This prompt comes from pw.org for poets and writers. “Write a personal essay about how your own handwriting has changed from childhood, through adolescence and adulthood. What memories are brought to mind when looking at your old handwriting? Perhaps try handwriting the first draft of your essay to help connect back into this practice.”
When I was a child, even I couldn’t read my own handwriting. It was a mess. Ididn’tputspacesbetweenmywords and although I tried hard to write my letters neatly, it just couldn’t be done. It didn’t change much as I grew older. Because I knew my teachers struggled with the lack of spacing, I did manage to correct that problem. More legible, but still difficult to read.
When we started learning cursive, things only got more complicated. I loved writing in cursive, because I thought it looked pretty, but it became even more difficult to read my writing. I may as well have been leaving no spaces between my words. Even when I did use print, I made some of my letters loopy like cursive letters. I remember my mom commenting on the tails of the letter t and the way I formed a loop under the g. I didn’t change it though. I thought my half cursive style was unique for me, and I didn’t want to be like everyone else.
When technology became a thing, we all stopped writing. My stories scribbled in journals were typed, notes turned into IM messages, letters turned into text messages, and homework assignments were typed. I suppose some of the teachers thought it was easier than deciphering the poor handwriting of a high school student.
On the occasions that I did write, I stopped taking the time to make it look decent, even though it never was, and I just wrote. No fancy looping, just a mess. I didn’t. I could read it (for the most part) and that was the important thing. Not much has changed since then. I can barely read my writing. In comparison to my sister’s perfect handwriting, I look like an eight year old wrote in my notebooks. And unless someone else is reading it, this doesn’t bother me so much. I apologize to others but never to myself, because I know my handwriting will never compare to my sister’s handwriting, and that’s okay.
We’re all unique. Our hands aren’t meant to copy one another, because they each belong to individual people with individual talents. My handwriting is not perfect, but it never was, and the little girl with the curvy letters would be okay with that, so I should be too.