Just came across this infographic about left-handers in my Facebook stream. I am proud to be a lefty, even though it caused me my share of trouble over my lifetime. Read my story below the infographic.
Let me tell you my story
When I started school in April of 1960, I was told that at first I started to write with my left hand and it looked like a machine had printed it. I was so proud of my printing skills, but I was the only one who was. It was just not acceptable to write with your left hand at that time in Switzerland. So the teacher used tape and wrapped it around my left hand and fingers so that I could not hold a pencil. I hated it and often managed to still hold my pencil with that hand. After about 6 weeks I could write with my right hand, but did not feel comfortable doing it and I wrote at a snail’s pace. My teacher promised me a Swiss chocolate bar once I wrote a whole week with my right hand. I still remember how we walked together to Migros, the local grocery store, and she bought me my chocolate bar.
I stuck to writing with my right hand for the rest of my school time, but never felt truly comfortable. Well, I almost stuck to it for my entire school time. Once I reached high school age, I had to take the train to school in St. Gall, a 50 minute train ride away. I often did my homework on the train and towards the end of my 12th year, I discovered that it was easier for me to write with my left hand wile holding the page I was writing on in my right hand as the trains gently swayed. So, 3 month before graduation, I took the plunged and switched to full time writing with my left hand. My mother was horrified, even though she is left-handed too and had been forced to use her right hand. I guess conformity was more important for her than my comfort at that point.
I have been writing with my left hand ever since. I quickly realized that I had to put the page at a different angle on the table so that my left hand was always below the text I was writing and I did not smudge it as I was often using a fountain pen. The only thing I lost with my switch was the ability to write stenography, which for me wasn’t really a loss. What I gained, is that I still can write with my right hand and when I do my bookkeeping checking bank statements I take a pen into each hand and make the check marks with each hand on a different paper. It works great.
Another thing I discovered where being left- handed was very helpful was when we lived in Israel and I learned Hebrew. Hebrew is written from right to left and is the perfect language for lefties. To this day when I have to write the capital letter N, I still write it as if it were the Hebrew letter M starting on the right side of the letter writing it to the left.
What else have I discovered about being a lefty?
- I can’t eat properly with a spoon with my right hand.
- I can cut meat at the dinner table with my right hand and the fork stays in my left, but I can’t slice anything, meat, bread of vegetable, with my right hand.
- Peeling vegetables is awkward as most peelers don’t work for lefties. Growing up in Switzerland I never had any problems as I used the Swiss peeler that could be used by either hand.
- Using a can opener was another problem area, that is until I discovered that I had no problem using a military can opener.
- I use scissors, screwdrivers, hammers, saws and needles with my left hand. Scissors don’t seem to cut when I hold them in my right hand. Yes, I bought a pair of left-handed sewing scissors to cut through heavy fabrics. The best scissors are the ones in the picture below as they are easily used by either hand. I have a pair and love them.
- The sewing machine is definitely ideal for lefties as you guide the fabric with your left hand and can turn the wheel with your non-dominant right hand to get the sewing started.
- I hold the crochet hook with my right hand and control the wool with my left.
- When it come to the computer, I use the mouse with my left hand, but have taught myself to use it with the right hand also, but as soon as I need to have precise movements I switch back to the left hand.
- The qwerty keyboard favors lefties.
- I learned to play the guitar the right handed way.
- When I used to wear a watch I wore it sometimes on my right arm.
Once I arrived in Canada, I discovered to my delight that it really didn’t matter which hand you wrote with as long as it was legible.
Of my 3 kids one of them is a lefty. The one who is a lefty showed those tendencies early on. She held her crayon in her left hand properly and in her right hand she wrapped her fingers around it like she was holding a stick.
At one point hubby pointed out that he was a double minority as he was the only man in the house and the only right-handed person. I guess it isn’t always easy to live with a left-handed person who puts everything on the “wrong” side.
To wrap it up. I probably can use my right hand more easily and for more things that a right handed person can use their left hand. Living in a right handed world us lefties have kind of been forced to become ambidextrous.
Resources about Left Handedness
- Lefty Language
- Left-Handers Day
- Famous Left-Handers
- Left-Handed Products
- More Left-Handed Products
- Being Left-Handed
I would love to hear from other lefties about their experiences. Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask.