exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: God

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.

Matt Ingram

Matt Ingram


Date of Interview: September 22, 2016

Name: Matt Ingram

Age: 23

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Location: Washington, DC


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

I saw that you ask this a lot and tried not to think about it too much… What is that joke that dolphins are really just gay sharks? What is that from? I’m compelled to say a dolphin because they are beautiful and smart and don’t they have echolocation or something? I feel like that is something I would want, something kind of like a super power. To be a super power among a bunch of sea creatures would be pretty cool. I’m doing a quick inventory of all the sea creatures I can think of to make sure that dolphin is the correct selection. Ummm… I’m gonna go with dolphin. And they can jump out of the water! That looks really fun! And they can squirt shit out of their hole… their blowhole. Definitely dolphin.

When you were a little kid, what did you want to be?

A lot of things. I remember distinctly in kindergarten wanting to be a… so some of the first music I was exposed to as a kid was boy band pop music, who knows maybe that’s why I’m a homosexual, but I remember just thinking that the Backstreet Boys and NSync were extremely cool and so I really wanted to be that. I’m clearly very close to achieving that dream now. Yeah, so I wanted to do that and then for a long time I wanted to be a film actor, then a stage actor, then I got pretty content being creative in any capacity that I could be in.

Does recognition matter to you?

Yeah, I think it does. More than I would like it to. Yeah, it does sometimes and I think that I try to tell myself and to remind myself that it’s not everything and personal goals are more important than meeting the standards that I’ve decided that other people have. But, yes, yes it does matter to me. I just try to be conscious of how much.

What are you passionate about?

I think that’s a question that has made me fraught for most of my life. Or for at least recent years because I haven’t really been able to pinpoint something and that’s been pretty frustrating. But when I think about where I derive good feelings from, like what gives me joy, I don’t necessarily have a specific thing that I can share. Like, an activity, there are activities that I like but it’s hard for me to say. Most people would say ‘music’ or ‘art’, like people who hold themselves to their art or their ‘thing’ and for me I would say that my thing is like, moments. Good moments. Things that give me joy are fleeting, moments that aren’t long lasting. So anything that can make a good moment. That’s what I would say I’m passionate about.

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

Well I think that playing into the moment thing, all that we have, I mean, okay so… there are these movies by this guy Richard Linklater, he made a movie called Boyhood which you might be familiar with, but he also made these movies- a trilogy. The first one is called Before Sunrise, the second one is Before Sunset and the third one is called Before Midnight. These movies follow this couple over the course of their relationship and the movies were made in nine year intervals. So ’95, 2004 and 2013 and every movie is kind of a snapshot of the couple at that point in the relationship. My point is that there is a line that the woman, it’s of a heterosexual relationship, says to the man which is that she, she’s talking about how, I’m probably going to fuck this up because I can’t remember it all, but she’s talking about God. She says something like “I think that God is the magic that exists between two people”. They have this very romantic night, this chance encounter and she says that she thinks it’s God- them being together, the magic that exists between two people. And so, yeah. That’s what I think of relationships, they’re fleeting, some last for forever, some last for a second and you don’t know which are which. And that’s really stressful sometimes, but I think they’re vital.

Have you been in love?

I don’t know. Next question. Maybe, but, not now. ::laughs:: I mean, maybe, yeah, I’ve been in love with a slice of pizza before.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

I’m bad at this thing like thinking of my superlatives on the spot. I think that I feel similarly, well I don’t want to call you out in my interview but, I feel like it would be really lame to try to go through the history of my life and hoping to find something because I’ve never thought of that, like quantified that. But my biggest accomplishment is that since high school or since I’ve realized that you can feel self conscious, I’ve worked through that as much as I possibly can. I feel like I’m still self conscious in the ways that matter to everyday life, but my real answer is that I have gotten to know myself well enough that even though it can still hold me back sometimes, I can acknowledge those parts. I think my biggest accomplishment is growth in the way that I can talk to myself. I can talk to myself and get over things that before, would have been debilitating. I’ve grown to understand it. You’re state of mind changes, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. The thing I’m proudest of is recognizing that and being able to tell myself that and knowing that I can talk myself through it. The clarity to say to myself when something good is happening- this is good and enjoy it.

Kailasa and Saa

Kailasa and Saa


Date of Interview: September 15, 2016

Name: Kailasa and Saa

Age: 25 and 5

Pronouns for Kailasa: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC


How often do you bathe or shower?

K: Ummm, maybe about four days out of the week. I like to bathe a lot, but I don’t get to.

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

K: Seahorse. They’re pretty.
S: Seahorse.
K: I don’t even know why I said that, but I guess it’s because I’ve always thought they were interesting. They don’t have any arms or anything, they just kind of float. With their tail. It’s the first thing that came to my mind, other than that a turtle or octopus. Or something bioluminescent that has a light on it.

Do you like to plan for the future?

K: Oh hell yeah. Yeah, I like to plan things, I’m not great at it but I do like to be aware of my future. Of where I’m headed.

What are you passionate about?

K: I’m passionate about my community. I’m passionate about being a mom. And being a better person everyday. I’m passionate about pursuing my dreams, which are being as creative and artistic as possible. And following through with my ideas.
S: I made it!
K: Yeah! Being able to say, “I’VE MADE IT!” ::both laugh:: But yeah, by community I mean, support the people who have supported me. I have a couple ideas that I’ve created business plans for and they’re both geared toward contributing to a healthy and successful community. So community is the people who’ve raised me. The people who support me, I want to support them back.

What is something that you feel accomplished with?

K: Raising that little one. ::laughs:: I feel pretty accomplished with that. I’m finally in my own space. Though I don’t own it, I’m at least supporting myself and my family. I’m accepting more responsibilities with self-assurance and accepting what I’m responsible for. I think I’m doing a good job. Don’t really know what I’m doing.

Do you think she knows what she’s doing?

S: YES. Whatever she does with me, she never gets upset.
K: Mmmkay. I mean, I guess I don’t get upset.
S: I have a splinter in my toe.
K: Let me see, do you feel anything? Do you feel water?
S: Yes.
K: Maybe it’s just a scratch.
S: Noooo, on the other side. It’s on my boo boo. Right there.
K: I think it’s just a scratch.
S: Okay.

Do you have family traditions passed on?

S: Yes.
K: Like what?
S: When we go on walks together! When we ride bikes together! When the whole family goes on a field trip.
K: Yeah, I mean spending time together.We’ve had a family function every year for about 28 years now, I was the host for last year. We call it ‘the family love exchange’. Umm, carrying on traditions. Being in tune with my inner being. Carrying on that awareness to her. Being confident in my divine nature as a melanated woman. My mother was a cosmic woman who was aware of her powers, she studied a mix of different religions and passed on her knowledge. So yeah, I think passing down some spiritual knowledge and a connection to my native heritage and culture is important.

Do you believe in God?

K: What… who’s this “god?” ::laughs:: I believe in a God. Do you believe in God, Saa?
S: Nope.
K: Alright. You sound so certain.
S: Because you mom is my grandma. And I don’t believe in God.
K: Okay. Well, what do you think God is?
S: An animal.
K: What kind of animal?
S: A stinkbug. And a… a puppy. Together.
K: A stinkbug puppy?
S: The face of a puppy with the body of a stinkbug.
K: Okay then.

What are you afraid of for yourself?

K: I’m afraid sometimes that I will get caught up in other people’s stresses.
S: I’m not scared of nothing.

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