A Woman's Voice

Thoughtful Thursday ~ UNDERDOGS — January 20, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

Posted in A WOMAN'S VOICE,THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY by doloresayotte on January 20, 2011
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“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them.” (Washington Clark)  

Have you ever considered your self to be an underdog?  Although I have internally referred to myself as an underdog many times, I’m not quite certain I know exactly what this expression means.  Instead of going into a big diatribe about what I think it means, I just want to use it in the sense that actually applies to me and my life.  In past posts, I’ve already described that I had poor and simple roots as far as my background is concerned.  My parents were not well-educated, although nor were many of their peers.  I don’t want to say that I was born on the wrong side of the tracks, but I’m sure there were some people who thought that’s exactly where I lived in my youth. 

I remember the mother of my closest childhood friend telling her daughter that she didn’t want her to play with me.  You know what little children are like, they repeat things verbatim.  My friend didn’t hesitate to share this information with me when I asked her to play.  I came from a family of six children and we didn’t live in the most desirable neighborhood.  There was a single mother on welfare next door to us living with her nine children.  There were other kids in the area who were always up to some kind of mischief.  Some of the boys would get into pretty serious trouble and a few of them ended up in reform school for juvenile delinquents. Mind you, by today’s standards with all that is going on with drugs and gangs etc., what these boys were up to was probably what the police would now consider to be “small potatoes”.  My dad was pretty strict with us as children but there is no way that he could have prevented any of us from seeing and knowing what was going on in the neighborhood.  I was sixteen years old when we moved to another more upscale area of the city, so I had already developed what I consider to be my “street smarts”. 

If there is one thing I remember when I was young is that I never looked down on anybody. Perhaps it’s because even as a child there were some people already looking down on me. I instinctively never wanted to make another person feel the same way I did when this happened. There wasn’t one person I would consider to be less than me or not good enough to be my friend not even those mischievous neighbors.  As I go down memory lane and revisit that very house I grew up in, it no longer holds the negative stigma it did when I was young.  The street is much improved with some houses being replaced by much nicer ones. It actually looks quite lovely now. 

I think one of the best things about being a child is having the innocence to see things in such a lily-white way that we think everyone views the world the same way we do.  It’s only after we experience the full gamut of life, that we can allow ourselves to openly admit some of our negative experiences.  We can become quite jaded if we don’t learn from our past.  In order to better enjoy our lives, we must make every effort to get past our negative life experiences and learn to look at life from some of our innocent childlike perspective.  It’s a pretty hard goal to achieve, but I can tell you that it is not impossible.  I must admit that it does require a concentrated effort and a lot of work to try to get back some of the little pleasures that we may have enjoyed as children.   “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”(John Homer Miller) 

It’s neat how much information we processed as children and how much we stored in the recesses of our mind. I’m pretty sure you’re no different from me.  Parents, whether mine, yours, or your friends are very influential in forming the values of young children.  Children in their own innocence readily pass along this information.  Yes…to me, I was somehow or other taught to believe that I was less than some of my friends.  This is how I came to describe myself as the underdog. It took me a very long time to realize that I was equal to others.  Have you ever felt this way? If so, what did you do about it? It would be great to hear about some of your childhood experiences. 


8 Responses to 'Thoughtful Thursday ~ UNDERDOGS — January 20, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte'

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  1. Sarah said,

    love both the quotes…and your post makes me even prouder that I know you….

    • Nikki…thanks so much for your support and your comments. I am also proud to know you and to have you as a friend. Thanks for being “YOU”.

  2. hope_rising said,


    Great post Miss D! and I love, and very much agree with that quote in the picture.

    I think, without examination, the past does drive who we are…. but with the perspective of looking back for the lesson, the hope, the resolution, the closure ….with that perspective … I think the past is our most influential teacher … it gives us choice ….. but in today …we still have to choose to move on .. and like you mentioned in your post .. that is not always easy …. in my opinion it’s always worth it … but it’s not always easy ……

    excellent post! thanks!

    LLL from HTH !

    • Hope….thank you so much for your wonderful support and inspiration. You are so “right on” about looking back with perspective and learning the necessary lessons from our life experiences. Our past is definitely our most influential teacher. My daughter who is a social worker told me that if we don’t learn from the past, the situation will arise over and over in our lives until we learn what we need to learn from the experience. It’s like a circle and if we try to run the other way we will eventually meet it head on until we deal with it. Yes…it is not always easy but I also believe that it is well worth it! HTH fro LLL Miss D

  3. chosenwoman said,

    Lovely posting sis, I too never looked down at people because I was raised to respect people and if they looked different or acted different don’t stare. I too don’t know what it means to be an underdog unless it means the person most likely. And if that is the case then I am the underdog..Because raised up an underdog and look at me now. So to all the underdogs out there don’t worry God has you and you will be lifted up.

    • Thanks Desiray…I appreciate your insightfulness. It certainly is wonderful to see the achievement and success attained by underdogs when they set their minds to overcome and allow God to lift them up by following His plan.

  4. Audra Krell said,

    Powerful post Dolores, I enjoyed it tremendously. When my father abandoned us ( I was 14) I became very jaded and realized that my childhood was pretty terrible. It took many years to allow God to restore and heal those memories and now I treasure them. I love the way He brings things which seemed meaningless at the time, to light. Beauty from ashes to be sure.

    • Audra…I want to thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life here today. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be abandoned by your father at 14 years old. By allowing God to restore and heal a time of your life that was so painful was the perfect way to go. What a beautiful testimony about your faith and your relationship with God.

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