THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Faith

Lorin Elise

 

Date of Interview: July 29, 2017

Name: Lorin Elise

Age: 23

Location: Chicago, IL

 

How often do you bathe or shower? Do you have any rituals?

Just about every day. And then sometimes I skip a day [laughter]. Yeah. I’ve tried to get into rituals, like just having habits, and suck at them, so I just don’t try anymore [laughter].

If you were an underwater creature, mythical or real, what would you be?

I’ve never thought about this. I don’t know a lot of underwater creatures. Dolphins, I guess. They’re the most recognizable for me. Yeah.

What are you passionate about?

People, art, and music. Probably in that order. No. People, music, then art. Yeah. I sing. I just joined a worship ministry, actually. So singing, I did it growing up, but never as an adult. So it’s my first time doing that. And then, I played trumpet for eight years from middle school through my first year in college. And then I stopped in 2014ish whenever I left my first school. I’ve tried to learn guitar over the years, here and there, I dabble. And then I had a piano growing up, because my dad played. So I can pick up a tune or two on there. And a friend gave me an electric bass. So I played at one service, and probably won’t again until I start practicing [laughter]. But yeah. I love music.

Are music, art, and religion all tied in together for you?

Not necessarily. I feel like singing is definitely a gift that God gave me, so I can use that to worship. But I mean, everything I do in life is worship, or should be. So, yeah. And I don’t know if I would call it religion necessarily, but yeah.

Were you raised in that way of being of service?

Absolutely. My parents are two of the hardest working people that I have ever come across. I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there that work as hard as them, but yeah. My dad, he just, no matter what, was– he was always there for people. And a lot of times, even my mom, she wouldn’t get frustrated, but she would just kind of be like, “You’re doing so much. We need you here, sometimes.” But then, if there was a way we– me, my brother and sister, my mom, could get involved with whoever he was helping, or however he was helping other people, we would often find a way there and make it a family thing. What does religion mean to you? Religion means bondage. [laughter] yeah. I mean, I actually looked up the word religion a couple years ago, and it’s defined as, to bind or to restrict. And I grew up in the Pentecostal Apostolic faith. Not even fully sure what that means, but it’s a charismatic denomination or whatever. And growing up in that, and then becoming an adult, and having to live on my own with something, having a foundation of something to pull from, I’ve realized religion is so not what relationship with God is, and that’s what I strive toward and try to practice and live out. So, yeah. Religion is binding, religion is death, religion is confusion. It’s not what Jesus came to die for [laughter]. And there are several religions on the earth, but what I have is not a religion, I would say. Yeah.

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

They are great, and they are challenging, and [laughter]– I mean, it’s one of those things, it’s like the best of everything and the worst of everything at the same time. Yeah. I love my family. I have a great relationship with all my family members and anyone that I’ve known since birth, which is most of my church back home. And friendships, I’ve had a harder time with I feel like, in life. Platonic more than intimate, or whatever. I’ve never had sex, so just throwing that out there [laughter]. So don’t have that relational experience to speak on. But I feel like platonic friendships are hard, just because people– everyone has needs, and not everyone knows how to express them, or fit the needs of others, so [laughter] it’s– unless you communicate about it, it’s kind of hard– and most people don’t communicate about it. So it’s just like, “Okay, this is dumb. We’re both being stupid right now [laughter].” So yeah. Friends, I have a hard time with. But I do love people. I try to make friends wherever I am, and however I can. It just mostly doesn’t end up in the kind of hard core, legit relationships we’re all looking for [laughter]. Most of the time.  

What is something you feel accomplished with?

Oh, my career. Because I knew since eighth grade, since I was about 13, that I wanted to be an interior designer, and now I’m an interior designer [laughter]. It’s just like, “Wow.” Neither of my parents went to college– well, my mom did a semester or something, but they never completed higher education. And my other family members who did, it was always the– what I would call typical fields, like social work, nursing, stuff like that. Nothing that was outside of a stereotype or whatever. So it’s kind of like, “Wow, I’ve arrived,” a little bit. And even when I graduated and I started working, I’m like, “Crap, what am I supposed to do with life now?” I only had a plan up to this point [laughter], so it’s been a process of figuring out what’s next. But yeah, I think that’s my biggest accomplishment [laughter].

What is something you still struggle with?

Where do I start? No, just kidding [laughter]. [inaudible]. Well, I was actually just talking to a friend about this last night. One intimate relationship that I had – healing from that I guess, is something I still struggle with. I guess I had a really deep soul-tie or something to this guy, and so I think about him more often than I want to, and we have mutual friends, so through social media, the devil keeps popping his face up in my face [laughter]. And every time I see him, it’s a problem for me internally. So, yeah, just dealing with– I guess lust, in a way. Because I want a person just to be intimate with, or just to have that relationship, like you said, a real, true relationship with. And it’s so hard to find. So it’s like, “But when you have that person, do you know?” So I guess that’s pointing me to God, again, though, because it’s like, “Yeah, you don’t have this relationship but here is the provider of everything you need [laughter], so just go to Him. Go to the source for what you need and stop trying to find it among other things (or people).” And then, I just recently kind of noticed this but I could say I struggle with self-image. I have some thoughts about myself that are not good all the time, and that affects how I interact with others and stuff like that. So yeah.

What is something you’re hopeful for?

The future, for sure because it’s– I don’t know. I know my future’s in heaven, first off, so that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to that, can’t wait for that. I’m hopeful for that. And I think the success of my siblings and just all my close family and friends who have stuck to their values, and really tried to be good citizens of the world.

Mandi Jo Stoll

Mandi Jo Stoll

 

Date of Interview: August 26, 2016

Name: Mandi Jo Stoll

Age: 24

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC

 

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

A mermaid. One of the things my dad always says is that “you can’t rule out the possibility of the mystical.” Well, he might not say it quite like that, but basically, you can’t assume that things don’t exist just because you haven’t seen them, or experienced them and… I like the idea of being a mermaid.

What are your thoughts on vulnerability?

Vulnerability is something that I’ve thought about a lot. I think part of that is that it’s had such a strong impact on relationships in my life and experiences of feeling welcome or not feeling welcome, and finding out what relationships meant and the inherent vulnerability that is in that. I mean, now, I’m working in a vocation that heavily involves vulnerability and trust. And that’s really what drew me to it, the willingness to be vulnerable is important and that’s something I’ve valued in my own relationships and I think it will continue to be a huge factor in my life.

What are your thoughts on relationships? Sexual, platonic or otherwise.

I think relationships are at the center of how I behave and how I show what I think is important. I grew up in a Mennonite family and the Mennonites are all about simple living and service, but I think a large part of that, is focusing on living out what it means to be like Christ. And to me that means my relationship with God and my faith isn’t just something that I do by following certain rules or by going to church on Sunday. It’s something I do by showing the same love that I believe God has for everyone to all the people that I know. And so, deep relationships are something that I seek due to that, but it’s also something that we all need. And that we all crave. The relationships that I’ve built in my life are the most important things that I have.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about people. About music and art. I’m passionate about service, and I don’t think that means something like going to volunteer. To me it means being someone who is generous and trying to be a positive force in the world.

What made you want to be a part of The Bathtub Project?

For me, vulnerability has always been BIG, so definitely that aspect of it. I love water, and so, that just kinda tugged at me a bit. But I think it’s also the fact that The Bathtub Project calls people to step outside of what is normal and safe… And to trust one another. Yeah, it’s not very often that people get the chance to say “I don’t know you, but I’m getting in a bathtub with you”. Like, even this is different because we know each other. The idea that someone would do this is so amazing to me and honestly, the interviews are my favorite part because I feel like I’m able to see parts of people that you really have to ask about in order to hear about. Because they aren’t things that you’re going to hear in regular small talk.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I think something that I’m most afraid of… is selling myself short. I think part of that is wanting to put relationships first and wanting to trust the people in my relationships and to not give up on them. But I know there have also been times when I’ve wanted sooooo much to make a relationship work that I’ve put myself in danger of not taking care of myself enough. That’s something that I think about a lot. But I also really don’t want to lose my ‘softness’ because even though I know that being vulnerable makes my emotions be at risk, it’s also one of the most beautiful things to me. So it becomes a balancing thing.

What are you most afraid of for the world?

I feel like the easy answer is to say Trump… But I think beyond that, I think it’s a lack of listening. I mean seriously, Trump is a scary thing but I think that really, what he represents is people being afraid of things they don’t know, and not being taught how to listen to things they know nothing about. I’m afraid that we are moving towards a place where we “other” each other so much, that we forget to see our common needs and humanity.

Maria Madden

Maria Madden

 

Date of Interview: July 22, 2016

Name: Maria Madden

Age: 27

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC

 

If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

I would be a golden retriever. They’re just so dog-gone beautiful. I would love to be able to cultivate those types of relationships and bring a lot of joy. I like to, and I guess kind of aspire to, be a friend.

Are relationships something that you’re passionate about?

Sure. Yeah, i would say, especially right now they’re one of the most important things in my life. And I feel very blessed to have had a lot of good ones. They’re necessary and the foundation of everyone’s life. They are what sustain us, what brings us joy, what helps us to grow. I’ve had a lot of different kinds of friends, and all of my friends have taught me a lot. I’ve had friends that I’ve felt like were my sisters, who I shared everything with and who made me a better person. I’ve had friends that have hurt me a lot, not because they try to, but because they were hurting a lot. And I learned a lot about what it means to be broken in my brokenness, and see more of that. Friends that still challenge me to set good boundaries. And also people that have done great things that have inspired me. Some that have incited a little bit of a complex in me ::laughs:: of feeling a little inferior sometimes… But all have been my teachers.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

The relationship that I’ve built with my nephew, Sean. And when I call and I hear him scream, “MARIA!” That… that is something that brings me the greatest joy. And I would say that, if I were to talk about things that I have worked to build in my life, he would be my biggest accomplishment.

What is something that you feel like you have or are struggling with?

I would say that my biggest struggle right now is being able to accept that I am not perfect. Which is hard. And I guess… right now I’m really focusing on not being afraid of that. Kind of being able to look the monsters in the face, to look at the things I might not be happy about, with myself. Or things that I’ve felt that I’ve failed in. And learning how to hold them all.

Do you believe in God?

Yes. I think I believe in God because I’ve seen him. And I do refer to Him as “Him,” that’s kind of my perception because he became a person in my view of the world. Yes, I believe in God, because God is love, and I see a lot of love in this world. I see him in each person that I meet. Something that I’ve reflected a lot on recently is Mother Teresa and how she saw Jesus. And things that she described, distressingly described, is that it’s hard to see it in people and… God is the source of all good. So the good I see, in seeing people sacrifice for others, I see reflections of where I believe we all were created. And I don’t mean to offend anyone by pronouns, it’s just part of my tradition.

Are you religious?

Yes. For me, religion gives me direction. It would be hard for me, I think, to have faith or believe in God, if that’s how you would define it, without having a way to do it. So religion is like… Faith is the belief, and religion is the “how” for me. Religion gives me a venue to seek God. And to worship him, to have a relationship.

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