Fat Girl,

Haikus With Dani: Breakup Edition

March 3, 2016 3 Comments

In so many ways, the dis­solv­ing of my mar­riage has been unspeak­ably hard. I lit­er­al­ly don’t have tru­ly appro­pri­ate words for this expe­ri­ence, only deep chasms with­in my being that alter­nate­ly flow with rage and sor­row, then ebb with hol­low mis­ery. So I decid­ed to put the frag­ment­ed shards of grief into haikus.

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When I must be “The Bad Guy.”

February 1, 2016 6 Comments

I could explain my thought process­es for every step of these var­i­ous jour­neys. I’m very prone to explain­ing and dis­sect­ing and hop­ing beyond hope that I can just <i>make you see why and how,</i> make you see cause and effect, con­nect dots for you, con­nect dots for me. I want to feel jus­ti­fied, val­i­dat­ed. I don’t want to be The Bad Guy. I don’t want to accept that to so many, I am petu­lant and over-shar­ing and run­ning away from prob­lems that could be fixed if I would just try hard­er. But I can’t change, even if I tried. Even if I want­ed to.* And so…here I sit. The Bad Guy. It’s not com­fort­able. I don’t like it. But if this is who I have to be in order to be <i>me</i>, then so be it.

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Great expectations: basic human decency.

October 5, 2015 11 Comments

In short: the low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor in all rela­tion­ships ought to be basic human decen­cy.

When Chris­tians tell me that it’s not fair for me to expect them not to tram­ple on my bound­aries or treat me with dis­re­spect for my auton­o­my as a human being, all I can hear is, “You can’t expect basic human decen­cy from me or my peo­ple.” More than that, I hear, “You don’t even qual­i­fy as human enough for us to con­sid­er treat­ing you dif­fer­ent­ly.”

Chris­tians? This is a prob­lem.

How will the world know you as lov­ing if you refuse to act lov­ing­ly? How can you say you pos­sess the love of Jesus Christ when this is how you treat unbe­liev­ers? You claim that you’re no bet­ter than us, yet treat us like you’re the Des­ig­nat­ed Adult and we’re the naughty chil­dren you must put back in our places. You insist that for me and oth­er unbe­liev­ers (or even lib­er­al believ­ers!) to write and live and share our authen­tic selves is a direct attack on you, and so you try to con­trol us through silenc­ing tac­tics and what you must think are counter-attacks. You can’t see the dif­fer­ence between some­one being hon­est about who they are and some­one exert­ing con­trol over a per­son? How can you not see the dis­re­spect of that? How can you not see the con­de­scen­sion? How can you pre­tend to be shar­ing Christ’s love when you refuse to see the image of God in any­one but those who look and think and act like you?

Despite being an athe­ist, I do think the Bible has a few nuggets of wis­dom here and there. And one of those nuggets is this: “Let us not love in word…but in deed and in truth.” In oth­er words, don’t tell me that you love me while show­ing me that you don’t.

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The journey in and out.

May 15, 2015 5 Comments

There had always been a dis­con­nect between what I was taught and what I observed and expe­ri­enced, between blind faith in invis­i­ble things and repeat­ably testable evi­dence. But as a child, as a teen, even into ear­ly adult­hood, I wasn’t giv­en the words to rec­og­nize the dis­con­nect, or even the tools to inspect or decon­struct my beliefs to see if there was any mer­it to them out­side of want­i­ng them to be true.

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Observations about relationships in Christianity.

May 8, 2015 2 Comments

What kind of foun­da­tion forms a last­ing friend­ship, then? I mean, friend­ships are a pret­ty per­son­al thing. There’s lots of aspects that are dif­fi­cult to pin down, usu­al­ly includ­ing com­pat­i­ble per­son­al­i­ties, shared expe­ri­ences, out­looks on life, mutu­al­ly enjoy­able activ­i­ties, etc. I think those things are a giv­en, no mat­ter whether you’re a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian or not. But in my expe­ri­ence, the ingre­di­ents that point to longevi­ty seem to be a pret­ty equal mix­ture of mutu­al admi­ra­tion, respect, and trust. The Chris­t­ian friends I have now who have been friends of mine for years weren’t my friends just because of our once-shared faith. We became friends through dis­cov­er­ing and indulging in shared inter­ests, sure, but we did it while demon­strat­ing respect for each other’s indi­vid­u­al­i­ty and per­son­hood. Our per­son­al­i­ties do click, but we also work hard to be empa­thet­ic, trust­wor­thy, respect­ful peo­ple. We care about each oth­er, what demon­stra­bly makes each other’s lives more mean­ing­ful and ful­fill­ing, no ulte­ri­or motives.

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For the well-meaning Christian: credit to whom credit is due.

March 11, 2015 2 Comments

I think we real­ly do a dis­ser­vice to our­selves and the peo­ple around us when we attribute the good or bad things actu­al­ly done by peo­ple to the super­nat­ur­al, or even to some sort of intrin­sic good­ness like hard work. I don’t begrudge peo­ple the com­fort they take in believ­ing a divine cre­ator has orches­trat­ed their life to their ben­e­fit, or even want­i­ng to believe that bad things have hap­pened due to an invis­i­ble malev­o­lent force. I just can’t help but notice how this ten­den­cy to cred­it the super­nat­ur­al with what man or chance has wrought often serves to cre­ate a dis­con­nect between us and our com­mu­ni­ties.

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For the well-meaning Christian: on showing basic empathy and respect.

March 2, 2015 15 Comments

I real­ly hope you can hear me out about what I am say­ing and what I’m not say­ing here, because I absolute­ly don’t expect any of you to stop talk­ing about your faith in gen­er­al. It’s such a huge part of your lives, and it’d be real­ly unfair of me to expect you to keep such an impor­tant part of your life to your­self and nev­er speak of it. That’s cru­el and dis­re­spect­ful, and would mean that I don’t real­ly care about you in the first place. To bor­row the spir­it of the words of a friend, “It’s part of your life — and I like your life.”

This is where it could do you some good to learn a lit­tle empa­thy, learn to put your­self in my shoes for a lit­tle bit, so maybe you can learn what treat­ing me with respect actu­al­ly looks like.

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No more faith: the whys and why nots of my deconversion.

December 31, 2014 22 Comments

It’s real­ly rather rare for peo­ple to ask me why I decon­vert­ed from Chris­tian­i­ty. Like, real­ly rare. It’s far more com­mon for them to assume they already know, whether they’re talk­ing to me while they’re express­ing this assump­tion or not. How­ev­er, in a sin­gle week, I’ve had two sep­a­rate unaf­fil­i­at­ed peo­ple ask me a vari­a­tion of the same ques­tion about the role fun­da­men­tal­ism had in my decon­ver­sion. Of course, I’ve been try­ing to fig­ure this out for myself on a less-spe­cif­ic scale for the bet­ter part of two years, though much of it has been in my own head. Per­haps it’s time for me to work out of my thoughts here with you.

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Online as in person: basic etiquette, boundaries, & choosing your own team.

November 26, 2014 1 Comment

With the advent of social media, I’ve found that such inter­ac­tions are no longer rel­e­gat­ed to hol­i­days and reunions, but are now part of our every­day dig­i­tal lives. What sur­pris­es me more often than not, though, is the atti­tude with which peo­ple approach social media. In recent days alone, I’ve heard that block­ing some­one on social media is nar­row-mind­ed, pri­vate walls are pub­lic forums where all opin­ions ought to have equal air time, and online inter­ac­tions aren’t <em>real</em><em> life</em> so every­one needs to just calm down. Per­haps I’m a bit a biased, con­sid­er­ing the sheer num­ber of friends I’ve made through online-only inter­ac­tions, but in my expe­ri­ence and from my obser­va­tions, <strong>online life <em>is</em> real life.</strong> It’s an unavoid­able part of life in the 21st cen­tu­ry, and it amazes me that some seem to think online inter­ac­tions sud­den­ly stop hav­ing mean­ing because they’re hap­pen­ing on a screen rather than face to face. It’s as if being phys­i­cal­ly removed from a per­son gives one license to ignore bound­aries and assume a far clos­er rela­tion­ship to peo­ple than actu­al­ly exists. This sort of thing is incred­i­bly famil­iar to me, hav­ing spent 25+ years in <a href=“http://www.patheos.com/blogs/excommunications/2014/11/i-belong-to-me/” target=“_blank” rel=“noopener noreferrer”>a cul­ture that total­ly ignores bound­aries and consent</a> in per­son (let alone online). This fur­ther solid­i­fies in my mind that the same basic eti­quette you ought to show to some­one in per­son is how you should treat peo­ple online.

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