Jam

by The Bathtub Project

 

Date: December 17th, 2017

Name: Jam

Pronouns: They/Them

Age: 25

Location: Chicago, IL

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

Mostly once a day, but it’s because my acne gets so bad if I don’t. But I tend more towards two days [laughter]. I mostly shower, but I don’t know. When my body feels weird, I take a bath if I feel like I need it. If I feel like I need to chill out. Just to make my brain calm down.

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

A manta ray. They’re beautiful. They look like– I used to dream about them a lot. And I just like how they move. And not very many things are shaped like that. It’s a very unique body design. And I think it’s really funny when they jump out of the ocean and belly flop [laughter] to make those giant booms under the water to attract mates. I think that’s great.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about bugs [laughter]. I’m a teacher and I am passionate about– I was talking to my partner about this yesterday, about how there are two things that I want to get across. If I could narrow it down to two things that I want to get across when I’m teaching kids, it’s that you shouldn’t be afraid of dead things and bugs are amazing. Yeah, that’s what I’m passionate about. I’ve always been fascinated with biodiversity, different kinds of creatures. And I found that the most insane variation in what creatures look like and how they function is in the insect world. And we know so little about it and there’s so much of it. And I don’t know when I realized that.

I mean, I hadn’t always loved bugs. I was diagnosed with OCD in fourth grade. And for a while, it manifested as really intense germophobia for a year. My hands were scaly because I washed them so much. It was really bad. I just had panic attacks if I thought that something I was going to eat was in any way tarnished or something. And that definitely did not help the bug situation. But I don’t know. I think looking at a lot of really close up images of bugs, being able use– there’s a lot of really good bug Flickrs [laughter]. I spend a lot of time on the internet looking at pictures of bugs, really close up pictures of bugs. And I think that a lot more people would like bugs if they were larger because you can’t really see all of what’s going in there because they’re so small and when you look at macro photography you’re like “Wow. That mouth has so many individual moving parts. That bug that looks like it’s all smooth and shiny is actually like a big hairy creature when you look at it up close”. I think that helped me figure out how awesome they were. And I also am passionate about drawing and bugs are my favorite thing to illustrate.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

I feel really accomplished because I moved here. I lived in Washington my entire life until a little over six months ago. A year ago I came to visit my friend in Chicago who lived in this apartment. And I knew I wanted to move away from where I was because I did not want to do Washington anymore [laughter]. A lot of it is that it’s just really homogenous. It’s ecologically beautiful but in terms of belief systems and culture and ethnicity even, it’s just so homogenous. And everyone is scared of that but they’re also scared of anything else. So there’s a lot of tension because people don’t talk about things. And I didn’t think I could move. I didn’t think I could do it because I’d never done it before. I’d never moved across the country. And I wanted to live in the city and I wanted to live in an environment that was more challenging. I guess I had done it before. I lived in the Andes for four months in Peru for a class and I noticed that that really– it was a catalyst in my brain. It evolved me. I felt I was so out of my comfort zone and so in such a completely different situation because I’d never spent very much time outside the country before that it just triggered all these changes in me and most of them were very positive. Or they weren’t even positive or negative. I just became a different person. And I felt like that person was more operable in the world and so I wanted to do that again. And that’s part of why I wanted to move. And I feel really accomplished in moving here because it was really hard. But I feel like I’m making it work.

What is something you still struggle with?

I have a lot of problems around just the way that I think about time. I constantly worry that I’m wasting time or that I am misusing time or that I am stuck. I’ll find myself spending time with someone I love and I’ll just be like, “We’re not doing anything. We’re doing nothing. We’re being unproductive”. And then I’ll go, “Wow. That’s a horrible thing to think about spending time with a loved one. No.” But there are some– I notice that ebbs and flows in different periods of my life and I’m definitely in one of those periods right now where I feel I have to be working on things all the time in order to feel good about myself and in order to feel like I’m not wasting or just eating up time. So that’s the thing that I struggle with is berating myself about that and comparing myself to like, “These people have accomplished this thing. I have accomplished this thing. They are incomparable. I am not doing the things that I should be doing at this point in my life”.  My anxiety has gotten significantly better since I moved here. But yeah, I struggle with not necessarily time management but time over-management [laughter].

What are your thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual, familial, and otherwise?

What kind of thoughts? I think they should be constructive. What is that sound [laughter]? Oh well. I think that they should be constructive and positive and build something because I feel like a lot of relationships do not do that. And I see a lot of people in relationships that are not– I don’t want to judge what people’s lives are like because I’m only seeing a little bit of it. But I feel like most people who I interact with who are in relationships that they feel really committed in in terms of you’re my partner relationships. They seem like they feel trapped but they don’t want to acknowledge it. And I feel like any relationship at some point you’re going to feel trapped. But responding to that and talking about it with the other person is really important.

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