Friends, it’s been a tough year.
It’s hard to believe that it’s nearly the one-year anniversary of the 2016 presidential election, an event that triggered feelings of deep mourning for many people and that continues to have profound ramifications throughout the world.
Since that day, I have been fortunate to connect with many amazing people, both online and in the real world, who are tireless advocates for truth and justice. I have learned a lot from them. I am continuing to learn. I have long considered myself an open-minded and liberal person, but there was much I did not understand then, and much I don’t understand still.
After the election was the first time I was introduced to the idea of the white savior complex. After the election was when I really began to pay attention to the stories of discrimination coming from people of color. Oh sure, I knew racism was a thing, but I probably thought it was a rare and isolated thing. I didn’t really think much about the role racial injustice played in shaping our country’s history, and about the ways it continues to shape our culture. About how the white experience is still considered “normal” in America and how everyone else is regarded as “other.” About the need to recognize how I, as a white woman, have benefitted from systems that are designed to favor white people while creating barriers for people who don’t look like me.
Since that day, I have made it a point to listen more. To read more books by people of color and others whose experiences in the world don’t look like mine. There is so much here to unpack — from why Columbus Day is a shitty holiday to why someone else’s culture is not okay to use as a Halloween costume.
There’s a lot more about all of this than I can say in one post, and a lot of people who are more qualified to say it than I am. But I don’t want my fear of saying something imperfectly to keep me from saying anything at all.
Because of my wish to respect all cultures and be sensitive to the lasting effects of colonialism in many parts of the world, I have decided to refrain from using elements from other cultures in a cute or joking way. (Yoga teacher Jason Snow wrote a really good article about cultural appropriation in the yoga community if you’re interested in learning more about this.)
As a result, I have changed the name of my blog and related social media handles. My personal growth blog is now located at soulhygge.com, and you can find me on Twitter or Instagram at @hyggescence. (At the time of this posting, I’m still in the process of getting the name of my Facebook page changed.)
Now for the fun part …
What the heck is hygge?
When seeking a new name for my blog, I came across the Danish concept of hygge. While the word doesn’t have an exact translation, hygge broadly means an approach to life that encourages positivity and greater well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. It’s loosely translated as “contentment of the soul.” This really resonated with me, since authenticity and gratitude are some of my biggest core values, and at its heart my blog has always been about creating more joy in life. And my ancestry is Danish and Swedish, so I’m excited to explore this aspect of my heritage.
The concept of hygge is also commonly associated with fireplaces, candles, nature, books, and cozy blankets and sweaters. Um, yes. I love all these things. I’ve been a hygge enthusiast without even knowing it.
A final note: If you’re white, and any of things I said here make you feel uncomfortable or defensive, sit with that for a minute. Ask yourself why. And let me know if you want to talk about it. Because nothing changes unless we’re willing to have the hard conversations.