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What I’ve Learned From Living in a Right-Hand World
Imagine going to cut a piece of paper only to find out the blades are basically upside down. Or writing on a desk that has no armrest for your hand. Oh, here’s a good one: Imagine the entire world being designed against you. That is all just a taste of what it’s like being a leftie in a right-hand-dominated world.
It may seem like nothing to you, but every day of my life has and will forever be consisted of trying to navigate basic items all because I decided one day when I was little that I wanted to put a crayon in my left hand.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the world suddenly turned upside down and righties got a chance to live the way I do. I wonder what you guys would do and how you react, but I already know the answer. You guys would lose your minds.
None of you would last a day navigating your way through a world not designed for you because nobody should have to live that way. I shouldn’t have to do yoga poses to be comfortable at a desk at school just to take notes. I shouldn’t have to resort to ripping paper because scissors are too difficult for me to use.
I get that 10% of the population seems like practically nothing, and maybe it is. Maybe I am just causing a big fuss over a small inconvenience that nobody cares about.
But why don’t you care? Why do all my right-handed friends make fun of me for saying all these things as if I’m joking? Why do you only care about an issue if it directly affects you?
Carrie Madormo with The Healthy explains, “Studies have shown that left-handed people tend to not live as long, possibly because they're trying to maneuver their way through a world designed for right-handed people.”
It is ridiculous that the stress and inability to function like the majority of the population is literally killing lefties. The world is designed against us and it always has been, but there is absolutely no reason for it. Comfort and safety are seen as a luxury to left-handed people at this point as those things never even cross the minds of people when making basic items.
I don’t see one left-handed desk at my school. I have to order specifically online to find left-handed scissors. I can’t even write in a standard notebook without being extremely uncomfortable. These are all things right-handed people take for granted that I can only dream of.
All my friends and family know very well how much I care about this subject, yet still will never understand. I found out none of them have even taken the time to realize just how different a day in my life is to theirs, all because I write with the less common hand.
I’m done being quiet and going through these daily battles silently. I’m ready to start speaking up against this discrimination now before it is too late.
Living in a right-handed world, I have learned that I have no place here. I have been taught that I am not meant to rub elbows with the rest of you. I’ve said thousands of times how much I hate the fact I am an outsider for no reason and nobody ever listens to me.
You will never understand why I am as passionate about this as I am because you’ll never have to go through what I do on a daily basis. The least you could do is listen to me when I say that things need to change.
Of course, I have thought about how easy it would be to just start writing with my right hand. I’d be able to pick it up easily, so why not? I realized though that no amount of uncomfortable desks or smears pencil marks on papers will ever change who I am. I will always be left-handed at the end of the day and I'm happy with that because it gives me a reason to care.
Lefties are a small group of individuals, but we all have one thing in common that righties will never have, and that’s the ability to adapt. We don’t want to be forced to adapt to this world not created for us, but we always have and always will until this situation is brought to light.
Almost every leftie can tell you someone in their life has tried changing them to be right-handed, even I am no exception, and that is disgusting. History used to shame lefties into making everyone think it was a sign of evil, causing people to retrain their left-handed relatives.
Readers Digest author Taylor Markarian explains, “In the past couple of decades, the practice of retaining lefties has died down, but it used to be that children received some form of punishment or physical restraint for using their left hand.”
It's clear that prejudice against lefties is nothing new, but it's time it stops. History is in the past and reflecting on those ideas in present day is ridiculous. Lefties are no different from righties and people need to start accepting that truth.
I have had to make so many changes to my life just to be able to fit in and I’m tired of it. I don’t want pity comments from righties who will never understand, I want to feel accepted in this world and I won’t stop until I am.
Lefties have never done anything to the right-handed people of this world, but it doesn't stop them from holding grudges against us.
Stephen J. Dubner explains in the Freakanomics blog, “Because I am not left-handed, I have never taken much pleasure in the endless parade of studies, articles, and anecdotes about how left-handed people are better at everything than right-handed people.” He continues, “At least we righties can console ourselves with the knowledge that lefties still have a hard time finding a good pair of scissors.”
This mindset is exactly what is stopping us from all coming together rather than further dividing. We are not at a war with each other, stop acting like it. Whether it’s the jealousy making you hate us or the comfort in knowing we constantly struggle, it needs to stop.
All I want and have ever wanted is just to sit at a desk at school comfortably. I want to be able to cut a piece of paper easily. I just want to live life the way I would if I was part of the majority and I don’t think that is too much to ask. The change needs to start with righties acknowledging and caring, but we can’t if this mindset keeps consuming the population.
We have shown just in this past year alone how powerful a minority can be, so why stop now? We need to fight until everyone feels accepted in this world, and we are nowhere close as lefties continue to live every day being discriminated against without it even being acknowledged.
It’s time we question these societal norms that specifically cater to right-handed people because lefties aren’t going anywhere and we can’t do it alone. Righties need to understand their privileges and work together with lefties, not against us. This world is big enough for the both of us, let's start acting like it.