Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Sunday, February 08, 2009

a shift in alignment

I think I might be becoming left handed.

In late October 2007, I was about to go on tour for a month, and my then-husband bought guitar hero to keep him company while I was gone. When I played it for the first time, I felt like I was having a stroke. My hands seemed broken. I could not get the game to work. My brain knew what it wanted to do, but my hands just refused to cooperate. Then, on an impulse, I tried to play on lefty-flip, and suddenly it made sense to me. My hands knew what to do, and I actually got pretty good at it. I chalked it up to another innumerable little odd thing about me and moved on.

In the last couple of months, my hands have started getting weird again. It's not that my right hand is getting dumber, it's just that my left seems to be reaching up, grabbing nerve impulses, and taking over. I've caught myself mousing, opening the front door lock, and eating with my left hand. It's been neat.

Then, a week or so ago, I remembered a conversation. I was in the 2nd grade (I was in a grade 2-3 split), 7 years old, and at a time when things were still very nebulous. I wrote forwards and backwards (my parents often had to hold my notes up to a mirror to read then), I could read upside down...and I wrote using both hands. When one hand got tired, the other would take over. I was learning cursive at the time, and found I had to practice twice as much to make it neat because both hands needed their chance to commit the new shapes of the letters to muscle memory.

And Mrs. Jubenville, a kind Catholic woman a few years shy of retirement, suggested I write exclusively with my right hand. Whenever she saw me using my left hand, she would very gently take my pencil and place it in my right. I learned cursive more quickly. I kept using my left hand a bit longer, when no one could see me, but it was slower than my right and I soon gave up.

I had completely forgotten this had even happened until a couple of weeks ago, when, for a lark, I tried to write using my left hand, and the memory returned. The feeling of wanting to be correct, to do it "right." And while the memory is not violent or traumatic, it carried with it a great sense of loss.

I've been seeing a homeopath, who suggested I start brushing my teeth with my other hand, to give it something to do. I have chosen a notebook and, like a child, practice writing again. the letters are a little shaky and squashed still but it is coming quickly. My right hands holds the paper steady and seems grateful for the break.

I wonder what my left voice will be life. I wonder if there is a whole other half to my life, a buried lunar twin to all my thought, that suddenly wants out. I wonder how my name looks, my signature, when signed left.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 3:34 p.m.!!