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Being Left Handed is Something to be Proud of – I Am, But It Took Me Awhile to Get There

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Yesterday, August 13th, was International Left-Handers Day, which may not seem like a big deal, especially for right-handers, but for left-handers, it’s a day to be thankful for who we are. Being left-handed certainly has its challenges because we live in a predominately right-handed world. Spiral notebooks and a computer mouse were not designed with left-handers in mind. There have been many famous left-handers over the years like Oprah Winfrey, Prince William, five of our last seven presidents including President Obama and last and almost certainly least, Justin Bieber are all lefties.

Lefties account for about 10-percent of the world’s population and have long suffered bullying, humiliation and discrimination just to name a few of the obstacles that have plagued lefties for centuries. Did you know that lefties were once considered to be mentally ill? True dat! There are some ailments that lefties are more prone to including dyslexia, autism and schizophrenia.

I myself suffered from dyslexia as a child, which is still the most challenging obstacle I have ever faced in my life, even though I was able to get past it. Mine was so bad, I actually went to a special school for dyslexic and autistic children for two years.

When I was a kid, they had not made anywhere close to the strides they have made today in treating dyslexia, but I had three really huge advantages that other kids didn’t have…my parents and my best friend, Randy Pluveay, who was not dyslexic, but was autistic and to this day, I have never met a sweeter, kinder soul than Randy…he was the best friend ever! I miss him and think of him often.

My dyslexia was discovered in second grade when my teacher, noticing I was left-handed when it was time to learn cursive, wanted me to switch hands. She tried everything she could to get me to use my right hand, which I just couldn’t do. She would actually take the pencil out of my left hand and place it in my right hand and scold me for putting it back in my left hand. To say my parents were furious is the understatement of the century. My parents went to the school board and after a battery of tests, discovered that I had above average intelligence, but some hard-core dyslexia going on.

I received the help I needed from three incredible teachers who not only embraced my dyslexia and left-handedness, but helped me to embrace it as well and Miss Smith, Mrs. Floodman and Mrs. Creagor altered the course of my life by giving me the confidence I needed to beat dyslexia and I did…thank you ladies, I am forever in your debt and I still love all three of you.

Being left-handed is still not easy, but being forced to use my right hand at an early age in school did help me learn how to utilize both hands. For example, I throw a baseball with my right hand, but I can hit from both sides of the plate.. .a skill I’m trying to teach my sons. I throw a football, shoot a basketball and play tennis right-handed, but play ping-pong and shoot pool left-handed…go figure.

The most aggravating thing is still a spiral notebook. I write left-handed, but remember, I was taught to write like a right-hander, so dealing with a spiral notebook is worse than going to the dentist!

Left-handers are still and probably always will be in the minority, but I’m sure glad the stereotypes and the stigmas associated with lefties are long gone. As a leftie, you also have to position yourself properly at the dinner table so as not to bump elbows with the righty next to you.

Growing up at the holiday dinner table, my mom always sat me where I could use my left hand freely, at the end of the table to my dad’s right, who sat at the head of the table. So for me, being left-handed meant always being next to my dad and where ever I go in this world, there will never ever be a sweeter place for me, thank you mom and dad…it’s good to be left-handed.

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