February 4, 2019
Oprah Magazine recently ran a story about the X factor—and we don’t mean the TV series. It’s all about how we write the 24th letter of the alphabet when we’re not on a computer or a smartphone.
Browsing Twitter one day, Brie Schwartz, Oprah’s deputy editor, saw a quiz picked up by the Philadelphia-based artist, @smasey. Displaying the same visual that appears with our story, on January 19, she asked her friends, “Which way do you draw an X (colored line being the first stroke)?
Originally posted by the designer @cyanpotato, the quiz has been shared to date by at least 71,000 Twitter users and retweeted 18,000 times—catching the attention of media outlets (like Oprah’s and ours) and going viral in the process.
When the magazine asked its own Instagram followers how they depict the letter, most shared that they write like #7.
But many Oprah readers followed up with a question: What does that mean? So Schwartz asked certified master handwriting analyst Kathi McKnight—who has analyzed the signatures of everyone from Oprah, herself, to President Barack Obama—to break down what your X-writing style says about your personality.
And, as it turns out, many of you out there have a distinctly rebellious streak. Except, that is, if you chose #7.
Indeed, if you took the quiz and were one of the many folks to share that you’re a #7—which means you draw your X’s by starting a stroke on the top left of the page, moving the pen to the bottom right—McKnight says you’re not only in the norm, but also writing your X’s the “right” way.
In the English language, she explains, this is considered the “balanced” way to move your pen. “Think about it,” she told Schwartz. “We move from left to right across the page when writing—left margin to right margin. We start a cursive letter from left, and proceed to the right. In printing, we start at the top and stroke down,” she says.
Anything else would be considered a “regressive stroke,” which, according to handwriting analysis, reveals “rebelliousness, going back into the past, and negative self-talk,” McKnight explained.
Of course, because the chart shows computer-generated fonts rather than “real” penmanship, it’s a bit of a stretch to call this “handwriting analysis” since pressure, slant, and size are the key factors in determining personality. Still, McKnight says, the same principles can be applied here when simply just considering how you would draw an X.
So without further ado, here’s what McKnight believes your X-choice says about you (with thanks to Oprah Magazine, @smasey, and @cyanpotato):
If you draw your X with two reverse strokes, starting from the lower right, it indicates that while you may want to move forward, you have both feet stuck in the past.
If you draw both lines moving forward, yet starting in reverse—from bottom left, then the bottom right—you are a renegade. You have a strong desire to slingshot yourself out of your past and move forward, yet the past still has its grips on you.
The reversed strokes—starting top right—demonstrate that you’re a rebel without a cause.
Because only your second stroke is drawn the “normal” way—top right to bottom left— it implies that while you’re trying to focus on the future, a part of you is still tempted to go backwards, as if you’re driving while looking only through the rearview mirror.
The first half of this X—drawn from top right to bottom left—is made “correctly,” but the 2nd—drawn from bottom left to top right—is written in reverse direction, revealing that you’re a maverick. It feels good to live by your own rules, doesn’t it?
Because you start your stroke from bottom left, and out of order, you’re a trendsetter—and you own it.
This is how you were likely taught in school to write your letters, going from left to right. That indicates that you don’t tend to stray from the norm—and you like order and balance.
Like most of these choices (besides #7), if you start from the top right, you prefer to think outside of the box.
Research contact: KathiYourWriteCoach@gmail.com