Beth Silvers & Sarah Stewart Holland, NOW WHAT?: How to Move Forward When We're Divided (About Basically Everything)

Beth Silvers & Sarah Stewart Holland, NOW WHAT?: How to Move Forward When We're Divided (About Basically Everything)

Guest host Alisha Fernandez Miranda speaks to Pantsuit Politics podcast co-hosts Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers about their compelling and thoughtful new book Now What?: How to Move Forward When We’re Divided (About Basically Everything). Sarah and Beth talk about our society’s current political polarization and how they have navigated political differences in their marriage and challenging conversations with their Gen-Z children. They also share their friendship and podcast origin stories, their co-writing process, their favorite podcasts and books, and their plans for 2023.


Alisha Miranda: Hi, everybody. I am so excited to be talking today, on this, the day after an election day, with Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers, who are the authors of Now What?: How to Move Forward When We’re Divided (About Basically Everything). They are also the hosts of “Pantsuit Politics,” which is an awesome podcast that I just found and massively deep dived into it. If you see your Scottish analytics going up over the next few weeks, that’s me coming in hot. So glad to have you guys on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.”

Beth Silvers: Thank you for having us.

Sarah Stewart Holland: We’re so happy to be here.

Alisha: I just completely devoured this book. I thought your approach was so fascinating, your friendship, which I love and want to know everything about and also be your friend, maybe. We’re going to see if we can make that happen. I thought that your previous book about grace and how you can bring that into everything that you do and talk about — that’s going to be my 2023 mantra. I’ve already decided. You make a really bold assertion with this book, which is that loneliness is at the center of much of our political polarization. You’re giving people, through this, really practical tips on how to deal with that. I think it’s just fantastic. I would love if you guys could start by telling listeners what Now What? is about.

Sarah: We have another book that we wrote in 2019 called I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations. We would get people writing in after reading the book and saying, okay, I listened. I still think they’re wrong. Now what? That’s where the genesis of Now What? came from. The first book was a very high-level view of what we learned doing the podcast. We realized pretty quickly that when you’re talking about political disagreement, the context of the relationship is really, really important. Are we talking about your dad? Are we talking about your coworker? Are we talking about how you feel about people who live in Louisiana? All those different levels of connection are the missing context when you’re talking about political polarization. Now What? was an attempt to work through those differing levels of connection and see if we could scratch at the surface of the political conflict and see what was underneath it.

Beth: I would just add that COVID was a big springboard for this book too because in the way that COVID revealed so many things about our systems and structures and organizations and capacities, it revealed to me in messages from listeners that all of this political conflict families had been experiencing, especially during the Trump era, extended deep into our feelings about whether to attend this wedding or not or how I feel that you wouldn’t get a vaccination when my first child was born. Those really personal examples that just flooded our inboxes as the pandemic started raging made us realize this needs to be a deeply personal book because political polarization is deeply personal. There’s a lot of academic writing about it, but we really want to say, this feels awful. We get it. We want to help you figure out how to walk through that feeling.

Alisha: I loved how you guys broke it down into different categories to do with your coworkers, your partner, how to talk to your children, members of your family. I do think that it’s one thing to think about feeling polarized or having different opinions from people in the abstract, and it is another thing when it’s your mother or your beloved aunt or someone in your family who you deeply love but also feel deeply disconnected from because you feel like you’re on different planets sometimes. It was a really pragmatic but also human-centered approach to what feels like a problem that seems far away but is actually absolutely not far away at all.

Sarah: In a really circular way, everything we’re scratching at, these different levels of connection below the politics are also political. When we’re talk about generational conflict, that has all types of political components. When we’re talking about the expectations surrounding parenting and marriage, that also has enormous political impact. Paradoxically, when saying, not everything we fight about in politics is about politics, we circled back to, the undercurrents of our political conversations are still political. We were really trying to tease that apart and say, it can all be political, but if we tease it apart and we say, at this point, be it because of COVID or be it because of race, class, status, there’s these other undercurrents in this conversation. When we bring attention to those, how can that move our political or policy discussions forward?

Alisha: Tell me a little bit about how the two of you found each other and then found podcasting and writing. What’s your love story?

Beth: We went to college together. We were not particularly close in college. We experienced college really differently, but we were in the same sorority. We were at a very small liberal arts college where you had a sense of who everyone was on campus at all times. We reconnected, like so many people of our age do, on Facebook when Sarah was writing a blog about parenting. She had written very openly about natural childbirth. I was really interested in what she was writing. I reached out for some advice. We started emailing back and forth a little bit. When I was on parental leave with my first daughter, I reached out and asked if I could write some for her blog. I had found the end of the internet nursing. You know how you do. Twitter had nothing else for me. I had read all the blogs. I needed something to think about. She generously gave me some space to write for her. I did that again with my second daughter. That was the moment when she said, “Hey, would you ever want to do a podcast?” I was like, “I don’t know what a podcast is because I am working in a law firm all day and taking care of little babies at night, but yes, sure.” We just started in our closets sitting on the floor with our husbands helping us put the technology together. Our conversations were quickly heard by more people than I could even wrap my head around. Since then, we just committed to showing up twice every week. I grew up on a dairy farm, so I often say that making a podcast is like milking the cows. You just have to keep showing up and doing it at a time whether you feel like it or not, and good things happen over the long haul.

Alisha: What year was this when the podcast started?

Beth: We started in November 2015. It was right before a gubernatorial election in Kentucky. Then just a couple weeks later, Trump descended from that escalator. It was like we said, let’s do a podcast about nuanced political discussion, and the universe said, cool, here is the Trump candidacy.

Alisha: We’ve got something for you.

Sarah: I actually looked this up the other day, Beth. He actually came down the escalator in June before we — I was like, how close in time were these two events?

Beth: Did he really? That is not my memory at all.

Sarah: Yeah, it was June. It was a joke at the time. That’s really the journey of our podcast, is this thing that was in the background to the foreground and how we were orienting ourselves and navigating that very bizarre moment in American politics as something that seemed outlandish became more and more mainstream. I think that sort of disorientation that we were helping ourselves and our listeners navigate really became the secret sauce of “Pantsuit Politics,” is how to deal with the political environment when everything feels upside down, how to not just leave stressed and anxious, any sort of interaction with the news. That’s what we really want for our listeners, is that they leave our podcast feeling informed but not feeling anxious.

Alisha: You say in the book that it’s not an opportunity to solve conflict, but to use it to connect more deeply with the people around you. I was really struck by both of you speaking very openly about disagreements you had had with your husbands around the election and politics. Can you talk us through a little bit how you guys got through that and bringing it to the page and to the podcast too?

Sarah: My husband is quite a bit more liberal than me. Not a lot, but enough. It’s more about our personality differences than it is about our political differences. I’m more enthusiastic. I’m more positively oriented. He is more cynical and harsher when it comes to certain aspects of the political discourse. I recognized and had to recognize that this is just our personality difference. We’re not trying to reach a destination where we decide I’m right or he’s wrong or vice versa. Bringing all those relationship tools to our political discourse was really valuable. It taught me that that’s true beyond marriage. When you’re talking with your dad or your coworker, they’re bringing a lot of personal experience and a lot of personality to the discourse when oftentimes, we want to tell ourselves we’re just sort of coolly and logically debating policy. That’s so very rarely the case. Marriage is a fertile playground to learn that lesson.

Beth: My husband is oriented differently than I am toward politics. Sometimes I say he doesn’t like politics, but I think that’s unfair. I think he just doesn’t like elections. He doesn’t like the machinations of congress. He’s very interested in innovation and technology and health-care infrastructure and all kinds of political things. He is much more libertarian leaning than I am. I wouldn’t say that he’s a full-on libertarian because I think that word means a whole host of things. He does believe in driver’s licensing, for example. He’s not, there should be no government. It led to us actually voting for different people in 2020, which I found excruciating. He picked libertarian candidates almost all the way up and down the ballot. He did not like the republican choices. He did not like the democratic choices. That’s where he landed. We live in Kentucky, so no harm, no foul in some ways. We’re never in play for the electoral college. I just found it so frustrating. What I describe in the book and I think the reason that we are able to negotiate it in our marriage and that he is able to withstand me discussing it publicly is that I realized it was excruciating for me not because of the electoral impact, but because I feel like I’m an expert on this stuff, and he should respect my expertise and my opinion.

It felt like a personal dig more than some philosophical contest. I knew at the end of the day, he agreed with me about who would do a better job in these positions. It was just him taking some space for himself separate from me and my expertise and all the people who, fortunately, want to know what I think about these matters. We were really mad for a while. I was mad, and he was mad at me for being mad. Then I was mad at him for being mad at me for being mad. Marriage is super fun like that sometimes. Now we joke about it. Sometimes we’ll be talking about inflation or something, and I’ll say, “I bet that Jo Jorgensen could really solve this. Don’t you think?” We’re able to keep the conversation running with a little more lightness than we had in those initial moments. It was important to me to share that story because I know that that’s what people are living. People are living that with an even bigger gap with their spouse than I was feeling, and it was really hard. I wanted to say, I see you in this hardness. It does suck when you feel this space between you.

Alisha: Especially in a marriage. Beth, you also talked about your daughters and them asking questions that you said kind of makes your stomach hurt because you don’t know the answer or it feels too heavy. Then you had this beautiful line. You said, “I’m learning to quickly move past that feeling to celebrate that they keep asking.” I loved that. Then how do you answer their questions? For my own selfish desires to want to know how to answer my own children’s questions.

Beth: I’ve tried to get much more focused on exactly what they’re asking me and making sure that I answer in a way that doesn’t feel weird to them because that is what keeps bringing them back, that I don’t make it feel awkward. I’ve kind of realized it doesn’t matter what I say as much as my presentation that this is fine. As a very recent example, my seven-year-old and I were watching an old episode of The Amazing Race. Someone said that this instrument that they had to build for one of the challenges was really sexy. My seven-year-old goes, “What does sexy mean, Mom?” I said, “Oh, she just means it looks great. She’s really proud of it.” She goes, “Huh, because my friend said it means when you take off all your clothes and kiss.” I was like, oh. I had that moment where my stomach hurt. I was watching The Amazing Race. I was almost off duty. It was almost bedtime. I was not prepared to right now.

Alisha: Your guard was down.

Beth: Exactly. I explained very briefly what sex means. She stopped. She looked at me. She goes, “You make that sound way better than my friends do.” I said, “That’s why you ask me, not your friends, when you have these questions. I’m smarter than they are.” Then we went back to watching the show. It is just that ability to catch myself and say, the only thing that matters here is the feeling that I create in her around having asked this question because we will get so many opportunities to talk about all of this. So many chances to do abortion again with her. So many chances to talk about sexual harassment in the workplace. So many chances to answer these questions. Can I just make this moment a comfortable one for her? That’s the only goal I have.

Sarah: I have to add that one time, my middle son asked what sexy meant. My oldest son responded, “It means pretty and a little bit mean.” I was like, yes.

Alisha: That’s so accurate.

Sarah: Accurate. Good job. That’s my linguistic child. He had a ridiculous vocabulary from the beginning. I was like, that’s it. I could not improve upon that definition. Great job, Griffin.

Alisha: You can’t really do better than that. I’m actually going to use that one. I’m going to use that one. Thank Griffin for me. I’m taking that one with my own kids.

Sarah: Pretty and a little bit mean.

Alisha: Then what about when your kids ask about politics? My kids ask about climate change all the time, for example. We’re over here in the UK. They worry about the war in Ukraine and what that means for them. Do you take the same approach to those more macro-level political questions that they might come to you with?

Sarah: I think that it really depends on the topic. It really depends on the context they’re asking it. I don’t ever punt when it comes to politics just because that’s my expertise. Particularly for my three boys, I want them to see a level of comfort with women and topics that aren’t usually associated with women, like politics. We talk about politics a lot. My middle child has no interest. He is conflict avoidant. He will jump out of the car if somebody’s having an argument about politics. At least, if he could. We don’t have a lot of conversations with him. My oldest is very political. I joke that when I was pregnant with him, I would say, no Alex P. Keatons allowed, but he has, in fact, turned me into Alex P. Keaton because he is so liberal. Especially with climate change, we have a lot of conversations where we have to distinguish the mood or the vibe of the conversation versus the reality of the situation.

For better or for worse, there is a Gen Z-particular mentality that is very despondent and anxiety-ridden about climate change. I don’t think it reflects the reality of where we are with the climate right now. I spend a lot of time sending him articles about the Inflation Reduction Act and sending him podcasts with longtime climate activists saying we are entering a new, very positive phase of building out our infrastructure to prevent further decline in the climate, and just reorienting that conversation. He got this very nihilistic thing that I think is the vibe on the internet around young people and this topic. I get it. I’m not mad. I understand how you could end up like that. I think I felt that way around the AIDS crisis growing up. The legalistic thinking and the developmentally appropriate way to think about the problems is to have, at first, this very “all is lost” kind of response. I push back pretty hard on that with him surrounding climate change. I try to let him work on me too. He definitely has with certain topics, particularly gender. He basically calls everyone they and doesn’t worry about pronouns anymore. I try to let that work on me as much as I hope to work on him. I don’t want to be stuck in my ways. I want to let young people work on me, especially my kids.

Alisha: I love that.

Beth: The war in Ukraine is a really hard one. We have an Echo Show in my kitchen. There’s a screen that often shows headlines. My sixth grader saw some headlines about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and asked me to talk about it with her. We did for a few minutes. She said, “Mom, this feels so awful. It feels like the world is ending.” I said, “It does. For people right there, it is for right now. They still are going on. We can go on too. Also, whenever things are really terrible, to me, I think about the fact that we used to burn smart women alive because we thought they were witches, so we have come a long away.” It kind of lightened her mood. She’ll say that to me back sometimes now. “We’ve come a long way. Even though we’re not perfect, we’ve come a very long way.” I think that’s been helpful to us.

Alisha: I love that. That’s so sweet. I spend a lot of time with my kids — I have eleven-year-old twins — and explain to them how to determine if a news source is worth their time, worth reading, if it’s been researched, going through what fake news looks like and what the different fallacies are. Even despite all of the controls that I have in every element of their life, they still see a lot. They sometimes freak out. They’ll see a headline that’s absolute clickbait, and they’ll be like, “I just read that there was a bomb in London.” I’m like, “That did not happen. Let’s just take a pause and figure out how to do that.” It’s not easy when you’re doing this with kids. You do a really good job of talking through your own challenges with that in the book. I want to talk a little bit about the writing process because writing as a duo, I’m super curious about it. How is writing books together the same or different from podcasting together? How do you guys manage that process between the two of you?

Beth: We wrote our first book very differently than the second book. The first book was quite different from making the podcast. We got together, came up with an outline, really divided up section by section, and then traded drafts and tried hard in the first book to write with one voice. As we approached the second book, we realized we want this to be more like the podcast. We are two voices. We are two distinct people with distinct experiences and styles and thoughts and worries, and so let’s put more of our own voices into this book. We spent more time in person writing this book together, but we tried less to make it have one voice. We would say, here’s the story that I would tell if we were talking about this on the show. Okay, I’m going to write that story for this chapter. Here’s what you might say and how I might play off of that. Okay, that’s our outline for this part of it. We would talk chapter by chapter, go off to our corners, do our writing, come back, share it, make any changes, and then move on to the next chapter. I think that process really did infuse the book with more of the casual and, I hope, sometimes fun and sometimes poignant and sometimes introspective vibe that the podcast has. All of the things that we are, I hope, translated to the page more with this book because of that process.

Sarah: I don’t have anything to add. I think that it was much more difficult. This is another place where COVID played a role. Writing this book was much harder than our second book because we were so taxed emotionally and spiritually because of the pandemic. That also required our presence, which probably is a really beautiful metaphor, in a different way than the first book because we just had more space and capacity. I learned a lot writing this way and writing during that particular time in human history.

Alisha: Do you prefer podcasting or writing?

Sarah: It’s like picking children, picking a favorite child.

Beth: I prefer podcasting. It is not a hard question for me.

Alisha: Not a hard question for Beth.

Beth: No, because I love that we get to react to what’s happening on the podcast. We’re not trying to project forward what people are going to care about. We know what they care about today and in twenty-four hours, we hope, when the podcast comes out. I like that we keep getting to do it again. Writing has such a permanence about it. I enjoy writing. I am glad we wrote these two books. I’d also be fine if we didn’t do another book because I think what we make on the podcast is the best reflection of the two of us and our relationships, but I am really proud of the work that we have put into these books.

Sarah: It’s a harder question for me because writing and talking have just been such fundamental parts of who I am. I wrote a column all the way through high school, all the way through college. Then I started a blog. I was really active in the blogosphere when we were starting this podcast. I had, pretty much, a daily writing habit. It feeds something very fundamental in me. It feels permanent in a way that podcasting doesn’t. I think we’re creating something big and important and living in a different way on the podcast that I’m really proud of. When we wrote our first book and I thought, this is going to go in the Library of Congress, it just landed a little differently. When you publish a work and you know that it will sit there and it will be and it will exist in a little bit different way than a podcast does, I really love it. I have to use very, very different parts of my brain when I’m writing. I can exercise and follow through on thoughts and emotional journeys in a different way when I’m writing than when I’m podcasting. They’re just so different to me that it’s hard to compare. They’ve both been such a fundamental part of who I am for so long. Like I said, it feels very Sophie’s Choice to me.

Alisha: It must be interesting, though, because in the podcast, it comes out and turns around in a very quick period of time. Then you don’t get a chance to go back and edit what you’ve done. Whereas in the book, certainly in my own writing process, there’s a lot of editing. That takes a lot of time. That must be a very different experience. The podcast, it’s out and done. Whereas the book, you really have to go back and maybe think more, reflect more, more opportunities to change your mind about what you said. I can see those being two really, really different things. The book is really conversational. It really does feel like you’re listening to two friends talk to each other. I think that that definitely comes across in the process, so good job on that to both of you.

Sarah: I think the editing is so valuable too. I think about the Regina Spektor song all the time. “You can write, but you can’t edit.” Putting your thoughts out there, there is this ephemeral quality of, I didn’t love everything I said on that episode, but who cares? We’ll make another one in three days. That is so different than when you’re trying to clarify. I think that they are both very important. I listened to a really interesting interview about writing on a podcast. See, look, it’s all tied up together. An author of short stories was saying how you consume something is so different if you’re talking about a short story where every word, for months, almost to a year or more, is just dissected and clarified and pushed and pulled. Your engagement with that as a reader is so different than a thirty-second TikTok video that was made without editing quickly to be consumed quickly. I do think there’s something special that happens to our brains when we’re reading the written word and working through stories that went through many, many rounds of editing that is really, really important. The reason I like podcasting is because, as much as you can in an online space, it does push you in a more engaged direction. I always say we don’t get a lot of trolls because you can’t skim a podcast. You’re not flipping through the way you are a TikTok video or an Instagram post or a Twitter feed. It’s a very different level of engagement with podcasting, which is why I think it’s such a special space on the internet. I don’t know if you get the best of both worlds, but I do think you get the best that the online content space can offer, which is that deeper but broad engagement.

Alisha: It’s so true. When you’re not thinking about politics, podcasting about politics, writing about politics, also being moms, what else do you like to read and consume in terms of media? What are your favorite podcasts, favorite books that you’re reading right now? It’s okay if they are political, but I would think maybe you need a little break sometimes.

Beth: I am deep in all of the Trump retrospectives. That’s what most of my reading is right now.

Alisha: Okay, so still the political.

Beth: Very political. I would not say that’s my favorite, but I have found it incredibly helpful to read the edited, long form, meant to provide a different perspective than my quick-take piece accounts from reporters who covered that administration. Outside of that, I really love to read poetry. I read at least a poem every day and sit and think about it quite a bit. It’s a big part of my life. I love music of all genres. I particularly love going to concerts. My favorite podcast right now that’s not political is “60 Songs That Explain the ’90s” where they do a deep dive on individual songs, a lot of one-hit wonders, but a lot of really significant artists too and the journey that those people took and why that song connects. It’s so much fun. Lots of media is very important to me.

Alisha: Oh, my god, I’m putting that on my list right now.

Beth: It’s so good. You will not regret it.

Alisha: Amazing. Sarah, what about you?

Sarah: The podcast I just cited was The Ezra Klein Show, which I listen to pretty religiously. A new podcast I’m obsessed with is The C-Word from Lena Dunham and Alissa Bennett. It talks about women who’ve been called crazy over the course of history and revisits their stories. I adore it. I think it is so smart and so thoughtful and just pushes so many buttons. It’s pop culture, feminist, political, history, some of my favorite topics. I’m a pretty prolific reader. I read a lot. I read a lot of different things. I am in a phase right now where I like to read older fiction. I can follow the zeitgeist and read all the literary novels right now and then look up and be like, why did I read all those books? I like them fine. I’ve been really trying to make space to read novels both popular and literary that are not of our time, that are older. I read my very first Stephen King this year. I read Carrie. I’m reading Pat Conroy right now, which my mom always loved. I read The Thorn Birds, which is the only book my mother’s ever read twice. My mom’s a librarian, so she’s also a big reader. I try to read a Jane Austen every year.

I’m really trying to push myself and go back. I think the pace is so different in novels written before 2000 or older than ten years, I would say. The pace is different. The way they’re structured is different. I like it. It’s soothing to me. I’ve been reading a lot of older fiction. I read a lot of nonfiction, both relevant to our show and not. I read Maggie Haberman’s Confidence Man. It was helpful, I guess, on some level. I read a lot of nonfiction about policy or cultural issues in our country and around the globe, be it mental health or infrastructure, just depending on what I’ve stumbled upon. I’m a big music lover. I’m deep into the Christmas listening right now, obviously. I watched a lot of TV in the first twenty years of my life. A lot. I was an only child. TV was basically my sibling. I look back at my watching habits in my early twenties and just weep a little bit for that lost time. I watch a little bit of TV, but not a lot. I’ve started The Crown because I don’t want to feel left out of everything. No, I’m just kidding.

Alisha: That’s good preparation for when you come to the UK.

Sarah: Exactly. I actually am just generally fascinated by the royal family. I do a little bit of TV, but not as much as I used to. It’s mainly reading. I don’t listen to a ton of podcasts either because I work from home. I read a lot.

Alisha: What is next for you guys?

Beth: Presidential cycle is starting in earnest as we get into 2023, so we’ll be covering that. We’re doing a lot more speaking in person next year, which we’re really excited about.

Alisha: That sounds fun.

Beth: We love to be on college campuses or with conferences, organizations. Just being in a room with people feels really good and feels really different than making the podcast and knowing that people are talking back to their car speakers but not being able to see their faces and feel their energy. We’re excited to be out and about. The other thing that’s so great about speaking is that we really get to spend a lot of time in communities. We just spent some time in Oklahoma City and had the best time getting to know that city through the people who invited us there. There’s just no substitute for understanding the country that way, being invited in by locals who are really proud of where they live. That’ll be a big part of next year for us. We have a couple of live shows coming up. We’re doing one in Orlando in April that I think will be a lot of fun. We’re just going to try to keep doing what we do our way. There’s so much media writing out there right now as there’s all of these layoffs and consolidations and shuffles and shutdowns. Every piece I read on the media landscape, and particularly on the news and politics beat, affirms for me we just need to keep doing what we do our way and let that be our guiding light and let the chips fall because there is no strategy that will guide you through the tumultuousness of this market, so just keep showing up as Sarah and Beth and let the rest of it figure itself out.

Alisha: Milk your podcasting cows, as you said. Guys, I have loved chatting with you. We always like to finish up with advice for aspiring writers, but I would also say for aspiring podcasters. What is the one piece of advice you would each give to someone listening to this and thinking, “I want to do that”?

Sarah: When I was writing a blog that I wanted to be much more successful than it was and visiting a lot of blogging conferences where people offered advice, it got so old when they would say, just make content you love. Yet it is the best advice. It is, unfortunately, as cliché as it is, the best advice. To be consistent, for me, requires something that I enjoy doing. I have a short attention span. If I can’t follow my interests and really do and talk about or write about what I’m interested in, I won’t do it. The other piece of the puzzle that I think fell in place for me with the podcast is the advice that, know your niche. Know that elevator pitch, how to explain what you’re doing to other people. The balance is following what you love until it just becomes you and not something that is available or marketable to other people. With “Pantsuit Politics,” I think it really became this nice combination of, we love talking to each other, and talking to each other was an easy thing to pitch and explain to other people. If you can find that balance between doing something you love that is explainable easily to other people, be it a book or a podcast or whatever, I’m not promising success, but I think that that is a good place to start.

Beth: Continuing my nineties music love, I was such a Jewel fan as a . I’m still such a Jewel fan. I’m not kidding. I love her.

Alisha: Yes. That was my number-one favorite album. That was a CD that I absolutely listened to the whole thing so many times.

Beth: Okay, so you’re going to know this, then. My favorite Pieces of You track was “I’m Sensitive, and I’d Like to Stay That Way.” It connected very deeply with me. It remains true. Everything that we do has an opportunity to get your feelings hurt, all of it, every piece of writing, every podcast, every media appearance. All of it, it’s just an ocean of invitations. Please, come hurt my feelings. I think that for people who also resonated with that song, I would just say that the lesson for me over the past seven years has been to stay that way. Even though it can be really vulnerable and really hard sometimes, there is a ton to learn from that experience, even just measuring my own reactions. We made a mistake on our last podcast. Somebody pointed it out quite publicly this week. It was like daggers. I got in bed, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then I just heard that voice that was like, hey, the more interesting question here is why you can’t stop thinking about this than why you made the mistake. You record a gazillion hours of audio a week. Of course, you’re going to make mistakes. Why are we still ruminating on this? I think just recognizing every time you get hurt is an opportunity to learn something about yourself and grow from it. You’re going to keep making better content because you’ve done that than if you get really hard and defensive about it.

Alisha: Those are both so fantastic. I have just loved this. Thank you, guys, so much for being on the podcast today.

Sarah: Thanks for having us.

Beth: Thanks for talking with us. It was really fun.

Beth Silvers & Sarah Stewart Holland, NOW WHAT?: How to Move Forward When We're Divided (About Basically Everything)

NOW WHAT?: How to Move Forward When We’re Divided (About Basically Everything) by Beth Silvers & Sarah Stewart Holland

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