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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Left handed Circles

I have to be honest- I am circle challenged.  I can not draw circles in a delicate, perfect rounded circumference.  I never could, it's not a new development. I remember in first grade (I didn't go to Kindergarten...) my teacher telling me to lift my pinkie to a point and place it on the paper to use as a guide.

That was an odd concept to me, I mean, didn't you lift your pink to a point for drinking from a tea cup?  It didn't help that I was left handed and my teachers all decided I needed to be right handed. They won on everything but my writing, and throwing a ball.
Score one for the teachers. F- for me. It messed up my whole perspective on doing everything.

My poor little seven year old heart was discouraged. Who couldn't draw a circle?! I could draw all kinds of other shapes, and a killer Snoopy to boot, but a simple circle? Nope.

Move on to art class, 7th grade. I learned how to sculpt in Ivory Soap, there is no give in soap for mistakes when making whale heads. Throwing clay into a vase or flower pot design was a failure for me. I could throw box forms (okay, they weren't thrown, they were slabbed.) I could throw ovals into tureens and bowls.  When it came to sketching, I still struggled with circles, but as my teacher wasn't a perfectionist, according to her it was okay for the sketchy lines,  so I faked my way through drawings that included circles. The only problem is that it took hours for me to do cylindered shapes because of the lack of cross over from my left brain to my left hand.

Being left-handed provided challenges in and of itself. Not a single teacher could help me to relate anything artistic, nor learning to writing the alphabet for that matter. They couldn't change the scissor disadvantage. No classroom had left handed scissors, or pencil sharpeners, or even computer keyboards when I got older. So I had to bring my own or learn to use the scissors backwards. I stabbed myself numerous times because of it. Awkwardly, my pencils were sharpened lopsided. I had to reconfigure my brain to remember that the numbers on the keyboard were on the side of my less dominate hand. 


Drawing instructions were given for right-handed people. Even in college I struggled with this. I don't know how many times my professor would stress me out by reminding me that my circles were not good. I would ask him if he was left handed. Of course he would say, "no".  I told him to try to draw a circle, or circular objects, with his instructions in mind. He was a great guy, he started coming over to my table to show me a drawing of what he wanted. My brain was like a fun house mirror —everything was transported backwards. I had to think in the opposite way than what was being taught.

It was like the description of Ginger Rogers dancing in heels and doing everything backwards while Fred Astaire was the one being praised for his brilliant dancing. If only people thought about the challenge thrown at Ms. Rogers. My brain was the same way- everything had be twisted in my mind to get it straight!

In other words, I had to learn to be ambidextrous.

Being Ambidextrous had its perks. I could switch hit when playing baseball. My older siblings were boys, so my dad insisted that I learn to play like a boy and not like a girl. Throwing a ball was done the proper way- over hand and with the proper grip, I learned to mimic my brothers by watching them from the opposite direction if I was throwing left-handed. What I mean by that is, I stood opposite them facing them and watched them throw then transposed that like I was looking in a mirror.
I can throw right handed it just doesn't feel as comfortable. Now, try catching with a mitt and throwing with that same hand. It just isn't done. When I was catching, I learned to catch the ball with the mitt, grabbing it with my right hand, chucking the ball into the air and letting it fall all the while throwing the mitt off and chucking the ball with the now mitt free left hand and making the outs. Yes, it was crazy to see and a lot of work!  It became seamless.


Girls didn't get to play baseball in Jr. High and High school. We had to play Softball, the size difference of the ball and the way that large ball was thrown killed my ability to play a sport in HS.
When I had my boys, I taught them to throw by them mirroring me. They both pitched until they graduated from HS. I was a proud mama knowing that I had taught them to throw so well. Yes, I am a little conceded.

Try being left handed and left footed and trying to dance- No thank you. It just didn't turn around in my brain at all. 

Back to the circles: today, I decided to draw a self portrait  from a photo I took of myself with my new camera. For the life of me, I can not do the lens. Pathetic. This was what go me thinking about how far I have come making my left-handedness work for me in a right-handed world. Yet, still not being able to perfect that little simple circle.


I guess we always have to have some kind of a challenge to keep us humble, but really, the circle is going to be my downfall to what I want to do?  Ridiculous!

I know this is a simplistic problem compared to other people's challenges, but today, it was my little thing and I am determined to over come it!

What hand do you use and what are your challenges that come from using that hand?