by The Bathtub Project
Date of Interview: August 19, 2016
Name: Anna McCormally
Location: Washington, DC
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about other people, I’m really interested in relationship dynamics. Specifically between parents and children. And also between women and other women. I think there’s a lot to be explored in relationship dynamics, so I’m really interested in that, and that’s what I write about. I’m passionate about talking to people, which makes it funny that you aren’t talking right now… I really like listening to people. Listening to them talk about what they’re up to.
Do you feel like you are given opportunities, as a woman, to take up space?
Yeah, I think I’m really lucky. I remember really distinctly being in a writing class in college and having a professor in an individual conference ask me if I felt like there was a gender dynamic in the class or if I was uncomfortable. And I didn’t feel like there was, but I remember really appreciating that he asked that. Especially because I majored in economics and there was definitely a gender dynamic in those classrooms that we didn’t really talk about… So generally, yes. I feel like I have the space I need and that’s really nice. It’s so lucky. I know that many people aren’t that lucky.
What do you think of relationship dynamics between women, family, and others?
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about, specifically, women that I’ve known in my life who I haven’t forged close relationships with because of gender. Or because of our relationships with men. Or with women I’ve known who I would have been friends with except that, somebody got jealous or upset or hurt. Mainly with a relationship with a third person. And it’s funny to me to think about what friendships I would have had with those people if that “thing” hadn’t happened. I’m interested in that, a lot. Just… missed opportunities. I feel sometimes that patriarchy has robbed me of many important female friendships that I didn’t have because I was super worried about my body or being the most beautiful. Which is a thing that I spent a lot of time worrying about in middle school and high school. And it really kept me from the important thing which is just doing whatever you want all the time. And helping other people do whatever they want all of the time. If I could have spent more time doing that instead of worrying about… the fucking patriarchy. If that wouldn’t be a factor I think I would be a happier person ::laughs::. It’s very melodramatic but sometimes how I feel. I’m interested in parent/child dynamics… I think it’s pretty incredible that you can grow an additional person from your body. That you can go from being one person, then two people, then just grow a distinct person… that’s crazy. I still think that’s crazy. And there are all these implications of it. I’m interested in that because my mom, she became really upset when I told her I wanted tattoos and piercings. And I think part of that was a possessiveness over my body that she made. That I was going to damage this thing that she put so much time into. And that is the thing. I think it makes sense, she did all this work for me, then I got a bad tattoo… It’s like, “Sorry! I guess I just broke this thing you made!”
Have you had experiences as an “adult” of creating your own family?
Yeah. It’s been really fun to get to know my brother better. He is married and lives nearby and they just had a baby, which is the best part of my life. She is so healthy and smart… Learning to walk, which is crazy, having these little strong legs that are working. It’s fun to rediscover your siblings as grownups. And my partner and I do some pretty intentional family building things. Like, we always eat together and turn off music and turn off the TV and eat dinner with forks and knives. We set the table and sit down together and that feels really nice. As we get older, I feel like I’m doing more traditional family stuff in a way that is similar to how I grew up. It’s funny to see how you do that without meaning to. We’ve started going to Meeting for Worship together on Sunday and cooking dinner together. When I think about traditions from my childhood I think about holidays. Specifically Christmas morning and Thanksgiving. It’s funny to negotiate that with a new person. It’s weird to value being with this person on specific days that I don’t actually care about, but it matters to me that we’re together. Thanksgiving is objectively a horrible holiday, but I want to eat mashed potatoes with you. I wouldn’t say that he and I have traditions that we do, but we have routines. Like, every month or so we’ll have a night where we order Thai food and eat it in bed and watch a bad movie together. And that’s a thing we’ve done and a space we’ve created that we come back to time and time again. Which is so funny, I just realized what I’ve said. “We order in Thai food and watch a movie together”, like that’s our tradition. Everybody does that together, but it’s like this specific thing and space that is ours that we can come back to over and over again.
What are you afraid of for yourself?
I’m afraid of not communicating well. Of thinking a thing or feeling something and not expressing it well. Just doing a terrible job of saying a thing and then… as a result of that someone’s feelings are hurt or there’s a conflict of some sort. I feel like, if you can talk about stuff you can feel a lot of problems. So I feel frustrated when I can’t or when I’m not articulating my point well. I heard somebody say that “The great tragedy of human experience is that you can never give another person a direct experience of your consciousness” and I really identify with that.