I don’t know when the leftie envy started, but it seems to have been swirling around in my conscience for a long time, perhaps starting with my big brother, the only one of five siblings who is naturally left-handed; then, a favorite teacher, friend and ex-husband whose crooked backward writing ways fascinated me. They always seemed so effortlessly cool and rebellious.
It is a weird thing to want and while I do not make a habit of coveting other people things, after all this time for no reason I can figure out except FOM – fear of monotony— I still wanted it, and so recently ticked it off the bucket list. Maybe. You decide.
Although legible, the leftie scribble looks somewhat childlike, as if I haven’t quite come into my style. Not for lack of trying. You’d think I was pursuing something more meaningful if you added up the hours I spent observing and mimicking habits of known lefties, experimenting and trying to make it my own. Yes, on those alphabet-practice sheets for kindergarteners.
Unknowing right-hand dominance is tricky. As with musical instruments and languages, it was probably best perfected young. Or with my confident right in a cast. Because when the urge to express was fevered and the left hand lagged drunkenly behind my thought process, I believed I had actual problems.
Progress was so slow that, yanked along by a special conviction of possibility, I switched hands with other things too. I left-stapled stuff at work and moved my computer mouse to the left and no one said anything. Eating was next and fun in a way I hadn’t expected since I could simultaneously play Kindle games with my right hand. With many things, I simply took to using whichever hand was closest to accomplish the task.
My leftie friend wisely ignored this reinvention attempt—neither encouraging nor discouraging–so I hadn’t realized my nonsense might annoy other natural lefties until the day I was seated next to my big brother at a wedding reception. To avoid knocking hands with him, I switched to my left too, which by then looked natural enough for one of the guests to excitedly ask if it ran in the family to which brother grunted out, “She’s not a real leftie. Girl, stop playing.” As if I was trying to steal his leftie groupies.
I didn’t foresee other downsides of waking up this dormant body part either:
- My general penmanship has suffered and why have I stopped dotting i’s?
- The left hand tends to have more ink smudges – a result of sometimes smearing what I’ve written when I forget to crook my wrist or angle the paper.
- I don’t feel any cooler. Maybe more rebellious, but not cooler.
Also, having been a pretend-leftie for a while in a world designed for righties, I have added up the other things that suck about it too. Scissors, spiral notebooks, can openers, mugs.
More importantly, it is still too slow for marathon writing. Just brief bits to keep the muscle memory and amuse myself. If I work at it I could speed up and make the leap to cursive. Well, lefty cursive which, from what I’ve seen, begins with one remarkable calligraphy-grade first letter only to dwindle into a spidery scribble. If I got there, though, I’d likely want to change my signature and I could see the flags that could raise with my bank because from the outside, it does suggest shady, possibly criminal intention, instead of being just another outlet for an endlessly curious person who often asks what if would happen if I (fill in the blank)?