May 13: Lefty or Righty?

kit yoon

My 3rd grade teacher in Thailand tried to teach me the “right” thing to do.

She hovered over my desk one day as I was copying what was on the chalkboard onto my notebook – that’s how we learned in Thailand – memorize, regurgitate, do it over again.

“You don’t have to do what your friend does,” she looked down at me, offered a suggestion in a kind, but firm tone of voice.

Those days you were taught to be afraid of all teachers no matter how kind they were.

I was unsure of what she meant until she literally moved my pencil from my left hand to my right.

“You are a righty. Don’t try to write with your left hand like your friend,” she validated her correction.

An uncomfortable sensation washed over me as she walked away.

Thinking back now, it was a sense of shame. Her simple words and action, to my young innocent mind, meant that I was doing something wrong.

Despite the fact that I was NOT doing anything wrong: I was being a kid experimenting with new things.

The friend that my teacher was talking about was my best friend at that time. Her Thai nickname was “Kra-tai” which means rabbit in Thai.

Kratai was a lefty and, naturally, I wanted to be like her. I tried to emulate her by occasionally practicing writing with my left hand. I never thought it was a bad thing, or a wrong thing, even if it never felt comfortable.

I doubt I would have ever become a lefty as much as I tried.

But that one single event at school left me believing that:

Trying to do something out of ordinary was wrong. 

Trying to do something uncomfortable was fruitless.

One single event kept me ordinary and comfortable in many ways that I don’t need to.

Almost 40 years later, I want to debunk all of that!

Not that I have to learn to write with my left hand, but I do want to do some things out of ordinary, out of my comfort zone, to be uncomfortable…


Sometimes  just because.

Sometimes because I know it will be good for me.

Sometimes because I must to grow. 

Like writing a blog post a day in May. It’s been a challenge that keeps me uncomfortable and quite out of ordinary. BUT! It’s also been fun and rather fruitful (I hope it is fun for you as well).

What about you?

Did someone in your past create some kind of life long limitation, belief and mental block for you?

Did something happen to you that made you stay safe and comfortable because you thought you had to?

Is it time to debunk, unravel, shift to do something differently because you can?

I’d love to hear YOUR story.

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  1. Sarah says

    What a great prompt, and what a thought provoking story!
    Ok you are going to love this. When I was in fifth grade, we had to do a lot of writing. We had to turn in a piece of writing about once a week, in fact. Often, our writing was in response to a prompt (kind of like this). At the time, I thought of myself as very creative. I loved any kind of creative writing! So when we got a creative prompt, I got excited! One week in October, we were asked to write some kind of Halloween themed story. I decided to write about a vampire, but this vampire was going to be from the old West and he was going to have a country accent. He used words like “ain’t”, for example. Well, my teacher went through my story and corrected every single “ain’t” to the correct grammatical form such as “isn’t” or “aren’t”. She didn’t get it!! I was infuriated at her lack of imagination, but then thought maybe I HAD gone too far. I decided I needed to tone down my ideas. Tone down my ideas?!? How sad! I would like to revive that wacky vampire and his crazy accent, instead of trying so hard to “sound and look just right”, which is what she was trying to get me to do. I ain’t gonna fall for that again! (Couldn’t help it..) Thanks Kit!