How often do you bathe or shower?
I don’t take baths really, I don’t enjoy baths. But I shower probably three times a week, not too often. I don’t like to wash my hair very much and as long as I don’t smell bad, I’m just trying to not use as much water as possible.
If you were an underwater creature, which one would you be?
That is really difficult for me to answer, but probably a manta ray because I think that would be the closest to flying underwater. I think that’s what I would have to pick.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about a lot of things. I am passionate about people. I’m passionate about art, music, theater, just creativity in general. I think that that’s incredibly important. Creative expression. I’m passionate about the world. I’m an empath so I have a lot of feelings all the time. I feel a lot for other people and with other people, and so I think I experience emotion really deeply. I cry a lot, but it’s not out of sadness. It’s more out of a connection that I’m feeling or a shared emotion. I feel a lot of things for a lot of different reasons.
Are those feelings attached to your drive for art and the art community?
Yeah, and I think most of my strongest emotions come out when I’m witnessing or I’m present in some kind music or art or theater or dance or something that ties everybody together in the room. And I just get overwhelmed by that, of love and how wonderful it is. I’ll cry at anything that has that kind of atmosphere of fostering creativity and music and stuff like that.
When did your connection with that community start?
Really it started when I was born. My mom was a box office manager in Lexington, and was a theater major in college so she is the one that really introduced me into theater. She was taking me to shows when I was only months old. I became immersed in that life from a very young age, so I really have always had that connection to specifically musical theater. That’s just the medium that I preferred, but it’s been a lifelong thing.
What is something that you feel accomplished with?
I feel accomplished with a lot of things but I don’t necessarily think that it is– they’re not like projects that I’ve completed or physical things I have done. I think I’ve accomplished a lot as a person, and I think that’s probably one of my proudest things, is that I have grown into myself as a person and I’m still only 25. I feel like I finally accept myself, and I know who I am, and I can freely express who I am without fear of judgment — well, not fear of judgment, but without internalizing a lot of judgment. I have tried to take shame and judgement out of a lot of my feelings and a lot of my experience. And so I think that is my biggest accomplishment, is just feeling like myself.
When did that journey start?
Okay. Yeah. So recognizing it, probably four or five years ago, maybe even earlier. So probably like beginning of college. I had known I was always kind of — I just always felt like something was off about how I experienced things, not fully complete. And a lot of that was due to a lot of materialism that I was exposed to growing up, the push to be beautiful, and conform to this, and do that. And so I felt a lot of that, especially in the theater community. That superficiality is very, very present in that community. And so, once I kind of realized that that was what was holding me back, the fact that I hated myself even though I worked literally my ass off exercising, dieting, and dressing right, and ‘looking pretty’, and blah, blah, I was never happy, and I never felt full inside. And so I came to that realization and I was just like, “Fuck this! I don’t want to live this way anymore because it’s not fair. I deserve to love myself.” And so, probably five years ago, I started just doing a little bit more of that. And at that time it was very basic [laughter]. Yeah. It was very basic, like, “I’m going to stop dressing how my grandmother wants to dress,” or, “I’m going to start speaking my mind more,” and like not letting people walk over me. And then I started understanding my sexuality a little bit more, and because of that I’ve started uncovering other layers of my life, and just kind of it’s just spiraled out into this really beautiful journey of acceptance of myself. Yeah. It’s been great [laughter].
What is something that you’re struggling with currently?
I like to think that I am an accountable person. And I do really try to be an accountable person, especially in my actions and my words. But I am trying to be much more aware of the small actions that I am taking, maybe the stuff that doesn’t have a huge impact on others but maybe is in my head, or I’m thinking a certain way, or I notice a behavior this way. So I’m trying to be more accountable about those really small things that can be harmful to others or harmful to myself, and be able to call myself out and say something like, “No. I was wrong. I should not have handled that this way I recognize that that was not a productive way to handle things, that I’m going to do better next time by doing this, X, Y, Z..” [laughter].
What are your thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual, familial, and otherwise.
Well, my initial thought is relationships are hard. And platonic, familial, romantic – any relationship – is hard work. Familial relationships are something that I have treasured a lot more as I’ve grown older. Just been understanding that yes, my mom is my mom, but she’s also a person, her identity is not only my mother. Her identity is an entire other human being, and then the same thing with my father, and grandmother and so on. And as I realize that, I’m like, “Okay, well I have to approach things differently knowing that they’re whole other people.” Their identity is not wrapped around my relationship with them. And then romantic relationships… whatever [laughter]. I’m what my mother calls a serial monogamist, so I have long-term relationship after long-term relationship. And so I’m kind of at the point where I’m ready to disrupt that pattern of my behavior because I– every long-term relationship that I’ve had, I’ve kind of lost myself in. And as I have ended that relationship, I’ve discovered more about myself. And so I’m at the point of like, “Look, I had like how many long-term relationships?” And now I feel like I know myself really well and I don’t need anybody right now [laughter]. I don’t need a romantic relationship right now at all.
What is something you’re looking forward towards?
Well, I’m joining the Peace Corps soon, and so the thing I’m looking forward to most is joining that- the Peace Corps [laughter] – and moving out of the country, really, and experiencing a whole different culture for two years. Joining a new community, finding a new way of life, and just kind of– bear with me, but I have this whole idea that I’m going to go to Kosovo and find myself. And I know that’s like literally the worst Eat, Pray, Love bullshit, and it’s not going to happen, but I think that there are certain things that I will be able to learn about myself through being there. And it’s not going to be some grand self-awareness awakening, or whatever, but I really hope, especially, that I can come back and center myself more around my environment and sustainability, and just be more eco-conscious in a reducing way, not simply recycling, but actually repurposing and reducing what I take in. That’s what I’m excited about, just going to grow in that way.