THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Goals

Clove Roses

Clove Roses

 

Date of Interview: October 14, 2016

Name: Clove Roses

Age: 23

Pronouns: They/Them

Location: Philadelphia, PA

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

Ooh, I’ve been showering every day recently, just because I wasn’t like, living anywhere for the past month. So being able to take a shower in a house that’s mine has been super exciting. Umm, and I don’t know I don’t bathe as often, but I probably will more now.

If you were an underwater sea creature, what would you be?

I’m thinking a manatee. ‘Cause they’re like these beautiful fat like mammals that people think are mermaids. Or a siren, because they lure men to shore with their songs and then kill them, so…

What are you passionate about?

Umm, a whole lot of things… I think recently I’ve been trying to find a way to focus my passion because I care about all these different things and then overload myself and can’t really do anything effective. And I think what I’m really trying to focus on is holistic healthcare. People don’t have access to basic understandings of how their bodies work, and basic health knowledge.  Concerns get dismissed all the time, like when fat people go to doctors who ignore all of their health concerns and try and get them to lose weight instead, umm… and you know, women, queer people, people of color for various reasons have hard times getting their bodies taken care of.  And when you go to professionals, they ask you all these questions and give you no understanding of why they’re asking you them and I want to develop like a practice where people are learning about their bodies as they’re accessing health care that sees them as a complete individual not just a list of symptoms, like herbs, or whatever sort of medicines they want.

What ignited this passion?

Umm, when I lived in Olympia I volunteered at an Herbal Free Clinic there, and there were just so many plants in the Pacific Northwest and I had no idea that these things growing in the wood could heal me. And there was something that was really satisfying about like understanding what makes a plant work and how that plant can interact with my body in beneficial ways. So yeah, I don’t know, it was just really empowering to find that I could find things in the forest to heal myself and I wasn’t relying on going to like doctors that are fucking scary to be around.

Do you think herbal medicine correlates not just with healthcare in the sense of body but with mental health?

Oh, absolutely. I definitely first got into it more for using things like Passionflower or like Anemone for anxiety umm, and I think that like Western medicine is very reliant on the idea of a mind body split. Like you go to doctors and you go to psychologists and they work with diseases and disorders instead of an overall body system, like your symptoms exist in isolation from your environment, emotions, history.  And herbal medicine is something that’s been used in like really every society ever before industrialization, because that what people had access to.  Plants can grow and evolve with humans and with the bacteria that infect us, plants have these vast bodies of knowledge that I don’t think humans can even fully understand.  I read yesterday, in this book on Adaptogens by David Winston, that 25% of modern medicines are still derived from plants used in traditional medicine.  They take one specific phytochemical and then like try to boost the intensity of it, instead of seeing a plant as something that has a lot of different chemicals that all work together.  Modern medicine refuses to see human or plant bodies as complex systems that work together in ways science can’t account for.

What is something that you feel is a big accomplishment that you’ve achieved in your life?

Umm, to stray from plants… I think the biggest thing I’ve achieved is finishing hair school. ’Cause I dropped out of college and kind of felt like I was never going to be able – yeah ever going to be able to complete something.  I’m great at getting things started, but I’m not so good at follow through, so yeah 1500 hours of hair school has been a big deal.

What are you afraid of for yourself?

Uhh ::laughter:: I guess um, kind of like where I’m going now. Because like for the past year I’ve had all of these really clear goals, like I wanted to finish cosmetology school, I wanted to move to Philadelphia, and I was doing this Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program that was pretty intense, and I wanted to finish that.  I did all these things so now I’m like, “Shit, I need new goals! I don’t know what I’m doing at all!” ::laughter:: so, yeah I guess just afraid of, of figuring out what to do next.

What are you afraid of for the world?

Capitalism… ::laughter:: Umm, industrialization, I’m afraid of the world, you know? Like I’m afraid of things that happen day to day and unnoticed and unchallenged. I’m afraid of prisons and mass incarceration, I’m afraid of how institutionalized violence isn’t something most people think about, or even recognize exists. Umm, I think it’s really scary how the world operates in this way where like, we basically still have slavery in the U.S., but like it’s so layered under all these different facades that it’s really insidious.  People, liberals, think we like in this like “post racial society,” but our economy is still built on the forced free labor of incarcerated black people, and destroying indigenous land.  So, yeah. I’m afraid of the world every minute capitalism continues.

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

Uhh, they’re difficult.  Yeah I don’t know, for most of my life I found all my self worth through my partners, through people finding me sexually or romantically attractive, because as a person with a fat body I was taught that I’m like “lucky” if I can achieve those things, if I can achieve that desire.  More recently I’m like, “fuck that.” I’m like, not trying to just be a thing that only exists for other peoples acceptance, I was celibate and single for like six months last year and like… I think that was a really good space for me to like try to deepen my intimate connections with my platonic friends, with friends that I don’t sleep with.  I’m like trying to learn to value different types of relationships, as well as one with myself.

What is something that you wish you would have known when you were fifteen?

Ooh. Uh, that the assholes you go to high school with don’t fucking matter.  That I should have been pursuing my own interest instead of being so anxious and insecure about what other people thought of me.

 

 

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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