Life as a Lefty

I am one of the 10% of the population blessed with being left handed. I am the only left handed member of an eight-member family. I have endured the stereotype of being awkward from everyone including some of my own family members. Left handed people only seem awkward to right handed people because of a predominantly right handed society. Left handed people are more adaptable out of necessity. Most left handed people learn to do simple tasks by mere observation. It is also very difficult for a right handed parent to teach a left handed child to tie a shoelace or other simple tasks. Most left handed people are naturally fast learners out of necessity.

When it was Discovered that I was Left Handed

My mother was feeding me in my high chair when I was a toddler. Naturally, all children at that age want to attempt to feed themselves. Most mothers would assume the child was right handed by placing the spoon in the child’s right hand. My mother did not do this. Instead, she would hold the spoon in front of the child, allowing the child to take the spoon with whichever hand was more comfortable for the child. It was when I took the spoon with my left hand that she realized I was left handed.

Being the Only Left Handed Child out of Six

My mother realized she would have some difficulty teaching me certain motor skills simply because she was not qualified to do so. My oldest sister realized how fast I was able to learn things. She found it enjoyable to teach me to read and write. I was able to learn to tie my shoes by watching my right handed siblings tie their own shoes and inverting the steps to suit me. While right handed people take it for granted the ease of using a can opener or swiping a credit card at a checkout register, the left handed person must adapt to do these things with their “wrong” hand.

Only one person tried to force me to be right handed. My older sister couldn’t stand for her little sister to be “different”. She wanted me to be just like everyone else. She would literally tie my left hand behind my back and force me to do everything right handed, including write. I was only six years old at the time. At six years old, it is awkward for a child to learn to do things with their dominant hand. I was even more awkward because I was being forced to do things with my non-dominant hand. I never told my mother about this incident. I did eventually tell my mother the story after I became an adult. My mother became infuriated. She wished that I had told her about the incident when it happened because she would have put a stop to it immediately. I was so tormented as a child for being left handed that I paid special attention to celebrities who were themselves left handed. Two early left handed celebrities I noticed were Michael Landon and Walter Koenig. I felt more special after learning that a Cartwright and an Enterprise bridge member were left handed.

Turnabout is Fair Play

Five years or so after my sister tried to turn me into a right hander, she was nearly killed in a car accident. The accident totally crushed her right wrist causing her to lose most of the use of her right hand. This accident forced her to become more left handed. She did very well learning to write with her non-dominant hand. She was never comfortable writing with her left hand but she had no choice. It was only then she realized that her forcing me to be right handed was uncomfortable for me.

Watch Some Lefties at Work

An Old Wives Tale

It was once believed that left handed people were either evil or demon possessed because it was also believed that Satan was left handed. Teachers, parents and even older siblings would often attempt to force a left handed child to become right handed. Fortunately for me, my teachers and parents never tried this. My mother made it very clear to my teachers that they weren’t to even try to turn me into a right handed child. I just wish she had made it more clear to my older siblings.

Facts About Lefties

Left handed people are more creative and artistic because those traits come from the right side of the brain which controls the left side of the body.

The sewing machine and typewriter were two inventions designed specifically for left handed people. With the sewing machine, the first ones used a hand crank which was placed on the right side placing all of the other functional controls on the left. With the typewriter and subsequent computer keyboards, more of the commonly used keys are on the left side.

A left handed person will often smudge the left hand when writing as the hand is dragged through the paper. There are devices to curtail this if the left handed person wishes to purchase them. Some left handed people see these smudges as a badge of honor, proudly proclaiming to the rest of the world, “I’m a southpaw and damned proud of it.”

Baseball is the only American sport that openly accepts left handed players. In fact, some teams will draft or trade for a player based solely on that reason.

Video Facts about Lefties

Other Famous Lefties

Here are some famous left handed people.

The Ladies

Nicole Kidman
Faith Hill
Whoopi Goldberg
Oprah Winfrey
Priscilla Barnes
Goldie Hawn
Angelina Jolie
Judy Garland
Natalie Cole
Julia Roberts

The Men

Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Jefferson
Barack Obama
George Bush (the elder)
Leonardo Da Vinci
Beethoven
Bruce Willis
Harry S Truman (forced to become right handed as a child)
Ronald Reagan (forced to become right handed as a child)
Charlie Chaplin

So you see, being left handed initiates us into a rather exclusive club with some of the most popular celebrities as members.

© 2011 Tammy L

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Comments 6 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Interesting information, Tammy. Other famous left-handed criminals were John Dillinger, bank robber; the serial killer, Jack the Ripper (see my hub, 'Interview with Jack the Ripper'; and the Boston Strangler - Albert DeSalvo.


Tammy L profile image

Tammy L 5 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas Author

Yes, drbj. I hated to mention Aldolf Hitler as a charter member as well. Thanks for stopping by. I'll check out your interview with Jack the Ripper.

Tammy


Giselle Maine 5 years ago

Hi Tammy, thanks for this intriguing account of left-handedness. It was definitely an eye-opener for me (as a right-handed person). The baseball info was something I hadn't been aware of until now. VOTED UP!


Tammy L profile image

Tammy L 5 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas Author

Giselle, thank you. Most right handed people don't understand. They're not qualified for one reason. And there are some who just don't care. That's why I wrote this. To help the 90% of the world understand how difficult life is for the 10% of us who are special.

Tammy


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada

Tammy, very interesting hub. Thanks for sharing the struggles that you had to go through. I had never actually heard this from a left-handed person personally, although I had read about it in articles. My husband is ambidextrous: he taught himself to use his right hand for many things, but used to his left hand. I really don't know why he did this, but he did. Take care!


Tammy L profile image

Tammy L 5 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas Author

pp:

Your husband probably had to learn to use his right hand for some things because it was either do it that way or not at all. I'm glad you enjoyed this hub. Hopefully, I've made more right handed people stop and think and not take doing things for granted.

Take care,

Tammy

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