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Somewhere In Between

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Jayne Dullahan

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A recent article, or several I suppose, have addressed the topic of a link between left-handedness and what is persistently referred to as 'mental illnesses', although scientists are hard-pressed to give much conclusive proof of such a link. Just, it seems left-handed people tend also to be different health-wise, especially where paranoia and dyslexia, and I am sure we'll hear other things as well, are concerned.

And...well I can't help noticing that almost inevitably these articles begin with a reaffirmation that the world is made for right-handed people. Well now...if the world is primarily constructed for right-handed people--and any lefty who has ever tried to do such simple things as scoop ice-cream, wash dishes, or indeed read a book will I think agree that generally, it is--wouldn't that be evidence of a right-handed way of thinking? And might not that differ fundamentally from left-handed thinking? Say, even simple things like the angle of a key or doorknob, the shape of a mouse button, that, if on the wrong side, can look downright confusing? So, perhaps it isn't that left-handed people are ill, or defective, but rather that they think and work differently? Physically and mentally?

Because let's face it- to be a lefty functioning in a predominantly right-handed world, that means basically that you are working against your instinct and thinking and acting backward. And you end up in between, where even if righthanded orientation is what you confront every day, like a language, you learn to do it, even if your prime directive is pulling you in the opposite direction, but because you haven't ever been in a 100% left-handed oriented environment, you wouldn't necessarily know what to do there, either. So, as a lefthander in the world, you gather information, and then process it to run the opposite direction, and then act--small wonder that left-handedness is linked to learning "disabilities" and "mental illness"--if it isn't just that lefthanded thinking is different, and what is now termed "illness" is just "difference," it's probably exhaustion, or perhaps confusion. Come on now, lefthanders--when you sit down to your desk, do you find it takes you longer than other people to get your workspace organized so that it makes sense to you? And doesn't that look an awful lot like an obsessive disorder? Who among you has accidently gotten a book printed backwards--and found that that was somehow...easier...than reading your standard left to right book? How many of you can write backwards--without thinking about it at all? How many of you have reading comprehension problems?

I am willing to bet all of this and much else is linked to lefthanded thinking, which honestly I've never heard a thing about--but in which I am a firm believer.

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