“I will be thoughtful in words, but also passionate in actions.”
On a whim one February night, I got this tattooed on my upper thigh. It’s a line from a poem that has really stuck with me over the past six months. Thoughtful in my words. Passionate in my actions. Simple, yet really important. It’s who I have always thought myself to be. But it wasn’t until I used these words in my mom’s eulogy to describe her, that I realized I have drifted far from doing one of these things.
I was strong on my passionate actions, but not nearly as thoughtful in my words.
My mom was verbose with her words. Her handwriting covered every square inch of her thank you notes. Her Facebook responses were sentences and sentences long. I recently found a card she wrote (but never sent) to one of her caretakers and her handwriting had gotten tiny and it didn’t make a lot of sense but she wanted very badly for this woman to know not only how grateful she was for the care she provided, but also that Heather was a beautiful woman inside and out and she had a gift with people. Even when her mind got foggy, her intention was clear. She always showed that she cared.
Me on the other hand? Well I move fast. Speed is my currency and in my world, it is TIME. TO. GO. I always will respond to texts, emails, slacks, and messages but lately, it has usually been short and sometimes rote. “hahah that’s great!” “Muah!” “That’s amazing”
My mother would NEVER.
Cue her proverbially rolling over in her grave.
And actions? She was passionate about those too. She marched against the Vietnam war in college. She drove around Fishers, IN with a bumper sticker stating “I am a blue dot in a red state.” She wrote many letters to the editor in my hometown to espouse the teacher’s agenda as well as to lambast politicians that so darely made fun of an Illinois politician who had Parkinson’s disease. She drove her GMC Safari Mini Van at full speed to chase down the busstop bully who scared her children, grabbing him by the lapels and promising to tell his parents if he ever touched us again. She called DCFS on parents who hurt her school kids. Her actions spoke just as loudly as her words.
I wanted to be thoughtful in my words, like her, and I wanted to recommit to my actions being passionately aligned with my values. And there is nothing like a tattoo to make a goal real, right? So a man named Sergio inked those words onto my skin and since then, I have slowed down. I pause before I respond. I think before I comment on a post. I consider what Jill would say and then I start typing. Being one to many is easy for me. But being intentional-with-my-thoughts-and-actions to many takes time. And up until February, I was convinced I didn’t have time.
Well looksy here. Apparently, I have the time. I just didn’t prioritize it for the right things.
Since this tattoo, I have written cards front to back. I addressed a situation that had bothered me for a long time. My Instagram ❤ are now comments. My Facebook responses have more than one sentence.
I have never been afraid to tell people how I feel, but now I am slowing down long enough to do it the right way.
She’s been gone for 4 months now. And wouldn’t you know, I was convinced I was too old and wise to learn anything from her, yet she is still teaching me months after her last breath.
I may just become her legacy. And you know what? I think she always knew I would be.