exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Month: September, 2016

Sadie Leigh

Sadie Leigh


Date of Interview: September 21, 2016

Name: Sadie Leigh

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC


If you were an underwater creature which one would you be?

Probably a dolphin. I feel like that’s a fairly standard answer, everyone likes dolphins but I’m part of everyone and I like dolphins too. And they’re smart and they can do fun tricks and stuff, and they have relationships with each other, which I think is nice.

What are you passionate about?

Well… A lot of things. I’m a dancer and a yoga teacher, and I work with a theater company that’s super awesome and I think it’s easy for me to say I’m super passionate about art. I love going to concerts and seeing live shows and going to the museums in DC. So sort of across the spectrum of art, I’m here for it. Also DC as a city, I grew up in Takoma Park, so right outside the line, so I feel really… like people often, really often have this conversation about DC being so square, there are so many politicians, it’s so corporate or whatever and I’m like… what do you do? And not like “what do you do” quintessential DC question but what do you actually do? If they think it’s so boring and they aren’t happy what are they doing? What are you going to do about it, who do you spend time with? So I feel really passionate about kind of doing weird shit in DC. Like this! This is happening right here, right now and I have no idea how people want this and don’t know  that it exists, I’m passionate about helping them find it. That’s something.

Do you feel like the way you use your body in art translates to other aspects of your life?

Yeah. I’m a very physical person and I really like to cuddle and hold hands, with my friends and with my family and partners and whatnot. So I think there’s a lot of different kinds of physicality and different kinds of touch and I think it’s important to make that distinguishing boundary. When I’m teaching and assisting people in yoga classes there’s nothing sexy about it at all. Even though human bodies are fucking amazing and incredible, it’s like this very specific kind of gentle but firm leading, guiding, teacher-student relationships versus my housemates, who I’m really close with and love so much, we often are sitting on the couch watching TV with someones legs in my lap and my head is on another persons shoulder and there’s a lot of affection and love there. And I think that growing up as a dancer and over the past several years getting deeper into the yoga practice, I love my body and it does almost all the things I want it to do for me, and it’s really nice and I appreciate that and I feel really comfortable in my skin. So I think that affects the way I move through life in general.

What do you think of relationships? Romantic, sexual or otherwise?

It’s one of the most important things. I have a lot of acquaintances and many friends and several VERY close friends and I have a really good relationship with my family. I think it’s also important to have a good relationship with yourself, which I try to do also. Yeah, it’s sort of a similar answer right, there are all these different relationships and they’re all important in different ways. And being open to the shifting nature of relationships is something to consider I think. I was with my brother last night, and we were talking about relationships, mainly romantic and sexual which is an interesting thing that I can talk about with my brother, and we were talking about something and I reveled something and his response was “Oh, you know, I don’t want to think about that, that crosses a line for me in my brain” and I think that’s so interesting to see where those lines are now for us because we aren’t just siblings but we’re also friends and where are those lines? And he made the point that this is the first time we’ve both been single adults in the same city, which is kind of fun and has lead to a lot of interesting conversations. But like, so we are family and I’ve known him as long as I’ve known anyone, my parents you know, but we have a really different relationship now than we did when we were say like, five and seven, and being open and comfortable with that makes life better. And conversely, I’ve had some friendships that were really really important to me but became clear over time that it wasn’t good for whatever reason. Somebody was deeper in it than somebody else or there became distance that was to much to make it worth it or something. And knowing when to let things go to, that’s important. Also, my best friend lives in Thailand and we’re still super close, so sometimes geography doesn’t matter that much I guess. Convenience is pretty sexy when it comes to friendships and romantic relationships.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment… I think it depends on your definition of the word accomplishment. Like, did I have to work for it? I don’t know. Somethings that popped into my head is my relationship with my siblings. All three of them, I love and respect and I know that they feel the same way about me, and I think we have an unusually close and good relationship which is something to be pretty proud of. Umm, the theater company that I work with, I’ve been with for five, nearly six years. Everyone else in this house is involved too, I’m so proud of the work we’ve made over the past several years. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself and like, again, relationships that we’ve built and we are a family now. There’s this house and two blocks away there’s another house, and three blocks away there’s another house full of us so like, I think finding and nurturing and living in those friendships and those relationships, not just as friends but as artistic collaborators and growing together in that. I think that’s an accomplishment but it’s not just mine, it’s all of ours.

Kailasa and Saa

Kailasa and Saa


Date of Interview: September 15, 2016

Name: Kailasa and Saa

Age: 25 and 5

Pronouns for Kailasa: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC


How often do you bathe or shower?

K: Ummm, maybe about four days out of the week. I like to bathe a lot, but I don’t get to.

If you were and underwater creature which one would you be?

K: Seahorse. They’re pretty.
S: Seahorse.
K: I don’t even know why I said that, but I guess it’s because I’ve always thought they were interesting. They don’t have any arms or anything, they just kind of float. With their tail. It’s the first thing that came to my mind, other than that a turtle or octopus. Or something bioluminescent that has a light on it.

Do you like to plan for the future?

K: Oh hell yeah. Yeah, I like to plan things, I’m not great at it but I do like to be aware of my future. Of where I’m headed.

What are you passionate about?

K: I’m passionate about my community. I’m passionate about being a mom. And being a better person everyday. I’m passionate about pursuing my dreams, which are being as creative and artistic as possible. And following through with my ideas.
S: I made it!
K: Yeah! Being able to say, “I’VE MADE IT!” ::both laugh:: But yeah, by community I mean, support the people who have supported me. I have a couple ideas that I’ve created business plans for and they’re both geared toward contributing to a healthy and successful community. So community is the people who’ve raised me. The people who support me, I want to support them back.

What is something that you feel accomplished with?

K: Raising that little one. ::laughs:: I feel pretty accomplished with that. I’m finally in my own space. Though I don’t own it, I’m at least supporting myself and my family. I’m accepting more responsibilities with self-assurance and accepting what I’m responsible for. I think I’m doing a good job. Don’t really know what I’m doing.

Do you think she knows what she’s doing?

S: YES. Whatever she does with me, she never gets upset.
K: Mmmkay. I mean, I guess I don’t get upset.
S: I have a splinter in my toe.
K: Let me see, do you feel anything? Do you feel water?
S: Yes.
K: Maybe it’s just a scratch.
S: Noooo, on the other side. It’s on my boo boo. Right there.
K: I think it’s just a scratch.
S: Okay.

Do you have family traditions passed on?

S: Yes.
K: Like what?
S: When we go on walks together! When we ride bikes together! When the whole family goes on a field trip.
K: Yeah, I mean spending time together.We’ve had a family function every year for about 28 years now, I was the host for last year. We call it ‘the family love exchange’. Umm, carrying on traditions. Being in tune with my inner being. Carrying on that awareness to her. Being confident in my divine nature as a melanated woman. My mother was a cosmic woman who was aware of her powers, she studied a mix of different religions and passed on her knowledge. So yeah, I think passing down some spiritual knowledge and a connection to my native heritage and culture is important.

Do you believe in God?

K: What… who’s this “god?” ::laughs:: I believe in a God. Do you believe in God, Saa?
S: Nope.
K: Alright. You sound so certain.
S: Because you mom is my grandma. And I don’t believe in God.
K: Okay. Well, what do you think God is?
S: An animal.
K: What kind of animal?
S: A stinkbug. And a… a puppy. Together.
K: A stinkbug puppy?
S: The face of a puppy with the body of a stinkbug.
K: Okay then.

What are you afraid of for yourself?

K: I’m afraid sometimes that I will get caught up in other people’s stresses.
S: I’m not scared of nothing.

Alex Tebeleff

Alex Tebeleff


Date of Interview: September 12, 2016

Name: Alex Tebleff

Age: 29

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Location: Washington, DC


If you were an underwater sea creature which one would you be?

Well… I’m currently falling in love with someone whose spirit animal is the sea turtle. So I’m going to say a sea turtle because that’s what I hope to identify with.

What do you think of relationships? Platonic, sexual or otherwise.

People can do whatever the hell they want if it makes them happy. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, including the people that they are involved with. So I think transparency is really important. As long as you’re transparent and honest, you should be able to do whatever makes you and anyone you’re with happy. I like monogamy, personally. I think I’m at my happiest and healthiest and most fulfilled in monogamous situations. But I’m also… I think it’s important to feel open to other kinds of romantic or sexual relationships. I’ve been in love a few times, and each time I felt like I could handle it better to the point where now I feel comfortable and confident in it. I think that Leonard Cohen said it best, “Love is the only engine of survival.” I think that is actually true. I think a lot about love.

What do you think you’ve learned from those past relationships?

I think it’s made me a much better person. Taught me how to be truly reciprocal with other people. I think it taught me what I really want out of life. And it allowed me to learn from other people in a lot of different ways. It’s really amazing because it allows you to experience, or at least have a better understanding of things you could never experience on your own. For example, being in love taught me how to be a feminist. Before my last two relationships, I was definitely ignorant about women’s issues in our society. I used to say, “I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist.” And in my last relationship, with the last person I was in love with, she pushed me in a number of different ways because of her life endeavors that showed me it’s actually the other way around. You can’t be a humanist without being a feminist, because of the nature of the way women are treated in most societies around the world. Love is incredible, it’s an engine for personal growth with openness and kindness.

What are you passionate about?

Music. Food. Music and food mostly. I think music was originally attractive to me because there is something sublime about it, sublime and otherworldly. But that’s changed and… I now see it from both sides. The more grounded rational aspects of music and the otherworldly aspects of music, it’s the dichotomy between the two that gets me excited now. I can’t think of anything that has more of the sublime because humans are so visual that music can feel like it takes you to another world. We don’t focus on our ears very much in our daily lives. It’s usually just THERE. Most humans focus on words and their eyes to understand the world versus pure sounds. So when we do use our ears, we think about it through more… conventional language other than the abstract language that music can be, but doesn’t have to be. As I get older, I appreciate that music can be so many things and I think it’s cool that technology is allowing it to go in different places. That’s something I’m really excited about. It’s something that makes me feel so fulfilled to explore. Food, I like because I’m very interested in the sensual. I try to approach it in a way that is not indulgent. It’s not that I don’t indulge sometimes in music and food, I do, but I don’t want that to be the focus. I am interested in food, both as a means of expression and culture. I think you can learn a LOT about a culture through it’s food. Just the same as you could with music or art, or anything lie that. I think the arts and food and language are the best ways to learn about a culture, so I continue to be interested in all of those things.

What are you most afraid of for the world?

I really think that Donald Trump lacks basic empathy for other human beings. He is maybe the most insecure person I’ve ever seen. And, if you look at most of the sociopaths that have fucked up the world, if you look at Mao or Hitler for example, and you look at their background, they are almost always really insecure people. Mao killed more people than Stalin and Hitler combined and his whole thing – you know, you look at him beyond just the general populations and into his personal life and his treatment of women in his life in particular, and he just seemed like someone who lacked basic empathy, the definition of a sociopath. And I think that Donald Trump is a legit sociopath. I’m not sure that we would be able to get through a Trump presidency without some extremely brutal activity going on, at least from the dangerous people he has newly empowered. And I would be afraid for many groups of people who he’s demonized for power, and I’m terrified about the damage he has already been done through his rhetoric, but if he wins…

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I’m afraid that I’ll look back and be on my deathbed and think, “I didn’t get to do all the things I wanted to do.” Especially with music. That I didn’t get to accomplish the goals that I set out for myself. They may be ambitious, but I believe they are grounded enough that I think they’re possible, because they depend mostly just on me in the end. I want to make great art. I want to make something that I could show my kids one day and have them say, “Wow, you made something really worthwhile.” I’m happy to gamble on myself. Most of the great artists I love are gamblers.


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