by The Bathtub Project
Date of Interview: December 14, 2016
Name: Samantha Yvette
Location: Washington, DC
How often do you bathe or shower?
Everyday if I’m not being lazy. I start with a shower and almost always end up taking a bath because this is a jacuzzi tub. I like lining the edge with candles and I play music or read until the water turns cold and I’m super pruny.
If you were an underwater creature, which one would you be?
I think I would be a mermaid. I grew up in Florida and I was always swimming or at the beach. Everyone in Florida has a pool, and that’s pretty much the only thing to do because it’s too hot to play or do anything outside for a long time. My grandma used to have to yell at me to come out of the water and I never wanted to, so I learned how to hold my breath for a really long time so I that I could pretend to not hear her ::laughs::. So yes, definitely a mermaid, I already feel like one. I’m most comfortable in water.
What are you passionate about?
Music and movement. I have found it to be really healing, especially now. I was always performing and singing as a child and recently found my latest passion which is fire dancing. It has brought a whole new meaning to my life. Because of it, I’m now a part of a community that feels like home and am able to continue my performance career through this new chapter in my life. I’m also currently in the process of learning how to DJ, so hopefully I can give back the feeling of what music and movement has given me.
How has it been healing?
I… I have been through a lot in my life. My mom was a single mom and my dad wasn’t in the picture. She had my brother and I very young and she most likely had mental health issues she didn’t address before having us. It always seemed like we were a nuisance to her. She refused to get help from anyone even though she needed it. At one point we lived out of the country with my Aunt while she stayed in the states because she couldn’t take care of us. My family would criticize her so she secluded us from them. I guess it was her way to protect us and because of that I never developed strong relationships with most of my family. I kinda…never felt like I was loved by her, so when I met my first boyfriend at 16, he gave me so much attention and took care of me and that felt really good. After a year, the relationship turned abusive. Because of him, I had stopped doing everything that I was passionate about. I stopped dancing, I stopped singing. I had to put him first, you know, he kind of manipulated me. He made me feel like I was nothing without him and that no one else would love me or deal with me. He knew my weaknesses and had me wrapped me around his finger. He ended up convincing me to move to Alabama the second I turned 18 because he was going to school there. We lived together for almost 3 years and he had me enroll in the same classes as him so that he didn’t have to do anything. He also didn’t let me work which was another way for him to control me. He didn’t let me go out, I couldn’t have friends. If I was talking to someone online or in person he would always question me about them and get really jealous regardless of who they were. I felt trapped and was really depressed. My way to cope with my depression was with was food and I ended up gaining over 90 pounds in two years. I couldn’t even walk ten minutes without getting shin splints because all I did was stay at home. It was the worst feeling. Then he started telling me, “Oh, you’re fat now, I have to cheat on you because your body disgusts me, I don’t even want to have sex with you, I wish you were skinny and blonde”. At that point I was 19, and we had been together for 3 years and in those 3 years he had fucked with my head so much that I just did whatever he wanted, let him say whatever he wanted and didn’t fight back so that he wouldn’t leave me. Because I wasn’t close to my mom or family, I didn’t feel like I could reach out to them for help. When I was 20, my mom got engaged and was living in DC, so I came up for the wedding and I didn’t go back. It was still really difficult for the first 2 years living here. I wasn’t used to such a big city and I didn’t even know who I even was as a person anymore so I was extremely insecure when meeting new people. I finally changed my lifestyle and diet and started losing some of the weight I gained and could finally dance again, and it brought me back to myself. It brought me back to everything being okay again and now I can’t stop ::laughs::
What do you feel accomplished with?
I guess, that I’m even here today. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety and always felt that I was fending for myself and that no one else was here for me. There were many times that I just wanted to give up and wondered what is even the point? Who even cares about me? But I’m still here and I’m really happy with my life now and the direction it’s going.
What do you think of relationships? Platonic, sexual and otherwise.
I think human connection is really important. I cherish my platonic relationships more than my romantic ones. Dating is hard for me because I still struggle with a lot of my past trauma and because of it, I’m still insecure and hold a lot of my feelings back because I don’t want to get hurt again. Even though I still deal with the trauma, I’m thankful it happened because I’ve been in a couple of romantic relationships where I’ve seen the red flags of abuse and I now have the courage to call them out and end them before it gets worse for myself or for anyone else. I’ve had some beautiful relationships since that ex that have showed me what being in a healthy and loving relationship is like, but right now I have a lot of goals and ambitions and things to work out with myself, so as much as a romantic relationship would be nice, the best thing for me is to be in a relationship with myself and I’m totally okay with that.