Left Hander’s day. A unique and special minority, left handers are celebrated and revered with their own day – and rightly so! 1 in 9 men and 1 in 14 women are left-handed – they’re rare, but they ARE out there if you look hard enough. As a kid my friends and I always wanted something different than what we already had – typical kid stuff – and it was usually what the ‘popular’ girls had. If you had straight hair, you wanted curly, and vice versa – or whatever the trend was at that time. Only the cute, popular girls had braces, so you longed for the glint of metal on your teeth. Left-handed kids were deemed SUPER special – despite knocking elbows with a right-handed person when desks were side by side. They got special scissors, they held their pencils at different angles, and teachers would always make a big deal of them being ‘special.’ We all longed to be that special person, if only for a day (despite trying to be like everyone else the rest of the time).
Oh the troubles and dramatics of childhood!
And where 40 to 50 years ago left-handed kids in school were reprimanded for writing WRONG, nowadays we celebrate and embrace the special – with a special day AND a website! http://www.lefthandersday.com/
So now that I’m seemingly/supposed to be grown-up, although I DO have days where I wish my hair was something other than what it is, for the most part I’m happy with who I am. I never got braces (kids hate them, I know, but I still think they look cute with them), and I write with my right hand; no special scissors or tools required to get through my daily life. I do have moments where I see a movie stars’ lips or much-photographed trademark mole and I have a twinge of green envy. ‘They’re sooooo special....’ my 10-year-old self secretly, wistfully moans.
BUT I’m mature, content and rational and I accept who I am, what I am, and how I am.
As a kid I wasn’t a sporty person – I’ve been a ‘creative’ all my life – so I never had issues with needing special sports gear, should I have been born left-handed. I was relatively stress-free to my parents (they would argue that, I think) – they didn’t need to run around town looking for left-handed scissors or baseball gloves. I wasn’t special, I was just ‘me’, and I was doing fine just the way I was. I eventually married and had kids – one kid writes with his left hand and plays sports with his right, and the other kid both writes and plays sports with his right. I love them both equally. Scissor challenges aside, no left-hand-sport-equipment-needs challenged us and life carried on without a second thought.
Until I picked up an archery bow two years ago – specifically an Olympic-style recurve bow – and my right-handed world changed.
You see, there are right-handed bows and left-handed bows. The TRULY unique can shoot with both left AND right-handed bows; the epitome of ambidextrous. But the ‘hand’ of bow you shoot with has nothing to do with what hand that is your most dominant – or the hand you ‘write’ with.
It’s all to do with what EYE is most dominant.
If you are left-eye dominant you shoot left-handed, but hold the bow in your right hand (drawing back the string with your left). If you are right-eye dominant you shoot right-handed, but hold the bow in your left hand (drawing back the string with your right).
This discovery shocked and confused me to the core. My 10-year-old self so longing to be ‘special’ back in grade five rejoiced! LOOK AT ME! I AM special!
Yet at the same time I couldn’t understand how I could be left-eye dominant as my left eye is the more blurrier of the two. But I was soon told my blurry eye was due to an ‘age’ thing and that it has nothing to do with eye-dominance (I’m forty-something-years old - so much for my 10-year-old self). I had to stop over-thinking things (as I so often do with everything) and accept the fact that I was not who I thought I was.
Because what I was now was a left-handed archer who was also a right-handed writer.
Although I have very much enjoyed doing this archery thing – something I would have NEVER EVER imagined doing before – doing so has come with its own challenges. Sure I am ‘special’ – my 10-year-old self secretly glows with pride when someone comments ‘Oh! A lefty archer, huh?’ and then go on about how ‘rare’ we ‘lefty archers’ are – but I would soon realize I should be careful what I wish for. Everything comes with a price.
Many of the bits and bobs that go with a bow is specific to what hand of bow you shoot; meaning certain left-hand bow equipment will only fit on left-handed bows and not on right-handed bows. Archery companies often have equipment on sale – but it’s usually right-handed bows and their accompanying equipment. Why? Because there are more right-handed archers than left. Archers swap, sell and hand-down gear to fellow archers, whether it be they have outgrown what they have or because they are upgrading their own equipment. But much to my dismay it’s usually right-handed archers doing the wheeling and dealing and my left-handed archery-girl-self can’t benefit from any of it. Left-handed archers rejoice when they meet another ‘lefty shooter’ and often moan the struggles faced in being so ‘special.’
So where I am thrilled beyond thrilled to not only be practicing a different and historic sport, AND finally get to be UNIQUE and SPECIAL, it turns out that being left-handed is not as easy as I thought. Be careful what you wish for.
So for now I will embrace who I am, JUST THE WAY I AM, enjoy my new-found activity, and embark on a quest to have Left-Eyeball-Dominant Day become a national holiday. With presents, of course.
I could use a new bow ;)
For info on how to determine your dominant eye, please visit Archery 360. They can explain it better than I can. While you're there, you can watch an archery how-to video by multi-Olympic Silver medalist Jake Kaminski - he's pretty cool.