Growing up Left in a Right World
I am left handed. I grew up using special scissors, the handles covered in green rubber to mark their difference from the “regular” scissors that everyone else in class used. I didn’t mind this actually, as the rubber coating was easier on my fingers.
As I watched my classmates write, I did my best to mimic their efforts. I turned my paper almost completely sideways to the right so that I could write with my fingers going along the page upright. It wasn’t until I became friends with a girl in high school who grew up in a different school district and saw that, though she too was left handed, she wrote with her hand curling down and appeared to write upside down with her paper at a left angle. But whether we wrote upside up or upside down, we wrote with our left hands. And it was okay. We were not chastised for our “differentness” as left-handed girls. But in the time of my grandfather, this would not have been the case. My grandfather’s left hand was tied behind his back at school so that he was forced to write with his right hand. Why? Because apparently, since early in our human history, being left handed was considered wrong – as if the opposite of right was always wrong and not simply left – another way to be.
Sheep got to be on the right side of God whereas goats were told to move to the left side of God. What is so wrong with goats? Someone named Matthew spun the following tale and it stuck.
The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink. 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink. 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. – King James Version (KJV) (Public Domain)
Can you keep a secret?
Have you experienced prejudice? Have you felt a sense of wrongness or even self-loathing by being different in some way? If you were able to keep this “differentness” a secret, would you? Could you turn away from the source of battering? How could you, if society as a whole, believed that by you being different in some way, made you wrong? How would you respond?
Evelyn paused in contemplation, then added, “Guy, I am curious why you so readily accepted the Goddess and willingly moved away from your God.”
Guy looked down, averting his eyes as he thought of how to respond. This family seemed so accepting, but to try his hand on this one point… His response, though not entirely complete, was honest, “The Scriptures are interpreted prejudicially against so many. I have struggled with how God could have created everything and yet, though He created everything according to His plan, there are things of His creation that are somehow not right, but wrong.” Guy opened each arm in turn as he continued, “I wonder why there is only the right path; that the left is not simply another choice or way to be but, rather, is portrayed as wrong.”
Evelyn nodded. She had wondered the same thing with that faith. It did not make sense to her that they could not coexist, that the Divine did not allow for multiple paths that led to a deeper sense of connection.
(Except from Hearken to Avalon)
Even our words make being left handed wrong.
Sinister means malicious, underhanded. We know this. But digging deeper, come to discover that the etymology stems from Old French sinistre or Latin sinister, meaning ‘left.’ So to be left handed is to be sinister! Whereas dexter from Latin means right. And to be dexterous is “skilled” at something. To compound this issue, if you are skilled with both hands then you are ambidextrous which translates to “on both sides right-handed,” even though how use the word means, “able to use the right and left hands equally well.” SO, I propose another word to put into greater circulation that truly means “able to use the right and left hands equally well” – aequimanus, meaning “equal handed.”
Pride for being left handed
For those us who are left handed, we actually have a national day to honor ourselves. National Left-handed day is August 13.
And for those of you curious as to why left-handedness exists here is a podcast:
Here’s to being LEFT!
The Left Path
by Arianna Alexsandra Collins
Perhaps we are not good or bad for each other;
perhaps we are not the right or wrong choice for each other;
perhaps we are simply what is left at the end of the day
when all else falls away.
Perhaps we are not the right fork in the road
but the left fork in the trail,
the path less taken, less traveled,
for it is not for the faint of heart;
not for the convenience of space and time;
it is for the adventurer in love.
I extend my open hand…
Copyright 2015, Arianna Alexsandra Collins
This is Hearken to Avalon!
by Arianna Alexsandra Collins
Poet, Priestess, Writer
Like Hearken to Avalon on Facebook!
Buy the book or Kindle on Amazon.com!
Request Hearken to Avalon at your local library or bookstore.