exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Connection

Johnny Fantastic

Johnny Fantastic


Date of Interview: December 9, 2016

Name: Johnny Fantastic

Age: 33

Pronouns: They/Them, sometimes He/Him

Location: Washington, DC


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

An animal or character or underwater creature… I suppose I would probably take my run at being an octopus. Because, it would be a completely different experience from being a human being, like being a species that’s constantly being tugged downward by gravity, constantly struggling against gravity to keep upright and walk. Instead, be free from that force more or less to kind of expand all around and swing all my body parts in all directions.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about music. I’m passionate about history. I’m passionate about emotions. I’m passionate about science. I’m particularly interested in lesser known chapters of history. I’m really interested in presidents who are not the known ones like, the really out there ones that no one knows the names of. Like Franklin Pierce or William Henry Harrison who was only president for a month and died. And I’m generally interested in all histories of political movements around the world and how they connect to what might be happening now in the world. The small facts play into the connections because the small facts always turn out to be the butterfly effect that caused the whole collapse. Like the small incident in Sarajevo in 1914, the assignation of the archduke, that triggered the worst war that the world has ever seen. So I like to find out about little events that happened in history that are lesser known, but if you follow those events you might see that if something little hadn’t have happened then the big thing might not have happened either.

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

Platonic, sexual and otherwise? Umm I think right now I’m pretty against them, I’m living a very solo existence. I find that I like to have complete control of my time and I am not really good at sharing my time with people unless it’s impromptu, Like, “Hey! We’re going here and there you are!” And I’m like, “Great! Let’s go!” But I’m having trouble dealing with relationships because I clam up when people want to see me or spend time with me at all, through text or even email. It’s like… gah! Get out of my life! Get out of my head! That’s probably romantic. Friendships are like… friendships are the same way though. The friends that I’m closest with are the ones that leave me the most alone but somehow end up being in my life a lot anyways despite that fact. Yeah, I like that kind of treatment.

You said you’re passionate about emotions, does that tie into relationship?

Yeah, I’m still in the stage of my life where I see relationships as like, mythical, religious experiences of love and all that stuff so I seem to have the ability to only engage with people in either a fully passionate emotional way. Or to be really unaffected and to not want to be in relationships at all. So, I’m leaning towards the not wanting to be in relationships at all for that reason ::laughs::.

What is something you struggle with?

Something I still struggle with… Ugh. Concentration. Focusing on things. Keeping my, interest in what I’m currently doing without other thought. Like, if I start working on a song and I’ve been working on it for ten minutes, something in my head will pop up like, “But who wrote the article in 1900 that really started the Yellow Press that really started the Spanish-American War on Cuba? I need to look that up”, so now I’m looking it up and “Oh wow, like, it was William Randolph Hearst, I need to learn more about William Randolph Hearst”. So then I’ll watch a documentary on William Randolph Hearst and that could go on for like, 20 minutes and that can turn into me thinking I need to stop watching documentaries and how I need to see acting, I need to see like, real emotion, I need to see something! Then I’ll want to watch Citizen Kane because that’s sort of about William Randolph Hearst, you know. It could go on endlessly and it normally ends up in porn at some point ::laughs::. Sooooo concentration. Started with a song, ends with some dongs ::laughs::.

What is something you’re afraid of for the world?

That humans continue to exist ::laughs::. ‘Cause that would be really bad for the world, if we’re talking about the actual planet. Actually it doesn’t matter really, all things are natural so I guess, if the earth is going to become a wasteland of global warming, that’s just what it will be. It will keep spinning around the sun until the sun eats it up… So, I think the thing I fear for the world is that, is something a little more immediate and is effecting my own personal life and for those that are alive now, is that we lose touch with our desire to understand the world more and grow our brains and be smarter and learn more things and discover more ways to live and be more accepting of the new kinds of ways of living that keep coming up with as we keep moving forward through time. I’m afraid of that reversing and humanity going back to darker times.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

I feel good that I’ve managed to maintain my identity as I like my identity, without having to coat switch so much. I’m proud that I’m 33 and I’m still who I am. I haven’t cut my hair or put on a suit or like… modified my language to be more normy or go to brunch or whatever. I’m proud that I’m resisting that. “That” being what I’m told is the inevitable result of aging. That I’m being true to myself.


Andrew and Liz

Andrew and Liz


Date of Interview: November 11, 2016

Names: Andrew and Liz

Ages: 29 and 31

Pronouns: He/Him and She/Her

Location: Washington, DC


How often do you bathe or shower?

Liz: Every day.
Andrew: Whenever necessary. As infrequently as possible.
L: Sometimes I have to ask you to do it.
A: It never occurs to me. To shower. So I usually have to be told. So I’m not thrown out by society ::laughs::.

How does it feel to be in a bath?

Andrew: This is nice.

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

Andrew: Crab. Because I’m crabby.
Liz: You are very crabby. I think I would be a sand dollar. They used to be all over the place where I grew up in Maine and now they’re being pushed out by climate change. You never see them. Now, when I see them it’s this treat.
A: When people see you it’s a treat, because you’re rare? Is that the idea?
L: Sure, that’s right.

What are you passionate about?

Andrew: I’m passionate about music, about art and politics. I am passionate about playing music, writing music, performing music, listening to music. I’m passionate about other people’s art, art that is interesting, art that speaks to truth. Art that revels to me a truth that I had previously not known.
Liz: Being a part of a community that is improving the world. And I do that in a few different ways. I feel very passionate about the DC arts community. I also care immensely about social justice issues. We have so many opportunities to improve other people’s lives. I see it as my obligation to open people’s eyes however I can, through writing and photo and video, by putting stories out into the world to help people understand how simple it is to help other people.

What are you afraid of for the world?

Andrew: Letting fear dictate policy. Letting ignorance dictate policy. Lack of empathy.
Liz: Yeah, lack of empathy is a big one. There’s so many people who lack empathy and we’re so fundamentally disconnected right now. I’m really scared of how I feel disconnected from this huge portion of my country. With the work that I do I meet people who are really struggling. I’m terrified about that lack of empathy continuing to grow and grow and grow.

Do you feel, as creative types, that the two of you have created a world that you can thrive in?

Liz: Absolutely.
Andrew: That’s the goal at least. And it’s good. About 90% of the time.
L: I think that’s one of the reasons why we found each other and connected as a couple. We both have a world view where we want to contribute…
A: …in a positive way.

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

Andrew: They’re necessary. They’re absurd. They’re messy. They’re chaotic but they’re 100% necessary. We need each other.
Liz: They make you grow. They bring you joy. They bring you sadness and sometimes that’s a good thing. They push you in directions you don’t expect. You wind up in new places. I’m about to go on a ten-day trek through the wilderness literally at the end of the Earth, and it’s because of my relationship with a lady friend. She was like “hey you want to go do this” and I told her that I’ve never even considered that, so, okay, let’s do it.
A: I think one of the reasons I love music is because it allows you to form relationships with people that would be extremely difficult otherwise. You can connect with people who you’ve never met before. As a performer, connecting with an audience. As an audience member with another audience member sharing a passion over an artist. Or an audience member connecting with a performer. One of the great things about it is you can connect with people across social boundaries. Across race or across gender or whatever, that’s one of the things that excites me so much about it. Is the ability to connect other people and form relationships.

What is something that you struggle with?

Andrew: Excessive self-analysis ::laughs::. That’s something I struggle a lot with.
Liz: Being comfortable with the unknown. I’ve had a lot of movement in my life. I moved every year or two until I was in high school. As an adult I’ve continued that lifestyle. I think sometimes I get a little freaked out when I don’t have a plan. Or my plans get changed.

What is something that brought you joy today?

Andrew: Going to an art museum and seeing art that was interesting and from a perspective that I don’t often see. That brought me joy.
Liz: We were on our way to the art museum… just flying down the street on our bicycles and the wind was in my hair … it just felt so good. We were on our way to do something we love. And in that moment, I felt really happy.

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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