THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Emotions

Sandy

Sandy

 

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.

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.

 

Emily Reeder and Cal McNamara

Emily Reeder and Cal McNamara

 

Date of Interview: October 24, 2016

Name: Emily Reeder and Cal McNamara

Age: 27 and 25

Pronouns: She/Her and He/Him

Location: Arlington, VA

 

If you were a sea creature which one would you be?

Cal: What’s the biggest whale? That big ass whale, that just opens it’s mouth…
Emily: The blue whale?
C: No… It’s huge…
E: Humpback whale?
C: Maybe… Whatever that biggest one that lives in the ocean because they cover the most distance and like, the ocean is huge so… You kind of need to be able to get around quickly.
E: I don’t really identify with the creatures so much. I have a really good relationship with the ocean and just, as it is… It revitalizes me on it’s own. So I think I’m comfortable with the ocean being itself and me being myself.
C: ::Whispers:: Choose a creature.
E: If I had to choose a creature I would be… I like sea urchins the most. I’m very attracted to their form and I’ve made them in art a few times. I don’t know if I would want to be one, but I like them a lot ::laughs::

What are you passionate about?

Emily: I’m really passionate about making art, making jewelry, teaching. Very… Very very creative. I paint, I sew, I make jewelry, basket weave. Whatever I am able to get my story out in is the media I choose at that time. And so it’s more about getting lost in that moment and breathing for the first time in two or three hours and being like… Woah. I got lost in that and it took me somewhere. And hopefully it will take someone else somewhere. That’s what my passion is.
Cal: My thing is music mainly. I’ve done some collage work before but it’s mainly been recording and writing music and playing guitar since I was 11 so… Then I introduced other instruments into my life so being able to be a one man band… It can be tough, not having the input from other people but I’m able to get lost in the tools that I have. It’s kind of like she said, coming out of that haze of a five hour session, literally forgetting what time even is, not even considering that time has passed to coming out of that and hopefully able to get other people to feel the way that other music has made me feel and what made me want to create in the first place.

Do you think emotion plays a big role for you creatively?

Emily: I know for me, I didn’t really understand art as a creative outlet until I stopped taking medication for ADHD, when I was 13 or 14. I used to want to be an engineer and I joke a lot that I am an engineer, it’s a joke around the house a lot. But when I stopped taking those prescription drugs I kind of realize that the sky was blue and that there are colors in the world and there were ways to do things… It was something that was kind of closed off to me for almost all of my development in childhood. And so it was this “WOAH!” Moment and that’s why I want all the things, whatever is the best way to explain a certain something, I want to find it. That just… Since it came to me, once I was already developed, I was past puberty and knew how to interact with others and had independence when it started so it just became a way to… Share myself.
Cal: I think for me it’s all emotional, because I’m such an emotional person, whether that means being overly happy about a certain thing to the point of tears or a panic attack- being able to turn that into music and knowing that the energy spent going into music versus a bad interaction with someone, or an embarrassing one, I can feel that energy leaving in the same way but it’s put into something I can repeat in my headphones and… It’s like having a conversation with myself. It used to feel like and can sometimes still feel like something that has to be drained. Like cycling new blood, it’s cycling myself through the shit that piles up and getting it into this pureness. I think it’s an important communication tool, to be able to communicate with myself and to those who are important around me.

Does your individual creativity go into your romantic relationship?

Emily: Hell yeah ::laughs::
Cal: Yeah ::laughs:: Like the other night, she was working on crafts and stuff that she’s doing for Halloween because we’re throwing this big party and I was remixing this song, and I could look over and see her working things out in her brain as it’s going on behind me and we both look up and make eye contact when we notice that the other person found a stride in their project and that was so cool. So we get that immediate feedback and she’s not just sitting there watching, she’s doing her thing and we get to ping pong that, that energy and experience.
E: Our relationship started long distance and one of the things that I found was we got so excited about telling each other what we were doing, so we wanted to do it more. So the conversation kept coming back to creativity and the process and you know, how we could do more as artists in our own fields. And that, it just became this snowballing of wanting to do more so we could talk more sooooooo now I do more! That back and forth has always been just… This really strong part of how we connect with our own things and it’s certainly not the same craft at all, but we can understand the concepts and how that relates to our lives.

How did the relationship begin?

Cal: We’ve been dating officially for like… 6 months?
Emily: Yeah.
C: But… This like, knowing that this was heading in this direction happened about a year ago around this time.
E: Talking everyday for about 11 months or so. It was something that happened really naturally. It kind of started off as a “hey, how’s it going” to constant contact even though there were hundreds of miles there, and thinking “what do we do… What’s the next step?” and to came down to closing the distance so we could have a relationship that felt like it was real.
C: The important thing to know, from my end of this, about how this started was that I was coming off of this coming of age feeling of like… I had moved away from home and then I moved back home and I felt like I was living in a ghost town and my mom was trying to get into the groove of her own life in her 50’s, to prioritize, and everyone was kinda getting into their own cove of life and then there was me just endlessly anxious for more and all the freedom to do it. I tend to spin my wheels a lot and I would go and talk to my mom and she didn’t have the energy anymore to deal with my repetitive life complaints with no attempt to change on my end and she told me that. So, with Emily, the first conversation over the phone after I saw her come back for the holidays because she grew up in Connecticut too, was her asking how I was doing and me telling her that I was in the worst way. And then we got on the phone and I knew she was… I knew it was gonna grow when I would completely unload about my life and my current mindset and she would just like… Be there. She never said to go get help, she was willing to take me on and that helped me open up in a lot of ways.
E: Yeah, that first phone call happened with advice from my Uncle ’cause he said that if I was really trying to get to the bottom of how my friend was doing, how that other person is, to just get him on the phone ’cause you can tell.
C: Always.
E: You can see right through it, you can see right through all of it. And I told him to just give me a call…
C: No better way to diagnose.
E: Yeah, we started talking to see if we could solve the issue at hand and then it became a constant conversation.

What do you think of love?

Cal: What do I think of love… Or what do we think of love…
Emily: It’s a heavy, wonderful, beautiful, scary, exciting, thrilling thing.
C: Yeah. I don’t think I ever had experienced it. I had tried to prop up my emotions to try to feel it in previous relationships thinking that it was a thing you do and try for the sake of feeling like you’re not wasting your time. But that’s not how it works at all. When I told her I loved her though… It blew my mind. It was a level of life that I had only heard people talk about.
E: For me, I had been in a long term relationship, I have been married so I was like… Over it, in a sense. And as our relationship started to develop, I started seeing and experiencing all these things that I never had. And holy shit… There is this feeling that this person is your safe space. Is your happy place. They want things for you, they encourage you. And you know when you’re there, in that space together.
C: We are able to retreat to each other.
E: To recharge and be there.
C: Being able to show the affection that we both need so we’re able to face the world.

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