It’s not always easy being different
I’m part of a minority, scientifically recognized and studied, but relatively disorganized.
Most scientists estimate we comprise about 10% of the human population, but some say it may be as high as 15%. Think about that. We are 10% (at least!) of the people around you! Still, there’s more of us than there are blue-eyed people in the world and we’re considered a minority.
There’s a debate about how one ends up in this special group though. Some say through trauma very early in life, or even in the womb; others say it’s genetics. (Most people say it’s genetics.) Some think it has something to do with the devil.
No joke. Some faiths refuse to let people like me into their clergy, or we have to hide it, and some see it as a sign of the devil. At least that last one is quickly falling out of favor. Still, I’ve spoken with people in my own grandparents generation who were smacked, burnt, or made to write lines because what came naturally to them was seen as dirty, unholy, or just plain wrong. Children used to be beaten to try and change what was normal for them. Since then, many have fumbled awkwardly through certain aspects of their lives trying to reconcile what feels completely natural and what they’ve been taught they must do.
And it’s always awkward. It’s less awkward if you can do what you feel is natural, but it’s just not always a viable option. Simple computer interaction, writing out a love letter on paper, opening a door to walk into different places, holding or shaking hands, politely eating dinner and maintaining the illusion that it’s all so normal can be difficult. Nobody acknowledges the adjustments you’re making and the part of you you’re hiding and you wonder if it’s because you’re doing it so well, or if they are just trying to be polite. Or maybe they’re just unobservant.
Meeting somebody who is different like you can be great. You don’t have to worry about your different-ness. You can share special tips for getting through the day and functioning in a world that is designed for the other 90%.
That 90% gets everything. It is assumed a person is a part of that 90% unless they point out that they aren’t or do something really obvious to give it away. There are small stores and specialty items that cater to people in my minority, but usually we just have to adapt.
All that adapting must be wearisome because we die, on average, almost a full decade sooner than our counterparts. We’re also more likely to be alcoholics, schizophrenics, or suffer other mental illnesses as well as a certain amount of clumsiness. My minority has been linked to autism and dyslexia too.
At least when we somehow avoid those problems, we tend to be smarter. That makes adapting easier. While roughly 10% of the population lives like me, 20% of MENSA members share the same minority claim and those of us who apply that heightened IQ to academics make between 15 and 26% more than those outside our little group over the course of our lives. (Tell that to my empty bank account.) Four of the 5 creative people behind Mac Computers were part of the same minority and so were 25% of all astronauts. We also have claims to heightened creativity, musical ability, spacial awareness, and being great in combat.
Don’t believe me? (Who could blame you after that clumsiness claim.) Alexander the Great was part of my minority. So were Julius Ceasar, Cary Grant, Lord Baden-Powell, Marie Curie, Angelina Jolie, Dick Van Dyke, Fred Astaire, Lewis Carroll, Buzz Aldrin, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charlemagne, and Tom Cruise. Many more too.
I’m just a lefty – a south paw. I couldn’t write properly with my right hand if my life depended on it. But I’m in pretty good company, a larger than average percentage of which also happens to be gay or bisexual. (I know not everybody on that list above is gay or bisexual, but a large percentage either are, were, or it has been speculated that they were. Getting into the ethics of that speculation is a whole other moral quandary altogether.)
If you got confused, that’s understandable. It’s amazing how perceptions change over time. Being a lefty isn’t so bad anymore. Most people don’t notice or care. In some cultures it is even seen as a special thing. Hopefully, it can get to that point for our fellow humans who also happen to be gay very soon.
In the meantime, check out THIS website for more fun lefty facts and list of more lefties.