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Leftie Love: My Ode to the Left-Handed Community

Being left handed is a privilege I haven’t had to think about much, except perhaps when sitting down at Applebee’s and not wanting to spend the evening bumping elbows with the friend next to me (Yes, I like the ’Bee’s and force my friends to go there.). I have maneuvered the scissors, desk, and baseball mitt situations with ease because, as a southpaw, you get used to making it work using the limited stuff you have access to.

Me at 3, utilizing my leftie skills to create a masterpiece.

Growing up, I remember hearing in my own South Asian culture, the left hand was historically known as the hand you wipe your bum with after you go #2. That always made me giggle and feel like a rebel. But my mom recalls how serious this stigma was in her own childhood in Fiji. In elementary school, the teachers would use bamboo sticks to hit the kids who used their left hands to write or to raise their hand. She also remembers hearing that left-handed women would not be able to find a husband or amount to much.

Thankfully, my family always made me feel special about my ability. I was the unicorn; I was the chosen one. I was the leftie!

Left: Unicorn Power. Right: My favorite hairpin.

Ten percent of the world’s population is left handed. Who is the unicorn in your life? I’m usually not paying attention to it, but when I do notice, it’s like, “Oh, yay!!”—like I found a comrade in this world. For this post, I surveyed my friends on Facebook and discovered some amazingly creative and caring peeps with whom I get to associate as part of this “club.” Here are a “handful” of lefties in my life who make my home in Seattle the best place to be:

Mayfield, who, at eleven years old, is one of the most amazing activist, artist, and community builders that I know. His latest projects include performing with Northwest Tap Connection and Seattle Children’s Theatre, and working as a trained peer mediator at his middle school. The last five of seven U.S. presidents have been left handed, and I can only imagine how beautiful the world would be to have Mayfield leading us one day!

Sean, a brilliant chef and owner of Fall City Bistro, uses his culinary skills not only to bring physical nourishment, but also to feed the soul by creating a space where people feel like they have found a home and family. He has done this through inclusive programming, with amazing food, and by providing meals to thousands of people in need over the years, both at Thanksgiving and year round.

Victoria is the heart of the University of Washington Department of Communication as their Alumni Relations/Outreach Manager, but her own heart for equity has driven her to spend three weeks this summer in North Carolina working for and learning from Civil Rights activist Bob Zellner, the first white southerner to serve as Field Secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and a lifelong revolutionary most recently active in Moral Monday Movement protests in North Carolina.

These, and so many other lefties in my life, inspire me to take risks, step outside my box, build community, and live life to the fullest (Shout out to my other leftie Facebook friends: Shea, Ella, Brianna, Gena, Adrian, Giovanni, Christine, Scott, Annie, and Tony!). So perhaps today, August 13, in honor of International Left Handers Day, you will consider raising your (left) hand to toast the inspiring southpaws in your life. Me? I will be raising a can of High Five Hefe. Thanks Iron Horse Brewery for acknowledging left-handers in the high-fiving community!

PRIYA FRANK is the Associate Director for Advancement for the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell, where she is responsible for philanthropy, alumni engagement, and industry/community partnerships for the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs. She also curates art exhibits as Art Director at LUCID Lounge. Prior employment at the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity and the UW World Series has fueled her passion around equity, community building, and the arts. Priya is a member of the Seattle Arts Commission, and is a board member of On the Boards where she serves as Diversity Committee Chair. She has co-founded a local women of color in the arts gathering group, and is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow’s class of 2015. She holds a B.A. in Communications and American Ethnic Studies from University of Washington Seattle and an M.A. in Cultural Studies from University of Washington Bothell.

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1 comment:

kleinworkingmom3 said...

Priya, you continue to amaze me as you enlighten me and others with your words and creativity! What a wonderful post of being a proud southpaw!