Fat Girl,

Introspection: the impact of religion on personality.

December 11, 2014 10 Comments

When I first took the Myers-Brig­gs per­son­al­i­ty test, still thor­ough­ly embed­ded in the fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion of my youth, I scored as an INTJ, rather than an INFJ. In ret­ro­spect, it’s no won­der I skewed more heav­i­ly to Think­ing rather than Feel­ing, since I was taught to fear and dis­trust feel­ings. Feel­ings were often con­sid­ered sin­ful, bring­ing guilt and shame, where­as Log­ic (Accord­ing to the Word of God) was holy and true, bring­ing sta­bil­i­ty (sup­pos­ed­ly). I didn’t under­stand that divorc­ing feel­ings from think­ing the way I had been taught to do was utter­ly dam­ag­ing both to myself and oth­ers, not to men­tion rip­ping con­ver­sa­tion­al rhetoric out of its con­text and real­i­ty.

The thing is, I could nev­er total­ly erad­i­cate my Feel­ings.

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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 real life 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, online life is real life. 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 cul­ture that total­ly ignores bound­aries and con­sent 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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I belong to me: learning agency & consent outside Christianity.

November 15, 2014 28 Comments

By and large, Chris­tian­i­ty as a sys­tem in the West­ern world teach­es peo­ple to run rip-shod over the bound­aries of those with­in and with­out their camps under the guise of love.25 The con­sent of its mem­bers and non-mem­bers alike isn’t required, as clear­ly demon­strat­ed by the past almost 28 years of my exis­tence. And that’s a mas­sive prob­lem, enabling (and at times com­mand­ing) the manip­u­la­tion, mis­treat­ment, and abuse of count­less peo­ple.

In fact, I’d say one of the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of Chris­tian­i­ty today is that it has a con­sent prob­lem.

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Lessons Learned at the Fortress of Faith: Part 3

August 25, 2014 0 Comments

As I’ve stat­ed before, Bob Jones Uni­ver­si­ty habit­u­al­ly cre­at­ed spir­i­tu­al moun­tains out of cir­cum­stan­tial mole­hills. We were to strive for per­fec­tion in every aspect of life, and any­thing less than that was an offense to God and the admin­is­tra­tion.

There’s a say­ing from the founder of the school…well, I mean, there’s hon­est­ly a bajil­lion say­ings from the founder of the school. They’re so revered that they are lit­er­al­ly engraved in plaques in every class­room across cam­pus, and you can even buy a book filled with his quips of wis­dom. But one say­ing in par­tic­u­lar was quot­ed quite a bit when I was there: “It is nev­er right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.” On the sur­face, and espe­cial­ly when I very first arrived on cam­pus, I agreed with this 100%.

Again, I’m faced with the dif­fi­cul­ty of explain­ing a sub­cul­ture when some of my audi­ence has nev­er expe­ri­enced it, and some of it may think there’s noth­ing wrong with it. It’s dif­fi­cult to know where to begin or how to explain things that I intu­itive­ly learned through var­i­ous cir­cum­stances, oth­er than to talk about the var­i­ous cir­cum­stances that taught me that some­times, it’s good and right to do “wrong.”

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To make it abundantly clear: why this atheist is invested in Christianity.

August 20, 2014 1 Comment

Part of me says, “You’re not a Chris­t­ian any­more, so just ignore it. It’s not like it affects you any­more any­way.” But that’s not real­ly true. There are lots of things about Chris­tian­i­ty that deeply affect­ed me for over 20 years, and when Chris­tian­i­ty also tends to play a role in U.S. pol­i­tics, it sure as hell affects me.

And the thing is, when I stopped believ­ing in God, I didn’t stop car­ing about peo­ple.

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The stories we tell: using narrative to make sense of our lives and surroundings.

August 19, 2014 1 Comment

Exam­in­ing and cri­tiquing cul­tur­al nar­ra­tives as they appear in “real life” and enter­tain­ment is impor­tant work. It’s life-chang­ing and empow­er­ing work.

It’s impor­tant for women to know that they aren’t crazy when a man is stalk­ing them and demand­ing atten­tion and affec­tion.

It’s impor­tant for women to know that if a man — even a man they love — attacks them, it’s not okay.

It’s impor­tant for black girls to know that they can grow up and go into space.

It’s impor­tant for trans peo­ple to see them­selves accept­ed in soci­ety.

It’s impor­tant for peo­ple to know that they are more than a car­i­ca­ture, that the sto­ries of their lives mat­ter.

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Lessons learned at the Fortress of Faith: Part 2.

August 13, 2014 2 Comments

The atmos­phere and its com­plete per­me­ation of BJU dorm stu­dent life is impor­tant because of the nec­es­sary iso­la­tion it engen­dered. There was sim­ply no way of know­ing who was fol­low­ing the rules because they believed them to be right, and who was just try­ing to keep their head down long enough to get out as unscathed as pos­si­ble.

Not with­out open­ing your­self up in ways that could have pret­ty seri­ous con­se­quences.

That made it all the more pre­cious when peo­ple would acci­den­tal­ly let slip that they were a nor­mal per­son try­ing to get by, just like me. These moments were quite rare, but absolute­ly sacred — mem­o­rable if for noth­ing else than the brief sol­i­dar­i­ty they brought.

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Lessons learned at the Fortress of Faith, Part 1.

August 8, 2014 0 Comments

What start­ed as a sur­vival tac­tic to escape the para­noia that Bob Jones Uni­ver­si­ty instilled in me turned into a con­fi­dent deter­mi­na­tion to con­trol as much of my life as pos­si­ble. It revealed my inde­pen­dent spir­it, and for that I am thank­ful.

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Lessons learned at the Fortress of Faith: An Introduction.

August 6, 2014 4 Comments

I thought that the hard­est thing about being at BJU was going to be just learn­ing how to fol­low an amaz­ing­ly ridicu­lous set of rules — and frankly, I thought I had that cov­ered. I grew up in a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian school where BJU groups vis­it­ed for recruit­ment pur­pos­es. I was usu­al­ly one of the good kids, so I thought BJU was going to be a col­lege-ver­sion of my high school. No big deal.

Boy, was I wrong.

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I am nostalgic.

April 25, 2014 2 Comments

I am nos­tal­gic for belong­ing, no mat­ter the cost.

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