Eli Rallo's rules for a better 2024
Dubbed the “Carrie Bradshaw of our generation,” Eli Rallo is Tik Tok’s big sister. Her page is a safe space for over 800 thousand followers, mostly Gen-Z women and non-men. If you scroll through Eli’s videos, you’ll find read-alongs from Eli’s new book, snippets of advice and encouragement, style inspo, hot takes, all things Taylor Swift, and a dash of musical-theater-kid peeking its head out. Most notably, Eli is known for her “rules.”
Eli has rules for everything: from a first date to a Saturday night to Valentines day gifts. Unlike the rules we grew up with, these are FUN, and her followers (us included) can’t get enough. We can tell you first hand, Eli is exactly as she appears on social media. She oozes authenticity and an intentional energy.
This week, we sat down with Eli to get her take on rules for wellness in 2024. Keep reading for Eli’s 2024 takes on pleasure, friendships, body image, social justice, and much much more.
On work-life balance: advocate for yourself
I feel like I come from a place of privilege where I get to make my own schedule. I almost don't feel fully comfortable giving people advice on their own work-life balance because my life is my work and my work is my life. Perhaps that would mean that I need some more balance, haha.
I would say remembering to advocate for yourself whenever you can. I know that that's surely easier said than done because in a lot of spaces you could advocate for yourself and that could mean you get fired or don’t get a promotion. That speaks to our toxic work culture, but sometimes you don’t even have the option to leave a toxic environment because it's the only way to pay rent. It's all so complicated.
But, I think advocating for yourself can even look like finding small windows of time where you have space to enjoy yourself or do something that you like, it doesn't have to be some huge grand event or outing. It can just be watching your favorite movie or calling a friend or venting to a parent. I've always found that having those little moments of respite can be incredibly helpful no matter how large or small.
On vaginal and sexual health: don’t be scared of the gyno
Not fearing your gynecologist. I know a lot of people are scared to go to the OBGYN. I understand why, I have a lot of health anxiety and it can be super scary. Either you're scared about finding something “bad” out or you're scared of getting tested or getting a pap smear.
Find a place where you can access sexual health care that makes you feel heard and safe and respected. Again, I know that's also such a privilege having access to health care. But going and getting answers is going to make you feel so much better.
I used to put off going to the doctor and getting tested because I felt like it was so daunting. What helped was normalizing that, talking about my OBGYN experiences with my friends and hearing funny stories that they have, or getting tested together! Normalizing that conversation can really make it easier for all of us to get in the habit and routine of going and not dread it so much.
On dating and love: there’s no rush
Not forcing yourself into anything that you don't want to do. I think when you reach a certain age, if you're single, people start asking, “why aren't you dating?” Or, “are you dating?” Or, “have you met anyone recently?” You hear things like, “don't worry, you'll find someone.” That's so difficult to hear when you're single. Maybe you want to be single, and it might make you feel like now you have to find someone. Or maybe you don’t want to be single and it’s even harder to hear.
I would say, if you don't want to date, don't date. There's no rush. I'm 25, that's so young, and if I found myself single I think I would really embrace that. We're all on our own timeline. And if you want to be actively dating, then actively date! The point is if you make those choices yourself, you'll end up feeling so much better.
Following that, are there any goals or changes you're making in your relationship in 2024?
That's a good question. I haven't thought too much about specific goals for my relationship because I feel like we're in a really good place. But I think as I make changes and goals for myself, I'm always keeping in mind how those changes and goals would impact people in my life who I love and who I value.
I am sort of a messy person, and it is not one of my goals to fix that. But if I did fix that, it would probably benefit my relationship. I have other goals that I'm working on, for example drinking more water. If I'm more hydrated, I'm going to be healthier. And then the people in my life are going to benefit from me being healthier. I think about self care and goals I'm setting for myself as sort of community care, because the people in my life will benefit so much from the goals that I'm setting for myself.
On pleasure: get comfortable with it
Don’t fear it. The fear of pleasure is definitely born of a kink-shamey concept of like, “women aren't supposed to experience pleasure at a very high volume.” And when we do, it's something to be looked down on. I think women, or non-men, will think “oh, that would be really hot,” or “I'm really intrigued by that.” But they push it down because they don't hear other girls talking about it, or they don't hear other people talking about that kind of thing in a sexual context, and they're like, oh, my God, am I weird? You're not weird. I promise you, other people have had those same thoughts and feelings before.
And you really should kind of follow the things that you feel, like turn you on, that make you kind of be like, oh, that's kind of hot. You should go down that path. You deserve to feel good, whether or not you're experiencing something with a partner, as long as those things that you're looking to feel good about are safe and respectful to everybody involved. I really think it's so important to head down those paths and really explore that.
On friendship: send a text
I really like this one. I think sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to make sure we’re seeing our friends x times a week or making big plans with them. Sometimes you can just text a friend who you've been thinking about but haven't seen in a while, “thinking about you.” I’ll think, what would make me feel good if my friend did that? And then I do that thing. It doesn't necessarily need to be so grandiose. It doesn't always have to be dinner and then going out and having a big party. It doesn’t have to be a big production.
We love a big production, but it can also just be a text. “I am thinking of you,” “I love you.” Especially as we’re growing older, everyone is getting so busy with their own lives. Sometimes all we do need is a lifeline. It takes a friend to have a friend. You have to be a friend to have a friend. And I always think about that. If I haven't heard from them in a while, they also haven't heard from me. So maybe I should be the one to reach out. I always remind myself of that whenever I feel like I haven't heard from a friend in a bit of time.
On mental health: sometimes you just need to show up
In addition to fearing the gynecologist, I talk to people every day who really fear going to therapy. And I get that. I always say the hardest part of therapy is showing up. I cancel on my therapist all the time because we get to the day-of, and I'm like, well, I'm no longer feeling like I did when I booked the session, so I'm not going. Maybe I need to go to the gym, or I would rather put my time somewhere else. I'm not showing up today. But you don't realize how much you need it until you're in the room. Sometimes making it to the appointment is the hardest part. But once you get there, you'll be so grateful.
On career: it’s okay if you’re not passionate about your job
Something I’ve noticed is that nobody prioritizes their careers quite like Americans, for better or worse. I think the hyper-capitalist society that we live in can make what you do to make money the most important thing about you. When you visit other countries you realize how much happier people are when the first thing that you're asked isn't, “what do you do for work?” but, “what do you like to do for fun?”
That's not to say that your work can't be something you're passionate about. I'm in the minority of people that are passionate about their jobs, and I understand how lucky I am. I'm not saying don't work hard, and I'm not saying don't make your career a priority. What I am saying is it's okay if your career is something that you're doing for a paycheck so you can live the life you want to live.
Also, your passion doesn't have to be your job. People always say, “I'm not passionate.” And that's not true. You can be passionate about literally anything. You can be passionate about a tv show. You can be passionate about spending time with your friends. Your passion is not illegitimate just because it’s not what you do for work.
On body image: don’t waste your time hating yourself
Think about how much limited time you have in the day and how exhausting it is to use that time to criticize your body, which is legitimately the least interesting thing about you. I know that's such a tired sentiment at this point, but when I really boil it down, I pretty much only know that I have this moment on earth. And if I only get, like, 16 waking hours a day, why would I want to spend eleven of them thinking about how I didn't like myself. That was a crazy thing I realized when I was consistently spending time that way. I'm not saying that you can't ever have a bad moment. I certainly do. But it's no longer like the vast majority of my day to day, which is so refreshing.
On social justice: listen to listen, not to respond
To make it as simple as possible, I think listening to listen and not to respond. This has been a big part of my journey in learning and understanding social justice and activism. Especially as a white woman coming from an immensely privileged background, I probably don't have that much to add to the conversation in terms of a contribution. My role is to really listen to other people's experiences.
I don't have the lived experience of being transgender or gay, so why would I tell those people how they feel, what's right for them, or how we're meant to pursue activism? I will never experience being a Black woman in America, so why would I ever tell them, this is how we should approach activism, this is how we should approach justice, this is what you need, this is what you want, this is how you feel? It wouldn’t make any sense.
I used to listen to respond, it's definitely something that a lot of white people do. I think they'll listen, but their intention is to reply, and maybe be defensive. When something that you’ve been upholding unintentionally is being attacked, you might feel all sorts of different emotions. But, I think the best thing you can do is listen with an open mind, and you can respond after you've collected your thoughts. When the intention is listening, I think it changes the spirit of conversations.
On finding yourself: interrupt your inner monologue
You have to be really intentional with how your inner monologue works, and sometimes you have to sort of interrupt your thoughts. For example, if you're getting ready to go out and you're thinking about what to wear, your inner monologue might say, “I need to be cool for these girls,” or, “what's the top that will appeal the most to him?” Interrupt that thought and think: no, what do I want to wear? It's difficult, but your conscious actions become subconscious thoughts. So if you work on this for a month, eventually that's how you're going to be thinking about things. It's no longer going to be that form or dialog that you had. The seeds you plant, they won't immediately be flowers.
People say all the time, “I'm going to work on myself.” And I don't think they actually are doing that. I think they're just saying that because everybody says that. But when you actually have an actionable item, I think it's really cool. And then you can look back and think wow, I really did change the way I thought about myself. And that's really special.
On advice for your 18-year-old self: stop worrying about what's next
Again, so much easier said than done. But, stop thinking about what's next because we've been literally conditioned to just think about what's next. Sometimes just living and in the present is so important. And I haven’t mastered that yet, but I know that I'm much better at it than I was then. I was so caught up. I wish I took more time to just be intentional and be present.
For more from Eli, listen to her weekly podcast Miss Congeniality or pick up her new book, I Didn’t Know I Needed This, from your local bookstore.
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