On the first day of class here at Humboldt State University, two individuals walked into my class.
“There are no left-handed desks,” said one of the students.
From the moment they step foot into the classroom they already faced a challenge other than months of constant stress and anxiety.
As I looked around, I noticed that out of the twenty or so students in the class there were only two students that where left handed. We live in a predominant world were right handedness is the norm. For right handed students, sitting down and writing is as easy as counting to three, yet for left handed students, writing in a right-handed desk is just the beginning to the struggles of being left handed.
In a world that deems to be predominant right handed, left handedness can be considered almost taboo. For some right-handed people, their left hand is as useful as trying to cut a brick with a butter knife, the thought of it is just inconceivable. Whereas left-handed people are forced to adapt and work in a right-handed world. Senior Michelle Galindo, a dominant left-handed psychology major explained when she started to notice challenges being left handed to me.
“Since I was small, around that time of being in kindergarten. I can remember being challenged as a left-handed person whenever I would use the scissors. Whenever I would try to cut with my left hand, it would not be as easy as it would be if a right-handed kid where to do it.” Galindo said.
Terilynn Diggs, a senior and kinesiology major, also dominant with her left-handed said her memories started around kindergarten also.
“It started just before kindergarten. My father is left handed, and whenever I would use a pencil or a marker with my right hand, he would switch it over to my left.” Diggs said.
Labor and delivery and surgical technician at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro in Los Angeles, Tracy Strivers, is also ambidextrous. A w
Ambidexterity is the ability to be able to use the right and left hands with ease. She said that she too learned at the age of preschool that she was different than all the other kids.
“My best friend and I at the time would always eat together during lunch. We started to notice that we did not eat like all the other kids, and from the point on we thought we were different,” Strivers said .
Knowing what a left-handed person goes through, is not conceivable unless trying to go a whole day with out using your right hand. From middle school to high school Galindo had to constantly deal with the smudging of lead from writing. Diggs still to this day has challenges in the kitchen when trying to prepare a meal or use a can opener.
Strivers, being a surgical technologist must constantly battle the fact that she can use both of her hands, but it can lead to confusion in her work space.
“Being in the operating room is very stressful when you have a mother screaming and giving birth to a baby. It can become easily confusing when I’m using both my hands to retract the uterus, then go back to using one hand when handling instruments,” Strivers said.
Why continue to face the constant challenges of being a left-handed individual? Why not be just like everyone else and use your right hand? To these individuals using their left hand is “cool,” and “special,” and in a way makes them different than many of the people around them.
“I wish sometimes I was right handed. I feel right handed people have better hand writing,” said Diggs.
According to Galindo she had a friend who started to write as a lefty but was converted to write with his right by his mother. Galindo’s friend was bashed by his mother for having to use his left hand and as a scare tactic was told that left handed people are touched by the devil.
I can not speak on the behalf of Galindo’s friend being touched by the devil, yet there remains to be an extended list of influential left-handed people ranging from: Barrack Obama, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Michelangelo, Larry Bird, Helen Keller, Queen Victoria of England, and Julius Caesar. All of which are left-handed people who have or went on to have lustrous life impacting lives.
For right handed people, the challenges that left-handed people must face might not ever fully be understood by someone that is right handed. Maybe a day will come when the world becomes predominant left, and right-handed people will finally know the struggle.