Dotting My I’s Like Valerie

My handwriting is garbage. There’s no two ways about it. It’s this weird cursive/printing hybrid that generally only makes sense to me. Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time someone said “what does this say?” I wouldn’t be on such a tight budget.

When I was middle school, I sat next to this girl named Valerie in English. She had long black hair that was always in a braid and I thought she was the most hilarious person in the school. She also had incredible handwriting. We’re talking perfectly spaced, perfectly dotted I’s and perfectly crossed t’s, and her margin awareness was off the charts. As a result, Valerie constantly received compliments, especially from our teacher, which, even though I understood why, I couldn’t shake the jealousy.

Looking back at it now, it makes total sense. I had no idea who I really was, or that going through all middle school entails would make the quest to find that out 100 times harder, so what I did should not come as much of a surprise: I copied Valerie’s handwriting.

Completely.

I mean every curve, every space, every shape of every letter. My hand became her hand and I was ecstatic. That is…until my teacher sat me down and accused me of plagiarizing and/or making Valerie do my homework for me, immediately causing me to break down and cry.

“OF COURSE NOT,” I cried desperately to my teacher, and while she believed me (both out of necessity because I was snot crying on one of her desks, and because I took out a pen and physically showed her how I’d began mimicking Valerie’s handwriting) she still shook her head.

“Why would you want to do that? Your own handwriting is lovely,” she said.

Granted, this was clearly a lie, my handwriting has never been and never will be lovely, but regardless, the lesson stuck with me.

Over the years, I’ve thought of it many times as I’ve struggled with accepting the way I do things compared to how others do them, be it doing my makeup, styling my hair, laughing or writing a blog. Because even though my way might not seem as incredible or admired as others, it’s the way I know, and the way people can recognize me, the real me, and when I look at it that way, I suppose it is lovely.

3 comments

  1. I don’t think I ever heard this story! Your teacher wasn’t telling a lie… because it is WHAT you wrote that was important.. not your handwriting… and then, like now, what you write IS lovely!
    xoxo

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