/Letter from the editor: Stop playing it cool 
Graphic by Bell Jackson.

Letter from the editor: Stop playing it cool 

By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief 

One of my biggest secrets that I’m now going to publish for anyone and everyone to read is that approximately a month and a half into my time at The Alabamian, during my freshman year, I decided that I was going to become editor in chief of this paper. And now, three years later, I am.  

Thinking about this for too long makes my head swim. It feels like yesterday that I was on the phone with my mom before going to my first Alabamian meeting telling her that if I didn’t feel like I would enjoy being involved, that I could always ghost them. It’s crazy how many new joys and passions you can discover in the span of three short years. 

But, hypothetical reader, I can hear you asking, “Cady, why would that be one of your biggest secrets?” The answer, I’m sure, is more complicated than I can fully explain or even comprehend, but I have a working theory.  

I often find my ambitiousness to be profoundly embarrassing. Not because what I’m ambitious about is necessarily embarrassing, but more because I tend to be embarrassed about being so earnest. To be ambitious is to desire something and, therefore, to make yourself vulnerable in a way. Desire is analogous with caring, and, sometimes, caring creates the opportunity to be disappointed and let down—which, let’s be honest, are feelings nobody really wants to contend with. In that line of thinking, it seems so much easier to just act like you’re totally laid back—apathetic even—than to actually acknowledge you want anything at all. In short, it’s easier to play it cool.  

But, at the beginning of this year, I wrote a list of quasi-New Year’s resolutions—not so much a list of goals, as much as it was a list of reminders for the year ahead—and at the top of that list was “Stop playing it cool.” I had realized that my desire to appear nonchalant was often born out of fear—fear that I come off too strongly, fear that I’m putting too many eggs in one basket. The list goes on and on. But, while I felt safeguarded by playing it cool, I also felt like a robot—cool, emotionless, empty. 

Writer Hanif Abdurraqib wrote something —in an Instagram caption, of all places, about telling your friends you love them— that profoundly changed my thinking about playing it cool. He wrote, “If you are at the edge of the cliff anyway, consider taking the leap. The ground might be soft enough to hold you and whatever comes next, and if it isn’t there will always be more cliffs, more edges.”  

Reading this totally reframed my thinking. Why was I so afraid of loving things out loud? There will always be more cliffs, more edges, so I should be jumping instead of holding back. 

So, this is my year of loving! Loving things openly, hugely, stupidly and recklessly, even! Loving things even if it’s embarrassing, if it would be easier pretend that I don’t, and be open to the possibility of being disappointed because, eventually, that disappointment will pass. As the old and somewhat cliché saying goes, isn’t it better to have loved and to have lost than to never have loved at all?  

And The Alabamian is certainly something that I love. It’s is a publication that I have put my blood, sweat and tears into—yes, literally all three—and it has been one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had. During the past three years that I’ve worked on the paper, I’ve had the opportunity to learn new skills, put forth some work that I’m really proud of and meet and work with some of the most incredible, caring and creative people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet and call my friends through The Alabamian’s staff. 

As we begin this new semester and new school year, I encourage you to find what you’re passionate about—what you love deeply and intensely—and pursue it relentlessly and unabashedly. Stop playing it cool! I hope, in writing this, that I’ve demonstrated that The Alabamian is something that I’m unabashedly passionate about, and I plan to make that continually clear as we continue to publish issues this year through the quality of work that we put out.  

If being involved with student journalism sounds like something that you’d be passionate about too, then The Alabamian might be a good place for you as well, and I encourage you to get involved with us by coming to our meetings.  

But, if your particular passions don’t necessarily align with working at Montevallo’s illustrious student newspaper, I urge you to still stay connected to our work as we publish throughout the year. Ultimately, we are a campus resource and what I strive for as editor in chief is to make The Alabamian a reliable and helpful resource for you. So don’t be a stranger! Help us by letting us know how we can help you by contacting us at our email, alabamian@montevallo.edu, or on our socials with any feedback. 

+ posts

Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.