Seraphina Violet Cueller
by The Bathtub Project
Date of Interview: June 19, 2017
Name: Seraphina Violet Cueller
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.