Monday, April 27, 2009

A Post for Left-Handed People (Part 1)

In Mariposa's comment about yesterday's post, in which I linked to a 20-question free brain test, which allegedly (I truly have no idea how accurate it is) might help us determine whether we have a dominant left brain or right brain, she mentioned she's left-handed. So am I. And, for the first time in many years I wondered how being left-handed affects us.

When I was a child, from kindergarten on I knew I was different. When my teacher tried to force me to "saw wood" with my right hand, my mother came to school and told her she didn't want her to change me to become a right-hander. As I remember, I think my mom thought that perhaps she had been changed as a child, but I can't remember why.

When I was learning how to write, I realized there were no other left-handed children in my elementary school class. When the teacher demonstrated how to write on the blackboard (every single day), she would say, "Susan, it's the same for you; just use your other hand." In fact, it wasn't the same for me. But, I worked very hard to develop good penmanship.

As a left-handed person in a right-handed world, we learn to adjust, but some things are more difficult than others. As I remember, cutting with right-handed scissors was never easy (these days you can easily find left-handed ones). Writing in spiral notebooks was clumsy at first. There was a problem with school desks, but I adapted. I'm sure there's a lot more, but I guess I just adapted without thinking about it.

While I'm a good athlete, this is one of the few areas in which I play different sports with different hands. I play tennis with my left-hand, and it was always an advantage because most people I played were right-handed and they were used to playing right handers. I play golf with my right because my grandmother taught me, and I used her clubs. My father taught me how to bat a baseball and throw a ball, so I do them both as a left-hander. But I learned how to bowl (a sport I rarely do) as a right-hander because there weren't left-handed bowling balls (unless you owned your own one) when I was a kid.

In music, I was taught to play the violin (my first instrument) as a right hander, and I was so awful at it that I quit within a year. Yet, I was also taught to play the guitar right-handed and I'm fine. In a way, I figured it was an advantage to use my left hand for chords. As an adult, I chose to learn to play the ukulele as a right-hander.

Of course, it doesn't surprise me that most equipment is made for right-handed people. When we recently bought a chain-saw because I was cutting some trees in our backyard, I never thought to look online for a left-handed one, and it's a bit tricky for me. But, I don't see a problem with our power drill, or sander.

The real question is: Am I having difficulty learning how to knit because I've never been able to learn, or is it a left-handed issue? I guess I'll have to read Karen's Left-Handed Knitting Page to find out.

Tomorrow, I plan on writing more about how being left-handed affects us. But, in the meantime, you might want to check out a great site: The Left-Handed Page by Rosemary West. And, just for a teaser, I've provided a few facts.

*Between 13-30 percent of the population is left-handed.

*Earlier studies suggested that right-handers live 9 years longer than left-handers, but a 1994 study by geographer Peter Rogerson suggests it's only one year longer.

*Yes, Barack Obama is left-handed. Other famous left-handers (and I've decided to give you an eclectic list) include: Joan of Arc, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Helen Keller, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, James Baldwin, H.G. Wells, Judy Garland, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Cole Porter, Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Robert DeNiro, Greta Garbo, Oprah Winfrey, and so many more.

Question: Are you left-handed? How has it affected you?

P.S. The graphic is from Anything Left-Handed, a store in the United Kingdom.

10 comments:

Mariposa said...

Oh my gosh! I did not know you're left handed too! And I share so much of your experiences...and me now thinks our Mom share the same thought!

I write with my left...cut veggies and fruits with my left but through years I've learned to do with both hands...

I play guitar with my right hand though...and in sports I can do both, but my left is my power side and as you've said is always an advantage!

Employers and other people seem to be in an awe with left-handed people...LOL

My Grandma is left handed as well as my other cousins...

I also read (and noticed it too!) that most left handed people are more inclined to arts...literature and quite more emotional and affectionate.

It has not really bothered me at all except when not all classrooms has an armdesk for left handed people...and that the spring in notebooks don't favor my left so much!

I really enjoyed this post...it was like I am reading a section of my life!

marja said...

I'm not left handed, but my sister is. She has always said that left handers are more creative. What have you found out about that in your reading, Susan?

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Mariposa,
I, too, thought it was interesting that you're left-handed, and we do share so much in common.

While my son is left-handed, my parents weren't (although my mother might have been), and neither were my grandparents.

But, it's interesting what we do with our right hands, isn't it?

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
I'll have to write about that tomorrow after I do more research. I've read something to that effect, but I'm not sure I believe it, and I can't remember where I found it. (It's probably a senior moment.)

Susan

Mariposa said...

I also made a short post about it...nothing like what you did, just wrote what I more or less commented here...yet, if you find time, you may want to check that article I quoted on how she associate left handed people with mental disorder.

Have a nice rest!

Emma said...

Another 'lefty' puts her hand up!
My mother's mother was left-handed, but in those days had her hand tied behind her back to force her to use her right hand. She wrote, and painted using her right.
My brother and I are the 'leftys' in our generation. He is a talented sculptor and painter.
I was fortunate that the chef I trained with as a teenager was also left-handed. It helped learning the correct technique for chopping etc..
The analysis I received was a very similar report to your first attempt at the test.
Just slightly different percentages, and for me very little between auditory and visual, but a resounding 70% for left! A very entertaining exercise and welcome diversion for me at the moment.
Emma

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Mariposa,
I'll check it out. I had my digital photography class on Monday night, and won't be posting or looking at blogs until a bit later on Tuesday.

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Emma,
Isn't that awful about your grandmother? I've heard stories like that. Interesting info about your brother and you. And yes, it probably was beneficial to train under a left-handed chef.

I thought the test was a fun diversion as well. And it's very interesting that we're both so left-brained. Maybe that's why we have an affinity for each other!

Susan

Periwinkle said...

Hi Susan,
I posted more pictures of my spring flowers for you, enjoyed seeing your garden great work!
P

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Periwinkle,
I can't wait to check them out after I write today's post! I'm a little behind because I had my digital photography class last night, and couldn't fall asleep for hours!

Susan