Am I a left-hander?
Awkward question - does it even make sense asking it?
Well - yes, it does!
I am not too sure how the situation is in other areas of this planet. Here in Germany, it is being said that around 10-15% of the population are left-handers.
If you dive a bit deeper into that topic, you quickly realize: This can´t be true.
It is more likely that around 50% of all people within a country (or more accurate: in total) are so-called left-handers and 50% are right-handers. No scientific proof, but I guess it is a similar situation with the "distribution" of male and female human beings on this planet: It´s approximately 50% male and 50% female. Kind of a fun fact when thinking about it, right? However - the situation is well-balanced and this is only logical if you ask me.
Chances are pretty good that you are a left-hander even if you thought you are a right-hander in the first place due to the mismatch between the official numbers and the actual facts.
Back in 2012, I was working for a local newspaper. One day I have been asked to attend an evening event in a school about left-handers and to write an article about it. Sounded interesting!
I went there and wasn´t really expecting anything. At least nothing life-changing.
You need to know: when entering the building, I was a happy right-hander and never thought anything else in my life.
Spoiler alert: I was so wrong!
The event started and the speaker gave some background information, some typical cases, and situations, parents and teachers should be able to identify as signals for a potential mismatch in case of whether someone is actually a lefty or a righty.
After a few minutes, I couldn´t believe what I was hearing: The woman was talking about my life. How could she know all this? I mean she was literally talking about me!
It´s hard to describe how it felt, but let me give it a try to explain this as if parts of my life have been a puzzle and I was not getting the full picture until she ordered all the pieces and suddenly, I was able to see the full picture and to begin to set the puzzle together.
What do I mean by puzzle? Well - all those little things, situations, and ways of doing things are just little bits of a larger puzzle. If you look at them one by one, they basically mean nothing. But all together they show you something.
I mean: I prefer wearing my watch on the right wrist. So what? Maybe I am just a little strange? Maybe a rebel trying not to wear the watch where everyone else is wearing it? Who knows.
Just looking at which wrist I prefer for wearing my watch says nothing. But it adds up if you dare to take a closer look and find more of those little things.
Ok - back to the evening event in the school. I was listening to what she said. No, I actually hung on her lips and didn´t miss one word she said - by the end of her talk I came to the conclusion: I am a left-hander - a lefty!
Well - this sounds like a random idea or a nice-to-know, but hell no! What this thought actually meant and what it did to me was intense. Think about it: All you thought you were got a question mark on it after one hour. I was able to explain situations in my life I never had an explanation for. Memories were flooding me and I needed some time to sort things out.
I started to investigate - I went home and interviewed my mother about my early childhood, I was reviewing old photographies to find a trace. Am I a lefty or did I just grab this as an excuse for my life or the things I am not good enough at?
To make things short: The images didn´t really give me a clear answer and also my mother wasn´t too aware of anything special.
I let it go - for now.
A few years later - I was living near Stuttgart and the question of whether I am a lefty or not was still present in my thoughts and I was kind of unhappy with this unresolved situation. I needed to know and so I started investigating again.
As a preliminary result, I found so many indicative evidence that made me more certain that I actually am a lefty, but who am I to make this "diagnosis"? I am not an expert in the field. I am not educated on this topic even though I read a lot and having a half-baked answer has never been enough for me.
Luckily I found a medical doctor practicing very close to where I lived and he specialized himself in left-hand-studies and was offering left-hand testings.
Oh dear! This was what I needed!
An official test! Its result would eventually give me peace of mind and a clear and final answer.
Or can I be "both"?
If you ask me: No.
Why? Because -and this is what I believe-: You are either a lefty or a righty. You are nothing in between and not both. Whether you are a lefty or a righty is nothing you can choose. If you are a lefty: I have always been one since you are born and will be one until you die. It´s a fact at least based on what I learned during my investigations.
I might be wrong but at this stage and until proven wrong I believe it.
There are a few out there saying you can also be both, but I disagree.
The official testing
(Disclaimer: I am not going into detail about the actual testing because everyone who is doing those tests should not be spoiled too much to get real results. So anything I am talking about here or anywhere is not from this official test.)
I called the doctor, made an appointment, and went there. And no question: I was nervous as hell. What a life-changing day.
The doctor was luckily a friendly guy and we talked a lot. For sure, we made some experiments and after 90 minutes he asked me whether I still had any doubt whether I am a lefty or not.
I said no. I was not lying. I was finally sure. What a relief!
He told me, he already knew that I am a lefty when we shook our hands the first time, but it was not about him knowing it but me accepting being a lefty.
It took me 3 years from the evening in the school to the official "diagnosis": I am a left-hander.
Ok - but what now? What to do with this information? I am a lefty. OK - fine, and so?
Should I start changing the way I am doing things? Start writing with the left hand? Shift all the things I did with the right hand to the left hand?
Hell no! That would literally be dangerous.
But having this information really gave me peace of mind as expected. Now it was no longer a crazy idea I had. It was proven and now I could start going through my memories and start re-thinking some aspects.
Here is one example. An embarrassing one:
Do you know I am terrible at reading out loud? I am!
I love reading and I am a super-fast reader. I read and read and read. I am breathing books and articles and I love it. You could call me a reading addict and do not forget: I even studied literature at the University.
Well - but all the speed and all the love is tight to reading silently for me. Not reading out loud for others. If I need to do that, I fail. I miss words. I do not get the content. It´s a torture for me and all who are forced to listen to me.
And yes - this is and was embarrassing for me. And I never had an explanation for this.
My teachers asked my parents to practice reading with me because they knew I was bad at it and my family followed this advice. My mother and my grandfather were actually teachers and they were practicing with me professionally - every day. Oh, I hated it. Because: I failed every day. And I do not like failing. Especially not as a kid.
My grandfather was soon smart enough to not let me read texts multiple times as he realized I was learning the texts by heart to become better at reading them out loud. But in those cases, I was no longer reading but reciting what I learned by heart. To bad reciting wasn´t the task!
It took me all my power and energy to get through these lessons.
Luckily the lessons were not wasted and I made it through school and university and increased my skills to a grade that it was not too awkward when I was being told to read something out loud.
But it still cost me a lot of energy. And now I know, what caused my struggles. The left-studies doctor gave me a life-changing tip: I need to stimulate my left-hand when reading out loud to trigger my brain correctly. He gave me a metal pencil sharpener for this as a present after the consultation and asked me to hold it tightly in my hand when reading out loud. And it worked. I was finally experiencing calmness when reading and could improve my skills within seconds. I guess I will never be hired for a reading session, but I am better now. And this makes me happy!
And with this thought, I am closing this post for today.
Watch out for more posts about being and re-becoming a lefty.