by The Bathtub Project
Date of Interview: June 9, 2016
Name: Sam Jensen
Location: Washington, DC
If you were an underwater creature, what would you be?
An octopus. So bear with me, octopi can change their outer appearance to match whatever, and they are also flexible enough to fit into small spaces, and when I was in high school, I was the weird kid. I was a mixture of like, a walking dope bag, and the columbine shooter. There was not a lot to like, and as a result, I didn’t have many friends. And after that I had to learn how to change. How to change myself, you know? To fit into groups and have friends. Which is not necessarily a positive thing, but once I got to know myself better, it enabled me to figure out how to get along with people. I can NOW get along with anybody. I mean anybody, without changing who I am now. because I know how to become different aspects of myself while still remaining me. As for the “fitting into small spaces,” I’ve been through a lot of tight spots in my life, and have made it through all of them.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
That is a tie between getting my life together, just in general, and quite frankly maintaining the relationship that I have. I have a history of really codependant and occasionally emotionally abusive fucked up relationships. And the one I have now is with the woman who is the love of my life. I’m going to marry her, and she knows this, we’ve worked really hard and have had our ups and downs, but we’ve never fought, never yelled at one another, never called each other names. We communicate openly and effectively at all times about EVERYTHING. I have stuck by her through her shit, and she has stuck by me through my shit. No matter what is going on in my life, if she is in trouble, I will drop everything to help her and that goes both ways. It’s not something that has happened naturally, it’s something that I’ve worked for. And she worked for it as well. In my mind, finding not just the love of my life, but having a healthy, open relationship given my history, is my greatest accomplishment.
Given your current relationship, what do you think of love within platonic friendships as well as intimate relationships?
Love is something that I feel like a lot of people misunderstand. Love, true love, cannot be one sided. You CANNOT love someone who does not love you back. You can obsess over someone, be codependent with someone who does not love you back, because love is a feedback. Love is when you… when your best friend… platonic love, when your best friend is in trouble, when he’s broke and homeless and you show up with a bag of groceries that he didn’t even ask you for. But you love him, so you give them to him. It’s a week until pay day, and you know he has nothing to eat. Love is when you give him a sleeping bag so he doesn’t freeze in February. And then coming back, is when he has your back when you get jumped at a show. This has all happened by the way, you get jumped at a show and he goes in and finds the motherfuckers who did it and he makes them pay, regardless to the consequences that he’ll have to face. Regardless to if he gets hurt or not. Love is when you go through a nasty break up and you call your friend and the first thing he says is “I’ll be right there”. Love is not unconditional necessarily because some things are impossible, but love is willing to TRY the seemingly impossible. I love my girlfriend, not because she is the most beautiful woman that I’ve ever met, or because she is sweet and kind, but because she loves me back and treats me with respect that I treat her with. Like I said, love is a feedback, it goes both ways.
What are you most afraid of for yourself?
Finding myself unhappy. That seems a little, I don’t know, blase, compared to “being alone!” or “spiders!” cuz spiders… spiders are freaky… But uhh, I have gotten to a point in my life where I am happy. I just am. I am in community college, going to school part time, working two jobs for the past 6 months, I work retail and am a bouncer on the weekends and a lot of people, I think, would let that get to them. The fact that they’re working two jobs and don’t have a weekend necessarily, going slowly through school, it will take awhile before they get that 60K job if they even DO because the economy is shit. But every day I wake up, I have something to be grateful, even if it’s just that I woke up that day. My biggest fear is losing that. My biggest fear is being able to wake up and NOT finding something to be grateful for. And being unhappy
What do you think is one reason for unhappiness?
They compromise… They wanted… you can’t want to be a bohemian with an arts degree and drive a Jaguar. You can’t… you know? Maybe thirty years down the line but someone who goes to school for an arts degree or a history major, which I’m not knocking, I am a history major. “How would you like your latte sir?” ::laughs:: Someone who goes through that and expects the world to hand them success, you put yourself on a path. But at the same time if all you wanted to be is an artist and you go and get a business degree and you lose that passion in life, you’re going to be just as unhappy.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about people. I want to be a teacher. And not because I have such faith in our education system, no. When I was in high school, like I said earlier, it was hard. And I pissed off a lot of teachers and was written off by almost all of them. They thought I was a lost cause. But there was one and he’s actually retiring this year and he works at the Arlington Career Center within the culinary arts program and he made a difference in my life. Because he cared. Because he listened. Because he understood. Because when I would show up to class drunk and upset, when my mom wanted to send me to boarding school and leave what little friends I had behind he took me into his office and talked with me. And didn’t tell me I was right and that she was being a horrible bitch, or that she was right and I was being an ungrateful little shit, but what he did do was listen. And he shared his experience and he was able to help. I think that there are a lot of kids in this world, and it doesn’t matter where they come from or if you’re rich, poor, black, white, gay straight, it doesn’t matter. Everyone’s got baggage. And some people have more than others and some people need someone who will listen. And if I can make a difference in five kids lives, or even one kids life, I will have considered this life worth living.