We Need to Talk: An Un-Political Post - Among Other Things

We Need to Talk: An Un-Political Post

As you might imagine, bloggers who don’t ordinarily write about politics can be intimidated by the thought of it. But hear me out…

Well, it sure has been a weird week — and one wherein I just haven’t been able to find the words to write about workouts, style and anything of the sort.

Which you’ve probably noticed.

janessa leone straw fedora for women sizing

… Meh. I’m sorry.

As you might imagine, bloggers who don’t ordinarily write about politics can be easily intimidated by the idea of it — present company included.

I’ve kept my blog an entirely politics-free zone — which I will continue to do — but today’s topic of conversation felt necessary. And I’ll explain why.

I’ve kept our community free of my own personal partisan views, but that’s not because I don’t have an opinion; it’s because I like to keep it light. (And quite frankly, if you wanted to debate or consume political information, all you have to do these days is open your Internet browser.)

Like you, perhaps, I struggle with how to share my opinion in a way that’s informative, open-minded, meaningful and non-isolating to anyone.

And when you have a platform, voicing an opinion is really intimidating. Like, am I missing any sides of the issue? What if my readers know more about the issue than I do? Do I even know what the fuck I’m talking about?

//

I was actually catching up Scandal (on ABC) the other day and I found myself wondering whose political plot twists were worse: Ours? Or the show’s?

LOL. Shit. But seriously. It’s alarming how reality TV and the news are becoming one-in-the-same these days.

I digress…

As someone you choose to “spend time” with every single week (thank you!), my sole intention is to pack a positive, uplifting punch with the content I produce — without you having tap into the political parts of your brain. And I will continue to do that because I know that for many of you, this platform is an escape.

But today, I had to say something. Because I just haven’t been able to write for you guys…

It feels entirely tone-deaf to harp on about workouts and shoes and sweaters without at least acknowledging everything else that’s going on in the world, you know? (Even though those are exceptionally important topics of conversation, IMO.)

///

My job essentially revolves around sharing personal stories and opinions, so given my recurring bout of writer’s block (ironic as I just posted about how to get over your mental roadblocks), I realized that what I needed to do to get around it is to simply address the elephant in the room.

Sure, it’s normal to take a day or two off from sharing my stories, but I feel like so much happens every single day that it seems like we’re trying to drink through a sartorial fire hose. And as a result, I ain’t got shit to say.

Here’s been my struggle: Is it appropriate to remain happy or optimistic (about life in general) amid such large-scale circumstances? Or is that even possible? Should you not? And as someone who has a platform such as mine, is it irresponsible to — well, just ignore it?

Social media certainly doesn’t help in making us all feel like we’re amid a freakin’ descent into madness — and the heavy cloud of noisy negativity generated by the news tends to distort our views at the rest of our lives.

///

One of the silver linings about a situation that seems, well — fucked — is that there’s a lot of progress to be had and work to be done. (Sorry, Mom. I’m cussing a lot today. Those are words I never have trouble finding!)

I’m here, guys. I’m with you. I’m affected. I’m scared. I’m feel royally fucking confused and helpless a lot of the time, and I suppose that’s a new normal. But I don’t let myself stay there (in that mindset).

Let me answer that question for you in case you were still marinating on it: Yes, bitch. YES! It’s appropriate . It is possible (and perfectly okay) to feel happy and optimistic in-spite of the things you cannot ultimately control. I promise you.

You’ve just got to believe it to see it. (Re-read that; not a typo.)

That’s ultimately what I want you to take away from today’s post. You are allowed to feel joy — guilt-free. Every. Damn. Day. It’s okay to get yourself un-stuck from our vicious news cycle.

janessa leone mari balero hat for women

Easier said than done, sure, but here’s how I do that:

Instead of allowing myself to spiral into a sea of anger and despair, I choose to invest my energy in people, places and organizations that are gearing theirs toward creating hope, support and unity on a larger, wider-reaching scale.

I commit to finding little ways each day that make a difference — from making phone calls and donations to even just tipping my cab driver an extra few dollars.

Is that really “enough,” though? I don’t know.

To clarify, I think it’s completely okay to let your emotions drive your actions — if you’re angry, do something in a productive way. Let it fuel your fire, you know?

But I also know that sometimes all you can do is harness your time and energy in tiny ways each day to make a difference. Kindness is a ripple effect, and I hope you can find comfort in knowing what you do have control over can make a difference.

///

Tomorrow and next week I will return to regular, more consistent content — but I wanted to take today to take a step back, open up and apologize, I guess, for not being able to find the words until now.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks. I appreciate you reading (as always).

I’d love to hear your thoughts, concerns and opinions in the comments below — and this goes without saying, let’s be civil and kind to one another.

Let’s lift each other up, guys. When the tide rises, we all float. 

And while we’re on the notion of reminders, your life actually is really good. Like, really good. I hope you’re able to find a few ways to remind yourself of that today.

Love you. Mean it. Really, truly.

x, Hallie

//

Join the Convo:

  • Bree Rangel

    I am right in the middle of such mixed feelings. I’ve found myself not being able to sleep well or not being able to focus since the inauguration. Even if hanging out with friends, our conversations eventually shift to politics with everyone expressing their fears making the night feel not as light as we had hoped when making plans. I keep wondering if making a donation, joining a protest, or attending a meeting will ever be enough. Life is good like you said, it’s incredibly good, but the small thought that it not may be as good for some lingers around and creates a sense of guilt that I haven’t figured out how to get over.

    Sorry for that long book!

    • I like a good “book” comment, so thanks! I’m right there with you on the mixed feelings. Some days it’s up, down or right smack in the neutral zone. Shit!

      Sometimes all you can do is breathe and focus on what you can do with what you have. #RippleEffect, remember it! xo

  • Elizabeth Rogers

    Loved reading this – thanks for sharing! For me personally, optimism and kindness can help lift each other up during such a crazy time in our world. Life is too good for us all not to enjoy the moments right now!
    XO
    http://stripesandsolitaires.com/

    • Without a doubt. I liked your last line, too – thank you for the reminder! x

  • THANK YOU for saying something and using your voice for positive change.

    shannoninthecity.com

  • Mary Erickson

    Thanks Hallie! I actually work a block away from the Capitol in DC so you can imagine politics runs my life now more than ever. I think you should run your blog exactly how it feels comfortable for you. Like you said your blog is an escape. Take pride in that and do know you are doing your part to get us through the day! At least for people like me, it’s essential to get a daily dose of something other than “think pieces” about the new administration. Your posts about workouts, new restaurants or Tinder Tuesdays is a nice break from the heaviness. Your posts about workouts or soul cycle alone is important since in this present political climate we could all use a good workout 💪🏻 Keep it up girl!

    • Wow, can’t imagine being that physically close to all of this. Glad you’ve found a few escapes in your day (#TinderTuesday YAAASSS) and here’s hoping you can continue to do so over the weekend.

      Appreciate your sweet words!

  • Lizzie Swerdlin

    Thank you SO much for this, Hallie! Definitely something I needed to read. I work in television, which makes my day entirely entrenched in news and current events. My workdays have become a stream of bad news that I can’t look away from, and I feel guilty stepping away at the end of the day or week for a date, a workout, or anything that’s purely for me; and I shouldn’t, because we could ALL use the time to relax! Everyone around me– both literally and on the internet– is SO passionate about creating effective, productive change and a livable environment in this climate and it leads to such a noisy, up-in-arms mentality that I’m just not comfortable participating in. Reading about the way you handle the stressors of the past few months totally encourages the idea that we’re all doing it right, no matter how we handle it and continue to work towards a more optimistic future.

    • Well-said! Sometimes the best thing you can do is step away from the noise and RELEASE. There’s no guilt in that whatsoever. Glad this was helpful + I’m all ears if you have suggestions for similar posts (on handling stress/etc) in the future. Have a HAPPY weekend!

  • Thank you – this post is everything!

    • Glad to hear it. Hope it hit home for you in a positive way!

  • Liv

    Such an inspiring post. Thanks for sharing!

    Liv

    http://www.livforstyle.net

  • Maggie Vincent

    Thank you for posting this. I too have been trying to make a difference in small ways. Adding a few dollars to every tip, making monthly donations to causes I believe in & joining several grassroots organizations that I hope can make positive change.

    • Hell yeah. Good for you, girl! Thanks for sharing + keep creating that #RippleEffect. 🙂

  • Stephanie Osorio

    Inspiring. Thoroughly enjoyed reading.

  • Jamie

    THANK YOU for this! It is so easy to go down the rabbit hole of despair these days, and to feel totally helpless and overwhelmed. And then try to step away and feel guilty for NOT feeling totally helpless or overwhelmed. This is just what I needed to read. Thank you.

    • I needed to hear it too, honestly. Hope you can find some joy in your weekend over the next few days — guilt-free. x

  • Thank you for this! Ever since the inauguration my anxiety has been out of control. I am constantly thinking about what’s going on with our government and it terrifies me. I want to to do something. I live in DC so I have been attending protests, donating to NGOs and calling my senators. I don’t want to be ignorant. I want to stay up to date and be informed. But lately it can be all too much. Last night I finally hit a breaking point and just couldn’t take it anymore. I cried for awhile and then decided to turn off my phone and watch Finding Dory on Netflix (lol).
    It can be hard to find the balance right now. Between staying informed and being completely overwhelmed by it all. We all need to be aware of what’s going on with our government and do what we can to fight, but we also need to take care of ourselves. I like how you’ve been finding balance on this blog. I’ve noticed a few of your links on Fridays relate to ways of making a difference (like the 5 calls website). I think that’s a great way to add a touch of politics to your blog without being over the top or alienating anyone.

    • Totally understandable. I applaud all of your actions, lady! And I appreciate you noticing those little nuances, too. x

  • Carla Bober

    This was definitely needed. Not just for your platform but for everyone to know it’s okay the be happy and positive. We all spread light when we choose to be a light ourselves. Thanks for writing!

    • Yeah, amen to that! So many of us are often on the same page without even realizing it. There’s no need to ever feel alone in a situation like this. Sending you some love, Carla! x

  • kimair

    thank you for this hallie…so spot on. it’s been hard to write about fashion & outfits with everything going on in the world, and while i may not do it on my blog, i have been part of the conversation on social. i’ve been trying to be more compassionate, empathetic, educate myself, and really LISTEN to other points of view. i know i’m lucky that i don’t have some of the same struggles & fears as others so I work on focusing on the positive in my life and then be more active in helping those that need it. xx

    • I hear you, girl. I think it’s better to take a step back rather than write something that feels inauthentic/contrived, though, so as long long as it feels right I think you’re in the clear.

      Listening has been a big one for me — and trying to control how I react. Always practicing, there! Hope you have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by here today! x

  • Love this. All about the positive change and using your voice for kindness. Out of the darkness there has been a huge movement towards positivity and acceptance an it’s been crazy to see people come together! I feel the same, where as a blogger I don’t want to get too political, but I also realized *personally* that I want to use my voice to affect change so I’m moving more towards talking openly about politics, etc.
    So good, though. Love it!
    xo
    Krista
    http://www.hundredblog.com

    • It’s like that quote — “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

      Glad to hear you’re shifting things (more comfortably), too. Here’s to creating that ripple effect! x

  • Anna Dvorak

    Hallie, thank you for this. I work in social media and having to be in the midst of it all, day-in and day-out is enough to just want to drink every bottle of wine available.

    But I digress.

    I’ve been putting my phone in another room and not opening my laptop from the time I get home from work until I go to sleep. Rinse and repeat for the moment I wake up to when I leave for the day. It’s been helping-a lot. I sleep better and it’s been a respite from the relentlessness of the news cycle.

    To everyone else-your mental health is important, you are important!

    • Alyssa Thomas

      I’m been doing the same thing. Unfortunately I can’t take a break from social media during the day, so at night, the phone goes away!

    • LOL’d at your first paragraph. I used to work in community management and know what you mean. Social media is the WORST at times — even moreso when it’s your job/a big part of your job.

      Love your end-of-the-day routine. I’m going to try it myself, too. (So bad about having my phone in my room.) Thanks for the inspo + your sweet note.

  • Angela @ WittyAspirations.com

    Agreed! Well said 🙂

  • Brenna Kelly

    Well put. I can totally relate to everything you just wrote.

    • I’m so glad. Hope you have a great weekend, Brenna! Thanks for your comment. x

  • Cindy Urman Hamilton

    Good for you for addressing the elephant in the room. It’s not as simple as “politics” and it’s important to acknowledge our realities while also sharing some advice. I have to admit I find it tone deaf sometimes following blogs/influencers/insta when there’s no mention of current events – so I appreciate you keeping it real.

    • Thanks, Cindy. Tone deaf was the perfect term to describe it — sometimes you just have to face sh*t head-on. Hope you are doing well!

      • Cindy Urman Hamilton

        Yep. And it’s actually the height of privilege to complain about “politics” or “too much politics on facebook.”

        • Lauren

          You can’t tell, Cindy, but I’m doing the “Hallelujah” emoji to you! You hit it right on point 🙂

  • You 100% put my thoughts into words. You can always find the positive aspect in any situation and you are totally right. Thank you for sharing.

    • You’re welcome — we’re so on the same page. We just don’t often realize it. And that right there is enough to warm the heart a little, thankfully. : )

  • Beautifully spoken and oh so true. Thank you thank you for sharing this and speaking what we are all thinking and questioning.

    • Thank you so much, Lexi. Appreciate your comment!

  • As a social studies/government teacher I appreciate my bloggers not delving into political issues- I need a break! I’m all about balance & sometimes the more frivolous seeming stuff is what you need to relax. I also think we’re all getting burnt out from the internet ranting. I am just as passionate, I attended the Women’s March & am doing things on my own but d

    • Can’t imagine what it’s like being (1) a government teacher and (2) in DC no less at the moment. Kudos to you and all that you do every day. I’m an e-mail away if you ever need an inbox to vent to. x

  • Madeline Mihaly

    I had very similar feelings and thoughts yesterday and like you, I choose to keep it light and fun. BUT, whats happening in the US is out of hand. I chose to briefly share my thoughts, along with ways people can help, contribute and be an active force for change. here – http://cassidylou.com/2017/02/01/2017-goals-check-real-talk/

    xo, Maddy
    http://cassidylou.com/

    • Just read your post — really enjoyed it and glad you shared it with me. Enjoy your weekend, Maddi!

  • Kristina

    This is perfect. I needed to know others felt the same. Thank you.

  • So, so good. I’ve been thinking about a post like this myself but haven’t found a way I’m comfortable yet in expressing myself.

    • I hear you, girl. This was so hard for me to start but once I did the words just came. Hope it helped you get your wheels turning, too!

  • MK

    Hallie, thank you so much for this post. I really needed to hear it! I’ve been allowing myself to feel overwhelmed and my anxiety has certainly not been helped by recent events. No need to apologize 🙂 Thank you for being honest, that’s what I love most about your blog!

    • I really needed to write it, so I’m glad it resonated. Life can get too heavy if you let it — let’s have a good weekend, huh? Much <3, MK.

  • Tiffany

    Hallie, you make a difference every damn time you get on that podium!!! But that was especially true at the ride earlier tonight, so your post is quite timely. I arrived at the studio tonight at the onset of a full blown panic attack (induced by an unrelenting sense of powerlessness in the midst of this madness) and was concerned I wouldn’t be able to finish class once it inevitably hit. The incredible support I felt from the CHGO Soulfam tonight starting from the moment I walked in the front door through the final push in class was everything and more. I was especially grateful when you clipped in on side bar– it helped me try to refocus my intention back into the room, be present in the moment, and let the energy of the pack combat the rising anxiety. I am not sure I would have been able to keep it together otherwise.

    That was probably (/definitely) TMI but I felt compelled to say THANK YOU for always reminding us to get out of our heads and get out of our own way. It was especially needed tonight for me at least and I hope that those vibes flow back up to you on the podium too!

    • Thank you so much for this, Tiffany. It really means so much.

      Last night’s classes was one of my favorites — ever, maybe? Yes. Ever. I’m so happy to hear the studio has been an escape and support system for you. That’s the BEST thing it — hands down. I’ll see you soon! x

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  • Really needed this positivity, as I feel like the only one who’s choosing to remain optimistic amidst all the negativity. Have a great weekend!

    Ellen | A Pop of Pink

    • I know exactly how you feel. But that’s what I mean by the ripple effect (/starting from you). 🙂

      Hope you have a LOT to look forward to this weekend, Ellen!

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  • I love reading your blog because you always seem to write something right about the time I need to read it. Especially this: “Kindness is a ripple effect, and I hope you can find comfort in knowing what you do have control over can make a difference.” In all this craziness, I just want people to be kind to one another. Thank you for writing this! I’m happy you choose to still strive to live a happy, optimistic life and we can count on Among Other Things when we need to escape the daily political uproar on social media.

    • That quote really sticks with me. Glad it’s the same for you too. 🙂

      Thank you for your sweet note, Suzy!

  • Christine Chambers

    This was so refreshing!

  • Like many others, I read fashion and lifestyle blogs as a way to relax and gain positive inspiration. However, I do appreciate when bloggers don’t publicly ignore major current events. Thank you for addressing this topic in such a thoughtful way.

    • Thanks for the note (and for reading), girlfriend. Appreciate it!

  • Lauren

    Girl, you’re poetic as fuck. <3 Thanks for keeping it light and reaffirming that positive spirit we all need to remind ourselves of.

    xx
    Lauren

  • Alexandria

    i have to say, that you opened your arms to me; not even never meeting me face to face. That made me feel welcomed. Lots of time bloggers -to bloggers are Oh my followers are more than you Etc Etc. But you never did that <3

    • Alex, you’re so sweet. I’m glad we got to meet in-person last year, too!

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  • I just talked about this on my blog and I am not American and not a fashion blogger but I feel this is an universal conversation to be had, and everyone should have an opinion and be able to voice it! I am happy you used your platform to do so and I couldn’t agree more that we need to be unapologetically joyful and enjoy our lives despite the madness outthere!

    • Appreciate it, Martina. I’ll check out your post, too!

  • Kayla Kleinman

    Thank you for being vocal. One thing in the midst of all this weirdness and craziness and just plain crappiness that I’ve tried to do is focus on spreading joy instead of adding to the chao and noise on the internet. I can’t fix what’s happening, but I don’t need to add to the hate by tweeting angry things about the current state of the country.

    http://www.kaylainthecity.com

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  • ryzenbergon

    Thank you for this insightful piece, my friend! I actually just posted a very similar piece about how I am having a very difficult time telling tales about style, travels, and daily musings. I am so happy reading of these stories about strong women trying to make a difference in today’s tumultuous world. Also, I stayed up until 2 a.m. devouring a lot of your contend and it’s all so spot on!

    Let’s keep the discussion going — http://www.ryzenbergon.com/opening-my-heart/

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