Friday, January 14, 2011

On Being Left Handed

My hands have been with me throughout my life. In my family, I was only one of two who put the pen to the page with his left hand. Before I knew it, I was being forced to adjust my opposing tendency to that of the accepted multitude. In baseball, I threw with my right arm and caught with my left.

I struggled with being left handed especially once it dawned on me that I was learning baseball in a right-handed world. Once I learned that not all players used their right arm to throw, I tried to switch but it was too late to be effective. Yet, I still practiced batting lefty and did become a switch hitter. It even says so on my Agway Giants baseball card. I was 10.

When I started playing drums four years later, I won one for the lefties. I rejected the right-handed style of playing the drum set and with my teacher Pete's help, I developed an open style that I still practice today. The method increases the autonomy and independence of each limb around the set.

Even now, I sometimes question which hand is my hand. Most people seem to clearly have a dominant hand. But for me both have their purposes and strengths. Sometimes I notice myself using my right hand and then try to switch to my left because I think that I'm suppose to be left handed. When I walk my dog, I hold the leash in my right hand. It makes me wonder what a real left hander, uninfluenced by a right-handed world, would do? In a world so clearly defined as either this or that, where do I stand on such a clearly defined distinction for so many people?

I am proud to have been diagnosed with chronic left-handedness syndrome. Although this does put me in a minority, at least there have been and are many great people who show me I am not alone and do not have to hide my difference.

My hands have been with me my whole life. Although their prior chubbiness has given way to a knobbier look, these two hands are still my most valuable tools and my direct link to the outside world. I am glad I am among those who were born to awkwardly push their pen against the grain of the paper to create words with their left hand and right brain.

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