by The Bathtub Project
Date of Interview: October 26, 2015
Name: Felix Donate-Perez
Location: Washington, DC
How often do you bathe or shower?
I shower almost every day, my personal hygiene is an anxiety of mine. Growing up we had one shower and it would always be clogged. We had one full bathroom shared by my family of five and when it didn’t work I smelled weird. My clothes didn’t always smell right and combined with lack of showers I smelled off too often. But nowadays, I shower almost every day because I can and I try to take baths, especially when my therapist asks “what are you going to do to take care of yourself this week” and I’m like “Fuck, Timothy. I’m gonna take a bath” ::laughs::.
If you were an underwater creature which one would you be?
Maybe an otter. I think I read they have the softest fur out of any mammal ever. And I definitely do not have the softest fur of any mammal ever but it’s something I aspire for. Yeah.
What are you passionate about?
I guess whatever is on plate tends to be the main focus of my life. Like, I just got fired but before I got fired from my job I was super super into it. I worked at a gelato and coffee shop and so I made the gelato and I served the coffee and I made pretty latte art, not as pretty as I wished it was, but I was so into my gelato life. If someone would talk about another shop I was like “fuck that shit”. But nowadays, almost at the end of my two weeks of unemployment before I go on tour, I’m trying to find things that make me happy. I’m trying to get back into working in education, which is something I’m really passionate about. The dream is to teach music to babies, I have an interview for that tomorrow. But I’m going on tour, and that’s a big thing in my life. Music and stuff.
How long have you been playing music?
My entire life, but I’ve only been songwriting since August of 2014. So, it was before my senior year of high school. And I started going to shows of March 2014. So yeah, my first show was at this house in DC called the Rocket Ship. I only went to one show there, it was Spoonboy, Art Sorority for Girls, Theo Hilton and Hot Tears. It kind of set the tone for the rest of my interactions with the DC music scene. Nowadays I write a lot of gay love songs, a lot of music about trauma and a lot about just like… the way I watch my peers interact with substances or love or life in general. And sometimes how you can feel really helpless. It’s a lot of helplessness. But at the same time, my songs usually have an uplifting note towards the end.
Do you find yourself optimistic about life?
I think so… but I definitely get into my puddles and wallow for awhile. But, my mood is so volatile that I’ll go from tweeting shit like… “I have the best friends in the world and so much support I’m going to be okay!!” and then five seconds later I’ll be like, “can someone come over and euthanize me please?” But I think I’m an optimist because I know that I’ve been through some stuff and I’ve always been able to resolve it. Things have never stayed fucked up for me. At least since I’ve become a more autonomous person. It always seems to work out.
What’s something you still struggle with?
As someone who grew up with trauma there’s always constant re-triggering and constant feeling of being pushed to the edge and then there’s me being like, fuck this no, I want to keep living my life and be okay. I grew up with both parents at home and two brothers, one older, one younger. My dad is from Cuba and my mother is from Spain. Things were pretty okay for the first five or six years of my childhood, but at one point he started being the very violent person he is. And that was kind of the background, that was my backdrop growing up. I squealed when I was 13, the day of my first period. I was tired and crying in homeroom and my friend was telling me I had to talk to the school counselor and I was like “OKAY, I’ll do that”. So I told someone and he was removed from the home and we all recanted and he was back. Then when I was 16 I squealed again to the school physiologist, who I was really really close to, and I was removed from the home. And I never went back. The last time I saw my home was October 31st, 2013. The house was sold in December. It was torn down when I back to it. So that’s kind of the backdrop of my life, I was forced to grow up real quick. Which is why I’m as independent as I am these days, you know.
What do you think of relationships? Platonic, sexual or otherwise.
I was a pretty desexualized person for a pretty big portion of my life. I didn’t have a real relationship until I was 15 and it was during that time when I was sleeping on my aunt’s futon that she pulled out in her one bedroom apartment or in the guest bedroom of my mother’s family friend. It was a period that I was incredibly emotionally incapable and that was my only major relationship other than little flings until I started dating my current partner which started in August of 2014, so we’ve been together my entire adult life essentially. I always worry about how I engage in relationships because of the backdrop I had growing up. In terms of people I gravitate to, in terms of how I pursue relationships and how I get spooked real quick, that’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about. But I’m in a happy relationship that’s been going on for a while and it’s pretty chill. With friendships, I find that I start talking to people real quick if we have some type of kinship. Also certain personalities that I can click with really quickly. So people who have been through some shit, or are dealing with some shit, I tend to, for some reason or another, just gravitate towards. I’m doing all this emotional labor but like, I’m so willing. I will do anything for any stranger who asks for it at this point. It can be hard though, I’m always down to check in and rarely get a lot back. So my relationships that tend to be platonic can be a little weird because I give give give and I don’t ask for too much back, but every now and then when I really need it there’s that flash of light kind of thing and I get it.