Did you know that 1 in 10 righties are unknowingly lefties?
That’s me. I’m a part of that statistic.
If you met my older sister, Julia, you would understand why. She would make my parents laugh, amaze people with her creative drawings, and demonstrate her athleticism. Who wouldn’t want to be her? That goes for 2-year-old Sofia who followed her every move. My family called me “Little Me Too” because anything Julia said, I mumbled “me too” in a weak attempt to share her limelight. But the challenge of growing up beside the limelight is living in its shadow.
When Julia drew a Picasso for the household art display, I struggled to copy her right-handed technique. In turn, I drew a sloppy family portrait that failed to live up to refrigerator standards. Regardless, I continued to practice right-handed throughout my early childhood and adolescent years while drawing and writing, as well as in soccer, softball, and swimming, until I managed to suppress my innate weakness and build it into an artificial dominance.
Did you know firstborns are more likely to be outgoing?
Julia was the most fun, friendly, and funny person I knew and remains my hero to this day. Growing up as Little Me Too, we were involved in the same extracurriculars and sports. Julia made people laugh, so I didn’t need to. Instead, I decided to provide a source of insight lacking in our package: facts. I’ve been fascinated by facts since I picked up National Geographic in my pediatrician’s office—I instantly knew it was the perfect way to express myself. At family dinner, Julia told a story about new friends, and I confidently shared an interesting fact. At soccer practice, Julia impressed with dribbling skills, and I provided strategic geometric angles to increase our odds of scoring. As I relayed knowledge retained from my magazine subscriptions and the trivia book beside my bed, people began to see me. I shed light on unique topics, and in turn, the limelight would temporarily shine on me.
Did you know that trauma in young adulthood can affect one’s perception and understanding of oneself?
Throughout sophomore year, at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, I experienced never-ending grief. First, my grandmother passed away—the woman who instilled my faith. Weeks later my grandfather fell ill and was near death for months—the first person to see me. Then my Nanny, my maternal grandmother, died suddenly—my intellectual role model and best friend. The final afront came soon after when Julia left home for college. I was alone. How could I overcome this grief without her? I emerged from my comfortable, dark shadow and was now exposed to the blinding light. Who was I without her?
With Julia away, I began a path of self-discovery. I could no longer rely on facts as my sole expresser. My unnatural right-handedness had become unsustainable; I needed to uncover the dominant lefty in me.
Without Julia on my swim team, I developed new friendships and had my best season yet. I left the high school Business Academy and explored humanities, discovering that my strengths lie more in history and English; my grades skyrocketed. I realized that all those years I had overcompensated by strengthening a part of me that was innately inferior, suppressing my dominance to emulate someone else. As I continued to explore my potential and independence, I began to flourish and uncover my confidence.
I will further satisfy my intellectual curiosity in college by enrolling in classes and joining communities that challenge my beliefs and perspectives. Taking psychology courses will help me learn about my own adolescent development. Political discourse is of considerable interest; I used to suppress disagreement, but today I have the confidence to speak out against the majority and lead the charge against unspoken abuses. I can now see obstacles as opportunities for growth, approaching them with determination and excitement. Although I will always love Julia, I no longer wish to be her. I have found Sofia, and she’s so excited for her next chapter.
Did you know that only 1% of the world is ambidextrous?
That’s me. I’m a part of that statistic.
Guest Writer Bio
My name is Sofia Principe and I am a senior at Leonia High School in Leonia, New Jersey.
I work with Ms. Andreu every Friday as part of my school externship. My interests include
reading, writing, and history, and I am also a competitive swimmer. It’s an honor to work
with Ms. Andreu and look forward to an amazing year!