Life is rude

When I was 16, I was a cashier for a family owned sporting goods store. Almost all of my coworkers were burly surly men with hearts of gold. Being 16, I became quite attached. I remember one day someone let it slide that one of the burly surlies was leaving. I burst into tears. “You know he’s not mad at anyone or got fired, right? He’s just leaving,” I remember my boss explaining with a bemused expression on his face. “I’m just going to miss him!” I sobbed. I remember thinking that worklife was inconceivable without this man. I was convinced the next time I drove into work, I would find the building in a heap of rubble.

Lo and behold, the building stood firm. The next week work was fine, maybe even fun. And I was so sad about that. It didn’t seem right that customers kept coming, camo pants kept selling, and I kept ringing people up with my signature charm. The store should have stuttered. It wasn’t right that someone who was such a big figure in that store could just suddenly be gone and nothing skippped a beat.

I have since recovered from my first work-departure trauma, but this same idea still holds true. This year has been majorly suck -o. We’ve lost a kind caring Grandpa, two dogs that we practically considered our children, and a nephew with a sweet purity and strength that my heart is eternally seared. Each loss was so heavy. And of course we had some sweet friends and family who expressed sympathy, but after a few weeks everyone moved on. Including me, in some sense. I still get up in the morning, I still get very stressed about work, and I still get excited when one of my favorite tv shows drops a new season. I guess I should be grateful that I’m not in a dysfunctional depressive state, but I almost want to be. I don’t want the universe to think it can get away with that sort of crap and it not change anything. It doesn’t seem right that people or doggies that I loved that much can just vanish and I keep functioning like they were random bugs that splattered on the windshield.

Whatever happens, life will go on. And I think that’s incredibly rude.

Privacy is not shame

There are many behaviors that were historically taboo, but currently are widely acceptable. For example, a woman showing off her delicate ankles used to be considered quite provocative. Then of course, a woman wearing slacks was seen as very inappropriate because I suppose it revealed women actually had legs instead of an amorphous blob of flesh (?). In some societies, it’s shocking for a man and woman to hold hands in public.* It’s easy to mock the idea that these innocent body parts and behaviors could ever resemble anything remotely titillating.**

Now, many people have adopted this idea that any sense of propriety is absurd, misguided, or somehow promoting the subjugation of women and other bad things. We have Kesha going to lunch with her mom (!!) wearing basically a mosquito net. Furry conventions exist. There are mothers who think that sharing pics of their bosoms is fine as long as their baby is somewhere in the vicinity. And if you dare suggest like “yo, maybe keep that to yourself?” then you will be accused of being a rude, closed-minded, patriarchy-promoting, homophobic, bigot-y poop head.

I think part of the outrage here is that when I suggest someone not go public with their body – or what they enjoy doing with their body – it’s interpreted as me casting shame. And that has a certain logic – we often hide parts of ourselves that we are ashamed of. But saying “keep that to yourself” doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t approve. It doesn’t necessarily mean I think what you’re sharing is fundamentally gross.

I think about it a different way. Take the word treasure… or savor, maybe. When I’m savoring a moment with my hubs, it’s not a public thing. It’s private. And if I went public and posted something like “my husband just gently caressed my derrière,” it would be met with indifference at best and voyeurism at worst. So, I don’t share those sorts of things because it gives other people the opportunity to evaluate it (even ignoring something is a vote of value, just negative!). It also detracts from the moment itself because it wasn’t meant for anyone else. Sharing that moment would dilute and cheapen.

Although I do not advocate putting cauliflower in your hair, I do advocate to “keep it secret, keep if safe,” when it comes to these little intimacies.

So even more so with our bodies and sexuality, aye? All morals aside, I don’t want to know what gets you sexually revved up. I don’t need to know what your nips look like. I don’t need to witness your tender family moments. Am I repulsed by these things? Sometimes, not always, it really depends. But it’s actually the beauty and specialness – or at least, potential beauty and specialness – of bodies, sexuality, and intimacy that makes them cringey to witness in public.

Don’t exploit yourself, your body, or your privacy by offering it to the public like a desperate sacrifice to the gods of attention and validation. Treasure it. Savor it. And if you find that you cannot savor or treasure your body, sexuality, intimate moments without sharing them with the world, well.. maybe that’s something to mull over during your next poo time.

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*My family visited Zimbabwe when I was 9, and I remember the local friends we knew there warning my parents to not put on this shocking display of affection.

** speaking of, I always thought titillating was a particularly unchaste word. [blushes]

A great date does not make a great mate

When you’re single, you have the opportunity to go on tons of dates. When you first begin dating, which usually coincides when you’re young and overly prone to overly romantic notions, it’s easy to take things too seriously. You over share on a date and savor each ”lol” text because it’s all so new and exciting and special.

After about 5 .. or 10… or let’s be honest.. 15 years of dating around casually, intermixed with a few serious adventures that ultimately failed, you get good. At dating. You know what to say to get someone to agree to go in a first date (spoiler alert- it’s usually to suggest something ambiguous so they don’t have to overthink it). You know just how flirty and interesting to be on a first date. You learned to impulse control so you don’t text your potential boo 30x a day while they’re at work. And let’s be perfectly honest, you learned how to not care so much. You learned how to pull back and keep your expectations at bay and not try so hard that you lose your dignity if they’re not interested.

And for some people, this is where they stay. They master the art of catch and release, but at the end of the day they wouldn’t even know how to prepare a fish even if it was perfect and they were starving. Gross analogy but you get it.

But to be good at healthy relationships, being good at dating is a major detriment. You need to invest, put yourself out there, and care an embarrassing amount.

I share this because when I was dating, I went on some amazing dates. But some of those amazing dates were with people that were the most ill fit for me. When I started hanging out with my now husband, we didn’t always go on amazing dates. He didn’t always take me to the fanciest of dinners or most elaborately romantic outings. His conversation topics were often funny but quite strange. He didn’t try to artificially push romance into every moment. We did normal stuff. I helped him paint his garage. He helped me put together my new dining room table. We made doggy cupcakes for his dog’s birthday and he spontaneously wiped some frosting off my face with the perfect amount of tenderness. That was the romance. And yes sometimes we went to an art museum or a play or something cool, but those moments weren’t artificially propping up our relationship, hiding our lack of true connection with grandiose moments and sticky sweetness. They were real.

So, if you’re dating right now, don’t get too good at dating or limit yourself to other people who are too good at dating. Try to make space for real connection that can’t be forced or rushed.

Love and morals ❤

this will be a quickie. So quick I didn’t bother to capitalize the first word. Take that, losers!

I’ve been thinking about love lately, in relation to my husband (awwww).

There was a time in which I compared guys I was dating to an Ideal. The closer they were to that Ideal, the more interested I was. If they showed signs they were not Ideal, we would break up.* Because you know, standards.

But then I met my future hubbadubs, and then blah blah we fell in love 🥰 But at some point, Ideal died. And there was just my future hubs. And I loved him not because he was Ideal, but because he was Him. And every other man’s proximity to ideal became irrelevant. The new standard was him. And no one could be him better than.. him 🙂

— weird graceless transition–

I wonder if this is how we’re supposed to approach God and biblical morals. I know some people who delight in picking out distasteful old testament passages to prove that God is an evil jerkface. I don’t disagree there are some passages where I’m like “ehhh, did all the women and children need to die too?” But as Beth Dutton on Yellowstone said “Right and wrong, there’s no such thing… I believe in loving with your whole soul and destroying anything that wants to kill what you love.” From an individual human perspective, I don’t endorse. But could this be how God operated.. operates ? His right and good was protecting his people and destroying people who were their enemies. (Jesus is stunning because what he did made all people God’s people, and what was destroying us was sin. So Jesus let himself become sin and be destroyed by God in our place. Yowza.) So at some point, instead of comparing God to our standards of morality, God becomes our morality. What he does is moral because he did it and he is morality and morality is what God does. And no one or idea can be more God than.. God.

The only thing I never quite understand is why the delay– like why not Jesus from day 1? And why this group of people originally versus this other group? I don’t know, that’s above my saint grade I guess (dad joke FTW ! )

One thing I can’t question is love, and how it changes everything you thought you knew.

C Anders (née Gallo) out !

*Obviously I was always more than anyone could ever imagine thus NEVER happened in reverse 😉😉

You can’t Make-Up this stuff

I need to disclose something that pains me deeply. Long long ago I watched – and shared – a satirical video about what beauty instructionals would look like in 1999. Since then, my recommended Facebook videos have started to slowly creep in makeup tutorials – and more recently, celebrity skin care regimes – and most recently, REACTIONS to celebrity skin care regimes.

I desperately want to tell you all that I sneer in derision and keep scrolling. But I can’t, because I don’t. I. am. mesmerized. by these stupid videos! I spiraled so hard I watched not one but two seasons of Glow Up. Geez.

The video that started it all!

IF BEAUTY YOUTUBERS EXISTED IN 1999 – YouTube

The real kicker, though, is I usually find the final looks … distasteful. So many of them are skilled, in the sense that they have artistically altered their face with a precision and control that even my surgically trained hands wouldn’t dare to attempt. But, in general, the looks are unapproachable at best, and somewhat psychotic at worst. I can’t imagine walking up to someone with false eyelashes so long they’re smacking me in the face.

What disturbs me the most about it is that most of these people are little teeny boppers. I’ve seen a 14 year old school her mom on her skin care and makeup regime. On one hand I think, “bully for you,” but on the other hand I think, “NO! Be a teenager and look awkward for a while!” I honestly think it’s bad for your psychological, social, and .. spiritual ?! development to look too perfect when you’re a teen. Smearing $74 of skin care products and make up on your face when you’re that young just seems so.. wrongly focused. I understand these youts are not 7, but still. They are not adults. There is so much time to obsessively worry about and launch a full-on battle against skin imperfections as you enter the workforce with a fancy degree and realize you somehow have both acne AND wrinkles, the most insulting combination of all time. But when you’re a chillin, go to a concert and slap on some mascara because you’re feeling flirty. There’s no need to have a 15 step nighttime regime and spend 1-2 hours every day creating a complicated make up look with the obsessive idea that your skin should look as smooth as a Pixar movie character. We’re human. Our skin is not perfectly smooth, even toned, or pore-free. Get over it and move on .

Moreover and thusly therefore, I * guarantee * you that the makeup we find so sophisicated and advanced today will seem ridiculous in a few years. And the “science” behind current skin care is 100% guaranteed to change. So please don’t wake up 10 years from now and realize you spent 40% of your paycheck and 70% of your time on make up and skin care regimes that didn’t make you a better person, didn’t help you reach any actually useful goals, and will likely just be comedy material for the next generation.

.. But watching these videos as a sophisticated critic is VERY NORMAL.

Forever your wrinkly writer ❤

Mawwiage, is what brings us apawt today

Hellur! Tis I, your deadbeat blogger emerging from the silent ashes as a gabby, married Phoenix. Completely re-charged and in charge! *brushes off cereal crumbs with quiet dignity*

I have a few musings on marriage. Or, more precisely, on the decision to get married.

Everyone has a range of time in their own minds in which they think is a reasonable time to get engaged or married after the “start” of your relationship. For some, anything serious before 1 year of good ol’ fashioned dating is irresponsible and impulsive. For others, there’s no reason to keep dating after you’ve had 2-3 grueling dates in which you both outline your worldviews, faith, life plans, and toilet-paper-on-the-roll orientation preferences. The 1+ year crowd likes to wait and see how people and relationships play out over time. The intense interview crowd sees dating like skirmishes. Get in and get out – either through fading back into the forest of singleness or diving straight into the pool of eternal promises.

From my perspective, each person can take their own relationship at whatever pace they want, as long as the other party (or parties, for you polygamists out there ! jk jk) is fine with it. I think what rubs me is that most people – and ALL female relatives – think the appropriate range of time for dating they have conjured in their own minds should be the appropriate range of time for all couples, in all situations, of all backgrounds. So if any couple “rushes” according to the Cautious Connor’s, or dawdles, according to the Rushing Reginald’s, their relationship is doomed. DOOMED!

To me, it just completely depends on the couple. I have friends and acquaintances who made a short work out of dating, and their marriages seem to be just as stable and happy as any others. For certain personalities, age groups, etc. this is perfectly acceptable.

Although, of course there are the couples that rush into things and realize they don’t know each other and have made a terrible mistake. At best, they can sometimes turn the boat around and sail into a wonderful marriage, but often they sink as soon as they realize the other is a bit of a dud when they’re not in active woo mode.

My husband and I probably took a longer-than-average time to get to the point of engagement, and I’m actually very grateful we dated as long as we did. I can’t speak for my hubbadubs, but I needed the time. I needed to know how we reacted to each other when one or both of us was going through a hard time. I needed to know that it was love I had, not a love-y feeling. I needed to know I still loved him when he wasn’t showering me with attention. To me it was great, and I don’t think I would have been able to say “si” to marriage without that knowledge and experience.

For some though, the stretches of time just reflect true dawdling, or a reservation with the relationship itself. Can’t commit, but don’t want to quit. I’m sure some people thought that was the case with my hubs and I, and to them I emphatically flick my hair in defiance.

So my avid reader, I present the case that there are many reasons to take a short or long time to get to the point of engagement, and a relatively fast or slow journey is not necessarily a “warning sign, ” or cause for worry among loving friends and relatives. This is especially hard when you or someone close to you has experienced the “bad” form of fast or slow – you are hypervigilant and ready to warn someone you think may be heading in the same direction. I’m here to tell you to take a deep breath, relax, and let each couple be the pace setters for their own relationship.

Red White And Blue Wow GIF by Bomb Pop - Find & Share on GIPHY

Free to love (freely)

About oh .. 51 days ago, my best friend and love of my life asked me to marry him. (In classic Gallo weirdness, I said “si!” instead of yes.) It was the best of contexts – at the top of a mountain after a glorious hike. His proposal was the perfect mix of silliness and deep sincerity, and it was the easiest answer C Gallo has ever given.

Actual pic of the event. I was so amazed when a little cartoon heart popped out of the ring box!!

The type of happiness that filled me was a unique sort. The other most significant event in my life where I felt incredibly happy was right after my dissertation defense, but that was the happiness that comes from a heavy, ever-present burden being suddenly lifted. Being engaged might be a tiny bit about the removal of the “burden” of singleness (although I actually enjoyed being single for most of my life), but it’s much more about the addition of something awesome and literally life changing. Sure, we dated for 2+ years, so you might think that a “long-term” dating relationship is similar to being engaged. It is absolutely not.

Pretty much all my other dating relationships that lasted any length of time required vigilance to suppress my exuberant heart and wild expectations. I always had this stern voice in the back of my head telling me to pull back, curb my expectations, and keep enough mental and emotional distance so that I wouldn’t be completely distraught when the inevitable end came. Even if that inevitable end was initiated by me, it still sucked.

A stoic I am not.

But being engaged! It is no longer weird or creepy to think about the future. It isn’t even weird and creepy to talk about the future with the very man I want in it! It’s even.. recommended?! I don’t have to worry that I love him too much or want to be around him too much. For the first time, the depth of my feelings and inner commitment are not an inverse measure of how miserable I will be down the road, but a measure of how happy I will be down the road. Craziness!

Granted, at some point while dating my fiance I said to myself “Girl, if this ends you are going to be a total mess for a loooong time. But whatevs. He — and this zany, amazing, heart lifting relationship we have built — is truly worth it.” So even though* I was pretty terrible at tempering the wild romantic within me as I dated my forever Galloboo, there is still a difference that now there’s nothing remotely foolish about it. And that is incredibly joyful.

This may seem a rather awkward transition, but I can’t help but connect this whole experience to my faith. Being engaged hasn’t made me forget other men I dated or even how I felt about them at the time. Now, the sadness or angst I felt during/after those relationships is no longer tragic but kind of .. humorous? I look back at myself sobbing over some idiot and I want to tenderly pat my shoulder and say “girl, you have no idea. Keep it moving.” I wonder if this is what is meant by “there will be no tears in heaven.” That statement has been speculated to mean we won’t have memories of anything that happened on earth, because there’s no way we could remember all the sadness and angst of our lives and not cry. I disagree. I modestly propose that perhaps we actually will remember – everything. But, in the face of our one, complete true Love the contrast with our former sadsies and angsties will not subtract, but add to our joy.

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*or because of? Hmmm…!

Eye hope this helps

Dear readers and internet bots,

I have been writing a post for the past month that I kept on writing, deleting, and re-writing. It was going to be about racism, marxism, Christianity, freedom, all that stuff. Then I realized that there are many people out there with (relatively) huge platforms that are already expressing my opinions on the matter, and with much more eloquence and prudence than I can muster right now.

The news has made me a hot little potato. I feel like I wake up angry and go to bed anxious most nights, and very rarely from personal life matters. It just seems like everything sucks, but no one can agree on why it sucks and how to change it. In fact, ways i can think of to make it suck less would be used as evidence for many other people on how it’s sucking more.

Eeks.

What to write during such a time as this?

I have only one tiny positive thing to say or recommend during times like these.

Look people in the eyes

This is probably what I look like these days.

That’s right. The only bright spots I’ve had recently in the public domain have been when I’ve made eye contact with some stranger and shared a laugh about something. I had an appointment the other day and the attendant woman cracked me up with a raunchy story, and then I bonded with the front desk lady over how long higher-education degrees take and was able to give her a word of encouragement. These little brief flashes of positive human interaction bolstered my spirits and helped me have a little less deep disgust and dislike for the general population. ( keepin it real!)

I’m sure this will come across very naive and over-simplistic to many, but if it impacts one person then that’s good enough for me. If you are currently depressed/anxious/angry/all the bad things right now, I highly recommend limiting yourself to consuming any and all news (including “news” from social media friends) to 1-2x a week, and try to stop seeing all people as disgusting potential carriers of disease and look them straight in the retina. And I don’t know, maybe try to be kind or something.

We are all being squeezed right now. The harder you’re squeezed, the more of what’s deep inside you comes out in your words and action. That’s why we’re seeing a lot of fear, violence, hostility – it’s not new, it was there all along. Just hidden. But let’s try to be optimistic and assume that there’s some admirable, great qualities deep inside people, too. Especially if you carry the spirit of Jesus within you, may the light and hope that’s inside you come out!

Social media in 2020: A lifeless saltine cracker

I used to be somewhat obsessive-compulsive about social media. I checked my facebook approximately 62 times per day.* I posted at least once a day, sometimes 2-3 times. I would post silly stuff about my day, serious thoughts on current events, all my newest and cutest pictures, etc. I would vigorously debate strangers about theology or politics on comment threads whose obnoxious length were only rivaled by CVS receipts. I made long instastories rambling about my ineffective dry shampoo and other deep matters. Even on Twitter – which I always have and always will despise for it’s lack of depth and proclivity for promoting unbridled hostility – I would sometimes scroll and get incensed about whatever was incensing that day.

I began dating a social media dud** a few years ago. For over 18 months, I soldiered on with my social media OCD. When COVID19 started ramping up in the U.S., both my twitter and facebook became so saturated with zany posts I could feel the stress rise in my body every time I logged in, but I was having a super hard time not logging in since I was also effectively (albiet temporarily) laid off with pay. So I gave my boyfriend the password to my facebook and twitter accounts (yes I had 2) and asked him to be my meanie-pants social media gate keeper. He has performed this role with a disturbing but effective gusto. I have probably logged in — 6-8 times in the last two months. When I do, 95% of the 30-40 notifications I have*** are completely boring and not even related to me (e.g. “Joe-Joe added to his story” or “Your mother commented on your brother’s post”).

I am struck with how I have missed almost nothing, and gained the self respect that comes from restraint. Dignity! LIFE!

What used to be a delightful tiramisu has turned into a lifeless saltine cracker.

Okay maybe I’m being slightly dramatic. But it has been nice and I feel kind of amazed that I found it so rewarding not that long ago. But now, even Instagram, the one social media platform I kept because it tended to be light and fluffy and happy, has started edging into facebook/twitter taking-itself-too-seriously territory. The pictures are mostly okay, actually, but the stories are so full of virtue signaling and pedantic lectures on polarizing topics that I can go through an entire day’s worth of stories and realize the best story was an ad for sulfate free shampoo. (Quick disclaimer: I love deep convos and I’m not afraid of discussing controversial topics with people who actually care about my opinion, but I think social media is the absolutely worst place to express them. )

Should I ax the gram, or keep at least one connection to my interweb friends? What an important decision! I will flee to the woods for thoughtful meditation. But one thing I won’t do is create a post on facebook asking everyone what I should do. Success? !

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Estimated by the Gallonoggin

**This is the only things he’s a dud about, trust me. Yowza!

***What can I say.. #popular

The death of a dream

WARNING: If you can’t tell by the title, I’m in a melodramatic mood.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m an absolute nutto about my career. I’ve known for many years that I don’t want to be a professor, but now the reality of cutting the uni apron strings is really setting in. Tying to map out my “next steps” has not been a delight. It has been more of a drudgery. It has brought out all sorts of feels – anxiety, sorrow, guilt. Eeks.

The anxiety I understand. I expected some anxiety about changing careers, especially since I spent 10 of my 30 zesty years in the same field. The sorrow and guilt, though.. they have taken me by surprise. Where did this devilish duo come from?

Well, one factor is a somewhat absurd but persistent idea of mine that I’m letting down little Gallo du ancienne- the spunky optimist who set her sights on curing Alzheimer’s disease when she was a delicate 16 years. I can imagine her being disgusted with Gallo du présent for quitting her dream. “You’re there! Why stop now?” she would demand. Similarly, I also feel like I’m letting my Grandpa and Grandma down. Grandpa had Alzheimer’s disease, and a prevention or treatment would have changed his and my grandma’s life. They would have been so excited to know that my research was in Alzheimer’s disease, and maybe a bit disappointed that I’m choosing to leave it.

On top of that, there is the jadedness (jadosity? Jadociousness?!) of academic research. Yes, I’ve completed experiments. Yes, I’ve analyzed data and wrote up manuscripts that were published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Do I think my research has significantly advanced the field of Alzheimer’s disease? Not particularly. My entire academic career was way less impactful and dynamic than I hoped it would be.

That is my summary of gloom, my friends.  I bring all of this up because I think it’s worth noting that there is actually a degree of real grief involved in burying a dream. Especially when that dream was tied to specific people that you love(d). And – it’s difficult to create a new dream (or goal, for you less romantic types) when you don’t have the advantage of boundless optimism, time,  and naive willingness to be poor for several years as you work your way from the ground up that you have when you were a youth.

Nevertheless, she perspired. Wait, that’s not right. She.. resisted.. the man! No, she insisted on having her own way!! She desisted.. the pity party?! There you go. Okay leave encouraging comments! Thanks! ❤