directionally challenged

Along with my obvious lack of math skills, which, by the way? I’ve discovered is totally not my fault. All of those extra important formative math years were wasted on me with “special” math classes. I mean, learned algebra from an art teacher. It’s no wonder I’m awesome at shapes and suck with numbers.

(no, I have no idea how I always ended up in the “special” class)

Anyhow, along with my incomprehension of said subject, I also have this thing where I forget which way is left and which is right.

(I’m totally serious and should probably get a fine or something for lacking this basic skill)

Now, have me walk for three hours in all kinds of twists and turns and I will absolutely be able to make my way back to the beginning. I don’t get lost.

I guess I’m Rain Man that way. I’m really awesome at those kinds of directions – the non-follow-directions-left-or-right kind. Granted, I will have no clue how to tell you how I made it back or if I turned left or right but I can absolutely tell you I walked by the tree and past seven hay bales though I don’t remember street names or anything that would be considered useful.

As for my left and right, how shall we say…challenges, I’m blaming the fact that I’m mostly ambidextrous.

Or, amphibious, as I like to call it.

It all started when I was about four years old. I broke my left arm after falling off of the monkey bars (there was a bee. whatever).  My mother is convinced that before this accident, I was left handed, since I did everything with my left hand.  Coloring, brushing my teeth, reaching for things, everything.

Funny, I distinctly remember sitting on the toilet soon after I had my cast and couldn’t figure out how to reach for the toilet paper, since everyone (read: the people who install the toilet paper roll thingy) assumes we all reach for the TP with our right hand…

By the time my arm healed, I guess I had figured out how to use my right hand to color because I ended up writing right handed…but that was about it.

To this day, I do everything else with my left hand.  I brush my teeth, eat, dry my hair…all with my left hand

And this is exactly why I cannot tell you left from right, people.

My left is my right and my right is my left.

It’s like both directions hold the same amount of significance in my brain so when you ask me to turn left and I go right?  Technically, in my brain, I did go left, just…not the socially accepted version of left.

It makes perfect sense…if you don’t think about it.

Tim makes fun of me every time I say something like, “turn left!” when I really mean right or “it’s on the right hand side!” when it…isn’t.  I think he’s gotten to the point where he just goes in the opposite direction of what I say.

Which?  Probably the best idea, really.  Saves confusing everybody because when he turns right instead of left, I’m happy because that’s what I really meant in my head anyway.

You know how they say you are fluent in another language if you start to actually think of things in the other language and not translate it into your native one?  Like, for example, you’re trying to learn French and one day, you’re walking along and you see the color orange and say, “orange” in your head in French and don’t have to translate it into “orange” in English to make the connection?

Ok. Maybe that was kind of a bad example, but you get my point, right?

That’s exactly what happens when I think about my left and my right.

I’m fluent in both directions, therefore, they’re both orange.

(and I’m pretty sure “therefore” is sometimes a math term, which means I probably didn’t use it correctly)

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13 Responses to “directionally challenged”


  1. 1 nysoonergirl October 5, 2011 at 9:40 am

    But orange is orange in French…

    Man, I irritate even myself.

  2. 3 BrainRants October 5, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I have confusement of my own now.

  3. 5 PJ October 5, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I have the same problem! But it’s because in catholic school they made me change from being left-handed to right-handed. (because left handed is “sinister” and evil) I can very clearly remember having to line up for something in school (different school for kindergarten) with right-handed people in one line and lefties in a different line and I had NO IDEA which line to go in. And the teacher then asked me which hand I write with and I told her both. I don’t remember the outcome – just the overwhelming confusion and not knowing where to go and what to do.

    • 6 Jessica October 5, 2011 at 10:58 am

      SO GLAD I didn’t have to go to Catholic school. All of my cousins did…I mean, they turned out fine and all but…well, you know what I mean.

      I can’t imagine how bad that was as a kid! I mean, talk about a moment that changed your life forever.

  4. 8 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength October 5, 2011 at 10:37 am

    HAHA…my hubby always says that he’ll tell his clients to use their left or right for something and he can’t believe how many people use the opposite of what he says!

  5. 10 Daniela October 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    In Germany, kids had to write with their right hand aka were force dto do it so until like the 1950s/1960s…

    Well, for some people there is left and right, for others it’s just left and the other left 😉

  6. 12 Angelia Sims October 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I have this same problem…except…I’m not amphibious!
    I only know my left if I put both hands up thumbs down. The left hand makes an L with my first finger and thumb. Quite handy (pun intended). 🙂


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