“Worse Off”

“Ah, Nothing is too late, till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“It ought to be plain how little you gain
by getting excited and vexed.
You’ll always be late for the previous train,
and always on time for the next.”

― Piet Hein

A therapist told me once, years ago. “There is hope for everyone…Some people are worse off, and some are just better off. Once you know where you are on the chart, we can make a game plan of how to keep getting you closer to the better off side of life.”

Then she grabbed a paper and drew a diagonal line from the bottom left corner of the page to the top right corner of the page.

I was SO eager to see where this expert in her field was going to put me. She had been doing this at this university for over 20 years! She had been a therapist for 30!

I wanted to know how far I had to climb. Where I was. I was desperate for guidance and answers.

This is what I got… 👇

Super technical right?

She smiled and reminded me of my successes. That I have come from even lower and I should celebrate how my life has seemed to be mostly progress.

I wasn’t hearing her. I was just staring at the dot on the line.

I want to find that woman today and tell her a few things.

This imagery she gave, weighs differently now inside of me, but it has never left my mind. I was 21 years old, looking for answers. This very young and “pleading” part of me was easy to sway, and I was swayed by her.
Whatever scaffolding of self esteem I had been collecting was now shrunken by a few sizes.

My Cinderella identity complex of attending an “Ivy league” university (while secretly being the girl in rags from “Podunk Texas”) was now feeling solidified.

I knew it wasn’t my grades but my essays that got me into that university where I was now receiving my student subsidized therapy session. I knew that because I had to be interviewed over the phone before coming to University by admissions to see if I really was the person who wrote those essays, because of how “different” the seemed from my GPA. (Ha!)

I don’t belong here. Look at me on that line. I have SO far to go…
….I kept thinking—-while she kept talking.

I think it was REALLY bold of that “seasoned” certified therapist to place me in comparison to the world of my peers based off of an ill explained, rudimentary graph on a piece of scratch paper.

What’s sad to me is how much stock I put in her placement.
She wasn’t wrong that I had a less than ideal childhood, and some really challenging and painful experiences… but dang lady!

Instead of challenging her in the session, I just listened. She gave me “don’t worry we can work on all of this” talk. I listened. Then, I said goodbye, took the paper home, and kept it for some time.

I never went back to her and I wonder if she is still putting people as dots on lines and quoting old prophets saying: “it doesn’t matter where you are, it matters where you are headed and which way you are facing!” -Brigham Young.

I hope not.

Do I believe some people are better off or worse off?

I guess it depends on the standards of success you are qualifying and comparing them with. But I have learned something profound since that experience and deconstruction of it over time. I live by this ideology:


One of my favorite humans alive says this: “I call it question and response… because who really has the answers anyway!”

I love that perspective. Instead of “Q&A” Maybe we ought to change it to “Q&R.”

I wont lie when I say there is compelling evidence that I “am” behind some of my peers in some basic things because of my upbringing. I am stunted in some of the fundamental concepts kids learn that I just didn’t.
“Adulting” has helped show me where I lack in some normal *everyone knows that* stuff. (Thats been fun) *sarcasm*

Overall though, I feel competitive about this “worse off” ideology that might have some validity to it. I feel like maybe in some ways I am “late to the party.”
But I’m here… so let’s dance!

No matter where you feel like you fall on that stupid ass diagonal line in life sweet reader… I’m rooting for you. 😉

Love in.

Love out.


3 thoughts on ““Worse Off”

  1. I’ve always enjoyed reading your writing. You’ve continually had a passion for the deeper meanings found in life and it is reflected in your written word. Regarding where you may fall on someone else’s subjective chart – to hell with them. Make your own chart… each and every day. Some days you’ll be up, others down, either way you’ll be master of your own destiny. Keep writing, keep learning, and stay great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Holden, Thank you for taking the time to message some love and perspective my way. I loved getting this comment and just wanted to let you know I see you and appreciate you. ❤️


  2. I “fixed” the diagonal line graph. But I’m not able to paste it into this comment section.
    That said, you appear to have a well developed imagination. So, here it goes.
    In the lower left hand area of the graph there is really a cluster of dots. They form a relatively tight grouping down there nearer the “Worse off” BS.
    Then, all alone in the upper right extension of the diagonal is one dot, obviously “Better off”.
    Between the two areas is a group thought bubble coming up from the cluster. It reads, “Way to go, Ying Li! You’re always ruining the curve!!!”
    (Asian student stereotype duly appropriated.)😎👍🏼


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