exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Bodies

Arin Jayes

Arin Jayes


Date of Interview: June 16, 2016

Name: Arin Jayes

Age: 25

Pronouns: They/Them and He/Him

Location: Washington, DC


Is there any part of your body that you feel is missing?

Is there any part of my body that I miss… It’s weird, I kind of miss my period in a weird way. I don’t know, I think that there was this sense of release that I got from my period that I’ve lost since being on T. And… I don’t know, I’m not necessarily thinking about being on T for forever. So that might be something that I might want to have again. Not really sure.

What are your thoughts on how gender is perceived?

Umm, I think that gender is a performance. And gender can be very creative. And fun to play with. But it can also be extremely constricting and suffocating for a lot of people. But I think as I’ve become more masculine, I’ve been able to kind of bring out the more feminine parts of myself, and embrace the queen that I am. Because I felt like, when I was perceived as a woman, that people would see me… I would walk down the street and people would see my, and like… they would think that “oh, this is a cis woman” and I was thinking to myself, “No, this is like a flamboyant gay man, who likes to wear blouses and glittery things in heels” But that isn’t what people see. But now that I’ve been able to pass more I’ve been more comfortable exploring those sides more, which is cool.

What are you passionate about?

I’m really passionate about art. I really like making embroidery and textile art. And I’m really passionate about gardening. I’m really passionate about social justice issues and helping people that are experiencing poverty. I’m passionate about my friendship and relationships.

Do you think the way you were raised impacts what you are passionate about, and how you live your life artistically and as an activist?

Yeah! Well, definitely artistically. My mom is a landscape painter, and I was always raised to appreciate the importance of art. And when I was little, there were always crayons and stuff, and art supplies for me to practice with, so definitely in that way. In terms of social justice, I kind of had to go out on my own. A lot of my beliefs are a lot more radical than people in my family, which is something we’re growing in, and being able to understand each other. But I kind of had to do that on my own.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

Well like, in the immediate future, I am getting top surgery tomorrow. So you know, I am afraid of discomfort and pain and all that. But part of it is trying not to cling to pleasure and feeling good, and to recognize that you aren’t always going to feel good. And that’s okay. And experiencing a little bit of pain is totally worth it to have an awesome chest. So I’m a little bit afraid of that. And in the wake of Orlando last week, I’m definitely feeling more scared in public. And feeling like having a gay club targeted is a punch in the gut to the queer community because, you know, it is a place where people can explore their vulnerability in a space where you are surrounded by queer people. And everyone is having fun and embracing who they are, and that’s a really important space for a lot of people. And so I think the fact that THAT was targeted as a space for queer people on a night with queer people of color was a huge blow to our community. That really scares me.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

I don’t know. I’m kind of young, so I don’t think I’m that far yet in my life, with a lot of things, like a career and stuff. But you know, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot with figuring out who I am, and I feel like I’ve really gone out on my own, and grown up a lot. And I feel like I’m kind of living my truth right now. Which feels like a huge accomplishment.

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

Well, I’m polyamorous and so I think that’s it’s possible to love more than one person. And having multiple relationships exposes you to the beautiful diversity of people being able to be all your various selves around all these various people. And that’s really important to me. And recently, I’ve been trying to explore prioritizing my friendships and other sorts of platonic relationships as much as I prioritize my partnerships. Especially when you’re poly and have a lot of partners, you tend to give a lot of time to your partners because that’s really fun, but… you need to make time to make sure you can see your friends. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time with my friends, and making sure that a lot of people are on board with taking care of me during top surgery. You know, that kind of stuff.

What are some things that you are hopeful for before you turn 40?

Hmmm… Trying to think of the most important thing, but I feel like that’s a lot. I think by then I would like to feel like I’ve started a family… But not necessarily the way one normally thinks of starting a family. I may live in a family with multiple couples in it, or may share the raising of a child with someone, or something. I don’t know what that’s going to look like. That family might include one person or two people or three. I don’t know, but at that point, I want to feel like I have a family.

Emma Wulf

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Date of Interview: May 17, 2016

Name: Emma Wulf

Age: 23

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC


What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about making things and making things at the intersection of beauty and utility. I think that nothing can’t… I don’t think anything… How can I say this… I think very little can be made less beautiful or less useful.

Are there any objects in particular that you enjoy making?

I’m a big fan of pottery. I really love food and cooking. That does the same thing, it’s art but also nourishing. Very tasty and beautiful. Music making. Feeds the soul.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment in life thus far?

Staying alive. It’s that simple. It’s that simple. Staying here. Staying in my body. Can’t do much if you can’t get that done.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

That’s something I’ve thought a lot about. My biggest fear, the dynamic that scares me the most is being trapped in my own head, Living a small safe life without actual connections.

What are you most afraid of for the world?

Distraction. It seems like there are all these things, and that people only pay attention to a crisis for a hot second, and then it dissipates for the next crisis. Like, things are sexy for a second and then they’re not… like the… shit, I’m going to show my lack of attention here… there were all of those African school girls who were kidnapped last year, and that was the biggest thing ever. For about a week. And then nothing was happening, so the next big crisis occurred and that concerns me. The distraction comes with so much entertainment, and not much content in much of the stuff. It’s all consumption.

What are your thoughts on relationships and dynamics within relationships, including sexual ones?

That is very complicated… I have so many thoughts about that ::laughs:: So when I said staying in my body, I truly meant that. I feel I should explain… I have Chronic Fatigue syndrome, which I’ve been living with since I was 13. And before that I was terribly depressed and anxious. So in many ways I wasn’t socially alive. Until about 18 months ago. I’ve just woken up enough to be present and to be able to grow socially. So there’s a lot in terms of relationships that I don’t know. But I’ve also been really interested in the heteronormative dynamics and their troublesome nature. I’ve had two relationships that were good in some ways and really complicated and bad in some ways. Whatever, who can’t say that, that’s always the case. With having chronic fatigue, it’s been a struggle staying in my body, because being there hasn’t always been pleasant, and to be tuned into my body was to be tuned into being trapped and uncomfortable. And of course when you’re being sexual with someone, in my experience, for that to be a nurturing thing you have to be present in your body and that’s really hard for me. And I think for a lot of people, when the clothes come off, the response is normally, “Ohh, can we turn the lights off?” You know? I think that’s pretty common. Even just the bodies are so complicated. The minds ruling the bodies, and there’s the question of if you’re really seeing the other person you’re with or is it the person you think of in your head? I’ve had good sexual experiences.

What was your first kiss like?

Ughh, oh man. I want to talk about my second first kiss, it was so much better than my first-first kiss. It was… it kind of… It gave me a lot of information about relationships that I didn’t know enough to know about to be aware that it was bad. This guy was just talking and talking and talking and wouldn’t shut up. I was bored out of my mind and he asks how I feel about firsts, if they are a big deal to me. I told him, “not really,” and he says, “COMERE” and he grabbed my braid and kissed me and it was NOT cute. ::Laughs:: I was like, OH DUDE, ALRIGHT. So second first kiss was with a friend who I was crushing on pretty hard and we went out to dinner and I paid, then he drove me home, and we were sitting in the car kind of like something was going to happen. Like, I’m not getting out to leave the car and, umm, ::laughs:: and he said, “was this a date?” and I got super turned on, which I was not anticipating really. And I got all quippy and said, “I just bought you dinner” and then he asked if he could kiss me. It was very sweet.

What are your thoughts on death?

I’m not ready for death. I sort of feel like I just got here. I would haunt the shit out of some people if I were to die right now. It would go down. Oh yeah, many ghost visits. My mom is a hospice nurse, and has been for around seven years, so I have these conversations about death and what that means, and what that looks like. Such as good deaths or problematic deaths, and that’s been slightly desensitizing, I think, and it’s interesting to me.

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