Weird Brain: Chopstick and Pen Edition

While I’m “officially” right handed, I’ve never managed to learn holding knife and fork the normal European way (which would be fork in the left hand, knife in the right hand; I do it the other way round); most of the time trying to do so results in a mess of food flying off my plate and awkward attempts to cut my meat. On the other hand, I’m perfectly capable of eating with chopsticks held in my left hand. Maybe I can’t use them as efficiently and elegantly this way as I do with my right hand (not to mention the comparison to people born into a chopstick-using culture), but still better than the average European person holding them in their dominant hand, I bet. At least when eating from a bowl. Picking rice off a plate is a whole different story, in that case my right hand is much more proficient, though I don’t know in how far it’s maybe just a matter of lacking the fine motor control gained by years of practise. Same with writing/drawing with my left hand – I’m able to produce recognisable letters and shapes without too much effort, but the lines are wriggly and shaky and I have to focus harder because the motor patterns aren’t ingrained that deeply. When for a while a few years back I practised writing with my left hand more intensely it took only a few days until I didn’t have to concentrate so much and the letters became less shaky. Something I’ve never been able to do was mirror writing – some of the completely right handed people back at school had fun taking a pen into each hand and writing the same words with both hands at the same time, producing normal script with their right hand and mirror writing with the left hand. When I tried this I always ended up writing the normal way round with my left hand as well, adding in only a few mirrored letters here and there.

So I guess I’m fall somewhere in the grey area between being fully right handed or fully ambidextrous. I’m just not sure how much of it is hardwired and how much it was affected by juggling, experimenting/training, and trying to give my right wrist some rest after it had been pulled until it hurt on some occasions – ever tried holding a surprisingly strong Shetland pony determined to run across the yard? Or take being dragged around by a mentally handicapped kid during project week at school.

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