Saturday, November 16, 2013

Left and write

No, I didn't misspell the title. I wrote it that way on purpose....just keep reading and you'll understand why.

Long ago, I attended a private high school. Their punishment for misdemeanors was called a 'strike'. If a student amassed three 'strikes' then the result was a more severe punishment called detention. 

Now, I had my faults like all teenagers, and one fault happened to be a need to constantly challenge procedure (which can work for good if directed in the right way). But in high school it rarely results in anything good; as was my case. Consequently I became quite familiar with the detention regime. In detention the protocol was to write a previously composed work by another student in an English class as many times as was necessary to fill an hours worth of time. By the end of that hour you could leave if you had finished hand writing the paper or you had to stay and finish it if you had not. 

Being the resourceful teenager I was, I decided to put my detention time to good use. I taught myself to write left handed. I'd write the paper hurriedly right handed and spend the rest of the hour scrawling the letters and words out left handed. I wasn't breaking any rules, although I was challenging procedure in my own way.

A personality trait that I still have and had already developed at that time was the ability and desire to turn an undesirable situation into something educational, fun, interesting, or just different if nothing else. This is what I did with detention. Twice a week almost every week I practiced writing left handed for a good half hour or more. I actually started to get good at it. I became interested in seeing what other things I could do left handed. So I would try things out at home left handed and to this day there are some things I do left handed instead of right handed and there are a number of other things I do either way depending on what hand is free.

Why did I write this random story from my teenage years? 

A couple of years ago I got tendinitis in my right shoulder. I had to leave cruise work and go through physical therapy. The treating doctor said I had a couple of cysts in my shoulder that they could remove then or they could wait indefinitely. But if I had them removed at that time then the recovery period to return to cruise ships would be significantly longer so I opted for the quicker therapy and return to work.

It's been a couple years, as I said, since that happened and I've felt nothing since. 

Until now...

Working here in Korea has been sometimes a solid month of performing everyday. Which to anyone that knows my cruise schedule, that doesn't really amount to much. I realized this and wondered what could be causing the pain to arise at this time as opposed to another. And it dawned on me, that before I had the pain the first time I'd been doing a lot of handwriting of piece history and composer trivia into my score so that I could introduce the pieces to the audience with background information. Here in Korea I'm studying Korean every day. I spend hours each day copying lesson notes and practicing writing words over and over to help me not only remember the definitions but how to spell the words and recognize them in print. Usually I spend at least 2 if not 3 or 4 hours each day writing away. 

Apparently I hold a lot of tension in my right shoulder; when I write, when I play, and I've noticed recently, even when I sleep. I'm changing sleeping positions to try to force my shoulder to relax more and I continue trying to focus on relaxing my shoulder while I perform and practice. But everyday while I am writing, even when I try to relax my shoulder, it is still tight and by the end of the day it hurts to play my violin.  :(

So I've made the decision I feel I must make. It is time to become predominantly left handed. Of course I will still use my right hand for many things because I'm all about efficiency, but I will force myself to do all my studies left handed. It goes against my OCD nature of having my notes very orderly and neat since my left handed writing isn't up to par right now, but I think it is worth it to save my shoulder from further pain and suffering. And all my non OCD friends with find themselves grinning at the thought of me forcing myself to do something that goes against my OCD nature....arg....

By making this rather radical change to my daily life I hope to reverse the swelling that is obviously occurring in my shoulder and also to better my life by improving it in more ways than one.

Here's to the future and 'lefties' everywhere!