August 13th- International Left Handers Day – What is it really?

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I think it is common knowledge that there are various international days for everything, you name it! Every day there are several international days for every possible occasion. For example, on August 13th, it’s International Left Handers Day! As a left-handed person, that made me feel “noticed”, so to speak. Shame on me, I found out about this day a few years ago from a Facebook post. But hey, it’s better late than never!

Question for lefties: Are these phrases familiar to you?
“Wow, are you left-handed?”
“I have a relative who’s left-handed!”
“How can you write like that?”

Of course they are, which lefty doesn’t hear this whenever they write or draw?
Today I’m going to write about left-handed people, as, from what I’ve seen, not many people take this seriously. I can’t blame them, because only 10% of the world population is left-handed.

Why were people so obsessed with making lefties right-handed?

Well, it turns out that in the Middle Ages, being left-handed was linked to witchcraft and evilness. Many parents and teachers tried forcing children to become right-handed by doing the most despicable things, such as tying their left hand so they can’t use it.
I’ve heard many stories from people who were forced to change hands and become right-handed. Even I was almost “forced” to switch hands, but luckily, my parents weren’t okay with it and they wanted other people to “let me be”. Parents, teachers: Let your children write with their dominant hand! If not, it will be extremely bad for the children and not only will it ruin their handwriting forever, but it will also traumatize them. This is not something changeable, it is “established”, even before birth!

Struggling with everyday tasks

Being the first lefty in a family of right-handed people was and still is a challenge for me. I was extremely clumsy growing up and I didn’t really know why. I couldn’t use the scissors properly, I always ruined my pens and I always blamed myself for it. Until I discovered that there are various items for lefties, such as scissors, pens, can openers, ice-cream scoopers and even musical instruments and desks! Sadly, these aren’t very easy to find or to maintain, so I mostly use items for right-handed people.

Even writing is a struggle! My notes are smudged all the time and my hand is always dirty. Also, good luck sitting on the right side of a desk without bumping your elbow into a right-handed person. This is why I always sit on the left at school, at family dinners, you name it.
Moreover, I had to learn many basic things myself, because everything was reversed and no one could actually help me.

Debunking some popular myths

Many people say that being left-handed is linked to early death and some mental illnesses, but, fortunately, that isn’t true!

Another myth I’ve heard everywhere and from everyone who knows I’m left-handed is: “Did you know that lefties are more creative and talented?” Sadly, this one isn’t true and left-handedness has nothing to do with the right part of the brain. Long story short, they aren’t “right-brained”.

And, the last popular myth for today is that lefties are better leaders. Just because several presidents and other leaders have been left-handed, this doesn’t mean that it’s “the norm”. Being a good leader has nothing to do with your dominant hand.

Some advantages

The fact that they grow in a world that is not made for them makes them more adaptable and easier to adjust to new things and experiences.

Studies suggest that left-handed people are better at sports (I must be the exception then). That’s because of their ability to adjust to right-handed people as well, while right-handed people don’t really have this ability. The matches are asymmetrical and since lefties mostly train with right-handed people, they can easily play and win against them.

Moreover, even though it sometimes annoys me, it can be a conversation starter. Per the beginning of this article, someone asks the obvious “are you left-handed?” and it can lead to a nice conversation afterwards. To be honest, it has happened to me a few times and I think it’s amazing how an insignificant, obvious question like that one can sometimes lead to a friendship.

I’m glad that people are more open about left-handedness and the fact that it’s something you are born with, not a “choice”. Moreover, I’m happy that I grew up in a world that didn’t consider me evil or odd just for my dominant hand.
It’s high time we started to pay more attention to this, raised awareness and made more items for left-handed people.

Come celebrate August 13th-International Left Handers Day with us!

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