exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Food

Sarah AKA Sur-ruh

Sarah AKA Sur-Ruh


Date of Interview: December 12, 2016

Name: Sarah AKA Sur-ruh

Age: 25

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Washington, DC


How often do you bathe or shower?

I am not super good about that… it’s only for the purposes of getting scalp clean. I know my body is getting kinda sweaty but it’s the wintertime so I can cover it up pretty well ::laughs::.

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

I’ve considered this extensively! I didn’t show you my mermaid tail blanket, the hottest thing on earth right now but yeah, I would be a mermaid. I’m a swimmer, like, even though I’ve swum competitively I’m not great at the butterfly but doing the dolphin tail kick is fulfilling my dreams of having an adventure under the water and my imagination as a kid… I really spent a lot of time in the water. I started swimming competitively when I was around 8 or so. So it was a summer team and I didn’t really want to start doing it in the winter until high school so it was a little bit harder. Highly mediocre. I just find it natural to be in the water.

What are you passionate about?

I think something I’ve been trying to do a lot is seek out art and try to learn about and pick something or a couple things I think I can express the kind of art that I think really feels me. I’ve been bouncing around a lot. I started in photography and it’s still something that’s really important to me but when I was able to start messing around with different materials and rocks and collage I felt like there was something there and I had to keep going with that. Talking to you, I’ve talked to other artists on Instagram and I’m just trying to figure out how you guys do it and I want to adopt your policies or whatever ::laughs::. You clearly have drive and I would like to find that kind of drive. With photography, my attention is still there because I felt like I was so poor at it when I started, I wasn’t super critical of myself at the time, but I look back and think oh. You weren’t really making it. But at the time I had this feeling, I know I’m missing the point here. So I thought I had to get practice and practice is a real important thing. I also thought travel was more important, like, there’s nothing here. I realized it’s not about traveling! ::Laughs:: sure, you can travel and make beautiful photography doing that but I felt like I wasn’t giving enough of a chance to the area I was living in. At that time I was moving to college part to go to school and I just fell in love with alleyways. My boyfriend always laughs at me cuz I’m all “Wow! Look at that alley!”. Alley’s just get the coolest light. And they’re always so dirty. It’s great texture. So now I’m just looking for the right thing to make something different. I always want to make something different.

What are your thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual or otherwise.

That’s really interesting for me to talk about. Because I think about not only my romantic relationship, that… That’s always been a big part of my life, I’ve always been sort of dating somebody and I thought that was to keep me occupied a lot of the time. I felt like there wasn’t a lot going on. But I realized a little bit later that I can entertain myself. I can figure out what I think is worthwhile to pursue and I don’t have to follow around this person, saying “I like what you like too”. That’s just sort of about boyfriend things but I don’t have a lot of super close friends, I have maybe 5 or 6 who are ride or die ::laughs::. But they don’t live that close so I think I felt so spoiled in college and I didn’t realize it until now, that being able to see all of your best friends and your second best friends all in one night; that’s an amazing experience. So now I really really value.any time I have someone come over.

What is something you struggle with?

I feel like I’m struggling with a good number of things right now, but I am picking out a therapist person. I got a lot of pages of doctors I have to call and stuff because I don’t know which one I need. I don’t even know if they’re accepting people so it’s really daunting because there are so many names. But I’m really driven to do this ’cause I get sort of obsessive and I’ve never been diagnosed and I have no diagnosed issues and I do not intend to seek a diagnosis. I just want to seek treatment. I don’t really know what the true issue is but I just get obsessive. I need to work on it because it’s impacting my health and the health of people around me. It’s hard because it’s not a lot of physical manifestations of compulsion except that if I get fixated on a mistake I made at work or something; I’ll be unable to eat for that day. And then when that becomes more of a pattern, you know, in extraordinary circumstance, that makes me feel horrible. I feel kind of fortunate because I can deal with this one thing but awhile back I had a lot more trouble sleeping so I felt like a zombie all the time. That was a real feeling that I knew I was having, so now I feel blessed that I don’t feel like that but yeah, I have to focus on trying to get better.

What’s something you feel accomplished with?

I guess, it’s coming up with the new year in January, January was when I got my first full time job, the job I just referenced ::laughs::. I am so very thankful even though it can bring pain because I’m one of those people who wasn’t very good at applying for jobs and definitely wasn’t very good at getting them but I just dreamt and wished for that. I’ve been trying to remind myself that anytime I feel that it’s difficult or that I can’t deal with it, that I’ve had a successful, as in I haven’t gotten fired ::laughs::, 11 and a half months and I’ve learned a lot. I’m the type of person where if you put something on my plate to learn my response won’t be “no, I don’t want to learn that” but it will be “well, I guess this is what I’m doing now” ::laughs::. I guess it’s good to be surprised by that

Olivia Persons

Olivia Persons


Date of Interview: October 25, 2016

Name: Olivia Persons

Age: 21

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Washington, DC


What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about art, culture and food. Different cultures, worldly cultures, the way that culture influences society. I’m biracial, I’m half Chinese and half black, so my mother growing up was like, really good about teaching me and my sisters about her culture. And I recently have been learning a lot more about Africa and my ancestral roots. Learning about it as an adult, understanding taboos, especially, the huge difference for me being an American and how America is completely different from China and especially in Africa. Specifically in Africa, there are so many third world countries and we don’t get the scope of that here.

Do you think how you were raised affected these passions?

Definitely, my mother always makes really really good delicacies that I can’t replicate for the life of me. Like, dumplings and some really weird shit to be honest. She goes on these little excursions to H Mart and honestly, there are things that I’m scared to try. There are things that look weird, but she swears by them and swears that it’s good. I’ll take her word for it ::laughs::. Like mushrooms, I’m not a big mushroom person, but that’s big in the culture. With art, my father is a film maker, he’s working on a film right now and has been for awhile and I really think that I get that artistic and creative side from him. My father… the way he has decorated our house… it’s so eccentric ::laughs::. I don’t have the best relationship with my father but one thing that I can say I appreciate is his ballsy-ness when it comes to that. There will be times I come home and there’s a new sculpture that looks kind of weird or a new painting that really wakens up the room that it’s in. So I really appreciate his eye for it, his knowledge. He does a lot of research, he never studied art in school or anything but takes it upon himself now.

Do you think that the culture your parents came from influenced how they raised you?

Yes, absolutely. I feel like I’m the black sheep of my family. So it influenced me but in the opposite way. I’m the black sheep because I have really liberal thought processes and my parents are very conservative in their own ways, my sisters as well. My mom, she grew up in a very respectful home and I’m not saying I’m not respectful but she has… certain standards that she sees fit that don’t necessarily agree with the American ideal. Growing up in high school, didn’t go to any parties, curfew, didn’t have one because I didn’t go out. Whereas my father, he is American, grew up in Chicago, he grew up in the 70s around South East Chicago so he’s seen a lot of violent crimes that has affected him in his adulthood. He didn’t really have that heavy of a hand in how we were raised or in parenting at least, but him being an American and a black man growing up in the 70s in the ghetto to rising up from that- I think affected the kind of life he wanted for his daughters. So we, we’ve always been modest and humble in how we lived which allowed us to afford other things. I think, specifically with my father, he didn’t see much value in worldly possessions like shoes or fashion, things like that. So we took trips and ate well, that was more important.

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

Relationships are important as long as they’re healthy ::laughs:: yeah. Um, platonic relationships, I feel are the most important. I feel like I’m a pretty sexual being and I’m able to realize that. Sex is a part of our nature and to ignore that, or to acknowledge that it’s not important in that relationship, that sex isn’t what it’s about is great. It takes away a lot of the stresses and worries and complications that goes into a romantic relationship. I feel like trust is easier in a platonic relationship. Romantic relationships also… what an interesting question ::laughs:: especially now. Wow, if you would have asked me this a month ago, this answer would be completely different but… I think, relationships are important but you also have to find solitude in yourself first, especially before romantic ones.

May Pierce

May Pierce


Date of Interview: October 7, 2016

Name: May Pierce

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Toledo, OH


How often do you bathe or shower?

Every day. Bathing is not a thing though, usually. I don’t know why.

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

A slermaid! A sloth-mermaid, of course. Because I love sloths, and I’m a mermaid. I was born to be a mermaid. So it’s a slermaid, there you go. Are you jealous? :laughter:: You might be, I can tell. Were you born near a body of water? Yes, I was born near a body of water. I was born in Israel, I used to walk by the beach all the time. And I used to sneak out of school to go to the beach. Which is a no no, children don’t do that. I guess I should be parental. Uhh, yeah. I like the beach. It’s relaxing, it’s cool, there’s a bunch of sea creatures. Once I lost my sunglasses when I was in South Carolina, and I still believe that an octopus is wearing them. So there’s that. I like octopus, octopi- octopi? Octopi. Octopusses. Meeses, mooses, ::laughter:: who know, the English language is weird.

How many languages do you know?

Two, just Hebrew and English. And then I know how to count to five in Arabic, no big deal.

Do you think thoughts in one language?

Both. Think in both, dream in both. But it’s funny because, when I dream in Hebrew and it’s somebody that would speak English, that’s when I know it’s a dream. So, I figured that one out.

Do you have certain memories or ties to the extent that when you think in one language you feel a certain emotion?

No. No, I was very bummed though when I was hanging out with NSync in a dream and they were speaking in Hebrew. So that my recent emotion. Still a dream to me NSync, no big deal. Just a normal dream every little girl has.

What are you passionate about?

Baking! And cooking healthy food, which is is kind of funny, because they’re not really the same thing. I don’t eat processed sugar, so essentially I’m like a drug dealer. Sugar is a drug. I sell it, and I don’t eat my profits. So there’s that. Some people call me a drug dealer when I give them samples, because it’s addicting. I’m sure kids know that sugars very addicting. So yeah, my names May and I’m a drug dealer of sugar. No big deal, totally normal.

When did you find you passion for cooking and baking?

When I was vegan. So when I was like 20… 20, 19? So I was vegan, and Toledo is pretty sucky when it comes to vegan stuff, so I had to start learning how to cook things that my mom would make, but without dairy or meat or eggs. And then I fell in love with it, I don’t know, it was fun. And I still think it’s fun, and then I went to school for it And working in way too may restaurants to count, and then decided that I want to bake for the rest of my life. Because, people don’t bake well. People will just do cupcakes and cakes, and things that people are familiar with, which is unfortunate. And I understand why, but there is so much more than just cupcakes and cakes in the world. And unless you live in Europe or the Middle East, it seems that people are afraid of it. So I’m here to, you know, not be spooky and you know, shove French macrons in your mouth. ::laughter:: but, not in a sexual way, that would be really weird, I’m just a drug dealer. I will never force you to eat something… maybe. We’ll see. Unless like I make like, mock-liver and you’re like, “I hate mushrooms.” And I’m like, “No you don’t, you just never had mock-liver. And now I can prove you wrong, so” It tastes like chicken, like chicken pate, but it’s just mushrooms, walnuts, honey or you can use agave if you’re against honey, and salt and pepper, and caramelized onions, and it’s amazing. It’s my favorite dip. I just kind of eat it with a spoon, but whatever, we can call it a dip. But yeah, it’s very Jew-y. It’s true, Jews eat a lot of liver. It’s a thing, I don’t know.

What do you think of religion?

I don’t do it. I’m not going to heaven, I’m going straight to hell. So sorry, sorry mom. Uhh, I don’t know. When I was in the 2nd grade, because I lived in Israel, we had to take bible classes, or Torah classes I should call them. Annndd, I sat in my room, I was like 8 years old. I sat in my room and was like, “Is God real?” and was like this is giving me a headache I never want to think if this again, and so that was it. It’s been… it’s been real. ::laughter:: it’s been real for the last 20 years, so that’s my opinion of it. I’m totally fine with other people practicing. You do whatever makes you happy, but it doesn’t make me happy. Do you think heaven and hell exist? Meh… I don’t know. I don’t think about it, I think about today and that’s it. But if I was going somewhere, it definitely wouldn’t be the good place. Whoopsies! I mean whatever, unless like, making yourself happy is not a sin, so then I would be going to the good place. Because I try to make myself happy. So, depends on how you look at it. What makes you happy? Uhh… being successful. Doing what I like to do, selling it to people, and getting compliments about it. But like legitimate compliments, not like, “OH I’m just writing this because I feel bad.” That’s what makes me happy. And making the people around me happy. Not just with sugar, but you know with other things that are not sugar. I don’t know, that’s what makes me happy. Having a clean house makes me happy. Having a good meal makes me happy. Uhh, yeah, food makes me happy. Ok? That’s really the bottom line, food make me happy. My dog makes me happy. She’s cool, she’s not food, ‘cause you know, she’s a dog. My dog should never be food, maybe she’ll be a statue after she dies, at my house, that would be cool. But yeah, I can only hope. Only hope I’ll have the money ::whispers:: she’ll be beautiful. Oh that’d be glorious.

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

I’m in a relationship, I’ve been in one for two years. Umm, they’re hard. They’re time-consuming, they’re emotional, kind of weird about feelings a lot. Uhh, they’re there. I mean people want to be happy with a partner, so that’s cool, that’s why we do it. But they’re hard, it’s another job. So there’s that, when you work 90 hours it’s even harder. And when both you and your partner works 90 hours, it gets even harder. So it’s a job, it’s a hard job. But you know, it’s rewarding, in the end. Build a home, have dogs, put up a fence, with your friend who’s helping you for free. But yeah, that’s what I feel about it. Family is the most important thing, as long as you like your family. If you don’t like your family, then your friends become your family and THEY’RE the most important thing. So family is always the most important thing, even if it’s not blood. That’s what I think about it. They complete you when you’re sad, they’re there when you’re happy. They’re there when you just want someone to hang out with you while you’re baking by yourself in a dark sub shop. Umm, they’re there when they’re sweating and they ask you to get face towels so they can stop sweating. But yeah, that’s what friends are. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t see them for 20 years, they’re still friends.

What are you afraid of for yourself?

Uhh… failure. But I don’t know what failure is. I mean, I’ve failed at many things, but then they taught me, or I realized that what I thought that I wanted is not what I wanted. So I don’t know what failure is, but whatever it is is what scares me. Losing all my money, because I’ve lived with and without money, so I… I’m not saying money is the most important things, but… I don’t know, I’m more realistic about it. And that freaks me out, to think about running out of everything, everything I’ve saved up. So that’s my fear I suppose. Is working hard for something and then losing it. Whatever that it, whether it’s money, or ideas, or ::sigh:: I don’t know.

What is something that you feel you’ve accomplished?

Ooh! One of my moments of realizing that I’ve done something good in this community. Unless you think that sugar is bad. Is going to places, and introducing myself as May, and then people immediately saying, “The baker?” Or me being at weddings where I bake, and people are stuffing their faces with sweets and then people telling me, “Oh I usually get these at the sub shop!” That’s always fun. So yeah, I like that. That’s when I feel accomplished. And yelling at students that cut their fingers. I’m the teacher that yells, “Bearclaw!” all the time. I mean it’s their fingers! I’m just helping the next generation to not cut themselves.

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