Smudges On My Fingers

I am left-handed.

Within that sentence alone lies so much. I am more creative than the majority of my right-handed friends. They are more logical. They are the hard science majors, while I am an English major. I think in words, abstracts–my thoughts flow freely, like a river or a gust of wind. They are usually concrete, and they think in numbers and facts. Both of these trains of thought are perfectly fine, and the world needs both kinds of people.

But there is something powerful and beautiful in knowing that I am part of a rare group of people. Left handed people make up around 10% of people, and while the exact worldwide statistic isn’t clear, as these things are hard to report on, it is certain that lefties are rare. Only 5% of fetuses in the womb show left hand dominance, so this alone suggests that not many people are born left-handed, or perhaps stay that way once they are. Again, this is ok, and right-handed people are awesome, to be sure.

But 10% of the population? I am only 10%? And, the ratio is 1 out of 10. So you gather 10 of my friends and I very well may be that 1.

It’s empowering, and I love it, but I have learned to love being left-handed for more reasons than just the elusiveness of it.

I am a writer, and an artist, and I do think I owe my dominant hand for that–as it makes me more right-minded. Now, this is an idea that is up for debate so maybe handedness and creativity, or “mindedness” and creativity have nothing to do with each other. However, the people I know who are left-handed do fit the pattern of being artistic. That is something I am proud of. I like having a deeply spiritual heart, a wild imagination, eyes and ears and mind that see, hear and perceive things just a little bit differently.

These ideas have grown slowly over time. Growing up I did not always love myself, for any reason big or small.

But yesterday I was talking to my father, and he reached out and grabbed my hand. He turned it slightly, to show that I had black smudges of some kind trailing on my pinkie, ring, and middle finger.

He looked curious, and set my hand down.

“What is that?” He asked, and I couldn’t help but grin. I had forgotten about it, until he had reminded me.

“It’s ink.” I said it with a laugh.

It was, indeed, ink. Evidence of writing 6 front to back pages by hand, two chapters of a current novel. It was a mark of my trade, and it was proof that I had been working hard.

Right handed people, however, don’t get that smearing when they write because their fingers are not rubbing against what was just written, as their hands move down the page.

If I were right-handed, I wouldn’t have this tell-tale mark, and though that is a small, small thing, it is one of my favourite things. I am a writer, and I am proud of it. I am a writer and I want that to be obvious. I want it to be known that I live and breathe words and the creation of them.

I am proud to be left-handed, not just for the unique quality of it, not just because so many people are surprised when they discover that I am, but for a mix of all those reasons–because it reflects who I am.

A unique, sometimes shocking, creative, passionate individual…

The saying goes, “she wears her heart on her sleeve.”

No, not me.

I wear my heart on my hands, in the smudges on my fingers.


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