THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Children

Fabiola Christina Maria Rondon Delgado, AKA Fa

 

Date of Interview: April 28th, 2017

Name: Fabiola Christina Maria Rondon Delgado, AKA Fa

Age: 27

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Washington, DC

 

Why are you in bubble wrap?

[Laughter]  Yes. Bubble wrap. You use it to wrap something that’s very delicate, that can break. Something that’s important. Since I was a little girl I’ve always battled the idea of being saved and having somebody help me in any way because I thought I could do it myself (whatever ‘it’ it). I’ve been thinking the way I think since I was at least four years old, which is really strange. My dad was very abusive. He was an alcoholic; or is? I don’t even know if he’s still alive. he tried to kill me. He tried to kill my mother may times. He had guns, put them on her head. And I never felt like a child, wondering, “Oh what’s happening?” I knew what was happening and I knew that I had to take care of myself. And take care of my brother. And take care of my mom. So it wasn’t until last year – you know I’m 26…27, shit [laughter], that I started mentally proclaiming, “No, actually I am worthy of being protected. It’s not a negative thing.” And as good as feminism is, sometimes you can go too radical and be like, “NO I don’t need a man. I’m super independent and don’t need anyone.” Now I’m more like, “I’m a human being and every human being deserves nourishing and care.” And we’re all delicate, so that’s why I’m wrapping myself in bubble wrap: to very physically feel I am delicate and worthy of protection and being taken care of.

What are you passionate about?

People [laughter]. I like people. Yay, people! I really love talking too. I love engaging in meaningful conversations with strangers. Not just strangers, it could be my roommates and others I know, anybody! Since moving to America it’s been hard to create a family, cause DC especially is so coming-and-going. So I’m passionate about getting to know people: What are their stories? What superpowers they have? [laughter]. I’m passionate about culture in general, and about my own specifically. I’m originally from Venezuela. I miss the Venezuela I grew up in. I saw the change between old Venezuela (where there was a future and it was just a normal country where people lived, and ate, and drank) to the decline. Dictatorship taking over, Chavez taking over. And it was a very visible change, like one day not having electricity, not having water, and not having food. I’m proud of my country, but I miss what it used to be. And it’s scary to think of going back. They kill you for protesting and for the regime it’s legal. I’m actually requesting asylum because it’s really dangerous there, especially for me because of my work in human rights. It put me on the spot, made me a target of the government. I was basically an enemy of the state for wanting basic rights for our people. Have been attacked, harassed, held hostage, almost killed several times, and if you’re an activist, you’ll likely get killed. So I came here seeking political asylum. I’d be terrified if I get sent back.

Do you think that feminism here is different from in Venezuela?

Yeah, it’s a different branch [laughter] mostly because of race issues. Let’s say wage gap: in Venezuela wages are dictated by law, so there is no “Oh, you get paid less than a man for the same job.” No. “This is the law, and you must pay this amount” simple. And everything is upfront. Nobody’s sneaky about how much they make. Over here it’s such a taboo, and I still have issues with it, like how am I going to get ahead if you don’t tell me how much you make, so I know if what I’m making is good or sufficient? And yeah, the racial issues! I can’t say there’s isn’t racism in Venezuela, it exists everywhere. But we’re so mixed so it’s not as blatant, not “black and white” (laughter) Being called black is actually a term of endearment; my grandma calls me “negrita” (little black girl) and that’s cute, not a bad word. What’s bad is if you’re against the government. What we have right now is political apartheid. You’re with the government: you can have food. If you live in a certain neighborhood, you’re probably against the government because it’s an area with protests and marches, so they’ll cut your electricity, water and shut down the metro. That kind of stuff happens there. Anyway, feminism! We suffer more about sexual harassment and the macho culture. Latinos are flamboyantly sexist and they take pride in that, it’s not a bad thing at all. Even some women want to be sexually harassed because it’s like a status symbol. It means you’re beautiful, you’re hot. I’ve seen it and felt it myself.

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

I love them! I love relationships. I think they’re important. They’re necessary as well. The plutonic, the friendships, the romantic ones, the family ones, everything, as long as they’re healthy. That’s what I think we all desire: to have a good relationships with other humans because we need them and I think that’s also the bubble wrap. I don’t want to be “kept” as in the whining need of ANYONE, I battle internally the idea of needing a man to take care of me, but hey! We all want and need to be taken care of. By ourselves and by lovers, and by a community. I’m sweet and kind and awesome, why wouldn’t I be loved? We all should be loved.

What is something that you’re hopeful for?

Well, I’m hopeful for Lyla Rose. I’ve taken care of this four-year-old magic girl since she was one. Now she’s in school and I babysit sometimes, but it’s kids like her that give me hope: in the future of politics, and feminism, and racial reconciliation. I feel as though all these issues are gonna be in good hands. This kid is amazing. She’s white and has blue eyes and when she asked for a baby doll, she got a black doll. That’s what she liked and it didn’t make her feel anything other than just happy with her doll. It was pure. I love how kids don’t see threats and biases and sexualized versions of anything. When they grow up is when it gets shitty, cause history and culture and ignorance pour poor ideas into our brains. But kids give me hope. I asked Lyla what she was going to be when she’s a grown-up and she said President of the United States. I say “okay, cool and who’s gonna be your vice-president?” (Hoping it’d be me) And she said so decidedly “My wife.” And my only concern was a possible conflict of interest. Then she goes “Yeah, my wife will be my vice-president. Or my husband. I mean you can marry whoever you want, as long as you love them that’s fine!”

 

Cali

Cali

 

Date of Interview: Oct 5, 2016

Name: Cali

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Columbus, OH

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

Umm, I mostly shower. You know this is the first time I’ve been in this bath but I like to take baths, let’s say twice a month. That’s the goal. But I shower like, every other day.

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

Umm, I think I would be a coral reef. It is a creature, but I feel like people just see it as an underwater plant, but it’s an amazing creature.

What are you passionate about?

Well I went to school for art education and I’m passionate about bringing an art experience to anyone and everyone. Art education is definitely something that I’m very passionate about as well as education in general. I’m also passionate about self care. It’s something that I feel like I discovered way too late in life. Taking care of yourself and just being good to yourself and loving yourself, for, you know, all the ways that you can. I’m also passionate about animal rights and human rights, I think that’s a big and important one. But yeah, those are the big overarching themes that I’m passionate about ::laughs::

What does self-care mean to you?

Self care is something, I think that I learned way too late in life. And I feel like that’s what happens to most people, or what has happened to most people in my life is that when they’ve kind of hit this rough patch in their life all of a sudden they realize that they needed to take better care of themselves and you know, if it’s listening to your body, or just having a day when you let yourself have a bad day, recognizing that like bad and sad, and all those negative emotions are things that you’re allowed to feel. Just giving yourself the time and space to feel it all, and taking it one day at a time. So self-care is just being what you can be, and loving yourself regardless of anything around you. That’s what it means to me.

Do you have any routines or rituals that you do as a way of self-care?

I think just listening to myself. You know I wake up in the morning and like take a second to think of the things I’m going to accomplish. Setting realistic goals is something that I think is so important. Setting goals, in general, and then reachable goals also. I feel like for so long, as school children we’re taught to set these like big lofty goals that, like, aren’t actually achievable. So I think that setting, like, an intention for each day, setting an intention rather than a goal. Also, something that I feel is so important is to like, take days to yourself. Whether you’re going to be in bed, watching Netflix, snacking with your cat, or your going to go for a hike and spend the day independently adventuring. I think this past year, I’ve like rediscovered how amazing it feels to be in nature and to just, go for a walk. Just kind of submerge yourself in the things that are right around you, and overlooked in this world of technology.

Do you feel like there is a different pace between living in a city being a student, and living in a city without the structure of school?

Yeah, definitely. Well I graduated in May so I kind of had that moment of like, “Now that I’m not in school… What am I doing? How can this area that I’m living in help me kind of create an existence for myself outside of being a college student?” So, I think something that I learned was- after I graduated, I was kind of stuck, I actually had this freak out where I was like, “I need to go do something. I need to get a job. I’ve got to pay off my loans…” all these things, I was just like, well Columbus is this city that I feel like has a ton of opportunities no matter what you want to do. And it’s ‘city’ enough where there is just tons of people and different experiences. You just kind of have to have the motivation and trust yourself that you can figure something out. I have some friends that live in Colorado and after they graduated, one of them got a job and the other one was struggling in the same way that I was, but she was in the middle of nowhere. So being in the city I felt like I had more opportunities, whereas she was in the mountains and definitely way more limited. But she did have nature, a lot of it, immediately around her.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

Umm, I think I feel like I really trust myself, and this is something I was thinking about just today actually. I was just having a frustrating day at work, and I kept thinking to myself, “This is temporary. I’m going to be teaching here for a year. I’m enjoying it.” I’m taking whatever I can from it, but at the same time I feel like I’m afraid to take my next step. Whatever, so I’m doing this for a year, but what am I going to do next? And that was kind of my fear, but I realized it was a fear that actually felt like it was instilled in me from my parents, you know this- you have to be successful, you have to make money, you have to save your money and pay off your loans and take care of yourself. I feel like, as time goes on, I’m realizing that if I just trust myself, that I can figure things out. It doesn’t always have to be some big salary paying job, with all these crazy benefits, you know? I feel like I’m just trying to live a more simple life, but I do fear being able to support myself, like, I’m healthy now, but what if something changes with my health? Will I be able to take care of myself? So yeah, those are things that I fear.

What is something you feel very accomplished with?

Well I think, to talk about self-care again. That was something that was HUGE for me to learn, and even when I like hit my lowest point, and realized that I needed to like, see a professional and talk to someone, making that jump. Like to actually call. Make the appointment, make sure they take your insurance, all those things, like that felt so good to do that. That was one of the hardest things to do, but also one of the best things that I’ve done for myself. We talked a lot about being present, and again this fits into this idea of like “go, go, go” and you’ve got to be successful and make money and all these things, and I really just needed to make it through the every day and to stop worrying about the future. Going to therapy was something that made me realize that, you’ve got to just live in the present. So I felt accomplished that I did that for myself, to better myself because I recognized that I needed some help, or that I needed an outside persons perspective on the world and my life.

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

That is also something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Especially after I turned 26, and like my family was like, “So, is there anyone special?” and I’m like, “Yeah uh, myself. Me, my vibrator and my cat. Things have been wonderful, we’re in love.” So yeah, that was good to realize that like I’m content and happy being ‘alone’. It would be great, you know, to meet a special person and or people in time. I think relationships, as I’m getting older and realizing that they are like 100%, SO based on communication. Like, just talking, having those conversations that we don’t normally have. I actually started to see someone who is SO good at communicating, and it was almost like, scary at first. Because I felt like I had never talked so openly to someone about how, you know experience in relationships, or like sexual things, like anything. They were like, very into just putting it all on the table. And I realized, oh my gosh, this feels so good, because like, they’re hiding nothing. We’re communicating. I think that like, watching my friends, and seeing and supporting them with their relationships I’m realizing that yeah, communications is like the best possible thing you can do to be happy in a partnership. One of the best things you can do.

What is something you saw today that made you feel like there is beauty in the world?

Well, I teach preschool aged children, and they are so amazing. The school that I teach at is all about the capable child. Their philosophy, as well as mine, is that your child can do things on their own, that they don’t always need help, and they don’t always need someone’s bigger hands to be like, “Here, let me help you.” So when I see them, like two-year-olds, going up on the stairs, washing their hands, using soap. You know, doing really basic things like washing their hands before they have snack, or cleaning up after themselves, or checking on a friends body when they hurt themselves, that is always a moment where I’m like, I feel proud of them, because I see them kind of like my little babies beginning to be good people who are capable, independent and good friends. But yeah, working with the young children is beautiful and amazing, and the art they make, the things they talk about, the way they talk to each other, it’s really sweet and good. It gives me hope for the grim looking future. ::laughter::

Anna McCormally

Anna McCormally

Date of Interview: August 19, 2016

Name: Anna McCormally

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC

 

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about other people, I’m really interested in relationship dynamics. Specifically between parents and children. And also between women and other women. I think there’s a lot to be explored in relationship dynamics, so I’m really interested in that, and that’s what I write about. I’m passionate about talking to people, which makes it funny that you aren’t talking right now… I really like listening to people. Listening to them talk about what they’re up to.

Do you feel like you are given opportunities, as a woman, to take up space?

Yeah, I think I’m really lucky. I remember really distinctly being in a writing class in college and having a professor in an individual conference ask me if I felt like there was a gender dynamic in the class or if I was uncomfortable. And I didn’t feel like there was, but I remember really appreciating that he asked that. Especially because I majored in economics and there was definitely a gender dynamic in those classrooms that we didn’t really talk about… So generally, yes. I feel like I have the space I need and that’s really nice. It’s so lucky. I know that many people aren’t that lucky.

What do you think of relationship dynamics between women, family, and others?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about, specifically, women that I’ve known in my life who I haven’t forged close relationships with because of gender. Or because of our relationships with men. Or with women I’ve known who I would have been friends with except that, somebody got jealous or upset or hurt. Mainly with a relationship with a third person. And it’s funny to me to think about what friendships I would have had with those people if that “thing” hadn’t happened. I’m interested in that, a lot. Just… missed opportunities. I feel sometimes that patriarchy has robbed me of many important female friendships that I didn’t have because I was super worried about my body or being the most beautiful. Which is a thing that I spent a lot of time worrying about in middle school and high school. And it really kept me from the  important thing which is just doing whatever you want all the time. And helping other people do whatever they want all of the time. If I could have spent more time doing that instead of worrying about… the fucking patriarchy. If that wouldn’t be a factor I think I would be a happier person ::laughs::. It’s very melodramatic but sometimes how I feel. I’m interested in parent/child dynamics… I think it’s pretty incredible that you can grow an additional person from your body. That you can go from being one person, then two people, then just grow a distinct person… that’s crazy. I still think that’s crazy. And there are all these implications of it. I’m interested in that because my mom, she became really upset when I told her I wanted tattoos and piercings. And I think part of that was a possessiveness over my body that she made. That I was going to damage this thing that she put so much time into. And that is the thing. I think it makes sense, she did all this work for me, then I got a bad tattoo… It’s like, “Sorry! I guess I just broke this thing you made!”

Have you had experiences as an “adult” of creating your own family?

Yeah. It’s been really fun to get to know my brother better. He is married and lives nearby and they just had a baby, which is the best part of my life. She is so healthy and smart… Learning to walk, which is crazy, having these little strong legs that are working. It’s fun to rediscover your siblings as grownups. And my partner and I do some pretty intentional family building things. Like, we always eat together and turn off music and turn off the TV and eat dinner with forks and knives. We set the table and sit down together and that feels really nice. As we get older, I feel like I’m doing more traditional family stuff in a way that is similar to how I grew up. It’s funny to see how you do that without meaning to. We’ve started going to Meeting for Worship together on Sunday and cooking dinner together. When I think about traditions from my childhood I think about holidays. Specifically Christmas morning and Thanksgiving. It’s funny to negotiate that with a new person. It’s weird to value being with this person on specific days that I don’t actually care about, but it matters to me that we’re together. Thanksgiving is objectively a horrible holiday, but I want to eat mashed potatoes with you. I wouldn’t say that he and I have traditions that we do, but we have routines. Like, every month or so we’ll have a night where we order Thai food and eat it in bed and watch a bad movie together. And that’s a thing we’ve done and a space we’ve created that we come back to time and time again. Which is so funny, I just realized what I’ve said. “We order in Thai food and watch a movie together”, like that’s our tradition. Everybody does that together, but it’s like this specific thing and space that is ours that we can come back to over and over again.

What are you afraid of for yourself?

I’m afraid of not communicating well. Of thinking a thing or feeling something and not expressing it well. Just doing a terrible job of saying a thing and then… as a result of that someone’s feelings are hurt or there’s a conflict of some sort. I feel like, if you can talk about stuff you can feel a lot of problems. So I feel frustrated when I can’t or when I’m not articulating my point well. I heard somebody say that “The great tragedy of human experience is that you can never give another person a direct experience of your consciousness” and I really identify with that.

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