Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Work in Progress

by Jeffe Kennedy

I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on my imperfections. They fall into two categories: things I can fix and things I can't.

The stuff I can't (or don't care to) fix I don't give much thought to. I was never an athletic kid. Dyslexia may have played a role there - I ran for the wrong goal more often than not. More I think I suffered from blinding panic. I ducked when the ball sailed towards me. If I happened to grab a hold of it, I usually blindly threw it back to someone, anyone, or toward the nearest basket or goal line, regardless of which team it belonged to.

My stepfather, Leo, he tried. He signed me up for tennis lessons and tried to teach me to throw a softball. I did spend time hitting the tennis ball against the garage door, but an athlete I would never be.

I was at peace with that.

In fact, I've always been pretty happy with myself. I was lucky that I didn't know I shouldn't be. When I was in college, a group of friends were bemoaning their worst physical features. They asked me what I hated about my body and I didn't know. A friend chimed in, saying "oh, she has a really good body image." They all looked at me oddly and I suddenly wondered what about myself I shouldn't be happy about.

I got over that.

I know the stuff I'm not good at and I can list them for you:

The only musical instrument I can play is the harp and I do it very badly.
I can't run very fast and I hate trying to jog with other people.
I'm terrible at pretending to like people I don't.
To my everlasting regret, I really can't sing.
Really, don't ask me to be on your anything-athletic team.
Patience is not my forte.

Other things, though, I've gotten better at over time. From way back I've believed in identifying my own flaws and finding ways to improve myself. I was never much for sitting down to study, to work at something. Now I've learned to write novels by sitting down every day and working at it methodically. I've learned to curb my tactless tongue and better work with clients. I know I have old emotional issues that make me want to hang onto things and I've gotten better at throwing the old things away, at not crying when they break. I found ways to get rid of that body fat I managed to accumulate. I've learned to take pleasure in solving my problems.

All this said, I know I'm forever the imperfect me. I'm a work in progress. We all are. That's part of being human. I find new flaws all the time and have to wrestle with how to remedy them.

As I solve one thing, I uncover something new.

It keeps things interesting.


  1. Wow Jeffe how cool! You have such a good attitude. That's why you're a work-in-progress instead of a stuck-in-the-mud, going-nowhere kind of person. YAY! You go girl!!!

  2. Right there with you on the team sports thing. Interestingly, though, if I'm allowed a non team kind of sport, I do just fine. So athletic? Sure! In the right too, Miss Going to Run the Treadmill. Just because it's not a team or competion thing, doesn't mean it's not a sport.

  3. Interesting - I think you live the way you write, so Work In Progress is the perfect way to think of the process.

  4. Thanks, Linda - I sure try!

    Good point, Marcella. It's true - once I got away from being forced into team sports, I did *much* better.

    Very true, Kerry!

  5. Fabulous post!

    And I love the idea of work in progress. Nothing ever stays the same, and I love the idea of change and movement in that.

  6. I so agree, Laura - making change in myself and my own life is so important to me.

  7. LOL, let's hear it for the harp-ists who can't play! Yay us!

  8. why should you pretend to like people you don't? It will only make them want to hang out with you and you do not want that! ;-)

  9. we could have a band, KAK! and never play...

    Sullivan, you are a wise piggie. That's an excellent point. (I still feel kind of bad about it though...)

  10. Great post. You have an incredible outlook. Go you. =o)

  11. Thanks - what a lovely thing to say!

  12. Life is a work in progress...until it's over - but it's those "flaws" that make us who we are.

  13. Inspiration person and definitely the 80's hair!