“I am a work in progress.”

It’s nearly 6pm and in 25 minutes the Essential Bakery (apropos name!) will close for the day.

For the time being I am safe to capture the experience I just had with one named “Anna” who commented on the Azure blue scarf I was wearing as most becoming on me.

She was alone with her cup of rooiboos tea and awaiting a crepe to eat, prior to going to an appointment at 6pm. Her peaceful demure made me curious and so I asked if I might ask her a question.  She said, “Yes, of course, would you like to join me?”

So rather than sitting at my own table, I settled in to hers and we proceeded to act like a pair of comfortable shoes for the next fifteen or twenty minutes.  I determined I would ask my question with as little preamble or disclaimer as possible for what I was seeking was to understand if people “get” the basic concept of a Healthy Sense of Self and how they regard themselves.

“So, I am curious. Do you regard yourself as having a healthy Sense of Self?” (And then I willed myself to silence till she answered–which she did promptly and gently.)

“Why, yes, for the most part and some days more than others, but then I am always a work in progress.”

I am pleased that people find me easy and trustworthy so quickly. I feel rather blessed and honored to have someone open up to me “just like that.” And I don’t take it lightly that they tell me some pretty personal stuff in delicate ways (as Anna did).

Anna is 65 tender years old. Has been twice married and divorced and her second husband she took a restraining order out for two years “just to be sure.” If she saw him coming down the street she said with humor and confidence, she’d cross to the other side–but not out of fear.

I asked Anna if she had had a happy childhood and yes, I know that is a loaded question! She answered as if I was asking her what is your favorite color–which I know to be blue and that she not only loves it she looks good in it.

“I think so. My childhood was better than some and worse than others. All in all, yes, it was.”

I know there is more to her story and I don’t have time to get it from her, because she has come down for an appointment and won’t be late for that and is leaving me in five minutes time.

“You made my day.” She tells me this with that peaceful voice of hers after she has told me of some of the chaos that she has survived and surpassed. She joked that she was on sabbatical from romantic relations until further notice and this is what she tells her friends. She told me she is a fair cook and uses her friends as guinea pigs at dinner parties (without telling them that is what they are.)  She writes poetry. She knows that self-esteem can take a beating but it need not be a forever state.

“You made mine too,” I tell her and I ask if I can give her gift. She asks what that might be? I try to put my  bright azure blue scarf around her and she says, “Oh, no. I can’t take that , it wouldn’t be right…but I shall find my own now.”

I really wanted my scarf to go home with her but I honored her preference. And, I hope she finds her own to remind her of our brief but potent exchange–and I suspect our paths may cross again.

“I am a work in progress.”

“I must take care of myself, now, for there is no one else to.”

“I shall find my own…”

Our Sense of Self is so potentially powerful and at times so fragile, and indeed, we are a work in progress.

Even a person with a happy sense of their own life needs to take care of their Sense of Self…

Thank you Anna for sharing today.

It really made my day that I made yours.


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  1. terijo on July 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Wonderful sharing. Love what you are going for here on this “Healthy Sense of Self” Thank You!

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