THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Feminism

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!”

 

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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