Fat Girl,

Microaggressions and fat-shaming.

By Dani Ward September 10, 2015 17 Comments

It is no one’s goddamn business what I eat, except for me and my doctors. I owe no one explanations for my food choices. I owe no one an explanation for my body. I’m not obligated to share my financial availability for Good Food, nor my health surrounding ability to lose weight or process nutrients in a way ignorant people think I should. My body does not require an explanation or an apology, and it shouldn’t elicit the spouting of erroneous information or meaningless advice from friends, family, or strangers alike — and it most certainly shouldn’t inspire complete strangers to pressure me into eating things I don’t want to eat and adjusting my restaurant orders to something they’re more comfortable with a Fatty McFatperson like me eating.

If I ate nothing but fruits and vegetables, I would not be worthy of more respect.

If I ate nothing but fried foods and sweet, I would not be worthy of less respect.

If I incorporated regular intensive workouts into my daily life, I would not be a more worthy human.

If I did nothing but sit on the couch and eat Cheetos all day long, I would not be a less worthy human.

And I hate so much that, despite working constantly on body positivity and self-care for the past 4 years, all it takes is one terrible person to make me second-guess the validity of my existence and self-worth as a fat femme person.

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You matter.

By Dani Ward September 7, 2015 1 Comment

No matter who you are. No matter who you’ve been. No matter what you believe. You matter. Just as you are, you are worthy of love, respect, and compassion. You intrinsically — by sheer virtue of existing as a human being — have a dignity that no one can take from you. Your life matters. Your…

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On treating depression.

By Dani Ward August 3, 2015 8 Comments

I’ve been on anti-depressants for about 2 months. On the one hand, I’ve been far more productive than I’ve known it possible to be in my life. I’ve been able to work on cleaning and organizing my house. I’ve been able to do laundry. I’ve been able to write and make art and live a…

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White Supremacy in America and me.

By Dani Ward June 28, 2015 5 Comments

It’s easy for us, the white children of the Colorblind Generation, to continue to focus on individual prejudice while denying systemic oppression. It’s how we were raised. It’s how we were taught. Surely, we are innocent. Surely, we don’t benefit from white supremacy. Surely, we don’t perpetuate it.

And yet, white supremacy is alive and thriving in America today. It exists as a system, perhaps even more than as a skin color. It rewards not only those who work to support the system, but also those who do nothing to impede it. Those who sit silently in the face of oppression. Those who step up and affirm the system that oppresses them. Those who don’t even think to question the stories we’re told about whiteness, blackness, and our place in the world.

White supremacy creates an environment where generation after generation are uninformed about the violence it takes to maintain their safety, then rewards them for never questioning what they’re told.

White supremacy created the environment that allowed me to reach the age of 21 without ever questioning it. For decades, I did nothing to try to stop it.

I benefit from white supremacy.

And if you’re a white American — so do you.

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Of masculinity & abusive breeding grounds.

By Dani Ward June 8, 2015 0 Comments

This post originally appeared on Plymouth Brethren Dropout on May 26, 2014. An updated version appears below. It’s been just over a year since the tragedy at Isla Vista that prompted the original penning of this post. So many things have happened since then that illustrate the points made herein, including but not limited to: the largely…

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A tale of male entitlement.

By Dani Ward May 29, 2015 6 Comments

This complete stranger, in the span of 90 seconds, demonstrated that he felt entitled to a) my attention, b) my possessions, c) my goodwill, and d) my body. 

My clear reticence for social interaction didn’t matter. My body language regarding my pencil didn’t matter (considering he literally pried it from my hand). My disinterest in stroking his ego was the highest affront, to which he responded by touching me without my consent (and prolonging his touch when I physically pulled away).

People. Don’t do this. It’s super not okay. Respect personal bubbles. Don’t force people to interact with you when they’re giving every indication that they’d really rather not. And don’t take their stuff while they’re using it — that’s kindergarten level stuff. AND DON’T TOUCH ANYONE WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD.

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The journey in and out.

By Dani Ward 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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Let me hide myself.

By Dani Ward March 30, 2015 3 Comments

I was 15 years old, sitting in the front row of the church, staring skeptically at the woman who was preaching to us. This wasn’t my youth group, of course—the assemblies would never allow a woman to speak like this. I determined that perhaps she was like Balaam’s donkey, and did my utmost to pay attention to whatever word of the Lord she might ironically speak despite her unfitness for leadership.

She walked over to her projector and held up a transparency sheet. “This represents you,” she said simply. “Your lives.” She picked up a few different markers and started doodling on the sheet, explaining that our sins and decisions and actions were like the marks on the page. “Everything is here—from the clothes you wear, to the words you say, to what you do in your every day life. They all show up here.”

The speaker placed the sheet back on the projector and turned on the light. “This light is Jesus,” she continued. “Notice how you can’t see him through the ink, only through the clear parts?” I stirred in my seat, aware of how it seemed the Spirit was moving within me.

She took an eraser and slowly began moving it across the marker drawings. I watched, mesmerized, as the marks disappeared. “This is what the blood of Christ does”—she pointed to the now-clean sheet—”so that all that can be seen through you is Jesus.” She spent the rest of her time with us explaining how important it was to make sure that our transparencies remained clean, that our decisions and words and lives were so clean that we would only reflect Christ to those around us.

As I got in the van with the carpool that brought me to church that night, I was deeply convicted to start changing my life so that I would better reflect Christ. It occurred to me that this meant becoming a different person. But wasn’t that what Christianity was all about to begin with, becoming a new creation in Christ?

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

By Dani Ward 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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Black lives matter.

By Dani Ward December 24, 2014 1 Comment

This is not a print I’ll be selling, but it’s available for you to download and disperse as you will. I have no words to add to the onslaught of tragedy this year that has been police violence against black people. I know that it’s not just this year. I know that it stems from…

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