November 24

Left Is Right: Owning Your Uniqueness


King George VI, the father of the late Queen Elizabeth II, famously struggled with his speech due to, as some suggest, being forced to use his right hand despite being naturally left-handed. This story echoes with my own, highlighting the importance of embracing our natural tendencies.

During a meal, my aunt, with good intentions, reached over to swap my spoon to my right hand and fork to my left, aligning with how she thought was proper for a right-handed world. In Asia, it’s common to use spoons more than forks, so this switch felt odd. Without fuss, I tried to adapt, awkwardly attempting to use the fork in my left hand as though it were a spoon because the actual spoon felt out of place in my right hand. It must have been a sight, my clunky attempt to scoop up food with the fork.

Observing this, my mother stepped in. She switched the utensils back to where they started, spoon comfortably in my left hand, and said firmly, “Hayaan mo siyang kaliwete, ayoko siyang baguhin.” In English, this translates to, “Let her be lefty, I’m not changing her nature.” It was a defining moment for me, a lesson in staying true to oneself that I’ve carried into adulthood.

Just as King George VI faced his challenge in the public eye and became known for his courage, I’ve learned to face life with the same authenticity. My mother’s simple act of allowing me to be a lefty was a profound affirmation of my identity. It’s a reminder that our strength often lies in what comes naturally to us, and that there’s no need to conform to the world’s expectations. So remember, whether you’re reaching for a spoon or carving out your own path, honoring your true nature is the most powerful choice you can make.


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