Thursday, June 05, 2008

From the Left

The issue doesn't get much attention now a days but, when I was a child there was still a great deal of curiosity about issue of left handedness. Back then however it all seemed to be how the world around us could ever be used in a right-handed way. There was a lot of wanting to "change" who we were.

I am profoundly left-handed and tried four times to have the chance to teach a child how to tie their shoes, or bat left-handed and be one of the best on the soft or base ball team. But, four children and not one lefty! Statically, I might be lucky and have the chance to parent One Left handed child if I try another 6 times!

But, as much as I love being a mother I have no plans to parent any more then the four children I have been blessed to love and care for... So, now I can only hope for a grandchild that ONLY Grandma can teach to tie a shoe!

Being left-handed is living life as a minority, statistically one out of 10 people will be left handed. There are reports that indicate this number is actually going down... I have seen some reports suggesting that our group is now about 7 people out of 100 who are left handed.

Even withing the minority of left handed people there are sub-groups. There are those people who seem to go about their lives living left handed but not even noticing the physical obstacles. When speaking together with other members of my minority group I have found there are those lefties who live life not noticing it at all and there are the other south paws (Like myself) that live a struggle almost daily do to the world being made for right handed people.

This is clear proof to me that just because someone is a member of the same minority group--does not mean that person gets to speak for the whole group! My life living Left is the way I see things and because I have suffered a certain amount of discrimination in the world around me--I can only talk of life the way I see things... When I research being left I find s good deal of statistical proof that my experience as a left handed person are not uncommon with other left handed people.

One of the very first missions of advocacy I jumped on board for was about life on the left side of things... Recently, my change in eye-sight and need for stronger glasses has caused me to go back to my natural nature and live life physically... Because I am not seeing the letters on the keyboard--I am using only memory--a physical memory. If you ask me what my mother's phone number is--I don't know it but, my fingers do...they know the number and they dial it at least once a day...

I am having more complicated left hand physical issues not seeing as well as I need to see. When I write my blog posts I cannot see the actual words on the computer screen so I am trusting finger memory not eyesight.... I just hope I never go completely blind... as I am noticing that part of my leftness includes some faulty physical memories... I am catching these faulty memories in the fact that My Fingers are the poor spellers--not my mind which actually does know how to spell pretty well... My fingers have a memory that is VERY left sided... and my fingers would LIKE things to be set up a certain way...and some consistency in the world!

Is it just me or does anyone else ever notice that the number pad on a phone is NOT in the same order as the numbers on a calculator? Or worse on the Automatic Teller Machines when I am trying to enter my PEN number--and my fingers remember a certain order--that is how I live my life. I look at the situation and decided to physically remember what my hands or body needs to do in order to simply FUNCTION!

Do most people approach a door and have to analyze which hand needs to move in order to open the door and walk without slapping yourself in the face with the door---or trying to go into the wrong side and walking into a post or divider?

Do most people approach a situation in life and need to consciously decide which foot or hand will LEAD in order to avoid a very clumsy mishap?

As a person so dependent on my Left hand and left side and living around the majority who live in a world that works for them can be a very hard life. While those who live in a world made for them are learning to read and write in the first grade--those like me are still trying to figure out how to open a book right side up just so we can see the letters written correctly... By the time our book is opened right side up...we are catching up to where the class is reading.

When it is our turn to read we are still getting over finding the page and turning the page in front of ourselves reaching in an awkward way to turn the page--whit the book getting all moved around--and our needing to act like we have learned something and take off reading in a backward way--because the words should really start on the opposite side of the page and go Right to Left in My World... What I learned in that time at class was that I had to find a certain side of the book and flip to book in an odd way to me---so that I could find the page... I learned a lot during those lessons--just Not how to read.

Of course, my pride in learning how to actually find the page--was over shadowed by my teachers impression that I was goofing around and never ready to learn. That I was playing and not paying attention. I might have learned to read before the 5th grade had someone bothered to notice how proud I was to overcome a world Not made for me...

So, for any parent of teacher that IS Right handed and for all those Want to Be left handed people who really are more Right then not--if you know a left handed child you really should stop and think for a moment... Stop and think that what looks like being naughty might only be pride in overcoming a world that is so Not Natural.

I plan to write several Bogs for Parents of Children who may be as left as I am. There are so many little ways and simple things that HAD anyone taken a moment to consider might have saw my struggle as what it really was. It was nothing more then having a physical difference that required adaptation to a world built by and for people who were Nothing Like Me...

I would also like to start a list of words Left handed people Spell Wrong...or those patterns of Typo's that seem to be constant with another left handed person. I will be setting up a database as I think that it might be interesting to see if there are any common factors... is it the design of the key boards? Is it the pattern of words? Are the spelling errors about a physical pattern? Is there a common pattern among the profoundly left people?

Parents of left handed children might be able to make some major changes in their child's life if we really take a moment and recognize that a left handed child is living in a world that is physically Not much frustration and awkwardness this causes to a left handed child--and how few people take even a moment to consider that maybe things are as simple as this one issue in a child's life...

1 comment:

  1. I, too, am left handed and remember that there was no provision for us at school. No left-handed scissors, no lessons in how to form letters left handed when I was learning to write. They even sat me to the right of my class mate (who was right handed) so our elbows banged when we wrote
    Still, at least living in a right-handed world means we are better at using our right hand than right handers are at using their left. :)


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