exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Doughnut Spanker

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Name: Doughnut Spanker

Age: 28

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

How often do you bathe or shower?

Preferably, once every other day. If not, sometimes I’ll shower once a day. Depending. Depending on how gross I feel.

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

MMMMMMmmm. Oh man. What would I be? I probably… I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to be a crab. I kinda want to be a clown fish because I could swim through the anemones. It would be cool to be a horseshoe crab. EELS [laughter]. Eels. I would be an eel. An electric one. There we go, thought completed [laughter].

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about baking, number one. I’m passionate about loving myself and other people and showing them kindness, being grateful for the humans who are in my life. Showing them as often as I can that I appreciate them. Music. Whole lot of music. I don’t think I could get through life without it. Sometimes it can drive people insane [laughter]. I’m all over the place musically. My coworker once said “You go from Gillian Welch to Death”. My music taste goes everywhere in between, so people don’t really know what they’re going to get from me. Hopefully, they’re getting me on a good day. Otherwise you’ll be listening to really sad, sappy music or heavy, hardcore deathmetal kind of stuff. I like dancing too. Dancing gets the positive energy flowing through me; making my day flow easily.

How did your passion for baking arise?

My dad would often bake when I was little, and I was always on the counter watching him put together recipes.I wanted to learn what he was doing. He was really passionate about it, even though it wasn’t what he did for work. He baked because he liked doing it. I saw the gratitude that he had when something would come out right, he’d get super stoked. Rolling up cinnamon rolls, pies, cookies. My favorite was when he’d make bagels. I wanted feel that same feeling that he had, the smile on his face, the way he’d learn if he’d fucked something up. The feeling is definitely there. I’m living on his life in a way. I’m carrying his passions with me and making them my own.

What is something you still struggle with?

Jeez. Putting out too much for people that don’t really care about me and not recognizing it at first. Putting myself in situations that are unhealthy for my being, my mental health. It’s gotten better on the physical health end, like with the drinking and drug usage. I’d say recognizing what people deserve from me. That is something i struggle with the most.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

Accomplished? I’d say… I turned out to be a pretty decent human being despite things I’ve been through. I don’t know if I feel quite accomplished with anything particularly. Every day is a learning process in everything that I’m doing, there’s never going to be a final product. Every day I’m putting in effort to make things better. To feel more accomplished, so I wouldn’t say I feel particularly accomplished in anything.

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

I mean. I feel like, every relationship, you need to put in effort to make it what it is. Whether that be friendship, family member, sexual… Communication is definitely key in that. But there are people I don’t talk to for months and months at a time. And it’s like, because we’re so connected on some sort of level, it’s not entirely necessary to communicate with them all the time because the effort we’ve put in has laid out a platform. Showing someone that you appreciate them as a human being makes relationships so much easier. That we are on the same level, that I’m here to be a part of your team. Release expectations, take it as it goes. I feel like sexual relationships are a different kind of connection but they’re still the same. It’s different realm of communication. In my eyes in a sexual relationship, you’re with that person often because you want them to be your partner in life. To have a partner, or a teammate in life, means letting them help you, sharing yourself, climbing the mountains… but never quite reaching the top! [Laughter], I don’t know. it’s all… it’s respect.

What is something you appreciate about yourself?

I’m not good at appreciating myself. Self love! Self love! Ummmm [laughter]. I appreciate that I’m hardworking. That I can do what people ask me to do. That is something that I appreciate about myself. I feel like I appreciate a lot? I appreciate the fact that I’ve worked so hard to get where I am. And recognizing that it’s me that is doing the work. That I can see myself in a higher light than what I used to because I now actually care about myself. So I guess, just recognizing that I’m worth loving because I am a hard worker and someone can appreciated it.



Name: Alaina

Age: 25

Pronouns: She/Her

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.




Date of Interview: October 25, 2018

Name: Daisy

Age: 25

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

How often do you bathe or shower?

Every other day usually.

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

Okay, I’ve been thinking about this and it would be a snail. I love snails and I feel that they are perceived as the ugly creature and I have a love for animals and creatures that people think are ugly.

What are you passionate about?

So many things. I feel like the things that I’m most passionate about, are usually the things that I feel like I can’t do anything about. I feel like advocating for people who are oppressed is something that matters a lot to me, but I feel sometimes my voice on the internet or the help that I try to give, even a small bit locally is not necessarily making a huge impact. I don’t really know how to make what I’m passionate about spread wider and actually reach the people who need help. Something I am also passionate about that is] animals. I love animals. I have three cats that I rescued, two of which have FIV. FIV is basically, the equivalent to feline Aids and much like Aids, there’s a stigma and with cats that people are afraid they’re going to get Aids [chuckles] from their cat. Which sounds ridiculous, because it is. And a lot of them sadly are in shelters for years and sometimes even die in the shelter because there’s nothing wrong with them. I remember when I was adopting my third cat at the local shelter here, the woman who was helping me adopt him said to me, “Do you have any other cats at home?” I said yes, I have two other cats they have FIV and she looked at me like I just said they have alien brains coming out of their mouth. She looked at me with such disgust and she was like, “Do you really think it’s a good idea to bring a cat home that has–” and I was like yes, he needs a home so he’s coming home with me.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

One thing is, that I recently had an art show where I sold my cross stitch. It was a two-month art show and I didn’t quite sell everything, but I sold enough that they were really impressed and they were happy with me. And I was happy because when I started cross stitching, it was just like a form of therapy for me. It really helps with my anxiety. I make funny stuff that people like, and that people are [almost] sad when it’s sold like, “Oh no, you already sold it, I really like that one.” It’s a really nice feeling. [It started when] I saw someone doing it and I was literally just like “Can you please teach me how to do that?” And she taught me how to do it and then I started looking up more stuff online at home. And I started making that stuff. I I never use any patterns, I just make stuff for and look for other people’s work for inspiration and get funny ideas. I realized how just doing that was, watching TV for hours made me feel so calm. It’s such a form of self care. 100% and I even wrote something about this because I know a lot of the tips out there about self care are really expensive, unrealistic habits, [like] go and get your hair done every time you feel bad about yourself or even using bath bombs because it’s really unrealistic for people to have $10 every time. But for me cross stitching is such an affordable habit. There are stores and other places that really cheap and I find it to incredibly peaceful to just pick a product to work on. And even if everything else in my life is going badly I’m like “Whoa, I made something. This is nice.” The other thing that I feel proud of is that I’ve been working in the same field for seven years, and I’ve been doing that full time for about four years and recently I just got a really nice acknowledgment from my work and it was just words but it really made me feel really good about the quality of work I’m doing and feel really appreciated. I work in copywriting so I guess that it’s like marketing or advertising. It’s basically when someone hires a company to make their website, they usually only really think about the design. But behind the design team is someone putting all the content in there. So I mostly work for lawyers, and doctors, and people in the blue-collar field, just basically trying to make them sound good, and trying to help them sell their services.

What is something that you still struggle with?

Some days I struggle with a lot is my self-worth. I find that I often rely on other people for affirmation that I can’t just like look myself in the mirror and say “You did a good job. You look beautiful. You’re worthy.” I’m clinging to what other people say and how that made me feel. I’ve been working on it, but it’s really hard to get that with it. Because they’re so much negativity coming from a thing and it’s hard not to shut that down. That at the end of the day I  just want someone to tell me they love me and tell me I’m pretty and whatever else. And tell me I’m doing a good job.

What is your love language?

It’s so hard to choose just one. But I would definitely say that words of affirmation is my top one. I guess I think a little bit goes a long way and I’ve always felt that way. Just hearing just a little bit of, just for your own sake, “You’re doing a good job” or “You’re beautiful” or “You matter to me”. Whether it’s from a lover or even as friends, is like– that stuff impacts me so much. And I have a hard time with the five love languages with recognizing that someone else’s love language might be different than you, especially if you’ve never talked about it. They don’t know what that is, what that concept is. You’re wondering, “Well, why doesn’t this person ever say really nice things to me?” And then you realize they’re doing other things for you that they value, but you’re not really matching up.

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

Oh, I have a lot of thoughts. Oh, boy. So in therapy, I’ve been working with my therapist on what she calls “my bullseye”. And it’s basically if you picture all over relationships falling in intrinsic circles, how much importance and how much energy you put into things. So if you have your best friend, your partner, your mom, your dad in the middle and from there you build out. And people can move at any time. And that has helped me a lot. Because I’ve been guilty of sort of putting too much volume, too much energy on people who aren’t necessarily giving the same thing back. So that has helped me a lot to sort of gauge things. But I still find myself like– I tend to obsess in romantic relationships. I tend to get in my head, tend to not be able to enjoy it at all because I’m over analyzing things and wondering if someone– if it’s enough, and if it’s right and if it’s this and if it’s that. And I don’t even get to enjoy it. Where was I for all this? I got lost in that– and then the honeymoon state is over and then suddenly I’m like, “Wait, wait. But I wasn’t there for it. I want the honeymoon state back.” I think it ties back into self-worth. Sometimes I tend to stay or chase things that aren’t good for me because I’m too afraid to just remind myself that I deserve better. Because in my head it’s like, “But where’s better? So this is what I’ve got so–.”

What is something that you have learned this year?

That’s hard. I think that I’ve learned that sometimes – I’m trying to figure out how to word it – letting go of something doesn’t have to mean that you’re moving on from it. Because a lot of people, including myself, get really caught up in like, “How can I possibly fully move on from that situation? I can’t possibly. I’m not over it yet.” You don’t have to get over it yet, you’re healing. Granted it’s totally valid but you can make a step to cut something or someone out of your life. So when dealing with toxic people I kept feeling like I had to be all the way at my destination of healed. But I don’t have to be there yet. I just have to make that first step. And that’s been really powerful for me, really helpful.

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