THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Art

Lorin Elise

 

Date of Interview: July 29, 2017

Name: Lorin Elise

Age: 23

Location: Chicago, IL

 

How often do you bathe or shower? Do you have any rituals?

Just about every day. And then sometimes I skip a day [laughter]. Yeah. I’ve tried to get into rituals, like just having habits, and suck at them, so I just don’t try anymore [laughter].

If you were an underwater creature, mythical or real, what would you be?

I’ve never thought about this. I don’t know a lot of underwater creatures. Dolphins, I guess. They’re the most recognizable for me. Yeah.

What are you passionate about?

People, art, and music. Probably in that order. No. People, music, then art. Yeah. I sing. I just joined a worship ministry, actually. So singing, I did it growing up, but never as an adult. So it’s my first time doing that. And then, I played trumpet for eight years from middle school through my first year in college. And then I stopped in 2014ish whenever I left my first school. I’ve tried to learn guitar over the years, here and there, I dabble. And then I had a piano growing up, because my dad played. So I can pick up a tune or two on there. And a friend gave me an electric bass. So I played at one service, and probably won’t again until I start practicing [laughter]. But yeah. I love music.

Are music, art, and religion all tied in together for you?

Not necessarily. I feel like singing is definitely a gift that God gave me, so I can use that to worship. But I mean, everything I do in life is worship, or should be. So, yeah. And I don’t know if I would call it religion necessarily, but yeah.

Were you raised in that way of being of service?

Absolutely. My parents are two of the hardest working people that I have ever come across. I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there that work as hard as them, but yeah. My dad, he just, no matter what, was– he was always there for people. And a lot of times, even my mom, she wouldn’t get frustrated, but she would just kind of be like, “You’re doing so much. We need you here, sometimes.” But then, if there was a way we– me, my brother and sister, my mom, could get involved with whoever he was helping, or however he was helping other people, we would often find a way there and make it a family thing. What does religion mean to you? Religion means bondage. [laughter] yeah. I mean, I actually looked up the word religion a couple years ago, and it’s defined as, to bind or to restrict. And I grew up in the Pentecostal Apostolic faith. Not even fully sure what that means, but it’s a charismatic denomination or whatever. And growing up in that, and then becoming an adult, and having to live on my own with something, having a foundation of something to pull from, I’ve realized religion is so not what relationship with God is, and that’s what I strive toward and try to practice and live out. So, yeah. Religion is binding, religion is death, religion is confusion. It’s not what Jesus came to die for [laughter]. And there are several religions on the earth, but what I have is not a religion, I would say. Yeah.

What do you think of relationships? Platonic, sexual, and otherwise.

They are great, and they are challenging, and [laughter]– I mean, it’s one of those things, it’s like the best of everything and the worst of everything at the same time. Yeah. I love my family. I have a great relationship with all my family members and anyone that I’ve known since birth, which is most of my church back home. And friendships, I’ve had a harder time with I feel like, in life. Platonic more than intimate, or whatever. I’ve never had sex, so just throwing that out there [laughter]. So don’t have that relational experience to speak on. But I feel like platonic friendships are hard, just because people– everyone has needs, and not everyone knows how to express them, or fit the needs of others, so [laughter] it’s– unless you communicate about it, it’s kind of hard– and most people don’t communicate about it. So it’s just like, “Okay, this is dumb. We’re both being stupid right now [laughter].” So yeah. Friends, I have a hard time with. But I do love people. I try to make friends wherever I am, and however I can. It just mostly doesn’t end up in the kind of hard core, legit relationships we’re all looking for [laughter]. Most of the time.  

What is something you feel accomplished with?

Oh, my career. Because I knew since eighth grade, since I was about 13, that I wanted to be an interior designer, and now I’m an interior designer [laughter]. It’s just like, “Wow.” Neither of my parents went to college– well, my mom did a semester or something, but they never completed higher education. And my other family members who did, it was always the– what I would call typical fields, like social work, nursing, stuff like that. Nothing that was outside of a stereotype or whatever. So it’s kind of like, “Wow, I’ve arrived,” a little bit. And even when I graduated and I started working, I’m like, “Crap, what am I supposed to do with life now?” I only had a plan up to this point [laughter], so it’s been a process of figuring out what’s next. But yeah, I think that’s my biggest accomplishment [laughter].

What is something you still struggle with?

Where do I start? No, just kidding [laughter]. [inaudible]. Well, I was actually just talking to a friend about this last night. One intimate relationship that I had – healing from that I guess, is something I still struggle with. I guess I had a really deep soul-tie or something to this guy, and so I think about him more often than I want to, and we have mutual friends, so through social media, the devil keeps popping his face up in my face [laughter]. And every time I see him, it’s a problem for me internally. So, yeah, just dealing with– I guess lust, in a way. Because I want a person just to be intimate with, or just to have that relationship, like you said, a real, true relationship with. And it’s so hard to find. So it’s like, “But when you have that person, do you know?” So I guess that’s pointing me to God, again, though, because it’s like, “Yeah, you don’t have this relationship but here is the provider of everything you need [laughter], so just go to Him. Go to the source for what you need and stop trying to find it among other things (or people).” And then, I just recently kind of noticed this but I could say I struggle with self-image. I have some thoughts about myself that are not good all the time, and that affects how I interact with others and stuff like that. So yeah.

What is something you’re hopeful for?

The future, for sure because it’s– I don’t know. I know my future’s in heaven, first off, so that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to that, can’t wait for that. I’m hopeful for that. And I think the success of my siblings and just all my close family and friends who have stuck to their values, and really tried to be good citizens of the world.

Annabel Wheeler

 

Date of Interview: July 3, 2017

Name: Annabel Wheeler

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her and They/Them

Location: Chicago, IL

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

I try to shower every day, and I wash my hair as needed [laughter]. And baths? When I’m sick or feel like I need to relax.

If you were an underwater creature, what would you be?

A living organism [laughter]. Oh, gosh. Maybe a starfish. I could regrow all my little ends [laughter]. Haven’t thought about that. That’s a good question.

What are you passionate about?

I believe I’m passionate about a few things, like that Sylvia Plath kind of thing where it goes, “If you have too many figs, they’ll die.” And I’ve realized this year – mainly over the past six months –I’ve needed to weed out some of those. And I’ve narrowed things down to two, which are basically education and self-care, which go a long way. It’s not just me here [laughter], but the world at large, whether that be in hospitality in coffee, or working with children and people with disabilities, both are art and language in the community at large. I think there’s a lot going out there needs to be done, and there’s not only one way to do it. Guess I’m trying to figure how I can give [laughter]. My parents are both architects. And so when I was growing up, people would always be like, “Oh, Annabel. You can draw. So you’re going to be an architect, right?” And I, of course, being the little bitch I am [laughter], would reply, “No, I’m not.” And so I grew up saying, “No, I’m not. No, I’m not.” And now I’m thinking, “Maybe I should have gone with those [laughter], ‘You’re going to be architect.'” But I do appreciate growing up in that way because I learned a lot about the city, started drawing right away. And it’s one of the only things that – one of the few things that – gives me some kind of point of relaxation as well as a point of reflection. I do a lot of illustration internally, not necessarily caring about what the drawing “looks” like. More for myself in time. And if I don’t draw one day, it tells me that I was either really busy, sick, or really happy and just forgot.

Does art go into mental health for you?

Totally. Also. I think about art and educational system within STEAM.  With art programs being cut left and right, STEAM allows students and educators to implement art in history classes, or mathematics, etc  AND not everyone is learning the same way!!

What is something that you still struggle with?

Struggle is a hard word for me, but in 2008 I went to my first AA meeting. It was not until about four rehabs, institutions, and, detoxes later that I got some quality sober time. It was me who had to want it though. Now sober since February 17th of 2015. Still – almost two and a half years later – on a daily, hourly, second basis I have to make sure I have reasons to be places where drinking or drugging is going to be happening and that I have a plan B. Not the other Plan B. I don’t think I need that one. Yeah, it’s something that I’m proud of, as well as it’s a good reminder to myself and my growth.

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

What do I think of them? You know, I’ve only been in monogamous relationships and I have never been in a poly relationship. I’ve dated cis men in the past. My first year of college, almost ten years ago, came out as queer.  Also – dating? It’s hard. It’s really hard, you know? I’ve tried dating multiple people at once. That’s exhausting. Don’t do it. Tried it. If it works for you, great. Seriously. I feel like once I have a better grasp of who I am and what I can bring to a relationship, I can be a better partner – I want to be my full self. Platonic relationships? Love my friends. Family is kind of included I guess, in a way. I think that within social media and stuff like that, we see people moving across the country or internationally it’s hard to stay in contact. But. I think that even a letter, message, anything can just bring back something so great. Just say you had seen a leaf on the ground with a friend 15 years ago, and you found a picture from that moment and you just…send it off to them. You haven’t talked to that person in 15 years. And even if they don’t respond, it’s not about that.  They’ll receive it – perhaps – and that feels good. Just into space. I don’t think platonic relationships are just with people. I think relationships are being one within this crazy fucking universe and learning how to exist with the people walking down the street or buying a cup of coffee.

Kate

Kate

 

Date of Interview: April 5, 2017

Name: Kate

Age: 27

Pronouns: She/Hers

Location: Washington, DC

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

I bathe or shower randomly. Sometimes I shower twice a day, sometimes I go a couple days without. But with baths, I never feel clean so I usually shower afterwards ::laughs::.

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

Hmmm. I like starfish, although I find it kind of disturbing with sand dollars and stuff, when they don’t get thrown back in. Or… I like jellyfish, but I wouldn’t want to sting things. Once I had a dream that I was a fish, a regular one that was yellow and blue and I could breathe through my gills. Since then I’ve been really into the idea of breathing through gills. I don’t really know the process of breathing underwater, but in my dream if felt wonderful to breathe that way.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about a lot of things. Kind of too many things, I have trouble focusing. Lately it’s kind of cheesy, but I’ve been trying to focus everything that I do on two things. Making a difference in some way, even though that sounds really cheesy, or making something beautiful. I like sharing or experiencing beautiful things. I try to focus more on creating than consuming. So that’s a roundabout way of saying that I have so many things that I focus on passionately, that I want to go with those feelings and they are guided by those two focuses and principles. I am passionate about art, which goes into beautiful things, also nature. I’m passionate about mental health. I’m into mental health reform. I’m passionate about sex and gender based violence, I’m passionate about the rights of women. I feel like I’m passionate about a lot of things, and I try to do small things to make people happier. Equality is such a vague thing, but I am passionate about it. Like, with mental health reform, people deserve a chance, you know? It’s messed up how people are abandoned. Same with sex and gendered violence advocacy stuff, I think that’s so important and it really upsets me how unequal that is. Sexual violence it makes us so unequal because of living in fear. It mostly affects women, so it becomes a gender equality issues because of living in fear and living life differently because of it which can affect so many things. Losing income or having to pay so much money in therapy or medical bills because of it. Or not graduating college, that stuff really upsets me when it comes to equality. This connects to mental health reform ’cause so much of this becomes a mental health issue for survivors, it tends to hold people back a lot. I’m passionate about those things, and that people have equal access to beauty. People having equal access to art and nature… those are human rights issues. People think that it’s frivolous, people think that art is a luxury and I don’t think that art should be a luxury. Of course safety and putting food on the table should be a priority, and those are huge things but what I mean to say is that we need to make sure everyone has those things and more. Like, making sure that people can do more than survive and have access to beautiful things and things that make life good.

What is something you still struggle with?

Right now I’m struggling most with direction. The idea that you have to choose A path, you have to make choices if you’re going to move anywhere. Like, anytime you make one choice, you’re sacrificing all the other choices… so it’s basically FOMO ::laughs::. But in the larger sense, not just going to parties, but if I become a physiatrist, will I have time for writing anymore. If I focus on a writing or publishing career, will I even have enough time or money to feel stable. So balancing different desires of life.

What do you think of relationships? Platonic, sexual and otherwise.

I think, of course, they are very important. I think that we don’t spend enough time thinking about them or how to make them good. I think most of us are often lazy about them and go through the phases without questioning things… I think to have good relationships, it takes a lot of work and effort. Most of the work can be fun, much of time. I think a lot of people prioritize romantic relationships to be the number one. It can be, but often it’s up to the other relationships in your life and we put too much pressure on that one person. It can be healthier to get from more than one place. I struggle with maintaining my own identity and not merging with other people’s identities or people pleasing in my relationships. That’s something that I work on. I think they’re all important and it can be healthy to view in different ways. It’s also really important for me to think of myself with a relationship with myself. It’s good to remember that I’m a person too, I should treat myself kindly as well.

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