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.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago a young feller was recalling an interweb exchange he had, in which he floored someone with a story that was meant to provide an airtight case for moral ambiguity. I don’t really remember the details of the story, but it was something to do with a man with cancer (or who had a kid with cancer?) deciding to rob a bank because he would either 1) get the money or 2) be killed and his kid would get his life insurance money. Something like that. The young feller told me, victory shining in his eyes, “So who’s wrong- the man, or the police officers who shot him?”
I can’t stand stories like this. They’re meant to guilt you out of condemning the bad action. “Wow,” we’re supposed to exclaim, “I never considered that people who do bad things may have a personal history that made them think they had no choice in the matter! Or that they could do bad for good reasons!” The Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie taps into this too. The movie gives you the context to the Joker’s background, which is so disturbing and sad that you almost cheer for him as he *SPOILER* murders all those meanies who bullied him.
But the thing is – you can understand the reasons behind someone’s evil actions.. or feel sorry for them… or see how the people they are murdering or stealing from or otherwise victimizing are also evil themselves… but that still doesn’t make their actions good or right.* Violence is violence, evil is evil, bad is bad. Other violence, other evil, and other bad doesn’t necessarily cancel it out. Even if you feel sympathetic towards them.
In the same vein – I wrote a blog post a while back begging women to not post public pictures of their bosoms while breastfeeding. I provided multiple excellent examples to demonstrate my point. Some of those examples were a little crude. They weren’t crude for crude’s sake- I used them to demonstrate points like “privacy doesn’t equal shame.” A few of my readers expressed dismay and disgust that I made those comparisons, saying things like, “Making that comparison is just.. ew.” Like a disgust reaction from them was enough to negate my entire argument. Poppycock! I’m not trying to be a jerk, seriously. But just because a comparison is upsetting, gross, weird, or triggering doesn’t mean the comparison doesn’t hold true.
The point is, my fellas** and fellos, that sometimes what is right and true is upsetting, and sometimes what is wrong won’t be upsetting. I don’t like many truths, like Kesha removing the ‘$’ from her name. I’m not super bothered by other wrongs, like when a woman murders her cheating husband. Our degree of tum tum hurt, upsettedness, or anger is not an argument against.. anything. Our tummies are not our Truthometer. Just because some jerk blogger is using intentionally provocative examples to drive their point home does not mean they’re wrong.
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*I’m talking on the level of personal morality not a nation or political system. I think the United States taking out Osama Bin Laden was justifiable and right.
**I just realized what a feminine sounding word “fellas” is, even though it traditionally refers to menfolk. From now on, I demand that men be “fellos” and women be “fellas” for the sake of continuity and parallelism in the English language!
People go through break-ups. Some break-ups are dramatic, others are just kind of awkward, but they all suck. Sometimes the suckiness is assuaged by the bright company and uplifting words of a friend. Sometimes the suckiness is exacerbated by the oppressive company and joy-sucking words of a … friend?
Yes! Many times well-meaning friends are the ones that make the getting-over-them process all the more torturous.
Here are seven things you may find yourself saying to friends after a break-up that are guaranteed to pick at their heart sores and help the bad feels fester.
1. “Just saw [exes name] at Applebee’s.”
No one needs their riveting documentary on organic kumquat farming* interrupted by a text from you telling them about an ex sighting. Did the ex look good? That will make your friend feel foolish for still having residual sadness. Did the ex look bad? That will make your friend feel guilty and consider reaching out, which we all know would be disastrous. There’s just no purpose in it. Put down your phone and stop creepin!
2. “I’m surprised you stayed with them for as long as you did.”
This sort of statement just tells your friend you think they were a desperate loser. Your friend is already mourning the time lost on romanticals with their ex, and you’re just rubbing salt on the wound.
3. Have you thought about taking a break from dating?”
If your friend is one of those people who plunged into their first long term relationship in 3rd grade and still hasn’t come up for air, maybe this would be a legit question. Keep in mind that for many people, being in a relationship is the exception to the single-as-a-dollar-bill rule. So suggesting they take an official break from something they just timidly forayed into is silly and unwarranted.
4. “I never thought they were good for you.”
This is like telling your friend “I knew you would be hurt all along. I know better than you. Told ya so!” Too little too late!
5. “You are probably sad because you guys were a great fit.”
Thanks, Captain Obvs! Does your friend need to remember all the reasons they are missing the ex boo? They are now going to sob themselves to sleep thinking about how they’ll never find someone else with so much life-mate potential.
6. “Have you considered online dating?”
If your friend was born after 1958, chances are they have considered online dating. But that’s not really the point anyway. A grieving friend does not need your pedanticism or problem solving, they need someone to listen for a while, give them a hug and say “that sucks, I’m sorry,” and then hand them a puppy.
7. “If you think this is bad, just wait until you experience a break up after 30!”
What’s worse than complain-bragging? Grief bragging! Which is in actuality grief dismissal. As I told someone once, “Knowing there’s a broken leg out there doesn’t make my stubbed toe hurt less.”
Which friend are you – an uplifting bright sunbeam or oppressive joy-sucking drizzle ? Study these seven, examine yourself, repent, and walk toward the light!
Dearest readers, it has been a tumultuous few weeks. My courtship with John Crist began slowly, like a lovely, delicate rose unfolding in the enchanted glow of the rising sun. He made me think, he made me laugh. He sent notifications to my YouTube account specifically whenever he uploaded a new video. So intentional! ❤ Even from those hauntingly brief video clips, I was getting delicious tastes of his soul. Then I discovered that our childhoods were so similar that we’re essentially one person in two bodies. We both grew up 1) homeschooled 2) christian 3) in the same metro-area in the southern US 4) with political parents. You may not believe this, but we also have 5) a similar shade of brown hair. Coincidence…? Um, sure —- If God’s divine hand is coincidence!
The tender bud of love really evolved into a mature bloom when he traveled all the way across the country to visit my city. When I went to his comedy show, I could tell he was bewitched by my modest beauty because he gazed longingly in my direction whenever he said the punchline to a joke. I sat there with my hands clasped nervously to my bosom, feeling my heart beating wildly. I also took Desiring God’s online quiz to evaluate relationship compatibility, and we were matched as Ruth and Boaz Compatibility. Huzzah! I proposed to him publicly, and publicly accepted my proposal on his behalf. Yowza! Now the petals of love were blowing wildly in the winds of whirly-twirly romance!
But then.. those same petals – once so plump and full of life and energy – fell to the ground and were smushed by the heel of sorrowful reality.
What happened? Well for one, he did nothing to guard my heart. He never once clarified our relationship, or let it progress at a healthy speed (many Christian relationship experts recommend one chaperoned date per month for the first two years). Instead, he sent me video after video after video, letting me fall more and more and more in love with him. I was a helpless victim to his romantic advances.
And then, he betrayed me. I discovered this during a lunch date with my friend Amber. We were both happily chatting about our men, and then we discovered “our men” was one man — John Crist. Apparently, this Casanova had been sending her personal YouTube notifications, too – during the exact same time period.
The final smush to our love-rose came when I discovered that he stole from me. Imagine the pain that lacerated my heart when I saw that he took the humor thesis of one of Galloblog’s about nothing posts and made a meme from it… giving me no credit whatsoever. What made this betrayal especially ironic was that the entire joke centered around sharing memes being an expression of love! I can only use reverse logic then, to conclude that stealing a meme is an expression of .. not even hate.. but indifference! Indifference to our engagement! Our love! Our future little Gallocrists!
Needless to say, the engagement is off. I plan to roam around the streets of Atlanta aimlessly for the remainder of my brief time here on earth. I will carry with me a smushed rose always, as a symbol of the Smushed Love Rose of John Crist. Once one has loved so deeply.. so wholly, once cannot simply pick up the cracked pottery of one’s life and create a functional life vase.
Forever yours in sorrow,
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
03/12/2018 9:16 AM EST: It has come to my attention that “is John Crist engaged” is my #1 search term, so I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you are a hopeful fan girl in a deep interwebz investigation to determine if you have a shot with Christianity’s golden boy of comedy. So please note that I wrote this post as an inside joke between me and my friends, and it was never meant to inform the general public about his relationship status. Is John Crist engaged?!For sure no 😉
… btdubs, while you’re here you should read some of my other stuff — like, comment, follow, share, etc… it’s the Christian thing to do 😉 😉 😉
When I’m mad, I sputter angrily. When I’m sad, I cry piteously. When I’m guilty, my tummy feels nauseatingly twisty. When I lolz, it’s a wild cackle, sometimes accompanied with hearty snorts. When I’m infatuated, I feel like throwing tulip petals over Atlanta as I fly around on a magic carpet with my infatuater.
As you can imagine, stoicism is not my strong suit.
A few years ago, I got tired of being feelsy. And guess what? I was successful! During these years, I truly had less drama. I didn’t get mad or cry very much. Life was so serene. But, I never want to go back to that place.
Why? Because I also didn’t lolz very much. Most disappointingly, there was not even *one* magic carpet ride. 😥
Why? Well, the secret to stop feeling is to stop loving and caring about people. You cannot love without hurting.* Except myself, of course. I somehow manage to never stop caring about myself. And that’s just an icky way to live.
If you pride yourself on being “drama free,” or brag that you don’t really grieve over your exes or lost friendships – shame on you. What are you gaining, except numbness to the people around you? No thank you, Louie Baloo.
Give me the angry sputters, give me piteous cries, give me the tummy twists. Because they are a symptom of caring and loving. And because magic carpet rides are SO worth it. *snorts*
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*At least for a feeler like me. If you are a stoïque d’amour, WRITE YOUR OWN BLOG.
The libra part of me insists that I offer a balanced view of this. Obvs, some people are able to take very loving action without feeling particularly worked up. And it’s probably not healthy to always be at the extreme ends of positive and negative emotions.
I talk a lot about how to Forget It and Drive On (aka FIDO), but I was recently convicted about how narrow minded I have been. Some of you don’t feel like FIDOing, but want to Remember and Stay Here (RASH). In honor of symmetry and inclusivity, I’m offering 10 steps that are guaranteed to kick any efforts at FIDOing right where it hurts. This is especially helpful for RASHing when it comes to romantical angst. Lean in and listen up!
1) Talk about your heart break obsessively
Talk about it with your mom, sister, friends, hairstylist, Trader Joe’s cashier.. Don’t be duped by sneaky changes of subject – whenever anyone tries to distract you and talk about something uplifting, skillfully work around that positivity and drive your depressing convo down the court (SPORTS REFERENCE!! WHAT?!).
2) Create shrines in physical space
Did you used to get frosty’s with your ex-bf at your neighborhood Wendy’s? Make sure you declare this space Sacred and try to create as few new memories there as possible. That way, if/when you do find yourself at that Wendy’s, you can be flooded with memories of that person. When the moment is right, make sure you confide quietly to your friend group, “I’m sorry.. it’s just that.. we always used to come here for Frosty Friday.” Then let a gentle river of tears run down your cheeks. Quiver your lips for extra effect.
3) Picture obsess
Don’t let personal time go to waste doing anything productive or refreshing. Jump on the interwebs, and go through every picture you and your past love ever took together – especially ones that mark momentous occasions (e.g. the first night you kissed). Zoom in on the person’s face. Think about how great you looked together. Print out the pic that brings back the most painful, bittersweet memories, and post on your ceiling so it’s the first thing you see every morning.
4) Define yourself by your pain
It’s important to make sure that this event defines you. You are no longer a 27 year old female with a PhD, you are a heart-broken 27 year old female with a PhD.
5) Never stop asking “But.. Why???!”
Make every attempt to understand every action and intent that led to the situation. Whatever you do, never think to yourself “I may never know – that person’s behavior and those events could have arisen for several different reasons, and that’s okay.” No ma’am! It is *not* okay! I suggest making a string-conspiracy board to figure it out.
6) Revel in the drama
Whether you’re feeling sad, mad, guilty, jealous, etc., make sure you just dive headfirst in that ocean of dramatic feels. Make it clear to everyone that you are A LITTLE EMOTIONAL RIGHT NOW. One of my fave ways to do this is to post cryptic, depressing status updates on social media.
7) Split your life epochs around the event / person
Thinking about your life in years, education (e.g. high school, college, grad school), or jobs will not do. The period of your life before you dated Jo-Jo is now “Pre- Jo-Jo” and the time after “Post- Jo-Jo”. Everything hinges on this event. It has split your heart, therefore it must split your life.
8) Refuse to cut your losses or accept that you may have been snookered (aka taken advantage of)
If you think someone wronged you, obsess over how you could have avoided the situation in the first place, how you can seek revenge, or how you can avoid EVER being taken advantage of again. Bonus: guaranteed to ruin all future relationships, romantic or otherwise!
9) Make playlist of feelsy music
Think along the lines of James Blunt’s “Goodbye my Lover.” Whatever music gives you the feels and reminds you of the person, play it loud, play it proud, play it on a loop.
10) Binge watch movies and TV shows that give you the feels
Similarly, stick in that rom com or rom dram that reminds you the most of your relationship when it was happy, and let your ticker marinate in the misery. Think about how your reality was so close to whichever fictional story. Decide that you deserve for that fictional story to be your life.
Good luck, RASHers! Let me know how this goes for you!
Have any more useful RASH tips? Please send them into me!