I am going to become a criminal sometime really soon

Homeschooling was a failure for me. I had suspected as much, but I didn’t realize it fully until just now, as I sat at the table, trying to write yet another thank you note. Bear and I turned out to be more popular than expected, especially with our families. So now I’m writing lots of thank you notes. And by lots I mean about one hundred thousand. And my hand hurts so much that I had to stop. Which is why I’m typing now.

We all know how important penmanship is. It’s the mark of a well-educated, cultured, refined person. You can tell everything about a person by one glance at a note they’ve written by hand.

“Ah! What a lovely, elegant, beautiful woman she must be!”

Or, in my case, “Oh dear lord. Lock her up before she kills again!”

Really. I once took one of those psych tests that determine something critical about you based on some seemingly inconsequential tendency. I was diagnosed a dangerous criminal, based on my handwriting.

(this is how I hold a pen. source)

Women, even more than men, are supposed to have good handwriting. Men are allowed to have “bold” or “strong” handwriting. And then there are very masculine doctors who are teased for their handwriting. But lovingly teased.

There’s nothing lovable about my condition. It’s a disaster. It’s humiliating. Professors have taken me aside while handing back blue book exams and said, “I wanted to give you a higher grade, but I honestly couldn’t be exactly sure if you deserved it, because of this handwriting. I’m only going to tell you once. It has to be better next time.”

Not all kids who went to school have great handwriting, but they all have better handwriting than me. Because they had to learn. They got graded on it. My mom tried. She sat there with me and made me write on the line, and practice letters and stuff. Maybe she just didn’t end up caring enough about it. Maybe we got distracted by lunch, or a bunny outside the window. Or an interesting book. Something happened, a lot, because here I am. I grip the pen so incorrectly that it actually hurts me. I don’t know what the correct grip looks like. I don’t know why it’s not intuitive. Were humans not meant to write things? Were humans meant only to type things? Maybe all of human evolution was leading up to the invention of the laptop. That could be it.

That must be it, because otherwise, I am a tragedy. I am a writer who can’t physically write. I can barely read my own journal. I’m like, “’He was the coatest boy I’d ever swan.’ No…Wait. The ‘cultish boy I’d even sane.’ Ok, whatever. He was a boy.”

I’m blaming this on my education. It was faulty. I’m horribly, permanently flawed. Mom, where are you? This is your fault. Why did you homeschool me?? Why didn’t you give me the same opportunities everyone else had??

OK. Back to thank you notes. Not that anyone will be able to read them.

*  *  *  *

Un-roast: Today I love I look when my hair is wet, but starting to curl anyway. It’s like this internal revolt, and the curls are slowly winning, even though it looked like they didn’t have a chance.

P.S. To the girls who sent me the awesome cake pictures, I really want to put them in the cake gallery. I don’t know why wordpress isn’t letting me, but I’m on it. To other people, send me pictures of yourselves with cake. It’s the cool thing to do.


Kate on November 5th 2010 in being different, homeschooling, wedding

15 Responses to “I am going to become a criminal sometime really soon”

  1. Christin L. responded on 05 Nov 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    I TOTALLY understand about the handwriting thing! I have never had good handwriting, even with having to learn in public school, and cursive? Forget it. I have a job where I type all day, every day (medical transcription), and I have been doing that for 7 1/2 years now. I pay most of my bills online, and therefore most of my actual writing with my hand these days takes place on shopping lists. I get to the grocery store and realize the word cheese has 4 e’s in the middle, and there are random loops and letters interspersed throughout. I didn’t think my handwriting could get any worse, and I am constantly amazed at how it does! :)

    Also, does a picture with cheesecake count? Because my roommate took a fantastic photo of me with cheesecake that I’d love to send you!

  2. Christine responded on 05 Nov 2010 at 4:44 pm #

    Kate, I went to Catholic school. We wrote the book on handwriting and to this day cashiers will look at my signature and say, “This is not a signature, it is scribble.” I just and it back and say, “No, it is my signature and I dare you to forge it.”
    Handwriting is not a measure of how good you are, just how well your able to make a pen do your bidding. Frankly, I just don’t think it matters that much. I’d rather watch the bunny.

  3. Meredith (Pursuing Balance) responded on 05 Nov 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    My handwriting isn’t that great either! In elementary school I got all As except for a C in handwriting every year!

  4. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    Bunnies are definitely worth watching.

  5. Rachel responded on 05 Nov 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    Handwriting kept off the honor role all of elementary school. There was even a tearful confrontation with a first grade teacher who promised me she’d make sure no one went out of their way for me again after I protested receiving the ‘effort’ award when she had implied I would get honor. Thank your mom for saving you from that.

  6. Wei-Wei responded on 05 Nov 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    I actually have decent, readable handwriting. I write using a strange mix of cursive and print; my writing tends to get overly swirly and slanted when I write quickly. I don’t like how almost everyone at my school ends up with the same handwriting, though.

  7. San D responded on 05 Nov 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    I’m thinking that good handwriting is generational. My generation learned cursive by practice, practice, practice. I don’t know if they even teach cursive anymore. Some of us even learned calligraphy, and given the opportunity, “show off”, using our special pens. But alas, just like knitting, crocheting, sewing and cooking from scratch, penmenship is a skill and craft of the past.

  8. JStolk responded on 06 Nov 2010 at 12:40 am #

    My handwriting ranges from fairly neat to horribly scribbled in the course of a sentence. It also varys from print to cursive and between upper and lower case. And if I’m writing fast every word gets extra letters, random things get dotted and crossed and it sometimes ends up smushed together. I did a simmilar test as you and was told to watch for signs of multiple personality disorder. I agree with San D, it’s geberational, and quickly dying.

  9. Ragen Chastain responded on 06 Nov 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    My handwriting is atrocious. I blame it on the fact that I switched schools so much – one would be teaching italics, the next printing, at the next they would have already mastered cursive. I’m reminded of this regularly because I am still friends with my fifth grade English teacher who has perfect penmanship. When I learned to type my writing went straight to hell. I really do think that typing has a lot to do with it since you just get out of practice with writing.

    I adore your un-roast today – my hair does the same thing and I always have the urge to do a little cheer for my curls :)

    Un-roast: I am so grateful that my body has everything that it needs to hold a pen and use it for communication.

  10. Gaby responded on 06 Nov 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    Don’t worry, I went through years and years of handwriting classes and it is still atrocious. I’ve even tried re-inventing my handwriting several times, gone through small print phases, I tried my hand at bubbly because that’s what all girls seem to do, I tried cursive…It’s still just ugly and sloppy. I wonder if there’s a way to have thank you cards printed? Or you could hire someone with good handwriting. My mom has my aunt write out our holiday cards for our business clients every year because she has beautiful flowy handwriting.
    In more happy news, I will be there tomorrow! I’m there until Wednesday so I will call you when I get to the city so let me know when you’re free this week!
    I also always think about sending you pictures of me eating cake, I mean, it happens frequently enough that you’d think I’d have thousands of pictures stored up for you, but when it comes time to eat the cake and I have it in front of me, the last thing on my mind is my camera. I’m sure you can understand. But one of these days I’ll remember the camera BEFORE the cake.

  11. Amelia Jane responded on 07 Nov 2010 at 1:10 am #

    ‘This is how I hold a pen’ killed me.

    (They were right!)

  12. Leslie responded on 07 Nov 2010 at 8:56 am #

    I’m am sooooo happy to know that my daughter, who also grips her pencil like she’s going to kill it, and truly in a manner that no strangler would ever have thought of, and her mother – who also allows us to get sidetracked from our schooling by the bunny outside the window (or the bunny (or the lizard, or the hermit crabs…) in our house) – will be just alright. (And – how’s that for a run-on sentence!?! I specialize in them.).

    And, re the squash thing posted elsewhere on Cake – thanks!

  13. Anna responded on 07 Nov 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    This is a timely post for me- I was just thinking the other day that my handwriting has gotten progressively worse with each passing year of my life. My handwriting was fine in middle and high school. That’s because I wrote by hand all the time. Now that I’m in college (and almost done- holy crap) I’m constantly tapping out words on a computer instead. My handwriting looks like that of a 9-year old boy. My hands, incidently, also look like that of a 9-year-old boy. Coincidence?

    (This is also why I never get manicures- because they make my hands look like those of a little boy in drag)

  14. Nancy L responded on 07 Nov 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    I can totally relate. I skipped kindergarten and went straight to first grade. I can’t cut straight or color inside the lines. Thankfully, modern day society doesn’t require me to do much of either. However, my nieces make fun of me anytime I try to color with them.

  15. Eat the Damn Cake » who the hell can fit into these delicious, godforsaken jeans? responded on 29 Jul 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    [...] store, I vaguely remember how much I loved my legs when I was a teenager. You know, back when I was homeschooled and doing slam poetry and feeling like I was about to conquer and redecorate the whole world. I [...]