THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Empathy

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.

Alex Tebeleff

Alex Tebeleff

 

Date of Interview: September 12, 2016

Name: Alex Tebleff

Age: 29

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Location: Washington, DC

 

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

Well… I’m currently falling in love with someone whose spirit animal is the sea turtle. So I’m going to say a sea turtle because that’s what I hope to identify with.

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

People can do whatever the hell they want if it makes them happy. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, including the people that they are involved with. So I think transparency is really important. As long as you’re transparent and honest, you should be able to do whatever makes you and anyone you’re with happy. I like monogamy, personally. I think I’m at my happiest and healthiest and most fulfilled in monogamous situations. But I’m also… I think it’s important to feel open to other kinds of romantic or sexual relationships. I’ve been in love a few times, and each time I felt like I could handle it better to the point where now I feel comfortable and confident in it. I think that Leonard Cohen said it best, “Love is the only engine of survival.” I think that is actually true. I think a lot about love.

What do you think you’ve learned from those past relationships?

I think it’s made me a much better person. Taught me how to be truly reciprocal with other people. I think it taught me what I really want out of life. And it allowed me to learn from other people in a lot of different ways. It’s really amazing because it allows you to experience, or at least have a better understanding of things you could never experience on your own. For example, being in love taught me how to be a feminist. Before my last two relationships, I was definitely ignorant about women’s issues in our society. I used to say, “I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist.” And in my last relationship, with the last person I was in love with, she pushed me in a number of different ways because of her life endeavors that showed me it’s actually the other way around. You can’t be a humanist without being a feminist, because of the nature of the way women are treated in most societies around the world. Love is incredible, it’s an engine for personal growth with openness and kindness.

What are you passionate about?

Music. Food. Music and food mostly. I think music was originally attractive to me because there is something sublime about it, sublime and otherworldly. But that’s changed and… I now see it from both sides. The more grounded rational aspects of music and the otherworldly aspects of music, it’s the dichotomy between the two that gets me excited now. I can’t think of anything that has more of the sublime because humans are so visual that music can feel like it takes you to another world. We don’t focus on our ears very much in our daily lives. It’s usually just THERE. Most humans focus on words and their eyes to understand the world versus pure sounds. So when we do use our ears, we think about it through more… conventional language other than the abstract language that music can be, but doesn’t have to be. As I get older, I appreciate that music can be so many things and I think it’s cool that technology is allowing it to go in different places. That’s something I’m really excited about. It’s something that makes me feel so fulfilled to explore. Food, I like because I’m very interested in the sensual. I try to approach it in a way that is not indulgent. It’s not that I don’t indulge sometimes in music and food, I do, but I don’t want that to be the focus. I am interested in food, both as a means of expression and culture. I think you can learn a LOT about a culture through it’s food. Just the same as you could with music or art, or anything lie that. I think the arts and food and language are the best ways to learn about a culture, so I continue to be interested in all of those things.

What are you most afraid of for the world?

I really think that Donald Trump lacks basic empathy for other human beings. He is maybe the most insecure person I’ve ever seen. And, if you look at most of the sociopaths that have fucked up the world, if you look at Mao or Hitler for example, and you look at their background, they are almost always really insecure people. Mao killed more people than Stalin and Hitler combined and his whole thing – you know, you look at him beyond just the general populations and into his personal life and his treatment of women in his life in particular, and he just seemed like someone who lacked basic empathy, the definition of a sociopath. And I think that Donald Trump is a legit sociopath. I’m not sure that we would be able to get through a Trump presidency without some extremely brutal activity going on, at least from the dangerous people he has newly empowered. And I would be afraid for many groups of people who he’s demonized for power, and I’m terrified about the damage he has already been done through his rhetoric, but if he wins…

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I’m afraid that I’ll look back and be on my deathbed and think, “I didn’t get to do all the things I wanted to do.” Especially with music. That I didn’t get to accomplish the goals that I set out for myself. They may be ambitious, but I believe they are grounded enough that I think they’re possible, because they depend mostly just on me in the end. I want to make great art. I want to make something that I could show my kids one day and have them say, “Wow, you made something really worthwhile.” I’m happy to gamble on myself. Most of the great artists I love are gamblers.

 

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