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thinking about: what am I doing here?

first of all: happy Valentine's Day my thinkers. If you're looking for Vday lovey dovey content, that is NOT what today's post is about. Definitely go check out our Patreon if you're interested in some IBT style Vday info.

In this posty post, I want to talk to you about asking myself: who am I, and what am I doing?

When i took my podcasting hiatus last month, I did a lot of strategizing and rethinking. Who am I? What is my mission with this platform? Who is my audience?

As always, Allison (actually, Allison’s dad lol) provided me with some incredible advice: I am a relatively privileged, conservatively raised white girl from Southeastern Kentucky. Nothing wrong with that. But being aware of that and the ways the world has shaped me is important. I have changed so, SO much since leaving my mountains- in ways I don’t think I ever would have if I had remained. Traveling, living outside of Appalachia, making friends and loving dearly people from a variety of walks of life, feeling the sting of struggling for money (even with a safety net, I still always do my best to take the brunt of it myself).... All of these experiences and people have sparked an evolution within me.

Allison, and her dad (s/o David), made me realize- my target audience is me. People, especially women, who were raised or who thought for a long time within a certain mindset. People who are open to learning about other people and other perspectives, but don’t know where or how to start. People who haven’t had all of the opportunities for travel and experience that I have, maybe, so they haven’t embarked on this journey yet- but they want to! People who need the challenge of thinking outside of their own box. People who don’t know that this journey of expansion is something they need, or want. Maybe people who need a safe space to start expanding their horizons, where they can be uncomfortable with ideas but have the physical comfort and the time to work through these new complexities on their own, with no pressure.

That’s what we’re doing here at IBT, and that’s why this week’s new episode is with Ellie Simms, an angelic friend of mine from college! We have similar upbringings, and she has had the most incredible journey of expansion and enlightenment that you will hear about on this week’s episode. I hope you’re excited to hear what we have to say, because I am so excited to share it with you!!!

So with that being said, I want to tell you about an idea that has shaped my life in a very specific but also very weird way.

‘If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.’

These words, consistently falsely attributed to Winston Churchill (source below), were like a weird source of pride for me. I was VERY conservative as a young person, and I remember how many times I repeated this quotation followed up by “I’d rather be heartless than have no brain”.

This is also exactly why every time I share something super “liberal” on instagram, my old pal Chansy says “I’d love 2013 Alanna to have a conversation with 2022 Alanna”. Yeah me too dude, I’d save us all a whole lot of trouble probably.

ANYWAY, the crazy thing that I’ve realized is that it is so easy to have no heart. It’s so, so easy to just dehumanize everybody and everything, including yourself. Especially when you tend to be a stone cold bitch, with absolutely no concern for others’ opinions of you. Which is, hi, hello, me. Sorry.

But what I’ve also always been, which directly contradicts the stone cold bitch situation but is just a nuance of my personality- is a bleeding heart. I love so, so deeply. I care so much about other peoples’ happiness and quality of life. I want every single stray puppy to be fed and loved, it makes me sad that mice have to get eaten by kitties or that lizards get snatched by birds. Y’all every time I walk through grass I think “I wonder if I’m killing any critters under my feet?”

Like, it’s wild how much I care for other things. Especially helpless things like animals and people who have been systematically oppressed and struggle to pull themselves out of it.

And, it’s the wildest ride, because being a little Appalachian girl I should've seen so long ago that you don’t pull people out of poverty and exploitation by legislating them to death and giving the rich and powerful free reign. Yet, it took me years of living and learning to come to that realization. It took me years of living and learning and leaving my home to realize that the problems there are nuanced and powerful but not unique; it took me years to realize that the problems I saw every day were not ones that the people who kept being voted into power actually cared about or represented. It took me years to learn, and I’m still learning now, that change isn’t legislated, change is cultivated on a cultural level.

So that’s what I’m here trying to contribute to–to people realizing that the world is so much more than what they see from their window. Furthermore, I want people to realize that everyone has a reason for their beliefs- even if their reason is that they haven’t thought about it from another point of view.

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