by The Bathtub Project
Date of Interview: July 22, 2016
Name: Maria Madden
Location: Washington, DC
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
I would be a golden retriever. They’re just so dog-gone beautiful. I would love to be able to cultivate those types of relationships and bring a lot of joy. I like to, and I guess kind of aspire to, be a friend.
Are relationships something that you’re passionate about?
Sure. Yeah, i would say, especially right now they’re one of the most important things in my life. And I feel very blessed to have had a lot of good ones. They’re necessary and the foundation of everyone’s life. They are what sustain us, what brings us joy, what helps us to grow. I’ve had a lot of different kinds of friends, and all of my friends have taught me a lot. I’ve had friends that I’ve felt like were my sisters, who I shared everything with and who made me a better person. I’ve had friends that have hurt me a lot, not because they try to, but because they were hurting a lot. And I learned a lot about what it means to be broken in my brokenness, and see more of that. Friends that still challenge me to set good boundaries. And also people that have done great things that have inspired me. Some that have incited a little bit of a complex in me ::laughs:: of feeling a little inferior sometimes… But all have been my teachers.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?
The relationship that I’ve built with my nephew, Sean. And when I call and I hear him scream, “MARIA!” That… that is something that brings me the greatest joy. And I would say that, if I were to talk about things that I have worked to build in my life, he would be my biggest accomplishment.
What is something that you feel like you have or are struggling with?
I would say that my biggest struggle right now is being able to accept that I am not perfect. Which is hard. And I guess… right now I’m really focusing on not being afraid of that. Kind of being able to look the monsters in the face, to look at the things I might not be happy about, with myself. Or things that I’ve felt that I’ve failed in. And learning how to hold them all.
Do you believe in God?
Yes. I think I believe in God because I’ve seen him. And I do refer to Him as “Him,” that’s kind of my perception because he became a person in my view of the world. Yes, I believe in God, because God is love, and I see a lot of love in this world. I see him in each person that I meet. Something that I’ve reflected a lot on recently is Mother Teresa and how she saw Jesus. And things that she described, distressingly described, is that it’s hard to see it in people and… God is the source of all good. So the good I see, in seeing people sacrifice for others, I see reflections of where I believe we all were created. And I don’t mean to offend anyone by pronouns, it’s just part of my tradition.
Are you religious?
Yes. For me, religion gives me direction. It would be hard for me, I think, to have faith or believe in God, if that’s how you would define it, without having a way to do it. So religion is like… Faith is the belief, and religion is the “how” for me. Religion gives me a venue to seek God. And to worship him, to have a relationship.