a sport, studying, or simply going about life, being left handed will always provide me with a way to stand out.

Being a lefty was not always accepted. My grandmother, for example, was one of many lefties who was forced to use her right hand to conform to the standard. As a result of this prejudice, we have become a right-handed world. In the classroom alone, there is an unspoken struggle to overcome tools designed for the right-handed person. My left palm is tattooed with ink stains that never vanish despite the frequency of washing my hands, my arms feel discomforted and misplaced in school desks shaped for a righty, and my fingers cry from throbbing due to the right-handed alignment of scissors. While in or out of the classroom, I have never had an experience where the subject was designed for a lefty’s convenience. It has taught me to adapt and become more aware of the construction of these simple tools.

Outside the classroom, I am competitively involved with softball. Watching my coaches demonstrate a new skill or play, no matter how simple, becomes a challenge with the opposite perspective. I have learned to rely on constant focus and visualizations of practicing backwards. These complications allow me to understand and challenge myself, rather than just memorizing or mimicking. My versatile perspective is helpful especially being a pitcher, as I am constantly looking for mechanical tweaks to throw the ball faster, smarter, and more accurately. The natural yet devastating spin from a lefty, along with movement of the ball in various directions from this different angle, makes it extra difficult for the batter to compete. Mentally, I am more comfortable than my opponent as I am used to facing any batter who is not used to facing a lefty like myself.

My perspective has also came in “handy” with my interests in the arts. Painting, sculpting, and photography are all enriched as a lefty for a better outlook. I may be left-handed, but the right side of my brain is highlighted in these subjects. Considering the left hand is contralateral to the right brain, my creativity, intuition, and innovativeness are more advanced than the perceived righty. Having a mind capable of recognizing a color scheme, texture, and analyzing dimensions makes capturing the essence in Gali’s and Magritte’s surrealist works easy. Recognizing more thoroughly irrational, mysterious, and fantasies in surrealism as one of the many other skills artists use is something I can give credit to my left-handedness.

For something as natural to me as walking or talking, I did not see the peculiarity of it until people made it evident. When I was a little girl, I was unaware of this difference. As I continue to mature and further engage this lifestyle of being left-handed, my interests may change, but one thing will stay true. I am part of the ten percent of people who are left handed, and I am different. What started as issues with ink stains, desks, and scissors, has had an advantage on the larger scale. An example of being strong and always willing to compete in life is that I will not let these limitations restrict me from embracing being left-handed. Although in the past it may have been condemned, today it is something I am proud of. As C.R. Manske would say, “Life without left handed people wouldn’t be right.”

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