I no longer trust beautiful handwriting simply because of its beauty. Like disciples of graphology, I once thought of it as one indication of a person’s personality, a beautiful soul spilling out in ink or graphite. But I’ve since met several cruel women with remarkable penmanship—graceful, flowing, elegant, and fancy — perfect for a 19th century manuscript, a wedding invitation, a special occasion font — and I know now that it is no indication whatsoever.

In a way I’m relieved to have my childish beliefs contradicted. Although I can rule out my former yardstick as a potential judge of character, it means I’m no longer out of the running as a good person. I only hope others realize it, because if monkeys were given pens and taught the alphabet, their results would probably resemble my sprawling, jumbled, inconsistent half-script. Last week, when my boss decoded a note I had left for another employee, she explained my messiness to her in a conspiratorial whisper: “She’s a writer”. I’d love to agree with her assessment, but I know it’s not the case. I’ve simply never been the kind to flounce, even in ink.

On occasion, I try to remake my handwriting, as if it will turn me into someone as elegant or as neat as the lines on the page, but if penmanship doesn’t reveal if a person is good or bad, it still must reveal some inherent details, because my writing style is as stubbornly connected to me as my freckles and weird little toes. Someday I may even find that obstinate constancy comforting.