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.
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
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!
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!
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.
You don’t have to date everyone who’s a good person
Be okay with uncertainty in relationships
Don’t try to engineer and control any relationship, especially romantic
People don’t owe you affection or attention when you do something nice for them
Talk to your Grandma like a peer and be ridiculous with your nieces and nephews
Allow yourself to feel your feels
All legit, y’all.
Don’t let your feels control you
You’re responsible for your own feelings, but be aware of how you are prone to feel after spending time with any person
Spend time with people who make you feel good
You can forgive people but still protect yourself from bad characters
Most people are schmucky schmuckersons
Celebrate and hold onto the people that aren’t schmucky schmuckersons
Me holding onto someone great
People who bring exciting drama into your life are also likely to bring a bunch of hurt into your life.
Go to the arts for your dramatic fix
Finding things to laugh at is serious business
The expensive car is *not* worth it
Eating more expensive healthy food *is* worth it
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
Try to find joy in challenges instead of focusing on the stress
Stop feeling sorry for yourself
You can be mature and intelligent and still wildly silly
It’s not necessary or wise to trust everyone in a Christian community
Allow yourself to dwell on and obsess about how beautiful something is
Weighted blankets are heavenly
It’s worth the AC cost to turn down the temp enough to not sweat at night
Allow yourself to consider you are wrong about everything
Don’t let uncertainty paralyze you
You don’t have to listen to everyone’s advice, even if they’re great people
God is bigger and more confusing than you ever imagined
— 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.
Have you ever been accused of stalking , but thought “That’s ridiculous! I’m totes norms! I have friends! Plus, deep down the object of my stalking really enjoys my attention!”
But then… At 11:27 a.m. on a Thursday… when the sloppy ignorant bliss of weed and alcohol has faded into sober introspection, a teeny part of you wonders, “Gee willickers, am I a stalker??”
As a doctor of philosophy in psychology, I know that these conflicting thoughts can cause great monostress* and distress. Never one to leave persons from marginalized groups without resources for empowerment, I have chosen to share my profound wisdom and support for anyone with niggling doubts about their stalker status.
You are likely a stalker if 2 or more of these apply to you…
The person has blocked you from any / all routes of contact (Facebook, instagram, texting, etc.)
Your friends have expressed – verbally, through uncomfortable body language, or marked silence – their discomfort with your behavior regarding the potentially stalked person
You have asked yourself, “Could this be seen as stalking?”
You wouldn’t want to share with anyone your “process” in contacting / pursuing this person
You “coincidentally” become involved in every open social group they are a part of
The person you are contacting never reaches out to you
You own a pair of binoculars
You have to pick leaves out of your hair after you see them
When you see them they don’t always see you
You are definitely a stalker if any one of these apply to you…
The person has directly or indirectly given all indications they do not want to speak to, hear from, or see you again, and you continue contacting them.
This post will address one of the most important science-related concepts I think I’ve ever grasped: No evidence is not the same as evidence against.
“Whatever do you mean, Dr. Galloswag?!” exclaims you.
Okay – let’s think about Facebook use in relation to anxiety. Facebook has been accessible to the unwashed masses since 2006. I didn’t sign up until I began undergrad in Fall 2007. #ancient Pretend my mum was nervous about the idea of me joining Facebook.
Mum of Cgallo: “I don’t know sweetums, it just seems like having that much interaction with random people without actually seeing them face-to-face could be bad for your mental health.”
Young Cgallo: “There is no evidence that Facebook use is linked to anxiety, Mum! Get out of my face!”
Guess what? Young Cgallo was technically right – at the time there wasn’t any scientific evidence. When I entered the search terms “Facebook, anxiety” into PubMed ( a database of life-science / biological articles), the earliest search result was from 2009, and the earliest might-be-relevant search result was dated 2013.
Why this delay? Because it took a while for older adults to realize how impactful Facebook was. Because research is slow. And so there was no evidence because, well, no one had looked for it. But now there are articles galore on the relationship between Facebook use – and other forms of social media – in relation to anxiety.
So Cgallo’s Mum in this imaginary situation was vindicated over time!
Takeaway #1: Sometimes someone can be technically correct that there is “no evidence” — but that’s because no one has published data on the topic at all!
Now, let’s imagine another scenario — what if there had been multiple studies of Facebook and anxiety, but most or all of the studies reported no significant correlation between Facebook use and anxiety. That is much more informative than there simply being no data at all… but it’s only moderately in favor of young Cgallo. When a study doesn’t find a relationship it could be because …
There is not a correlation between the variables of interest (in this case, Facebook use and anxiety)
Power issues: The study did not include enough participants to detect meaningful differences if they were there.
Operational-definition issues: The study defined anxiety in a funky way. One study might decide to look at Facebook use in relation to being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder by a therapist, another in relation to scoring high on a standardized anxiety scale, yet another in relation to self-reported feelings of stress.
Time-scale issues: The study could have looked at the effect of Facebook use over the course of a week and found no correlation to anxiety. That still doesn’t tell us much about the effect of Facebook use over several years.
Takeaway #2: Sometimes someone can be technically correct that there is “no evidence” — but that’s because all the studies conducted on the issue of interest had design issue(s).
I remember the first time I really thought about this in graduate school, and it’s actually pretty frustrating. But there is almost always going to be another, usually different/better way a researcher could approach a research question. So often times, a lack of evidence means absolutely nothing meaningful IRL.
“What are you getting at here, Cgallo? Are you trying to suggest that we can never really say with confidence that two things are not related to each other??” demands you.
“Mais non!” Cgallo sputters.
For one, if there are many good quality (e.g. large sample size, good operational definitions, relevant time scales) studies conducted on an issue and none of them find an association, that’s a pretty good clue that there may not actually be a relationship between Facebook use and anxiety, or whatever you’re interested in (autism and vaccine *cough cough*).
But let’s contrast all of this with the gold standard: evidence against!
What do I mean? Well, many researchers are terrified of publishing mumbo jumbo, so they err on the side of caution and choose statistical tests that are more likely to give false negatives than false positives (I may go more into what this means in a future post, if it pleases the queen). As a result of this statistical conservatism (teehee), it’s quite difficult to get results that say “yes! Thing 1 is related to thing 2 in a meaningful way!” *SO* if you really want to argue that there’s no relationship between Facebook use and anxiety, find evidence against this statement. How? Well, what if there was an entire body of research pointing to Facebook use being linked to feelings of calm, tranquility, peace, stability, happiness, etc.? That is very different – and in my opinion, much more meaningful – than a simple absence of evidence.
Takeaway #3: The absence of evidence for something (e.g. Facebook use being anxiogenic) is not nearly as powerful as evidence for the opposite (e.g. Facebook use being anxiolytic).
Great! I think we all feel better now! Make sure you share this article on Facebook!
I used to completely ignore all advertisements, until targeted ads became a thing. Now I’m not seeing an ad because of random chance, but because some marketing algorithm (or nefarious robot??) specifically targeted me ..because of my own browser activities, stated interests, etc.
Being the natural narcissist that I am, the new targeting strategies have made me intrigued in the ads that are selected for me. I thought it would be funsies to try to figure out what sort of niche marketing demographic I’m in – thinking they profiled me as Hip-but-No-Nonsense-Overeducated-but-Whimsical-Millennial —- but also kind of hoping they would profile me as Skilled-Assassin-with-Heart-of-Gold-and-Exquisite-Taste-in-Whiskey. But! Once I began looking into my ads — I mean realllly looking into them — I was crushed. Social media sites don’t think I’m hip or whimsical, or a badarse criminal… social media apparently thinks I’m a desperate old-maid with several, ehh.. womanly problems. 😥
For example —
There is of course the ever present, ever mocking – WE KNOW YOU’RE SINGLE, JUST GET MARRIED TO A BIBLE BARRY ALREADY!!!
Ouchhhhh on Instagram, no less! Where I post all my pictures… somehow a robot has determined I’m high risk for fat rolls. WOW
You don’t know me, Facebook! Get out of my ovaries!
Even my poor lil pony isn’t safe! Geeezzzzzz
This one I took extremely personally. Sweat is healthy and detoxifying, you jerks!!
To add insult to injury, now Facebook just assumes that I’m growing a full beard
So even when I’m just trying to check up on my friends, get a few lolz for the day.. I’m told that I 1) need a man pronto 2) need to reign in my flab 3) have disgusting periods; probably due to chronic illness 4) have a lame pony game 5) have socially unacceptable pit stains 6) am turning into wolf-man.
This is just in one log-in!! And people wonder why women are so “obsessed” with our looks.. maybe because everyday we are bombarded by images telling us how disgusting we are.
Oh, but don’t forget women — love yourself and be confident!
Do you enjoy social events, but rely on the invitations of others?
Do you find yourself longing for weekend pals, but tremble at the idea of inviting people to join your activities?
Has your popularity plunged once you became an adult because a large educational institution was no longer forcing you to interact with your peers?
If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, you may suffer from invitaphobia.
If you do suffer from invitaphobia, do not panic. I am here to help you walk through the process of extending a warm invitation to all those friends you’re not sure are your real friends because you never hang out with them.
Decide you want to do something
This doesn’t need to be elaborate – no need to get wild and decide you want a party. That is quite advanced and unsafe for anyone suffering from invitaphobia. Start small. Let’s just say your hungry, so you decide to eat.
Pick up your phone
If this seems taxing, Denise Austin will walk you through an invigorating arm work out to make sure your arm movement is loose and graceful as you reach for your phone and bring it to your face.
Scroll through your contacts until you see a name that does not make you want to vomit.
If there is literally no one in your contacts that meets this criteria, take a nap, watch a Parks and Rec episode, eat 2.75 spoons of peanut butter straight up, and then try again.
Select the “message” option under their contact information. Please see the picture below for details.
Construct your invite message
You can use this simple formula : Hey ___(contact’s name, or preferred nickname)___ ! I’m planning to ___(desired activity determined on step 1)___ at ___(specific location)___, around ___(provide general time range)___. Want to join?
If this seems overwhelming, I have broken it down into baby steps. Today, all you have to do is read this post and share it with everyone you know. Tomorrow, read it aloud to your houseplants. The day after that, just try step one. Then each day after that, try adding one step at a time, until you make it all the way to step 6. If a given person doesn’t respond in a timely manner or can’t come, repeat steps 1-6 with another non-vomity person.
Please send me your success stories so I can post them and form a safe circle of encouragement!
You are shuffling through the grocery store. Bodies surround you. You suspect these bodies must have faces with eyes, eyes that are human, but you don’t care to look. At every turn, you are confronted with an abundance of meaningless choices, choices born of oppressive capitalism. Marketing ploys are yanking at your focus, doing everything possible to seduce you into whimsical purchases. Shriveling cabbage is being sold for a gut-wrenching price.
Then, into that darkness, a peppy flash of yellow catches your eye. Your heart leaps and you find yourself pulled to the yellow before your consciousness has had time to process.
As you come closer, your tender bud of hope blooms into a mature bloom of joy –
It’s a Wohoo! Kroger deal!!!
Like that – the bodies become friends, the choices become simple, the marketing becomes silly, the cabbage is $0.79.
We’ve all been there: one day you’re feeling foolishly extroverted and accept a social invitation for an event that will occur a few days later. Then the day comes, and you would literally rather give Bernie Sanders a sponge bath than actually come to this god-awful social event.
You then spend the next 87 minutes trying to construct a believably yet justifiably-sincere excuse to send to the insensitive invitee to get yourself off the hook.
Why waste your time and mental energy when Galloblog has already done all the work for you? Below is a super flexible, broadly-generalizable tool for generating excuses to any and all social events that you want to get out of. Please use liberally and send me your success stories!
FIDO – Forget* It and Drive On was introduced to me by my dear sister.. Danetté.. when I was in the throes of despair over some past event. I can’t remember the exact details, but I was upset about some interpersonal drama. Something like… “Why would he do that?” Or “Do you think she hates me now?” Or “Arrrggg I shouldn’t have said that.” After listening to me with the patience of a serene gazelle, she told me flatly : “Clarice, let me introduce you to the concept of FIDO.”
Danetté then proceeded to explain a concept so shocking and revolutionary, it shook me to the #gallocore. And that is this – when something happens that’s negative, and there’s no clear action to take.. or you’ve already taken the action and it didn’t have the intended effect – instead of agonizing about it for days, weeks, months to come, Forget It and Drive On.
It’s so simple, but the simplicity is what makes it beautiful. Someone hurt your feels? FIDO. Worried that Bob overheard you telling Jim you don’t like Brenda? FIDO. Wished you hadn’t gone to grad school but went to acting school instead? FIDO.
I urge you all, in whatever walk of life with whatever anxieties you have (that you really can’t do anything about – I’m not talking about FIDOing your job tomorrow or FIDOing a friendship in which you need to ask forgiveness) to implement FIDO with the liberalism of a double Oreo fried in chocolate sauce.
You’re welcome, world. But actually, thank Danetté. Or actually, thank whoever told Danetté. Or actually, I’m almost certain she heard it from someone in the military, SO THANK AMERICA!
— editorial note —
*I changed the actual acronym for the sake of propriety, but the core of the idea was maintained.