Marilyn Oma Anona
Today is world’s left handers day!
Already you know we are very few but have made the most impact.
It’s not a recognised day in Nigeria but in the US and other developed countries, it’s a big deal.
On behalf of Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and other left handers in the world, I wish all left handers in Nigeria a happy day❤️
I remember in primary school when my teachers used to bully me because I use the left hand. They would come and remove my ink from my left hand and try to force me to use my right hand and I would cry bitterly. I won’t be able to write and when it’s almost the end of the class, having cried so much, I will be asked to now write and surprisingly, I will finish before those who started writing before me. They were always surprised.
One day, I went home and complained to my dad that a particular teacher aunty mbabi was always insulting me because I use the left hand and I was afraid to go to school.
Auntie Mbabi… I will never forget her. I never liked her and I still beef her till date! Although she later became a family friend.
My dad stormed the school, I was still a small child maybe 6 but I still remember dad yelling at the headmistress and the teachers in the headmistress’s office. “How dare you victimise my daughter? How dare you? I will close down this school! And the headmistress was apologetic and promised they won’t do that.
Being left handed and being very bright eventually turned me into a star in the schools I attended though. I remember when we had to change schools because of change of location… We got to a school and you know how some of these schools like to feel superior. It was two weeks to the exam and they said they would put me a class below because of some reasons and my dad refused! He said they should put me where I am supposed to be and if after the exams I don’t do well, they should demote me. They put me in the lowest class (class for the not academically bright kids) and i just came 2 weeks to exams. I had a lot of catching up to do. I was new. I am left handed. I remember the teacher saying; ” you use left hand… And your dad could not stop you, I hope you are not a spoilt child and I hope you can write fast)
And the exam came and surprisingly, my result and aggregate was the best in the whole set and they took me from primary 4 to 6. And then special attention was paid to me and my headmistress Mrs Hammond would always go on and on about how I am left handed but doing better than the right handers.
Being a left handed person, I had and still have many challenges especially with using some equipment and always thinking that my left is the real right.
Then the problem of people ignorantly criticising you.
Just in 2014 after Christmas and I was supposed to return to Abuja. I was going to come back by road and I went to tracas park in Awka. There was a little delay and I wanted to eat badly. I went and got food and came and sat quietly, started eating my food while waiting for the Toyota space bus to get full. One guy just got angry. “So as you are fine like this, you are using left hand to eat… Are you not ashamed of yourself?”
No sane man will marry a woman that uses left hand o he went on!
He was so angry and then out of fury and rage came and took my spoon from my hand and put it on my right hand”.
I was too shocked for words considering the speed with which the whole thing was happening. He was talking and fuming and scolding. But the observers particularly one man who I admired before then because he looked polished took on him and insulted the living daylight out of him. Most of the people there started fighting for me. They told him he will keep moving round motor parks with that kind of mentality.
I was happy because there were people there who fought for me and I didn’t have to say a word.
These are the things one has to go through from cave men for being left handed.
In January 2016, for the first time I met an old woman who uses left. It was a great gathering of great women and I was invited to speak to youths in attendance on a topic and I saw her writing and I waited to see her at the end and I told her I am also left handed and we got talking. She is a grandmother and she has done so well for herself in terms of career and marriage.
Then I met a friend Bob who told me his mother is also a left hander. And her name is also Marilyn.
Despite the little challenges that come with being left handed and the most frequent being handing something over to someone and they refuse to collect because it’s the left hand, I love being a left hander. It’s so unique and one of my happiest moments is being in a place filled with people and I am the only left handed person in the room!
Happy World’s Left Handers Day to me and every left hander.