In a world where right-handed people are prevalent, the ones who consider their left hand to be dominant are singled out as the freaks.
Sure, it may be shrugged off casually as a once-in-a-blue moon quirk now, but the days when such a revelation entitled a sit-down interview akin to the Spanish Inquisition weren’t really far off.
It probably doesn’t sound much coming from someone who’s only 27, but faint memories of being taunted by childhood friends and classmates are enough to validate this point.
“That must be so weird!” they’d exclaim. “Why aren’t you normal like us?”
Needless to say, the little tendrils of self-doubt that would flourish much later in life were cultivated at this point.
Being left-handed posed even more of a problem as the years wore on. School came along, and workspaces were a force to be reckoned with: from the pre-school brats complaining about stray elbows getting into their space while coloring, to the armchairs in high-school that were made to serve right-handed people, not even giving a second thought to us mere left-handed mortals. How come we get to rest our elbows on air?
Even worse was the insecurity after seeing the neatness that came with a right hand. No, people blessed with this normalcy were able to turn in work, in which the pen didn’t smudge on their hand or on the paper, or God forbid unintentionally crumpling the sides of the sheet. People like me had to come up with ways to avoid these unfortunate incidents.
But see, herein lies the proverbial silver lining: We lefties are the creative ones of the bunch. Backed by science or not, the fact remains that we are forced to be creative in dealing with our predicament, otherwise how else are we to make it out alive?
It turns out creativity is one of the perks that come with being left-handed that I’ve learned to appreciate. As a skill, thinking out of the box as a second nature goes a long way.
Perseverance is another thing with its merits. Having hand to endure a right-handed world for so long can bring out stubbornness in a person, especially when it comes to getting things done.
How else would we have managed to use desktop computers with the mouse always, always at the right side? As if endless scrolling down web pages and documents wasn’t awkward enough, having a right-handed computer mouse rears its ugly head when it comes to more specialized uses such as games and Photoshop, among others. Don’t even get me started on Instagram having the heart button on the left—not easy to explain how you’ve suddenly liked a post from 47 weeks ago, or more importantly, why.
Gender equality has seen a paradigm shift with regards to the way people perceive it, yet there’s only a hint of an advent for a revolution where the prejudice against lefties are concerned.
The discrimination isn’t quite as aggressive as aforementioned issues, yet therein lies the problem: making the world a better place for left-handed people just doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal at all.
With that, left-handers all over the world are given their due with the International Left-Handers’ Day.
More than just a celebration of their uniqueness, this day, celebrated every August 13th, brings awareness to the frustrations and challenges the sinister-handed face on a daily basis.
Since its inception in 1992 by The Left-Handers Club International, the event has led to improved product designs, taking a greater consideration for the left-handed person’s needs.
Admittedly, there is still a long way to go to achieve quality where the dominance of hands is concerned, but a big difference can be made through something as simple as a celebration of this wonderful oddity.
Such commemoration is in order, especially today. So whatever hand you use, raise your glasses with me, and let’s toast to all the left-handed people in the world. Cheers!
Original article published in SunStar Weekend, August 13, 2011.