by The Bathtub Project
Date of Interview: August 6, 2016
Name: Nick Stavely
Location: Washington, D.C.
What are you passionate about?
Passionate about trying. ‘Cause I think, if you are… This is actually really difficult, to answer questions like this [in a bathtub] ::laughs::. I don’t know, it’s kind of like if you think about stuff in terms of inputs and outputs, and your only input is effort, then you should probably just be trying more. But that’s also kind of a short-sighted thing to say, ’cause eventually you’ll just get tired, and efforts’s not necessarily all that goes into anything. But, at the knee-jerk level of decision making [in a bathtub] it seems like a thing to say.
Do you think where you grew up had any impact on that thought process?
Mmhm. Yeah, I grew up as an only child, with my mom and my dad. And Dad was a carpenter and Mom would work around at other stuff until I was around. It was very much a blue collar scenario. And they weren’t very pushy about anything and kind of let me do as much or as little homework, or within or outside of school or whatever, as I wanted. Which was good, I guess, but it eventually kind of puts you in a situation where if you weren’t doing something it was because you weren’t doing it. It taught me occupy myself, but it was ripe ground for anxiety and being self conscious and second guessing. Yeah.
What do you think of living in the D.C. area?
It is kind of an unsurprising logical step for someone who grew up in Maryland. I went to school around a little bit and finished up in Maryland, and kind of came here because there are a lot of different types of people, a lot of jobs, it’s far away but not really far away. Kind of boring standard answers. But I always wanted to think that I would live in a city and it’s a good place to try that out cuz it’s so close. But parts are weird. Being apart of and being cognizant of being apart of development, of people being dislocated, and gentrification. Which is kind of… you would want to say that it’s a source of guilt but it’s honestly also a source of uncomfortableness, because I don’t know exactly what to do. And that’s kind of acknowledging your own shit or whatever, feeling weird being around people that are in a very different strata of life than you, but that isn’t… bad.
What is your biggest fear for yourself?
That I’ll die alone. ::Laughs::. I think so… ::laughs::. The real answer to that might be, always being dissatisfied with how you spend your time and not being able to fully articulate why. The adage of “hell is meeting the person you could have been”.
What are you most afraid of for the world?
People being as callous as you think they are. If that makes sense… ‘Cause when you think people like groups of people. Groups of people find a lot of reasons to not like each other, and to not listen to each other. But when people meet each other, they can usually find something to connect about or commiserate about. And then they can build a connection out of that. It’s something that could possibly end up with them meeting Someone X who is apart of Group Y, and they normally hate Group Y but suddenly that group is okay because of Person X, or something like that. Out of that comes… just the presence of political polarization and how that can impact a small family… And when you listen to certain people speak ideologically about specific people and specific ideas it’s kind of heart breaking in that, some broad ideal that is not real in the sense that the number one billion isn’t really real but is impacting a day to day life, of how they interact with another person or group of people.
What are your thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual or otherwise.
You need them. For whatever reasons, I understand how people can enjoy being alone a lot of the time. But there’s usually a time when you want to be alone so you make yourself alone, but then you cross this threshold and you’re thinking, “I wish I was not alone.” Relationships are really important and something I crave and wish other people would crave. Or hope other people crave as well.
Do you have communities in D.C.?
I would say yes, but kind of. I feel really disconnected from people that are my age that are living in white collar scenarios, and I also feel really disconnected from people who are my age, or not my age, who are in actual blue collar scenarios. Being in and around the music scene is very, very nice because there are a lot of incredible people and things to see. But moving into it as it’s already been growing or grew kind of lends itself to a feeling of being in it and not of it. Which is still really nice and also feels kind of sad. Like spending a lot of time with other peoples friends ::laughs::. Which doesn’t mean they’re not your friends, it’s just an awareness inducing thing of being around people who are really close with one another and missing those feelings when you had them retrospectively or wanting them in the now.
What would you tell your 15-year-old self?
::Laughs:: Just chill out. That’s it, to relax.