THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Month: June, 2016

Kenneth Clayton Martel

Kenneth Clayton Martel

 

Date of Interview: June 4, 2016

Name: Kenneth Clayton Martel

Age: 23

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Location: Washington, DC

 

Is having the freedom to do what you want important to you in life?

Umm yeah, Yeah, I’m not good at motivating myself if it’s something I don’t really want to do.

What are you passionate about?

That’s a good question. I’m passionate about, like, people being able to live meaningful lives. And destroying the structures that make people’s lives harder than they need to be.

Do you think you’re able to incorporate that into your daily life?

Umm… not as much as I’d like to. But that is one of the biggest things about organizing. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Do you know the word missional? It comes out of radical priests who were trying to reform the Catholic church, or something, and thought that, like, the church should be the hand of God. And when you go to church, you should see God, and the church should be showing God. So it’s that your work and your vision are the same thing. So every time you’re doing work you can see what you’re doing in it. So I think organizing is like that. Or, it CAN be. It’s kind of hard to sustain. You’re just like… trudging towards a vision. It’s contexualized more than a lot of other work. Right? You are… or I’m trudging towards the vision of Democracy, but everyone is contexualizing it and the decision could end with a totally different world.

Are you religious?

No. ::laughs:: No. I did go to a Unitarian church for more than a few years, when I was a little kid. My parents were Unitarians for a little while. My mom was raised a Methodist and my grandfather was a Methodist preacher. And my dad was not really raised religious, and I think that when they had kids, my mom wanted the same type of community that she had growing up. But there was nothing that they could get down with other than Unitarianism. So they became members of the Unitarian church. They sort of became leaders within the church too. My dad was on a bunch of boards and my mom was like, the sex education teacher for Unitarians and they did that together or something. And it was great for a while, but then this new preacher came in, and my dad is very… umm… very missional and had no tolerance for anything that’s kind of shady or shitty. And so the new preacher was trying to get health insurance, and my dad was saying, “Great! You should have health insurance, but if we are going to offer YOU health insurance, than we will have to offer all the other employees health insurance.” And the preacher wasn’t down with that, and the treasury committee wasn’t down with that, like… It just blew up into this whole thing. And my dad was very much trying to follow correct procedures and everyone else was talking about how he was a “rebel rouser” and kicked him out of the church. It was crazy.

Do you have a Utopia?

Noooo… I don’t. I think I’m more like, in some ways more motivated by righteousness and anger towards all of the systems and infrastructures and people behind the shittiness of the world. And that’s what motivates me. It motivates me to fix things. Like, knowing it can be better than how it is now. It enables me to work to make things better when that’s the motivation, instead of trying to make something different that’s perfect, it’s different and better. That to me, is a little bit more pure. ‘Cause, you’re not trying to say that one specific vision is right. I can’t think of what could work for everyone. What that world would look like. But I know some things that I’m working for, that the world could include. And some things that wouldn’t work, that I’m trying to eliminate.

What do you think of death?

I think about it… I have thoughts on it… I dunno. I’m not sure… One thing that sort of like… titillates me is… Have you ever watched that documentary on DMT? You know what DMT is, obviously. Yeah, so DMT is called the spirit molecule, and it’s in ayahuasca, which is traditional medicine. They say that DMT is the thing that is released in your brain when you’re first born, and then when you die. It’s an experience that apparently takes you outside of your consciousness and it dissolves your understanding of self. Or can. So in this documentary, someone is describing how DMT could theoretically be the way the universe exists. Like, there are all these different frequencies, and radio waves, and your brain, and consciousness, and existence tunes into one frequency. And articulates it as life. So I think that this is one possibility. Yeah, it’s the one that makes sense to me.

What do you think of romantic love?

What do I think of it… What do I think of it… Umm… ::whistling:: I think I have… I think everyone has an interest in romantic love. I think I have an interest in romantic love. I have used it often to help me conceptualize myself. Sort of help myself be missional. I have had an urgency to conceptualize my life and to understand my life and my role and feel like I’m living a missional life. And romantic love sort of allows you to do that. Like, it gives you a role. You know? It’s like, here you are, walking through life and then ‘AHH, I’m this person in this giant ether and feel like I’m useless’ and then you get in a relationship, and then you’re so and so’s boyfriend. Perfect. Just like, do that! That’s your life! It’s horrible and shitty. And if it’s not what you intentionally construct what you want from your mind, into what it will be, you can fuck everything up and be horrible and fuck other people up. You can also fuck yourself over. Yeah, that’s what I think of romantic love.

What do you think is your biggest accomplishment?

Hmm… I don’t think it’s MY accomplishment, but something that I feel most proud of is… This one kid I supported at Perkins, who is amazing. Super nice, gentle, and sweet, and goofy. And would give high fives and hugs. And at the same time, very self interest. Like, not being able to do tasks that were even remotely frustrating without breaking down. Like, even getting off the computer and going to the bathroom without injuring himself. And when I started working with him, we did a new behavior plan. Which was kind of this amazing thing, mainly because he was unable to do anything without breaking down. The idea was to get him to do the smallest things possible. And also use, sort of like, a de-escalation practice. Like when you get upset, what you can do. Staying calm. He had his computer, which he LOVES. He would watch these YouTube videos, and literally right next to it at an angle, was his work desk. So 5 minutes on his computer, then he would get a little warning. And he would walk two steps, sit in this other chair, and do one simple task. Like putting blocks in a cup. Like, five of them. Then he would get up and go back, and have two more minutes of computer time. All day. Slowly standing up, doing self interest, and getting back in his chair and slowly counting to ten, then getting back to his task. And just slowly building up tolerance, and being able to do things that were frustrating. And it fucking WORKED. It was amazing. Over the course of eight months, he went from… he cut his self interest in more than half. He probably went from 60 or 70 meltdowns a day, to maybe 10 or less. It was WACK. And really awesome.

Evan Goldberg

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Date of Interview: June 2, 2016

Name: Evan Goldberg

Age: 30

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Location: Washington, DC

 

Are you drawn to dark and broken things?

Oh fuck yes. Absolutely. I don’t know why, but I have a sick fantasy of saving someone. And like, I actually appreciate people who have darkness in them, cuz I relate. I’ve been through shit. When someone is dark and you can see it, even if they try to hide it, that’s an awesome sign of vulnerability that I appreciate.

What are you passionate about?

I don’t want to say basketball ‘cuz that’s kind of lame. Dude, just like… self discovery. You know? And learning how to do shit. Understanding that bad shit is gonna happen, but having the ability to work though it. And hopefully learn something from it.

What is the most difficult thing you’ve worked though? 

Woooooooh. I mean recently… I guess that broad who was my girlfriend. You know? Planning on having a baby, and her being pregnant, and she couldn’t stop doing heroin. She got a super late term abortion. SO for like 5 months and some change, thinking I was gonna have a kid and I was all excited. And even knowing that she’s relapsing while she’s pregnant… So that loss sucked. But I figure it just wasn’t meant to be.

What is your greatest strength when it comes to working through things?

Just trying to trust that it’s the way things should be. That it’s the way things are going to be. That it’s the way things are meant to be.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Owning my own business. That’s my biggest accomplishment. Taking a business from… on the verge of bankruptcy to thriving. So I mean, I almost took it down again, you know? Because I couldn’t stop fucking blowing coke in the bathroom. You know, not showing up for weeks… But now it’s up again and doing amazing. And that’s my biggest accomplishment.

Do you have any thoughts on love?

Yeah, I want to be in love. So bad. I want to be in love SO BAD. I just don’t think I have the ability to. Commitment is my biggest fear, not just that though, my biggest fear is loving someone so hard and falling out of love 10 years later. That’s why I don’t know if I believe in marriage. I see so many people get divorced, you know. Being discontent in a marriage seems like fucking hell. And I’m just too afraid of that. I’ve never met a girl that makes me think different, but the hope that I will is definitely still there. I’ve got some corny, like hopeless romantic in me. Corny as FUCK. But at the same time, I don’t even want a girlfriend. I don’t think I want to get married. I do want to have kids but we can just be friends after. ::laughs::.

What is your biggest fear for the world?

Dude it’s easy man, the world is dying. I’m afraid that we’re destroying Mother Earth. Because we are. But she’s going to fight back. Mother Earth’s to fucking strong. She’s to strong an entity. And she’s GOING to fight back against the fucking plague, against the fucking virus that is the human race. We are parasites. You know? We take land and destroy it and move on. She’s gonna fight back and it’s going to be some sort of sickness or like some sort of crazy ass shit that goes down. Not in our lifetime but that’s what I strongly believe. She’s not going to just go down. She’s going to wipe us out and we deserve that.

If you could say anything to your 15 year old self what would it be?

Dealing drugs isn’t cool. You’re not going to make it BIG TIME. You’re too much of a pussy. Stop. Yeah dude, get your shit together. Don’t fail out of school, stop getting high all the time. And dealing drugs ISN’T FUCKING COOL, you aren’t like, THE man. Dumbass.

Nenet

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Date of Interview: May 31, 2016

Name: Nenet

Age: 29

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC

 

Do you have any opinions on how women and femme people are portrayed and treated by the media and by humans in general?

Well I think that with women, it’s aimed at women have to always please. And be willing. And that is very intense and aggressive. I don’t roll with that. I think it’s very hard to have to do that all the time and it’s very invasive and very unfair. The media is pretty sick and a little to much is twisted and I think its not good, it creates a lot of strain and pressure for young people. I think it should be regulated; it’s a little criminal to expose people to that.

Do you think where you grew up impacts these opinions and their growth?

YES. Yes, I grew up in Argentina and it’s a very macho oriented culture where there is only one type of women and that’s where you should fit in. If you have short hair, you’re just weird. If you’re different, you’re just weird. If you’re whatever, you’re just weird. And they will let you know that you’re out of line. I remember walking into places from my teen years to early 20s and you were REALLY supposed to look one way. And it was really scary, I really couldn’t fit. Everyone wore one brand of jeans, one length of hair, one disposition. You really had to tone yourself down and just be giggly and willing and coordinated, and everyone had to look the same. That’s my memory of that.

When did you move to the US?

I moved to the US three years ago. I had a boyfriend and I followed him…

That kind of leads into my next question… what are your thoughts on
relationship dynamics, especially when coming from different cultures?

Well… I’ve thought a lot about that, since I’m here and since I was in a long relationship with someone who was American, and white and cis and male. I think, and I actually wrote about this today, that’s how current this topic is for me, you are desirable when you can be looked at and lust upon. You’re a curiosity and it kind of doesn’t matter where you’re from as long as you’re foreign and seemingly exotic. And so now it’s really hard to filter people because they ask questions about your country and immediately seem really interested if you’re foreign. Especially Latinas. Latinas are kind of displayed in a certain way. So I have a lot of people, actually men. I have a lot of MEN asking me how sassy I was, or if I would like, if you PARTY and I also felt like that’s really weird and they’re really weird and they were kind of already objectifying me already. So yeah, I was really not into it. I think if you grow up in a place and spend a good 25 years in one country and move, you’re thinking that it’s going to be different and it’s OH WOW because it’s not. I thought that if people or anyone would be interested in dating someone from another country or culture, they would be actually interested, not as a token. Like, “it’s my Argentine girlfriend and she’s so awesome and EXOTIC”. I really had full on encounters and conversations that didn’t really go beyond that. Like “Oh, she’s foreign, you know, got it”. There was no real interest in anything. No one cared about my passions and who I am.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

I wrote a play earlier this year. And I was satisfied with that. I think it allowed me to move forward towards being a more responsible creative person. Where I’m actually committed to the things I do and can follow through. There’s the start and the end, which is really cool.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I am afraid of… Something really silly. I am afraid of not showing up to work. Part of it is because I did it before. I just thought I can’t go on with this. It has nothing to do with who I am or what I want other than money and paying the rent. It’s a trivial thing, but it’s the first thing that came to mind. It’s real.

What are you most afraid of for the world?

Conservative, backwards people and how they are taking control. They are able to influence people all of a sudden and get to people. They get to people that are scared and this is really frightening that they get control of official things, like a whole political party. Especially here, but it’s happening in other parts of the world too, but more rapidly here.

What does your personal utopia look like?

I actually don’t think utopias exist. I don’t think they fully conform to humans as we are, we are not all inherently good, I can’t really believe that. So I don’t think a utopia is possible, there are to many of us, we are a little late on that. But I think a better distribution on wealth and resources and opportunities would achieve something for mankind. But it will never really be a utopia.

Is there anything you are hopeful for in the world?

Is there hope… Hmm.. There’s always hope for good things. People keep creating. And keep doing things here and there. There are random acts of kindness and it’s really important to remember that.

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