Friday, June 02, 2006

John Hancock

I despise my handwriting. I remember in 3rd grade when we were learning cursive, our teacher would have us write the same letter over and over again while she walked around the room. If she saw that you had managed a particularly correct example, she'd point to it and praise you out loud. I never once got that praise. And I tried hard too! It was a sign of things to come, I suppose, because from 3rd grade through elementary school (when penmanship was graded) I never once managed to get above a C in penmanship. So depressing.
By junior high I had given up on cursive entirely. I was just struggling to keep my print legible. After hearing the story about Heber J Grant's struggle with handwriting, I resolved to spend all my spare moments in class working on mine. Almost every page of notes I have from 7th and 8th grade contains a couple of corners filled with the alphabet. My handwriting did get a little bit better, but compared to the cute or graceful handwriting of my peers it was still pretty bad. I got a lot of jokes about being a doctor, or writing like a boy.. It sucked.
In high school and college none of my teachers or professors really cared about my penmanship, as long as they could read it, and since I had no problems with spelling I was fine. But I was never able to feel good about how anything that I wrote looked, so if it was allowed I would type everything I turned in.
Somehow I always felt less feminine than most girls because of my horrific handwriting. I felt less graceful, very flawed. I suppose handwriting is a superficial, unimportant thing, but it always felt like something was very wrong with me.
Now here I am trying to be a good working mom-to-be. I re-write all of the phone messages I take for my coworkers 3 or 4 times before delivering them, in order to deliver the most legible copy. I desperately want to be able to keep a nice bedside pregnancy journal or have some hand-written captions in my scrapbook or the baby book I'm making.... but I just can't seem to do it. No matter how slow, steady, or careful I am my writing still looks like that of a 3rd grader. It is a huge frustration for me. I'm sure it has no bearing on my eternal salvation whatsoever. But it still drives me nuts and discourages me. I'm starting to wonder if there isn't some class I could take or some "self-help book for adults who are penmanship-impaired" that I could turn to. I'm such a dork.

3 comments:

Tracy M said...

As the bearer of a handwritten card recently mailed by you, I can attest that it's not as bad as you think... really, it's not.

Your children will love your handwritten notes because they will be from you, and I absolutley guarantee they will not look with your critical eye upon them. My mother's handwriting isn't the prettiest, but I always recognize it, and it is HERS. Comforting.

As a visual artist, I can offer: Usually when you write (or try and draw a line) slower, it becomes more difficult, instead of less. Try for a happy medium, with a more relaxed hand, and you might be surprised...

Cam said...

I can somewhat relate to your frustration with handwriting. Back when it mattered for school grades, I had decent handwriting...for a boy. Then in college I took drafting classes and learned to print eveything I wrote. This caused me to not write in cursive very often, thereby losing my edge. Then as I got older and had some problems with repetitive motion syndrom with my hands caused by typing too much, I found that my hand grew tired quickly of writing anything out long hand. If I continued beyond the fatigue, then the mild pain sets in, not in the wrists, but in the back of my hand and fingers. So, now whenever I try to write anything long hand, I rarely write in cursive and struggle to write a complete note without accidentally switching between printing in upper case, printing in mixed case, and cursive all in one paragraph. :( I don't think that anything major is wrong with either one of us. We just excel at TYPING!! :>

-->jeff * said...

i've never noticed anything to complain about with your penmanship, but i did really enjoy reading this posting--very nicely written. [or should i say 'typed'?]

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