Are women untouchable goddesses or helpless victims?

Women, can we come to a consensus about how we’re choosing to brand ourselves? Even as a woman, I’m confused about how women want me to see women. Are we untouchable goddesses, or helpless victims?

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On one hand, we have an uber feminist narrative that makes loud and brash claims about female superiority and independence. We have songs like Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” saying

I’m that bad type
Make your mama sad type
Make your girlfriend mad tight
Might seduce your dad type
I’m the bad guy, duh

You said she’s scared of me?
I mean, I don’t see what she sees
But maybe it’s ’cause I’m wearing your cologne

Apparently hearing about an underage girl (she was 17 when she wrote about seducing dads.. eeks!) being a sadistic ho-ho to men and women alike makes Cosmo girls feel totes empowered.

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Then there’s Lizzo, also a rising star in female empowerment,  who says

Yeah, I got boy problems, that’s the human in me | Bling bling, then I solve ’em, that’s the goddess in me

Well now I feel foolish. This whole time I thought solving one’s relationship problems was just a normal part of being a grown up.  Then Cardi B has an entire shtick around being as crass and arrogant as male rappers

I need to let all these hoes know | That none of they niggas is safe

So as a woman, I’m supposed to be empowered by hearing a very rich, famous, beautiful woman brag about stealing my man? Or am I supposed to internalize the arrogance and steal the men of women less beautiful than me? Hmmm. I hope my nieces model their lives after this one! Moving on from the music industry, there are several new female action heroes (e.g. Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, the female 007, etc.) being praised for showing that women are kick-booty (literally)! According to this narrative, women are rough, tough, powerful, and just completely superior in every way to the buffooned males we occasionally allow to pleasure us.

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On the other hand, we have another manifestation of feminism that wants women to be a protected class. In ironic contrast to the paragraph above, apparently it is sexist to ask women to meet the same physical requirements as men to enter the military.  So women can do everything that men can do! … but with a large caveat – *if* you lower the bar for what men can do. There is also a strain of the #metoo movement * that is telling us even imbalanced power dynamics between a man and woman completely vindicate her of any responsibility in a sexual relationship. If a woman is approached by her boss or some other male in power, she is suddenly rendered completely defenseless and actually compelled to be subservient to his every desire. An adult woman suddenly has the mental, emotional, and moral reasoning of an 8 year old. So now women are delicate fleurs that wilt in submission before any man who has a smidge of power. Thus, they need to be protected like children.

… What?????

Women need to stop making idiotic, obviously-false claims of goddessery, but women also need to stop telling other women how powerless they are. The former makes women sound like delusional psychopaths, and the latter is derogatory and disempowering to members of our own sex. It’s not victim-blaming to point out that women are responsible agents in their own life – it’s offering hope to a younger generation entering the workforce.

Women don’t need to paint our entire sex in one broad brush stroke so that we can push what we want to be true about ourselves at a given moment in time. Want to feel better after you get dumped? You’re a goddess. Want to feel like you didn’t have any choice but to allow your creeper boss to feel you up? Now you’re a victim.

We don’t need to squash mankind with a wave of female superiority, but we don’t need to hide** from them either. We don’t need to take on the worst attributes traditionally attributed to men (lack of empathy, exploitation, etc.), and we definitely don’t need to take on the worst attributes traditionally attributed to women enslaved in the sex industry (powerlessness, dependence).

Let’s be kind. Let’s be mature and responsible. Let’s protect other women when we can, but let’s also give younger women a reason to hope for better. Let’s respect the majority of men who are not predators, and stand up to predatory men. Let’s examine whether we are intimidated or offended by men’s success and accomplishments. (If you are, that’s an ego problem of your own that needs working on.) Let’s celebrate and cheer-on men and women.

Some women are incredibly strong, but none of us are goddesses. Some women are incredibly vulnerable, but that doesn’t make all women victims.  Whether or not a woman is strong or vulnerable is not simply an inevitable virtue of being a woman. Women are individuals who happen to be women. That’s it.

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— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*I’m not anti-#metoo in general, but I find this particular idea that the #metoo movement has propagated particularly problematic. You know what was a good sentence because I used 3 “P” words in a row – BOOM!

**The first time I wrote this, I accidentally wrote “we don’t need to hike from [men] either.” TRY TO CATCH US NOW MEN, WE’RE UP ON AN EFFIN MOUNTAIN! Lolz.

This article was expertly edited by the infamous Dania Vititoe, a contributing writer to Galloblog and sister of C Gallo. 

30 nuggets of wisdom for 30 years

My 30th birthday is just around the riverbend*, so this Gallowolf would like to cry the wisdom she’s learned to the blue corn moon. Please commit all of these to memory and send me a $30 cashier’s check every time my lil nuggets of wisdom save you from a pickle.** Thank you in advance.

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A-ooooooooooo

Drums, please!

  1.  You don’t have to date everyone who’s a good person
  2.  Be okay with uncertainty in relationships
  3.  Don’t try to engineer and control any relationship, especially romantic
  4. People don’t owe you affection or attention when you do something nice for them
  5.  Talk to your Grandma like a peer and be ridiculous with your nieces and nephews
  6.  Allow yourself to feel your feels
    feelings
    All legit, y’all.
  7. Don’t let your feels control you
  8.  You’re responsible for your own feelings, but be aware of how you are prone to feel after spending time with any person
  9. Spend time with people who make you feel good
  10. You can forgive people but still protect yourself from bad characters
  11. Most people are schmucky schmuckersons
  12. Celebrate and hold onto the people that aren’t schmucky schmuckersons
    holdon.jpg
    Me holding onto someone great
  13. People who bring exciting drama into your life are also likely to bring a bunch of hurt into your life.
  14. Go to the arts for your dramatic fix
  15. Finding things to laugh at is serious business
  16. The expensive car is *not* worth it
  17. Eating more expensive healthy food *is* worth it
  18. Neglecting your health is not financial prudence– it’s a great strategy to make all your borderline acute health issues full blown chronic health issues
  19. Try to find joy in challenges instead of focusing on the stress
  20. Stop feeling sorry for yourself
  21.  You can be mature and intelligent and still wildly silly
  22. It’s not necessary or wise to trust everyone in a Christian community
  23. Allow yourself to dwell on and obsess about how beautiful something is
  24.  Weighted blankets are heavenly

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    Actual image of my mind when under a weighted blanket
  25.  It’s worth the AC cost to turn down the temp enough to not sweat at night
  26.  Allow yourself to consider you are wrong about everything
  27. Don’t let uncertainty paralyze you
  28.  You don’t have to listen to everyone’s advice, even if they’re great people
  29. Try
  30.  God is bigger and more confusing than you ever imagined

cosmic

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*By “just around” I mean in like 2 months. But that’s none of your business!

**Although if a Trader Joe’s kosher dill pickle was after me, I would say “take me now” and swoon at its delicious foot.

Nap, Interrupted

There is a ritual in my home. It is constant as the tides, intricate as the shifting of winds, as majestic and mysterious as Chris Hemsworth’s hair. It is the process of my dog Bear getting on the couch.

 

 

It begins with the The Look. Sarah McLachan would weep to see Bear in the throes of cushion depravation. He rests his chin on the sofa and casts the Gaze of Supplication towards me. I respond, “C’mon up, buddy.” He considers, then turns to my husband, seated next to me. Bear’s body language suggests he will need written authorization from all parties currently occupying the couch.

It is important to stop here and note that Bear is – and has always been – allowed on the sofa. At no point in his life has he gotten in trouble for getting onto our furniture. Regardless, he watches my husband anxiously for a sign of acceptance. Once that is attained, he lifts his chin, hesitates, then puts it back down. Thus begins The Encouraging.

The Encouraging starts with one of us slapping the sofa cushion and saying, “Up!” Bear is unconvinced. We tuck our feet, move cushions, and clear off any item that Bear may see as obstructing his way up. His eyes accuse our callous indifference to his plight. He remains on the floor. Then comes the freestyle phase. We pat the cushion while chanting “BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR” in unison, mixing in an occasional “Up!” and slap to Bear’s rump. The key here is enthusiasm. When perfectly executed, the chanting and pounding of cushions steadily increases in volume and tempo until at the crescendo Bear’s ears prick forward, he sweeps his tail in the Wag of Acceptance, and leaps up to his rightful place.

However, Bear also enjoys a variation of our ritual called the False Start. When The Encouraging has reached fever pitch and the sofa is quaking from the fury of our blows, his ears prick forward. He shifts his weight forward. His muscles tense. And he walks off, sits down and scratches his ear. This constitutes a reset, and the ritual begins anew.

With or without the variation, it all ends with Bear sprawled across the couch, taking up more space than me and my husband combined, cheeks puffing and making little puppy woofs while he dreams of apprehending squirrels.

 

 

Routines and rituals fill our lives. Some are mindless. Some are harmful. Some are holy. Some are necessary structure, like brushing your teeth. And some are just there to make you smile every day. It’s helpful to occasionally think about our patterns, so we can strengthen the good, change the bad, and appreciate the absurdities that bring us joy.

8 secret perks of academic research jobs

[By “secret” I really mean “underappreciated” or “overlooked” but one must sacrifice perspicuity on the altar of catchy titles!]

I have now been in academia longer than I have been in any other professional setting. I’m sure this is common in many industries and organizations, but academics love to complain-brag (e.g. Omg I haven’t slept for 72 hours to finish this grant.. you all should be super impressed and feel super sorry for me!). We are especially apt to feel bitter that despite our 17,325 years of education, most of us don’t make *that* much money. And I won’t lie, I often add my voice to the belly-aching chorus… because who doesn’t enjoy a good-old fashion commiseration session?

BUT I must say that now that I am contemplating leaving academia, I am reminded how good the highly educated and underpaid nerdlesons have it compared to many many peoples.

How doth academia benefit thee? Let me count the ways…

  1. Working with smart, passionate people
    • Many careers are filled with overly ambitious, cut-throat peoples, but I would wager many fields are not filled with people who genuinely love what they’re doing and like their work for its own sake – not just the pay or the recognition. Most of the professors with the most prestige will tell you that at the end of the day, they just find their research neat-o. It is also really great to have undergraduates working for you – usually for free – that are highly motivated and probably smarter than you in so many ways. No crippling apathy here!
  2. Flexibility
    • This one is probably my favorite. I have almost always been able to make my own schedule. If I want to be in at 7:30 am and leave at 3:30 pm, that’s fine. If I want to be in at 10 am and leave at 630 pm, that’s fine too. If I want to work from home and do data analysis all day – no one blinks an eye. When it’s time for vacation, most people say just say “Yo, I’m not going to be in lab these 3 weeks because I need to find myself and connect with nature.” and your advisor says “Word.” Usually no one cares as long as you’re getting your work done. It is incredibly nice not to be viewed as a slimy little worm who is trying to get away with the least amount of work. At least in the academic jobs I’ve had, you are treated like an adult.
  3. Job security
    • It is difficult to get fired in academia. You can be a miserable failure and the most your advisor will really do is write a lackluster letter of recommendation for your next position. I think you would have to do something that was seriously unethical to get fired, but failing continuously is probably not enough. It doesn’t serve you well in the long run to be unproductive, of course.. but you will at least be paid while you figure out your next career move.
  4. Street cred
    • You know when you’re trying to make small talk at a party and you ask a stranger, “So what do you do?” and they say “I’m a technical writer,” and you say “Cool!” *chirp chirp* Not so with academic positions. People are usually interested in your thesis or research, and you can usually entertain them with sharing your interest in the field and what you hope to accomplish. It’s not usual to have a job that intrigues a lot of people and makes them automatically think you are super smart, even if your only other interaction with them was to praise the hummus.
  5. Inclusivity
    • Once you get past admissions, I really don’t think academia cares about your demographics that much (of course there are fellowships and grants for those who identify as a member of a group underrepresented in science, but it can only take you so far). There are no headshots to turn in with your manuscript when you submit for publication. You can identify as a banana or the be the ugliest person on earth, but academia doesn’t care. Just do good research, and a place will be prepared for you. It’s a meritocracy if there ever was one.
  6. Bad fashion sense highly tolerated
    • I’m not sure if I would go so far to say that being a snappy dresser will hurt you in academia, but it truly doesn’t help. If anything, some of the people wearing the most egregious – whether that be flamboyant or downright geeky – outfits are senior professors. Wearing a suit in lab is not only impractical, it will probably be seen as an ineffective attempt to cover your own incompetency. So throw on a pair of sweats and a ironic tee and get to pipetting.
  7. Mentoring
    • In no other field is there such a built in culture of the person in the highest position taking an invested interest in helping the people working for them reach their career goals — whatever those might be. That is truly extraordinary. My advisor gets no benefit – either financially or research-wise – in helping me secure a job outside of academia. Yet he is seriously committed to helping me get there if that’s what I decide to do. Imagine your manager taking responsibility to help give you the skills and experience you need to move on to a better job at a different company! Unheard of.
  8. Benefits
    • Usually the health insurance is pretty legit. At least at my University, the retirement plan is very generous. You get access to a huge online library of journals for every topic you could possibly be interested in (just for reference, most published journal articles that I see are $35 a pop). You usually get a free or highly discounted membership to a gym that’s at least adequate. There are tons of talks with free foods. Little things all together, but nice.

In toto— If you are in academia, put a pause on your belly aching and take time to appreciate the fun little perks of your position. If you are outside academia, maybe ponder the positive aspects of your job.. and if there aren’t any… come over to the dark side of academia!

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I refuse to love you exactly the way you are

“Why can’t you love me for who I am?”

You’ve heard some variation of this question, whether from someone you actually know or while watching some dramatic interaction on the telly. It’s usually a question that doesn’t really want a real answer. It’s typically asked to shame the other person more than anything else. The implicit assumption is that real love wouldn’t want or ask for someone to change anything about themselves.

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I’m not sure if that’s true. Here is why.

  • You will change, guaranteed
    • As the renowned Timothy Keller points out in the Meaning of Marriage, you should never be so enamored by the person your partner is right now that you would be devastated if they ever change. Why? Because they definitely will. Experience changes us. Time changes us. Relationships change us! It’s inevitable.
  • You should want to change
    • Everyone has varying degrees of ickiness in themselves. Let’s take for example, me. I like myself. I think I’m pretty legit. Yet, I know I have flaws. My acknowledgment of my flaws doesn’t lead me to severe self-hatred, but I do want to tame or obliterate them depending on their severity.
  • People who love you should want you to change
    • My friends and family who support me in moving forward and becoming a better version of myself are good for me. I am thankful for them. Who wants a friend spitting out their tobacco and snarling “You think you’re better than us?” and resenting your growth? Not I, said the fly.  
  • You cannot change everything about yourself
    • An important distinction in this entire Chat du Change is to strive for – and hope for, in others – changes that are actually possible and/or likely. I may not like that I can be overly emotional sometimes, but barring a drastic personality change I’m not likely to become a stoic anytime soon. BUT, I can still hope to change how much I am controlled by my wavepool of feels.  
The Exorcist Look Doc I Really Dont Understand How Her Whole Personality Could Change GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

All that being said, I also know it’s foolish to enter into a relationship (romantic or otherwise) wanting and expecting someone to change in the exact way that I want — especially if that person shows no signs of wanting that change themselves. Or, even if they appreciate the idealized version of themselves, they are making little to no progress getting there.

[IMPORTANT ADDENDUM 04/12/19: I have had a few fellas that became very smitten with a version of Cgallo that wasn’t real. It’s a little delicate, but maybe the best scenario is to have clear double vision — the ability to see and love who someone is now, but also the ability to see, love, and support a future version of themselves that they see and want to become too. I think?! I ain’t no relationship therapist! ]

Altogether, I think what might be important is surrounding yourself with people who are excited for and encourage you to be the person you could and will probably turn into. Anddddd can put up with your flaws in the meantime. God bless ‘em!

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Don’t let others frame your life questions

When I was in high school, people were always asking me

“Where are you going to go to college?”

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Like any high school student knows what to do with their life! and if they do, no one likes them!

Once in college, they asked

“What’s your major? How are you going to use that?”

Once in grad school, it was

“When are you going to graduate?”

This Is Awkward Alice In Wonderland GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Once graduated, people became bored with my career trajectory and began an assault of inquiries about my relationship status.

“Who are you dating right now?”

“Why aren’t you dating anyone?”

Rude Tituss Burgess GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

“What are you doing to snag a man?” *

Now that I’ve been dating an amazin-raisin feller for a few months, I’m starting to get the

“So do you think you two are going to get married?”

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Anddddd I’m not there yet, but I’ve heard married people complain they get hounded with

“When are y’all going to have kids?”

And from there , who knows – probably constant badgering about when you’re going to buy a house, make a star athlete out of your kid, retire, etc etc etc

Ayiyiyi! Too many nosy presumptive questions!

Just imagine if every time a soccer mom asked me when I was getting married, I said “I don’t know — when are you getting your PhD?” Of course that would be mighty rude,  because that’s obviously not their priority right now.. and getting a PhD likely does not fit into their life goals at all. Their question was of course just as rude because getting married *obviously* wasn’t my top priority in my 20s, and who’s to say it fits into my life goals at all.**  But I wouldn’t be that snarky because I choose to take the high road! #holy

*anyway*

Regardless of the intent of the questioners, it’s distressing to answer over and over and over again “I don’t know,” or “not anytime soon,” or “when I receive a direct word from the Almighty.”

If you’re constantly hounded by any one or more of these questions, I encourage you to pump the brakes, be still, and actively reject the latent assumptions built into these questions. They are

1) you *must* finish / do / choose the activity in question and

2) you are “falling behind” or a failure of a human being if you don’t tick off the running list of normal human activities in the order and time frame that suits all your friends and family.

So take heart! Your life is not anyone else’s life. Sure, you want to check in with trusted people who love you to make sure you’re not doing anything obviously destructive (e.g. staying in a toxic relationship), but other than that… you have so much freedom!  Even if the questioners are simply trying to be friendly and interested in your life, don’t let them get to ya!

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I want this to be you, not caring when other people are uncomfortable when you deviate too much from their own life path

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Writing this blog, obvs *snorts*

**Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. You’ll never know until I’m deadz bwahaha

Stuffz Gallo Likes: How Tim Keller encouraged me to be a Christian with wild abandon

Let’s take a journey back a few years ago. I was neck-deep in my dissertation data collection, and the only people I interacted with on the reg were soccer moms at my church (who I liked, but had a hard time connecting with) or highly-educated, young, single agnostic/athetists/spiritual-but-not-religious peers at my university.

I still went to church, and I remember for a while every Sunday I would tear up during worship because it felt so amazing to actually be with other believers. But still, there was a large disconnect between my daily academic grind and and my faith, my brains and my heart. The two worlds felt so completely different that it was hard to reconcile “Christian Gallo” with “PhD student Gallo.” I started to wonder if I went to church for the sake of nostalgia, and/or to maintain a connection with my pre-PhD student, super-Crish, conservative, southern culture life. I also had a lot of doubts.

Some were intellectual – neuroscience is very material, in the sense that all the complexity of human thought, emotion, and even spirituality is reduced down to electrical and chemical communication between cells. Did I really believe that a supernatural world existed? It was easy to believe when I was with other Christians, but when I looked at it through the lens of science it seemed pretty ridiculous.

Some were emotional – even though I had planned to get my PhD ever since I was 16 years old, my early 20s were *not* what I had imagined them to be. I think in my heart I actually believed I would take my University by storm and ride the wave of success all the way to the cure for Alzheimer’s disease. I also always envisioned myself as being very suave and sophisticated as I got older (lolz). Needless to say… that is not what happened. I failed.. a lot. Both in research, but also in matters of character. I kind of lost respect for myself, and I was mad that God wasn’t letting me hit scientific home runs and point to the sky in acknowledgement of Him as I accepted all my awards, Tim Tebow style.

NO SALE
I thought this would be me *eye roll*

Then one summer, the Christian fellowship I was a part of started a book discussion on Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. The book blew me away because it was so clear and straightforward. TK didn’t act like it was evil or preposterous to question Christianity , but he also “pushed back,” so to speak, on some of the common assumptions that non-believers take as “givens.” The Reason for God opened my eyes to the possibility of being a Christian, who – although still needing faith for some particular issues – wasn’t judged for having doubts, and wasn’t asked to forsake their intelligence as a prerequisite for faith.

Then I started reading his other books.. and trust me there are a lot of them. Not all are so “apologetical” as The Reason for God.. nor are his sermons. More than any pastor I have ever read / listened to, Tim Keller shines a huge spotlight on Jesus – pointing out how Jesus is threaded through the entire bible – not just the New Testament. He tackles weird, slightly off-putting Old Testament stories and points out how those stories are purposefully driving us toward an understand of the absolute necessity of Jesus. Adam, Moses, Noah, Jacob, David, Hosea — all of them! They were all used by God, but not enough. Their failures used to frustrate and confuse me, now they encourage me to rejoice that where these biblical figures failed, Jesus succeeded.
He also talks about how Jesus fits into work, marriage, money, sex, rest … every single aspect of life now.

Timmy K doesn’t need a grammy-award winning worship team to whip his congregation into an emotional frenzy before he preaches. He doesn’t need to soften the crowd with his hilarious hijinks. He doesn’t need to put visitors at ease with his trendy ripped up jeans. TK is not particularly attractive or charismatic, and that is why I love him all the more. Because to me it shows that his appeal is not really in him – (he’s like a slightly stuffy Dad)it’s the freedom and joy he points to, in Jesus!

Thank you, Tim! YOU ARE AMAZING I LOVE YOU FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!

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These are for you, Tim!!!!!!

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

Tim Keller resources – http://www.timothykeller.com/ , https://gospelinlife.com/

My favorite books, in no particular order: The Meaning of Marriage, Encounters with Jesus, Jesus the King, The Reason for God

Some lit sermons of his: God’s Plans, Your Plans , How Sin Makes Us Addicts

 

Tear down the damned high places

Whenever I read through the Kings and Chronicles of the old testament, I get frustrated at this statement that’s tacked onto the end of almost every single king’s reign- whether he was evil or righteous –  “… but he didn’t tear down the high places.”

I’m not theologically schooled enough to fully break down what “high places” meant for the ancient Israelites or the full spiritual symbolism, but to me it symbolized an evil stronghold that even the good leaders of that time didn’t have the will or guts to get rid of.

Seeing this phrase annoyed me so much that it stuck with me… and became irritatingly relevant.

Ya see, there was a habit in my life I was holding on to that was not good for me. Eventually, I half-heartedly built a barrier to keep it out of my life. But… my wall had cracks all in it. I kinda sorta maybe left ways for this habit to worm its way back into my thoughts. After a few times of thinking about the habit, it started to seem less harmful.. silly almost. Then I thought “I’m strong enough to handle this,” and started to dabble in it again. Then dabbling turned into regular use, regular use into bingeing… Which of course made me feel especially guilty and terrible, because I knew I was fully re-immersing myself in a behavior that — at my best — I didn’t want.

holeinwall
Feeble wall building =  lamé

But later in my life, my amazing wise sister came to visit. My sister cannot stand this habit, and especially what this habit did to me. I was explaining to her how my most recent entanglement with this habit had upset me. Although she was sympathetic – dear soul that she is – I could also tell that she was frustrated. And in my heart of hearts I couldn’t blame her! I was choosing to let myself be hurt.

So I set my face like steel, and this time when I cut this habit it out, I pulverized it. 100%.

That same week, I met my next boyfriend.*  While we were dating and sharing about ourselves, this habit came up… as they always seem to do … and he asked me straight up if I was still a regular user, so to speak. I’m telling y’all… it felt amazing to look him in the eye and be able to honestly say “Nope. That is 100% donezos.”

Before, a part of me was unwilling to cut this habit off completely.  Because like almost all habits that enfold you and steal your heart away from wholeness, this habit could be, well, quite enjoyable. But eventually, I did tear down my “high places.” It wasn’t because the habit stopped being appealing, it was because the idea of freedom from this habit become even more appealing.

(Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page; the back channels of access to this habit were my “high places.” Despite all of my other “reforms,” these last strongholds were irksome markers of my own rebellion.)

Do I miss this habit sometimes? Yep. Maybe I always will, at least a little. But at the same time, I’ve never regretted cutting it out, and I have honestly never received so much positive feedback from all the people who *love* me after I built a real wall, with no cracks, no back-entryways into my life.

“For freedom Christ has set us free..” – Apostle Paul (Galations 5:1)

So… tear down the damned high places in your life. Be free 🙂

freedom
Me rn

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Granted, that didn’t exactly end well. But THAT’S NOT THE POINT

 

 

Again and again and again

The *very* few times I have made mistakes, people have told me “Well, at least you learned something,” as a sort of consolation. A few of those few times, that sentiment has been comforting. My mistake (e.g. being too open with a friend who used my vulnerabilities to manipulate me) resulted in sparkly fresh knowledge (just because someone shares their deep personal stuff with me doesn’t mean they should be trusted with my own deep personal stuff). GREAT! The wisdom doth overfloweth!

sparklewater
I think more kids would stay in school if we could see the beauty of our knowledge! 

Most of those few times, that sentiment isn’t comforting at all. Because many times my mistake is to simply not act on what I have already learned. Somehow, the knowledge that I just did something when I already “knew better” isn’t quite as sparkly the second, third, 4,890th time around. The wisdom doth continue to overfloweth until Gallo choketh in a pool of her own stupidity and rebellion.

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Help plz

 

Sometimes I get pissed that despite my sincere prayers for freedom from my loopity-loop of failures, loopity-loop to failure I go. I think “I want to be free of this, and God YOU should want me to be free of this, I’m asking you to let me be free of this – yet WHAT IS THIS I SEE BEFORE ME?!” [wave wildly at my past and current mistakes as they pal around brazenly]

 But what if the repeated mistakes are evidence of God’s mercy?

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.                                                                                  -Hebrews 12:6

Imagine if you’re suddenly recruited to play basketball with the Hawks, even though you are entirely unqualified. You get on the court for your first practice. Someone throws you the ball, and you heave it towards the net. The ball flies straight over the backboard.

Then imagine if your coach came up and ripped the basketball out of your hands and said, “You suck at this, go sit down.” He then passes it to the star player, who dunks the ball effortlessly. Basketball has defeated you – your only way of making it through the season is to avoid all contact with basketballs and coddle your feelings of inferiority by yelling obscenities at the other teams from the bench. You’re still on the team no matter what, but you’re not in the game.

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Lameeeeeeeeee

But what if! Your coach watched you struggle during practice and, every time you took an awful shot, picked up the ball and threw it back to you and said, “You suck at this, but I’m going to keep throwing this ball to you until you learn how to aim. I want you to be in the game.” After missing the net for the next 142 shots, you are frustrated and beg him to transfer his expertise and talent directly to you. But he says, “Nope, doesn’t work that way. Try it again. Again. Again!”

 Is the coach being mean in the second scenario? He’s certainly not coddling you… And I guess one perspective would be “I can’t believe he keeps letting me fail over and over.” But is he really? 

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Maybe this is what we want God to be. Just ignore the bears not sure what that is all about lolzzzz

I think sanctification may be something like this. We want a magic coach wizard who will come and wave a wand and automatically make us amazing players. When he doesn’t, we assume he is torturing us, doesn’t actually want us in the game, or may start to doubt if we were really recruited in the first place. But what if our endless failures are the consequence of him giving us endless opportunities to get it right?

Maybe this sports analogy is a little too much cheese for you all, but this analogy has been a real source of encouragement for me. Especially when I find myself in these deja-vus-des-insufficances. Maybe God isn’t being a jerk – maybe he’s offering me the opportunity for mastery. Maybe he knows something about my abilities that I don’t. So he gives me the opportunity to.. vanquish! Again. And again. And Again.

I hope so.. I want to play 😉 

 

Baby Boomers: Get off your arse and harass a millennial

Something happened to me this week that blew my mind, and then it blew my mind that it blew my mind– totes meta.

The background: I met this hilarious, encouraging, Spirit-filled lady at my church who’s probably 30ish years my senior. We had similar life passions so we decided to get coffee and chat a few times before church. The last time we met, it was ambiguous if we would meet up again, and I thought “well, she’s probably busy. Maybe we’ll see each other around.”

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Actual picture of us chatting. Jk. FROM THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE

This week, I get an email from her titled “WHERE ARE YOU.” Apparently I had missed an email from her inviting me to hang last Sunday.

Here’s the outrageous part- she followed up! THEN when I explained that I had missed her email, she invited me to something else!

💥💥💥

^my brains

If you are underwhelmed right now, let me ‘splain.

It is incredibly easy to ghost people. I don’t like to brag, but I’ve done some hardcore ghosting through the years. Even MORE easy is to ghost Christian community. There’s nothing brag-worthy about this- most churches are so concerned with attracting new people they forget to care about keeping them there. Many a time your little Gallo has slinked her way out of Christian community like a spiritually dry ninja. 🙅🏻 So when this lady was like “Yo yo! where you at, boo?”* it meant a lot to me that she 1) noticed 2) cared an 3) wasn’t putting up with any passive-rebellious nonsense.**

Even more fundamental though, is just that this lady has taken the time to Make Concrete Plans! Stick to Them! Meet Me Face to Face! Follow up!

Even MORE fundamental- at risk of sounding pathetic – it actually warms the cockles of my lil heart that she simply … took an interest in me.

But wait, there’s more!

When we meet, somehow without condescending or dismissing my struggle bus rides, she encourages me. I always feel optimistic and positive about life when we’re done meeting. For realzzzz, how many people can you say that about??

I say all this not *only* because she’s my #WomanCrushWednesday, but because I want you old fogies ( 😉) to know how little you have to do to be a huge source of light and encouragement to a millennial.

I Love You Hearts GIF by Feliks Tomasz Konczakowski - Find & Share on GIPHY

Instead of sharing articles with each other bemoaning how the Youths are always staring at their phones, you could rock their world by busting out those social skills you grieve that we don’t have and 1) initiate a conversation 2) make a concrete plan 3) be a consistent, stable force of good in their lives.***

What an opportunity! Show us how it’s done, baby boomers!

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*that was the gist 😉

**even though this time was a mistake, she didn’t know that!

***sorry for all the enumerations. I just 1) have a lot of points and 2) I don’t really care so 3) I’m really not sorry