It's Tough Not Being Perfect


Today is free-for-all Friday, which means I get to blog on whatever my little heart desires. Today we are going to discuss my neurotic need to excel at everything.  I don’t know where this started. Perhaps it was elicited in the government brainwashing camps known as “elementary school.”

Come to think of it, my elementary schools, and middle schools and high schools all looked like correctional facilities. If you’re from Texas like me, then you know what I’m talking about. Forget the clock tower or traditional red brick or Greek columns or ivy, just…square. No windows (wouldn’t want anyone to escape), plain brick, surrounded by buckling asphalt and cheap hurricane fences. Which makes me wonder; if students show a changed attitude wearing uniforms, then what impact does the architecture of a school have? I mean, if you go to a high school that looks like the hallowed halls of academia, do you fare better than those of us condemned to four years indentured service at a school that looks like the only thing missing is a guard tower?

…but I digress.

I remember being a kid and all the cartoons promoted this agenda that if you just tried hard enough and set your mind to something, you, too, could be a superstar. Um…yeah, no. I have tested this theory. Despite years of hard work and therapy and self-flagellation:

I will never be graceful, well in a willowy delicate way at least. I took ballet for years, but somehow always looked like a Russian gymnast got mixed into the class by mistake. My bun never looked as prim and generally sat a tad off-center. My tights seemed to always be the wrong shade and my skirt was never tied on the correct side. Dainty and Kristen have never kept company in the same sentence.

I will never be good at sports. I was the last kid picked for every team. Okay, second to last behind the weird boy who didn’t bathe. I still have Dodgeball nightmares with William Shatner voiceovers chanting weakest link as I am repeatedly taken out first by the biggest boy in school–who of course hits me right in the FACE with the big rubber ball. *shivers*

I will never be good at sewing. My mother, God love her, taught me how to cross-stitch, and while I have successfully completed at least three bookmarks, all other works just looked like a tragic farming accident involving colored thread. Which leads me to the next thing I will never be good at. I will never quilt. If the terrorists blow up the world, I have guns, but someone else will have to make the blankets. Sorry.

I will never be good at having all my drawers organized. In fact, I secretly hate those people. You know who I’m talking about. People who actually can open a kitchen drawer and know what’s inside. *rolls eyes* Show offs. I can’t be sure, but I do believe they often hang out with those uppity I-have-no-water-spots-on-my-glass-shower-doors people. They hold secret ceremonies involving lemon zesters and apple corers as they dance by the light of Yankee Candles, and make sacrifices to a large pastiche of Martha Stuart.

It’s what I’ve heard anyway.

I will never be good at carving pumpkins into clever Jack-o-lanterns. I’m good for three triangles and a mouth that looks like a hair-lip repair gone all wrong before I cut myself with the $3 pumpkin knife that is supposed to be child-proof.

I will never present Christmas gifts that look as if they were professionally wrapped…unless I actually have them professionally wrapped.

I will never have a checkbook balanced to the penny or flexible hamstrings.

And all that stuff used to bother me. I dunno. Maybe as you get older it doesn’t mean as much or maybe you get better at not taking life so seriously. Perhaps we get better at seeing where we actually shine.

But, if I really think about it, I guess it’s okay to not be good at everything, because that means I will never be good at ignoring injustice. This means there is at least one person who will stand up for the little guy. I will never be good at overlooking those who need help. I think I am quite tragic when it comes to turning a blind eye to sick or injured animals. Thus, I believe I am doomed to a house full of loyal rescues for the remainder of my days. I will never be good at staying angry or holding a grudge. And likely, I will never, as long as I live, be good at giving up on grouchy friends, needy houseplants or neurotic pets. But that means they will always have someone in their corner. So I guess I don’t have to be perfect. It all evens out in the end :D.

What are some things you guys have always dreamed of being good at, but just never quite hit the mark?

Happy writing!

See you Monday…


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  1. Beautiful post! I will never be good at singing, dancing, drawing or group sports. But I’m okay with that because I will also never be good at standing idly by while people pollute the planet, withholding love, or believing that any person is better or more than another.

  2. Great post. I think I’ll never be good at singing. 🙁 and that used to matter to me but now it’s just like, oh well, got to find a different thing I can be good at… hopefully, I will. Let’s have some faith. Yeah, I’d like to think I’m positive.

  3. Hey! When did we become twins??? LOL!

    I am an over-achieving perfectionist who will never be good at sports, not being a klutz, singing, drawing, etc. But that’s okay because I like writing better than all those anyway. 🙂 And I like to think I’m pretty darn good with being loyal to the bone, optimistic, and encouraging others to see the good in things.

  4. You had me till you began to hate on the lemon zesters. Leave all things citrusy alone. 😉

    I think I’m mellowing, too. I’ll never be popular, or regal, or capable of swift, witty repartee except sometimes online. But I’m reflective, try to learn and grow from all experiences – even the ones that suck. I think I’m pretty good at letting other people know when I admire them and why.

    Which leads to my last comment: thanks for the shout-out earlier in the week and this blog. You give me much food for thought.

    1. I actually have a lemon zester–three to be exact…somewhere. Not hating the zester, kust the people who can find theirs, LOL.

      Any time, :D.

  5. Thank God, you’re a perfect Kristen, because the world needs one of those, and no one else can do that job. With enough wine, anyone can be a perfect dancer. At least they can think they are, and perfection is at least 50% perception.

    As for me, I’ll never be a perfect parent. After #2 was born, I accepted that fact and adopted a new standard: If they can pay for their own therapist when they are grown, I haven’t done everything wrong.

    However, if you know anyone who is perfect with laundry, please give them my number.

  6. OK, this absolutely cracked me up – more than partly because you could have written most of it about me. There’s a reason I’m drawn to writing novels about historical heroines who started out as underdogs. Just call me Joan – Wilder, not d’Arc.
    I’m not good at housecleaning, and I don’t do windows. My desk looks like a cyclone hit. I haven’t balanced a checkbook since college – and that was on a dare. (Which I won, so I’m not bad at everything.) Dice hate me, so I’ve learned not to touch any board game but Scrabble – and nobody will play that with me anymore. (Hint: “quixotic” on a triple-word score will not endear you to your opponents.)
    But I like encouraging other people, and I’m learning to write books, and most days, that seems like enough.

    1. Ha ha ha ha ha. Yes, I am not allowed near the Scrabble game either….or Trivia. But that’s okay because they know they can beat me like an old rug at anything else. I still haven’t figured out how to play checkers and tiddlywinks is just a good way to lose an eye, :D.

      What great feedback. Glad to know I am not alone in my “imperfection”, LOL.

    • Simon walker on September 24, 2010 at 9:17 pm
    • Reply

    I used to try to excel as I had low esteem. For years I worked out, read, took up hobbies, read self help books etc to gain approval.

    Trite but true however, one day I consciously stopped any harsh thoughts about myself as soo as i felt my confidence going or gone, realising they surfaced so quickly they were just there and my conscious mind took them as a reality,

    They are not reality. People love imperfect people, they are attracted to those at ease with themselves. To take from JFK every day I try to think what I can do for others, less what feedback they can give me.

    I now get more positive feedback at a time when I need it least because I self affirm as often as I have time to, leaving harsh thoughts nipped in the bud.

    I still work out loads though, I’ll place vanity at the top of my imperfections list!

  7. What am I rubbish at? How long have you got? I’m useless at almost the whole alphabet, from aerobic exercise to zoning out when people are nagging me. But, hell, I can live with me, and so can my husband and kids (all of who seem to be well-enough fed and cared for), so I guess I’ll just learn to live with my inabilities.

    Except dressage. Still trying to get good at that. Still look like I’m knitting a horse underneath me. Ah well.

    • Terrell Mims on September 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm
    • Reply

    I’ll never be good at being a woman. Darn it. Gotta go return some stuff to Neiman Marcus. I spent 28 years as a male. Why change it? LOL! Just kidding.

    It’s good that we recognize our flaws, but also to praise our strengths…now time to find those receipts.

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