exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Month: December, 2016




Date of Interview: December 4, 2016

Name: Maya

Age: 22

Pronouns: She/Her or They/Them

Location: Washington, DC


How often do you bathe or shower?

I almost never bathe, I’m not a big bath person. Showering really depends, like almost everything else in my life, on how I feel that day. So it’s like, everyday, twice in one day, way too many days in between ::laughs::. It really depends.

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

That’s a really hard question. I love the ocean, but I’m not a huge fan of the things in the ocean ::laughs::. It’s ’cause they really freak me out, I had too many nightmares as a kid about things in the ocean. But I do remember, when I was at the beach when I was young, there were these jellyfish blobs and they’re called moon jellies and I loved that name! They’re clear and they’re squishy and soft so I feel like I would be a moon jellyfish.

What are you passionate about?

Oh my god, too many things. But all of them have one thing in common which is growing. I’m passionate about helping people grow and about relationships and the ways that things interact with one another and the way that things shift over time and how we make space for those kinds of changes. So I guess that roughly translates to… I teach. I make art. I make space for relationships. What am I passionate about… Yeah, growing.

What are your thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual or otherwise.

They’re the most important thing to me. All kinds of relationships have equal value to me. Relationships are all about love and love is all about cultivation, so relationships are about growing with one another, tending to one another’s gardens and making space to be beautiful. I think back to this article my friend sent me a long time ago from Dean Spade, something that always stuck out to me is they said to treat your friends as your lovers and to treat your lovers as your friends. I think that sort of symbiotic relationship where everyone is getting the care and attention and investment that they deserve, that’s what relationships are all about to me.

Does that backdrop come from familial ties?

In some ways. I think family is so huge for me, I’ve got this big, huge family and it’s not just my mother and my sister, it’s my housemates, my soul mates, my teammates who are all there for me. All of those who have seen me grow and have grown with me. I’ve been really lucky to meet people who are committed to being there. And to sharing in whatever way they can share. There’s this word, compañerismo, and to be a compañerx to me means to be committed to love and to justice and to dignity. Compañerismo is this tie that holds you, as in a hug, but also holds you accountable to what you believe in and holds your community accountable to that and I think that is where my ideas of community comes from.

What does community mean to you?

Oh man, I just did a whole huge art project around that. I asked so many people what community meant to them and I still don’t know. For myself, what community means… community means… community means… all I have is this feeling. I don’t have the words big enough to explain this deep rootedness of what community means. It’s so within me that words will never bring them out. Yeah ::laughs::.

Shanon Lee

Shanon Lee


Date of Interview: November 25, 2016

Name: Shanon Lee

Age: 40

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Alexandria, VA


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

I would be a seahorse. They’re elegant; I used to be fascinated by them when I was a kid. I used to live in Pensacola, Florida and they would wash up on the streets out of the sewers. Also, because I think they’re feminist. The males carry the babies, so it’s an equal society down there for them ::laughs::.

What are you passionate about?

Love, family, art. Yeah, especially in my 40th year of life. I have kind of come full circle because I was huge into art as a child – just writing and painting and doing all those things. So, I’m slowly trying to work everything back into my life that I used to enjoy. My kids are a lot like I was, so I definitely encourage them. But in terms of me personally, trying to connect with my inner child and trying to get back in touch with my creativity has become hugely important this year.

What’s your favorite media to create?

Mmmmm, it’s pretty much tied right now between writing and film. I love film and writing, they can be so totally different. Writing can be really personal and it’s always exciting to reach a broader audience that can connect with something you thought was so personal to you. Certainly, if you write anything that’s impactful it can help someone in a way, but film can reach an even broader audience. It’s more dynamic and exciting in that you have to work with other people to create a project, so there’s always this buzz around it. But it’s so hard to get things done. I’m not trained to use any particular equipment, so I’m always working with a crew and that involves balancing personalities. If I was a magician and could take that part out of it, it would probably be my number one ::laughs::.

What’s something that you still struggle with?

I think it’s… I definitely don’t struggle with self-expression anymore. I think I struggle with letting go of the need to – I don’t want to say impress because that’s the wrong word – but just to please my parents. I’m definitely trying to let go of the need of that. I was never really close to my mother or my father, so just accepting that I don’t need their approval in any form with any projects I decide to take on, or any decisions in my life. What do you feel accomplished with? I think it’s two-fold because I feel very accomplished with everything that I’ve done this year in terms of writing and film. I think just being happy in the space that I’m in is my biggest accomplishment this year. Just because things are going well for me professionally doesn’t mean it’s always going well personally. I’m a co-parent, I co-parent with my oldest son’s father and that’s been a really trying experience. I think, regardless of if everything was perfect in my personal life or not, I’ve really been able to find a balance and be happy and comfortable with where I am. That level of emotional maturity, yeah.

What are your thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual or otherwise.

I think we need them to survive this life. I’m very happy to be in a partnership, to have a blended family and to have that to come home to. To have a support system. I think I approach relationships and love a lot differently now, at my age. I’ll watch these shows on TV – reality shows – and see the dynamics. It’s a lot of envy and jealousy and just… pettiness. I’m so glad to be at this point, on the other side. That was all stuff I was doing in my teens and twenties, so as you enter your thirties and forties you’re a lot more secure in who you are. Hopefully, you’re not going to have these stupid arguments over, you know, what somebody wrote on Facebook or text. So, I’m happy to be at that point. I’m not a traditionalist. I married for the first time when I was 20. Now, it’s 20 years later and I don’t really feel the need to do anything traditionally, I don’t feel like I have to get married, I will get married again if I want to. So I’ve let go of a lot of those expectations, the societal expectations, the cultural stigmas of having to live your life in one particular way. I think everyone would be happier if they could get to that place.

What are you afraid of for the world?

I’m not really afraid of anything for the world. Whether things get things figured out or not, we’re all going to die anyway ::laughs::. We were all put on this earth to do something and hopefully most people will figure out at some point what it is and will want to contribute in a positive way to the world. But, I think we’re entering some really interesting times, especially in the United States with the last presidential election and everything that’s gone on. It’s interesting because with the Obama presidency we’ve been able to fall into complacency. Some people have been a lot less willing to examine what was going on in politics and that has obviously led us downhill. What I wish for people is the ability to become critical thinkers, to become independent thinkers and to understand that we’ve had good and bad presidents for as long as the United States has existed. The world is not ending today.


Jacob Griffin

Jacob Griffin


Date of Interview: November 22, 2016

Name: Jacob Griffin

Age: 24

Pronouns: He/Him

Location: Washington, DC


How often do you bathe or shower?

Twice a day. Yeah, I work in fitness part time so I’m always sweatin’.

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

Loch Ness Monster. No doubt. Loch Ness Monster just don’t give no fucks. Like, I mean, he’ll hang out and do his thing and show his face when he wants then he won’t be around for a couple years and that’s what he wants to do it. And I’m like, do it. They do what they want.

What are you passionate about?

Oh, a lot of things. My passions have changed a lot, especially this past year. You know, with the election and stuff, I’ve really noticed what my values are aligned with and how I can, I guess express those values and project those values into the world around me. So living a life that is in alignment with what I want and how I want others to treat me and all of that. Just because this election has been really hard. It’s shed a lot of light on what I see is important. The people in my life that I love, helping them grow, helping them feel challenged, looking for challenges and surrounding myself with people who do that for me is super important. Yeah, and I also love roller coasters, they’re my favorite. I’m super passionate about roller coasters, if you want to ask me questions about where they are and what heights, I know all of that too ::laughs::. Or recommendations for self help books. Either or, I like both. I love self help books, like, personal development books. I love the perspective that they offer. I don’t think that they’re all “alright” or that they’re all my “Gods” but they tend to give really good discrete tools that help people during really rough times. And whether it’s a hard conversation with someone you care about who’s in your life or a big decision, a lot of times there’s neat little tools that they give you that can help you think about things in ways that you wouldn’t have. That’s why I like that. I’m kind of woosa in some ways, like woosa. Like, think about the energy in the world and things like that. I LOVE that stuff cuz there’s something to be said about doing good shit or taking on good shit.

Can you expand on how this election was hard?

Umm, well I’m gay. And I’m a gay man who performs as a man and I see the implications of what Donald Trump’s presidency could mean for me and what it means for people around me who I love and care about and that just, overall, I’m sad. That those are the things that could happen and those are the things that exist in the world. I’m still navigating a space that’s… I don’t want to say mourning but just leaving myself a time to be sad and it’s on no one else’s timeline. You know, I’m not looking to feel happy about it, I don’t think I’m going to, and that’s okay. It was just hard seeing that there’s that much yuckiness still.

What is something that you struggle with?

Umm, I don’t know, we all struggle in a million ways. I think my biggest struggle, especially at 24, is thinking that I should be in a certain position. Like, I should be at this point or I should have this kind of friend group or I should be doing this. All these quote unquote pressures that no one else is putting on me except me, I’m making the story up in my head, right. And it’s constantly reminding myself that no one fucking told me that I had do that, it’s just me. So owning that it’s myself that’s making me loco and no one else, it’s like “OH! That’s kind of hard”, but it’s also really empowering. As I’ve gotten older and have made really amazing friends that have helped me learn some of that stuff, it’s easier to take ownership of how I’m showing up to something even though I want it to be everyone else’s fault and not mine. It’s your fault and it’s fault and the wind and the weather in November instead of owning the fact that I have a play in this. Fine. Like, okay.  

What do you feel accomplished with?

Personally, I am so fulfilled and grateful and really just happy with the humans in my life. I think I have worked really hard in the past couple years to choose to put out good vibes and good energy and that is called in the most amazing people ever. I’m sitting in a bathtub doing an interview, like, because I saw a flyer and said let’s do this. And I don’t think that’s something I would do five years ago. So choosing to call in good things and exciting things, I’m happy that I’m at the point where it’s a conscious effort for me and I’m doing it well.

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

Relationships ::laughs:: in reference to just DC? Or all over? ::Laughs:: relationships. It’s something that I, very much am still, I guess you could say struggling with. I so desire to have my person in this world. And, I know that, as humans we kind of bounce around and do things and are up to stuff and once in awhile one sticks and once in awhile one doesn’t and you just got to enjoy what is happening along the way. I think in reference to where I currently live, which is DC, it’s very much a go get ’em and on to the next sort of mindset which definitely shows up in relationship, friendship and sexually. People tend to be a little bit more transient here anyways so there’s less of those roots which makes it hard to try to establish really deep commitment. That’s just my own experience, I’ve met people who have met the loves of their life, right, so I’m not saying that it won’t be available to me at some point, it just hasn’t quite yet shown up.

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