by The Bathtub Project
Date of Interview: August 24, 2016
Name: Marisa Allison
Location: Chicago, IL
How often do you bathe or shower?
That’s changed a lot recently actually, I used to be an every day bather but lately it’s like, every three days. I can take care of business ::laughs::.
If you were an underwater creature what would you be?
One of those little, little minnows. That like, swim in swarms around your ankles at the beach. I like how fast and slippery and shiny they are. I also like how large their packs are, they have lots of friends.
What are you passionate about?
Passionate about a lot of things, I’m passionate about holding people to their humanity, I’m passionate about social justice, racial justice. Food justice and GNC clothing, gender non-conforming clothing. Like, I’m sure I’m passionate about lots of other things, like I’m passionate about Frank Ocean right now and like, Alexander McQueen’s legacy and lots of things ::laughs::
Do you feel like gender is performative for you?
This definitely affects me in an all the time basis. And something that someone said to me once, a partner that I really love, “I love being with you because you view gender purely as performance and that makes me feel very free in my gender.” So I oscillate between a lot of different genders. And they all kind of come from a place of costuming myself and just trying to feel out how I’m feeling every day when I wake up, so it’s kind of a performance all the time ::laughs::. I’m super performative about it. I’m a costume designer, well was, I’m sort of leaving the theater right now. I haven’t done a show in a long time, I’ve recently been doing costume projects for artists right now. And I’m about to totally leave art making for a moment and go to grad school for social work. It’s been like, a real moment of departure. Not bathing very much, not sewing very much ::laughs::.
What are you afraid of for the world?
I’m afraid that the world will really start dying before we like, know it. And say goodbye to it and honor it. I’m afraid of Donald Trump being president. There’s a lot of stuff that’s really scary right now. I’m afraid of everyone thinking that the pope is liberal because that’s nonsense. Like, everything sucks ::laughs::.
What are you most afraid of for yourself?
I’m afraid that I’m about to move into this vocation of taking care of others doing social work and become completely destroyed by it and become disillusioned, like, forget that I’m in it for people. It’s so people intensive that I’m worried I’ll stop caring about the people and get caught up in all the bureaucratic nonsense.
What does self care look like for you?
For me, self care means making time with the people that I want to with and really checking in about what that time should look like with them and be really intentional. And not fall into complacency and apathy. So I’ve recently cut out people that weren’t working for me. Um, a lot of people love alone time and I just DON’T. So being around people is really important to me. Like, planning I’m going to spend this time with these people in these ways and these other people in other ways. Making that time, making it special.
What are your thoughts on relationships? Romantic, platonic or otherwise.
I like them. Sometimes those lines are super blurry for me. So I’m poly, polyamorous. So lines can be really hard and boundaries have to be constantly established. Sometimes it feels like setting boundaries aren’t super important but then it can mess up the potential in something, like the communication has to happen in that moment, you know? It’s like everyone is BAE and so it doesn’t even mean anything ::laughs:: like “WE GOT TO TALK ABOUT IT.” So like, it’s like “you’re my wife, you’re my babe” but we really have to talk about this, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything and I think you want to make out with me but I can’t tell. So, I’m trying to do a lot more of that, a lot more communication.
What do you wish you knew when you were 15?
I wish I knew that gender is over. I wish I would have known that like, a man won’t save you. ‘Cause that was such a big part of my life as a late teen, I was with someone who literally dragged me out of a crappy post industrial small town, I wouldn’t be in Chicago without him but like… I was following him. He’s great, he’s great but knowing that would have been nice. What else… OHHH That beauty isn’t pain! I’m still working through that shit. Of like, beauty and looking good, that shit is painful, I hate that shit. Damn. I’m sure there is a lot more, but this last one is important. Fuck the police isn’t something that people just say, it’s a real thing. I used to roll my eyes when my brothers would say it but like, the police are actually horrible and now I know that you NEVER call the police and I wish I would have known that as a 15 year old. Don’t trust the police.