This I Believe

Sarah - Round Rock, Texas
Entered on September 11, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“Why are you holding your pencil all funny? It’s in the wrong hand.” When I heard, at the tender and naïve age of six, that I had been holding my pencil in the wrong hand all my life, I panicked. How was it that everyone in Mrs. King’s kindergarten class could write with their right hand, while I was the only one writing with my left? Why could everyone else color smudge-free while I was left with a smeared picture and pink marker stains on my hand? Something was wrong with me, I thought.

Thus, I diligently set out on my new mission: to become right-handed. I practiced many hours of the day, painstakingly trying to make out letters in the muddle of shaky lines. I couldn’t stand being different from my peers; even scissors were made for right-handed people. I felt ashamed that I was left-handed. I even started to call it my “wrong” hand, because it wasn’t my right. Day after day I practiced my right-handed penmanship, desperately willing it to get better. But it didn’t. No matter how hard I tried, squiggly lines were still squiggly lines, not letters or words. Besides, I loved my handwriting the way it was; my loopy “g”s and “y”s, curvy “a”s, and, above all my swirly “s”s. No other kindergartener could boast of those accomplishments. I learned to ignore the crinkled noses, and instead focused on the exclamations of “cool!” and “I wish I could write with my left hand!”

I live in a right-handed world. I know that. I experience anti-lefty bias all the time; I get school desks that are uncomfortable to write on, computer mice that are hard to use, and scissors that cramp my hand. I say all the more reason to be left-handed. It is what makes me me, and not the next right-handed guy on the street. These obstacles may insignificant, but they teach me tolerance, flexibility, and new ways of problem solving. So go forth, my fellow lefties, and invest in that left-handed can opener; go ahead and switch your computer mouse to the left side; and wholeheartedly believe in being left-handed, as I do.