exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Month: August, 2016

Anna McCormally

Anna McCormally

Date of Interview: August 19, 2016

Name: Anna McCormally

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

GPaul Blundell

Paul Blundell

Date of Interview: August 9, 2016

Name: GPaul Blundell

Age: 32

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Location: Washington, DC


If you were a sea creature, which one would you be?

You know, the first thing I thought of was octopus because of how intelligent and flexible they are, but my classic answer is blue whale. Because they’re sooo big nothing fucks with them. And that’s their method of not being fucked with, it’s to be sooo big that nothing would consider fucking with them. And, that their life is swimming through this near infinite void, opening their mouth and food just flows into them. And singing with every other member of their species around the world. Sounds… sweet.

What are you passionate about?

I think the easy answer is that I’m passionate about communes. It’s where I’m putting most of my effort and work. But really, underneath of that, there are other passions. So like, a passion for people being able to lead the lives that they want to lead… And it deeply upsets me when people cannot live their lives that they want to lead. It can be anything from super basic shit, like not dying from preventable diseases, to more complicated shit, like not having confidence or self permission to do things they want to do. Or not having the resources to pursue their creativity. And then the compassion passion around there is for efficiency. I get deeply offended by waste. Yeah.

Do you think the way you were raised impacted these passions?

I think that… I assume yes. And it seems likely. You know, for me my passions appear to have risen as a result of the process of living. But then I look at my parents and the values that they embodied with raising us, meaning my brother and I, and what I see is the message that they were constantly giving us was that what they wanted for us, the goal for them and their lives, was for us to be happy. And doing what we want to do. And that they wanted us to be able to pursue whatever made us happy. And they’re also incredibly practical people. You know, like, a lot of utilitarian reasonable things. There’s not a lot of focus on social convention or appearance or social expectations or anything. It was very reasonable, practical people who talk about things and decide upon them reasonably. So I see the values that I think were viewed in their lives and how they are reflected in mine. Core values. I can only imagine that they are partially responsible.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I think in the long term I’m most afraid of being ineffective. Feeling like I wasted my life because I’m working so hard on all of these things and putting my time and effort into all of these things and I don’t want to feel like I’ve wasted it. In the short term I’m afraid of hurting people. But like, I want so much to be a positive force in people’s lives.

What are you most afraid of for the world?

I’m afraid that it won’t get better. I’m afraid that it will get worse. And I see this fear either in worrying about catastrophic climate disruption or ecological catastrophe, either of which could happen at any moment. There’s a whole bunch of them knocking at the door, any of them could not be avoided and shit would suck in a really bad way. I would be really sad and lots of people would be really sad. Or that capitalism doesn’t get better, it only gets worse. And that this stupid waste and suffering continues. Maybe intensifies. That’s what I’m worried about. I’m an optimist and I base a lot of my continuing to be in the world and engage with the world on the hope that it can get better.

What would you tell your 15-year-old self?

Umm… I mean really, I would like to sit down with my 15 year old self for awhile… What I would like to talk to my 15 year old self about would be relationships. You know, it would be some combination of “they’re just as scared of you as you are of them” and trying to teach my 15 year old self about how to have healthy respectful relationships. I don’t think I could do that in a phrase except for showing up in a ghostly vision and saying something like “BE BOLD, ASK QUESTIONS”.

Nick Stavely


Date of Interview: August 6, 2016

Name: Nick Stavely

Age: 25

Pronouns: He/Him/His

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.

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