exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Month: July, 2017

Seraphina Violet Cueller


Date of Interview: June 19, 2017

Name: Seraphina Violet Cueller

Age: 20

Pronouns: She/Hers and They/Them

Location: Chicago, IL


How often do you bathe or shower?

I shower every day now, because I work as a maintenance person. But I used to not shower a lot, yeah [laughter]. I bathe when I’m really stressed out. My parents live in the suburbs and I go back there and take like an anxiety bath [laughter].

If you were a underwater creature which would you be?

I would be a cuttlefish. I love them so much [laughter]. They’re these weird squid things that are– they change color. They look like little squids and they’re just awkward. And I very much vibe with that personality. So they’re super cool. I saw a documentary on PBS about cuttlefish and I’ve been crazy about them ever since.

What are you passionate about?

I’ve been asking myself a lot lately because I’m trying to get to the root of it. I’m very passionate about helping people, which is just such a generic thing that everyone’s like, yeah, I want to help people. And it really is something that’s at the core of my world. I’m very passionate about theater and that’s what I’m in school for, but I want to be able to take art that is not only just about putting something on a stage, but how you actually use art form to relate to other people. There’s a super cool thing called mirror neurons, and they’re the neurons that when you’re watching somebody else, like dribble a basketball, your neurons are firing like you’re dribbling a basketball. And so I think there are things that you can learn through actually watching something happen on stage or through film, that if you don’t have the experience going through it, then you can’t understand. So that’s why I’m so drawn to that.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

Ugh. I get out of bed in the morning, and that’s an accomplishment sometimes. That’s something I have a lot of trouble with because I have really bad depression and anxiety, and so it’s hard for me to do things. I have a lot of ideas. Like, my accomplishment is having ideas, but other than that, it’s really hard to feel accomplished about things. The thing I accomplished lately, I did a two-hour performance art piece on Kanye West, and that was my most recent– it was about exploitation, and mainly about me but using all of Kanye’s weird words and songs. And this is somebody that I vibe with. I know he’s like a super hard figure for a lot of people to vibe with, but he talks about struggling depression, in music, and a lot about fake celebrity culture. And it’s something about the isolation that I felt a connection to.

What is something you still struggle with?

Trying to stay in an art mindset, because it’s really difficult to actually keep doing things day-to-day. It’s something that’s hard to describe because it’s weird being like, “Yes, getting out of bed is difficult.” And if I don’t have somewhere to be in the morning, it takes me two hours to get out of bed. And that’s a normal thing of me laying in bed for two hours, just trying to do things. And I have a lot of social anxiety, and it’s hard to be around people because I love people so much, and I have this really intense curiosity about how people work and what people are thinking about, how to study their bodies. And especially through the acting training, you see so much about how bodies work. But it’s just being in a group, and knowing all those little things, and being sensitive to that, and then also having to be a participant, is exhausting to me. Yeah.

Do you think you’re more of an introvert, or extrovert, or introverted extrovert?

I am an extroverted introvert. I come off as somebody who– and it’s amazing to me. I come off as somebody who’s very confident to people, and I’m like, “Oh, no. I am not.” I mean, I’m really hard on myself. And it’s hard because I’m very friendly, and I try to smile at everyone, just because I know that I’ve been ignored so many times. And so it’s difficult. I want to be able to smile and be nice to people because I know I was brought up with that experience a lot, so I try to make people… comfortable, happy.

What do you think of relationships: platonic, sexual, and otherwise?

I think I’m not ever going to get married. And that’s something that’s so– all these things I say I feel like come off as like, “Oh, typical millennial, thinking all these things.” But for me, it’s like I am somebody who lies on such a broad spectrum, it’s hard to find people who relate to that broad of a spectrum. Like if I’m in my quiet mood, the party people who I vibe with aren’t going to get along with me when I’m in those moods. And it’s just hard because I need a lot of alone time, and I also need people to know that they don’t have to take care of me. And it’s hard because every time I’m upset, I’m very honest about that, and I will say I’m upset, and people think that they have to take care of me. And I’m like, I’ve been taking care of myself emotionally for so long that I’m like, “No. Just sometimes I need a hug, and that’s it.” But I am very much influenced by whatever little wind that blows by me, so I tend to run with the current. And that’s really bad in a marriage. Most of my sexual relationships are actually just with my friends. And yeah, it’s a little less pressure because I intensely love people, and I understand that they don’t feel the same way about me because I’m somebody that’s very wild, and  a lot of times, people are enticed by this idea that I’m somebody who’s wild and never feels any sort of guilt or anything about myself. And then when they find out that I actually have this fragile side, and I am really self-conscience about myself, they get freaked out because I’m not this confident dream person. I’m like the dark version of a manic pixie dream girl. That people like the intensity and the fire, and then they find out how tired I am all the time, and how really like– I keep getting to the phrase, broken woman, and then being like, “I’m not broken. This is just how I am. I’m just different than how most people function,” and kind of trying to vibe with that. And I don’t think that’s quite conducive to ever being with anyone else in a full-time thing. But I still, in my sexual relationships, like to find the love in there. But often I’ll love them, but it’s an understanding of getting my heart broken over, and over, and over again, and being okay with that. And now I’m so good at getting my heart broken because I can’t stay mad with anyone, so I’ve become an expert in heartbreak [laughter]. I get so excited about people and finding out who they are, and then I want to get deeper, but there’s always this stupid social restriction that keeps me from reaching– there was a moment– I was drinking on my college campus a few days ago because it’s summer, and why not have some drinks in one of our buildings? And I have this urge to touch my friend’s forehead and be like, “I’m here with you,” but I felt like I couldn’t. There were other people there and I was like, “That would be weird.” There would be this weird depth that I would feel I have to take care of then. And I know I am ready for that, but I don’t want to push anyone into an uncomfortable zone where it’s too intense for them.


Alexander Detellio


Date of Interview: June 14, 2017

Name: Alexander Detellio

Age: 27

Pronouns: He/Him

Location: Chicago, IL


How often do you bathe or shower?

Normally, I’m a once a day person. But when it’s really gross out I sometimes shower twice a day [laughter]. Mainly showers. Although, when I’m depressed, I take baths. This is one of the most un-depressing baths I’ve had in a very long time [laughter].

If you were an underwater creature what would it be?

I’ve always been obsessed with giant squids. That’s from reading “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” growing up. So I guess I would be that [laughter].

Do your books play a major role in your life?

Yeah. My life revolves around literature, not just my everyday life but specifically my hopes and dreams for life. It’s very influenced by all sorts of stories.

What are you passionate about?

Well, literature, obviously but I think in a more general sense, storytelling is something that I feel has a moral force. So I’ve developed a passion for stories, but it doesn’t have to just be fiction or books. Even the best philosophy, which is something else that I’m passionate about, can also tell a story- even if it’s veiled in philosophical jargon. This is something I’m discovering about myself recently: being an outcast growing up, I retreated to stories and it was something that gave me a release and then as I got older and studied stories, I don’t know, I was able to figure out how stories can affect people more generally. So I guess a combination of my experience growing up and then wanting to help other people in finding out that stories can do that.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

In life in general? I guess probably writing my undergraduate thesis [laughter]. Well, because part one is an academic essay and part two is a short story. The short story was just a bit longer than the essay and actually helped me work on a lot of questions I have about the world. And also doing it in such a way that gave it a formal merit. I felt super accomplished by writing this short story that other people who read it thought was pretty decent.

What is something you still struggle with?

Something I struggle with. I guess probably overcoming kind of depressive states that– I don’t even know how to put this– that I force on myself to an extent. Like wallowing in that sort of thing. And I think that probably stems from my experiences when I was younger. I mean, high school’s a fucking terrible place and I was definitely an overweight kind of nerdy kid and the jocks loved picking on me for that. So that was that sort of thing. And then there’s other stuff I guess. Parents [inaudible] divorce when I was 12 or 13. That affected it as well. But it turns out that that was for the better so in hindsight yeah [laughter].

What do you think of relationships, platonic, sexual, and otherwise?

Oh, well. Humans are relational creatures obviously. It’s how we function. So I value relationships pretty heavily, although I’m the type of person where, at different points of my life, I’ve had different types of relationships as you know. So in some cases, I’ve had lots of friends and only a few really close friends. And in other cases, it’s gone the other way. As I’ve gotten a little bit older, I think I value quality relationships. That being said, sexual relationships have probably been more quantity than quality over the years. But I think that’s because I’m narcissistic or something [laughter]. There’s some truth for you [laughter].

What does the word relationship mean to you?

What sense of the word relationship do you mean? I don’t know. I guess it’s like there’s different types of love, right? Different Greek words for love. And this is from me studying religious things but [inaudible]. There’s romantic love, there’s familial love, friendship love, and the one that may or may not be there: God love. And I guess, I– that fits it pretty well. And we don’t have English words for that. So the Greek words work pretty well. I don’t know. I guess I follow that pretty closely.


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