exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Bodies




Date of Interview: January 4, 2017

Name: Sandy

Age: 42

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Rockville, MD


How often do you bathe or shower?

That depends… I cycle through depression. If I am in a depressed mode, it’s more likely that I’m not going bathe. However, I have this really weird “thing”.  I will always make sure my puss and my butt are clean. SO those get cleaned every day. If I’m in an accident and something happens, my junk is cleaned up. The rest of me might not be ::laughs::. However, when I’m in a good phase, let’s say every day.

Do you feel like mental health correlates with your life in ways outside of bathing?

Yes, it does. I think that’s what helps me… it’s funny, I used to hate that I have depression. I also have a disorder called  trichotillomania. It’s a hair pulling disorder. Two in 50 people have it and it used to be the worst thing ever for me.  I used it unknowingly  to push people away, but now it seems to be the thing that can connect me to people. People come to me with their “stuff.” Even if it is different from my stuff, on some level I might get what they are going through. I feel all emotions really big and I like that. When I’m sad it can be awful and deep. However, I get the equivalent amount of feelings and depth when I’m happy. I appreciate that I can feel that fucking happy. Most people don’t feel as happy as I feel when I’m happy since many people tend to mute their emotions. It is impossible to mute just one emotion. When one mutes one, they mute them all. Feeling them so big  can be a gift and a curse. It can take up & impact a lot of my life. That said, when I see something beautiful, like when you came in and I was watching that gorgeous scene from American Beauty, I cry. I’m just so moved it can bring me to tears in a good way. I like it and I hate it.

What are you passionate about?

That’s a good question… Nature. I wasn’t raised that way but I always liked being outside. One day I saw a deer on the side of the road that was hit by a car. I did not see it get it. It was still alive. I ended up helping to save it. After we got it to safety in the woods, hours later I could not help but go back and check on it.  I slept in the woods with it for awhile. It was 1 in the morning but I needed to know that it was okay, which it was. It was this beautiful moment… there was a full moon. It was summer. He let me pet him and feed him….and the breeze… that moment was my most favorite, perfect moment in my life. After that, I became even more connected to nature. There’s just something there.  When I’m not feeling good, I can go out and ground myself and feel I’m a part of something. The world makes sense, and I make sense when I’m out there. I feel people don’t appreciate nature as much as they should. I hate that it’s being destroyed and I don’t think people get how important nature is.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

Honestly, just embracing me and who I am as much as possible, as well as being okay with it. I feel when I’m out in the world with people I’m both extroverted and introverted. That said, there are many people when I am around them, I get the feeling I do not quite fit it. Most of the time it is something they said to me and I get they just do not get me, who I am, how I live my life, as well as what I stand for. I’m waiting to find a zipper on my body because I feel like an alien a lot of times when I don’t fit in. I can imagine finding the zipper and pulling off my human skin and underneath there is this other alien body exposed.  I can see myself saying, “This is why I don’t make sense to all of you!!” But there’s something about that. I feel accomplished because I have this inner part of me that’s beautiful, awesome, and makes sense to me. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone else as long as it makes sense to me. I think that has allowed me to love myself. That’s a big fucking deal. Especially since I spent a lot of my time hating myself for many years. I worked hard for that.

What supported you with getting more comfortable with yourself?

I wonder if part of it was getting older and growing up.  I also took many self-development courses, was a coach, and I have a coach myself. Sometimes, we all get in our own way. When I do, sometimes I need someone to ask “what’s that about?” I needed guides to help me… ask questions I couldn’t ask or see what I couldn’t, or see what was in my way. Meditating in the woods helped me a great deal. A lot of amazing people showed up for me.  I feel like they had little red bows on them. They were gifts to me, even if they were temporary gifts. I had a lot of good supportive people. I still do.  I think that, as well as being ready. I was ready or it would not have happened otherwise.

What is something you still struggle with?

Probably my body. I’m working very hard at accepting where it is at. I have been a lot bigger than I am now, 35-40 lbs bigger. I do get some of our bodies shift due to age. ::laughs:: Intellectually I get it.  I was sick on and off for two years and my body is the product of that.  I was honoring where it was at by allowing it to rest a lot more, and work out less. It’s still a beautiful body… it’s just a little bit different than it was and it may not go back. I struggle with that.  For instance, these are my big boobs now and I don’t like them this big. I like smaller breasts.  However, this is where they are at and it is what it is.

What do you want to do this year?

I want to create positive energy this year. I’m looking forward to being outside more. I want to be in the woods more. I’m looking forward to that. I feel this is a scary time for a lot of people. I would love to collectively create something that would feel supportive and positive for others, a safe space. Or even myself if I should need it. I want to have fun too. I want to have fucking fun! I want to see live music, embrace my inner child and go roller skating! I want to create adventure, love, self-love, support, health, prosperity, and so much more.

Sadie Leigh

Sadie Leigh


Date of Interview: September 21, 2016

Name: Sadie Leigh

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC


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

Probably a dolphin. I feel like that’s a fairly standard answer, everyone likes dolphins but I’m part of everyone and I like dolphins too. And they’re smart and they can do fun tricks and stuff, and they have relationships with each other, which I think is nice.

What are you passionate about?

Well… A lot of things. I’m a dancer and a yoga teacher, and I work with a theater company that’s super awesome and I think it’s easy for me to say I’m super passionate about art. I love going to concerts and seeing live shows and going to the museums in DC. So sort of across the spectrum of art, I’m here for it. Also DC as a city, I grew up in Takoma Park, so right outside the line, so I feel really… like people often, really often have this conversation about DC being so square, there are so many politicians, it’s so corporate or whatever and I’m like… what do you do? And not like “what do you do” quintessential DC question but what do you actually do? If they think it’s so boring and they aren’t happy what are they doing? What are you going to do about it, who do you spend time with? So I feel really passionate about kind of doing weird shit in DC. Like this! This is happening right here, right now and I have no idea how people want this and don’t know  that it exists, I’m passionate about helping them find it. That’s something.

Do you feel like the way you use your body in art translates to other aspects of your life?

Yeah. I’m a very physical person and I really like to cuddle and hold hands, with my friends and with my family and partners and whatnot. So I think there’s a lot of different kinds of physicality and different kinds of touch and I think it’s important to make that distinguishing boundary. When I’m teaching and assisting people in yoga classes there’s nothing sexy about it at all. Even though human bodies are fucking amazing and incredible, it’s like this very specific kind of gentle but firm leading, guiding, teacher-student relationships versus my housemates, who I’m really close with and love so much, we often are sitting on the couch watching TV with someones legs in my lap and my head is on another persons shoulder and there’s a lot of affection and love there. And I think that growing up as a dancer and over the past several years getting deeper into the yoga practice, I love my body and it does almost all the things I want it to do for me, and it’s really nice and I appreciate that and I feel really comfortable in my skin. So I think that affects the way I move through life in general.

What do you think of relationships? Romantic, sexual or otherwise?

It’s one of the most important things. I have a lot of acquaintances and many friends and several VERY close friends and I have a really good relationship with my family. I think it’s also important to have a good relationship with yourself, which I try to do also. Yeah, it’s sort of a similar answer right, there are all these different relationships and they’re all important in different ways. And being open to the shifting nature of relationships is something to consider I think. I was with my brother last night, and we were talking about relationships, mainly romantic and sexual which is an interesting thing that I can talk about with my brother, and we were talking about something and I reveled something and his response was “Oh, you know, I don’t want to think about that, that crosses a line for me in my brain” and I think that’s so interesting to see where those lines are now for us because we aren’t just siblings but we’re also friends and where are those lines? And he made the point that this is the first time we’ve both been single adults in the same city, which is kind of fun and has lead to a lot of interesting conversations. But like, so we are family and I’ve known him as long as I’ve known anyone, my parents you know, but we have a really different relationship now than we did when we were say like, five and seven, and being open and comfortable with that makes life better. And conversely, I’ve had some friendships that were really really important to me but became clear over time that it wasn’t good for whatever reason. Somebody was deeper in it than somebody else or there became distance that was to much to make it worth it or something. And knowing when to let things go to, that’s important. Also, my best friend lives in Thailand and we’re still super close, so sometimes geography doesn’t matter that much I guess. Convenience is pretty sexy when it comes to friendships and romantic relationships.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment… I think it depends on your definition of the word accomplishment. Like, did I have to work for it? I don’t know. Somethings that popped into my head is my relationship with my siblings. All three of them, I love and respect and I know that they feel the same way about me, and I think we have an unusually close and good relationship which is something to be pretty proud of. Umm, the theater company that I work with, I’ve been with for five, nearly six years. Everyone else in this house is involved too, I’m so proud of the work we’ve made over the past several years. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself and like, again, relationships that we’ve built and we are a family now. There’s this house and two blocks away there’s another house, and three blocks away there’s another house full of us so like, I think finding and nurturing and living in those friendships and those relationships, not just as friends but as artistic collaborators and growing together in that. I think that’s an accomplishment but it’s not just mine, it’s all of ours.

Tessa Garcia-Duarte

Tessa Garcia-Duarte


Date of Interview: August 24, 2016

Name: Tessa Garcia-Duarte

Age: 20

Pronouns: They/Them or She/Her

Location: Chicago, IL

How often do you bathe or shower?

Ohhh! I actually recently got called out for this. I don’t really shower that much, although I did shower yesterday ’cause I knew you were coming but I would say I shower way less than the average person. And I mentioned that recently and both of my roommates were like “yeah actually I don’t think I’ve ever heard you in the shower or seen you come out of the shower” or “I don’t think I’ve ever been in the house while you were in the shower”. I feel like it’s one of my biggest secrets, like I’m probably less hygienic than is appropriate. I feel like I know how to pull it off though, I wear a lot of deodorant and as soon as I can smell that it’s bad, I’ll shower. I don’t think I’m a stinky person like, I naturally smell ‘ight and I make sure that I’m on it cuz I don’t like smelling gross. But um, I would definitely say I don’t shower all that much. I almost never takes baths anymore, but I like them a lot.

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

I’ve been thinking about this, sort of recently, and I feel like it’s my instinct to think of one that’s really mobile. I think when people think about being creatures that don’t walk on land, that’s what is inviting. Having this whole new movement, but recently I’ve been thinking about barnacles. That might just be where I’m at this week though, all I want to do is stay really still. Have you ever seen how a barnacle eats? It’s amazing. There’s this weird little feather tongue that comes out and brings things to them in this really beautiful way. I don’t know if that will be my answer all the time, but today I’m really feeling a barnacle.

Do you see yourself staying in Chicago for a long period of time?

Not continuously. I think right now, I’ve started feeling like Chicago is the place that I love and the place that I come back to. But, I definitely want to live other places, like right now I’m thinking about moving to Mexico in January. I don’t know if I can be in Chicago for a long time right now. I see myself leaving and coming back.

What are you passionate about?

This is such a fun question right now. I’ve been thinking and have really thought through what matters. But, I think that I’m really passionate about moments and interactions that make life sort of feel like something more than just routine. And that can happen in a lot of different ways and I’ve found that in a lot of different places. Such as at different points in my life. Personally, I used to really locate that in theater. I used to do a lot of acting and a lot of performing though recently that hasn’t been such a big part of my life. It’s sort of felt like a place where those feelings aren’t super accessible, you know. In writing and in reading, different connections that can be found in yourself, you know? But the constant has always been through relationships with people. Yeah, how can I have relationships that like, create and provide moments that feel… something more. I don’t totally have words for that, but for me it’s because I get really stressed about not being present or like, not feeling things as strongly as I want to be. It’s the moments where I can feel the most, that’s what I’m passionate about. I’m also really passionate about food. Which I feel like people who know me wouldn’t necessarily say. It’s not like I’m this incredible cook, but I’ve always felt like if there’s one thing that I love to do, it’s eating. And making food for people, even if it’s not incredible it’s sort of… important or valuable. That’s a big thing in my family, making food for people, it’s a giving experience. Food and the spaces that sharing food can create. I feel like that’s maybe been the only constant in my life is food and for me, making coffee but that’s sort of an extension of that. I’m not really an incredible cook, I’m an okay cook, so when anyone comes to my house I immediately ask them if I can make them coffee. How they like their coffee, or some sort of thing like that, it’s my way of giving and wanting that person to be comfortable in this space. Part of that is for me, I need coffee. So having coffee makes me feel better ::laughs::.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I think that something that I’ve always sort of been afraid of, the word that I attach to the greatest fear, is failure. But that can mean a lot of different things, and that has had a lot of different meanings over time for me. I think that like, what it is, is this overwhelming fear of not being the person that I want to be. And not having a life that I want to have. Which doesn’t necessarily mean being comfortable all the time at all. It’s this sort of fear of not having my life make me happy overall, not moment to moment happiness, but not having my life feel valuable. Having this be kind of wasted time. Yeah, fear of being this failure to not having time be valuable or meaningful.

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