It’s hard to take a stance, stick to that stance and make it known.

Feathers get ruffled, people turn up their noses and others give you a pat on the back and a job well done.

I don’t usually let my opinion be known because of those very reasons. It’s easier to just sit back and let the world turn around you while keeping your mouth shut.

I actually dreaded starting this column.

I rather write about facts or a light-hearted feel good story any day.

The good news is that my opinion is solely that — my opinion and no one else’s.

My opinion changes and evolves, and I don’t think that makes me a hypocrite. That makes me someone who’s willing to grow and change as life goes on.

I’ve also formed opinions on matters that I used to never even think twice about.

I don’t expect to change anyone’s opinion by voicing my opinion, and I honestly don’t even expect anyone to care.

In my job, I’m forced to look at everything from both sides, and I feel like I’ve been gifted to use that ability in all aspects of life.

Regardless of how I feel about one thing or another, I’m always willing to look it at from both sides.

I see where the other person is coming from.

I recently wrote a column about the controversy surrounding statues, and in doing so, I may have not only ruffled some feathers but singled out a group of our readers.

I’m not against statues, but when someone tells me they’re hurting, I feel like we should stop and listen.

Maybe I’m too sentimental and maybe I grew up in a generation that focuses too much on feelings, but I feel like having a conversation can do no harm.

Resolutions begin with a conversation.

Share your side of the story, help them understand where you’re coming from, and find middle ground.

And, this applies to all aspects of life, not just statues.

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at