THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Ignorance

Jessica Zeigerman

Jessica Zeigerman

 

Date of Interview: September 6, 2016

Name: Jessica Zeigerman

Age: 36

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Arlington, VA

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

I think I would be a bioluminescent jellyfish, because they’re so cool and mysterious. And they don’t really have any organs or anything. They’re also a lot smarter than they look. I kind of like that, the hidden intellect. And they’re pretty.

What are you passionate about?

Um, I guess it’s kind of hard to say… I don’t know if I have a specific thing. You know how people say that art is their specific passion or saving earth is their passion or something… I just try to do what makes me happy and that can be anything at any given time. I mean, I love to explore and I love learning. Whether I’m reading something or someone is telling me about themselves or about some historic fact or… anything. That’s what gets me. I think when I was growing up and going to school I don’t think I was really into learning. I mean, I got great grades, I was a really good student but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was there for the grade. And later on in life I think I realized that man… I should have taken more history classes, more philosophy classes. More, kind of, explore more. Instead of only learning what I needed to learn to get to the next level. I don’t feel like I’m missing out from not having a specific passion, but I’m a really passionate person in a different way.

What draws you to history?

That there’s so much of it. And it’s so interesting learning how our civilization and the human race has evolved. Just, learning how things were built and wondering why it took so long to create the technology that we have now. Because we had and still have the intellect, but why didn’t we have the means? Just so much, it’s so vast that you can get lost in it! It’s fascinating. I always wanted to know what it’s like to live in an era or century where the day to day was different. I know what my day to day is and I know what another average person’s day to day might look like but there’s so much in the past that’s untold.

What do you think of humanity now?

I think there is a lot of good in this world but it’s unfortunately overshadowed by the not so good. You know, I don’t know if the good people are the silent majority or what it is… I feel like maybe these days people are afraid to offend another person so they keep to themselves or…Or you have the reverse where people don’t care. And they just do the exact opposite. I like to think that everybody has some inherent good in them.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I always look to, or try to be happy. Or try to find happiness somewhere. So I guess I’m really afraid of not being able to find that. I think in the past few years, since I’ve been moving around quite a bit, and just getting older, I find that I’ve become more and more solitary. So I’ve been here for a couple years already and I don’t have to many friends here in town and I moved here without knowing anyone and this being a transient town in itself, it’s so hard to find a group of friends to really click with. And stay with. I guess I’m also a little bit afraid of being utterly alone.

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

I think as you get older you get more set in your ways. So… I think that you also get more confident in yourself and you know yourself so you can say “to hell with the next person if they don’t like me”. I always say that to know me is to love me and if you don’t love me you probably don’t know me ::laughs::. So I mean, I love being in love, but with getting older I think you have a different idea of what you want. Like when you’re young you have all of these ideals, maybe touching on the way you were raised, whether you try to marry your parents or whomever you think is ideal. And when you get older you kind of get more confident and set in your ways and you want… a companion. You want someone to share things with. And I’ve always been more of an independent person anyways, so I don’t need to be rescued but I want somebody there. I want somebody there if I’m having a great time so we can share that experience. If I’m going through a bad phase I want someone to give me a really big hug and a kiss and tell me that “Everything will be alright. I’m here for you”. I think it’s something that goes along with friendships, you know, as I get older I want friends who know I have my quirks and my ways and weird tendencies but loves me anyway.

What is something that you feel accomplished with?

I hate to say my job, but for a really long time my job has been my primary focus. So I kind of look back at where I started from and I’ve come a long way. And I love what I do, and now I’m finally making a difference. Or so I feel, and I really feel like I’ve arrived. So I guess that’s something that I’m proud of. I’m also proud that I was able to leave home. I lived in Cleveland for over 30 years and I picked up and left, went to New England not knowing anybody, for a job opportunity. And I made it! I made it up there and moved down here and have made it here too, so I’m proud of finding success professionally but also personally, knowing that I can do it. I feel that much better, more confident in myself.

What do you wish you had known at 15?

Sooo many things ::laughs::. The small things are really small things. Just be yourself, and be happy. Don’t try to always please your parents if that isn’t making you happy. Don’t try to fit in if you don’t, there will always be people out there that you can fit in with. So like, don’t try to fit in with the wrong group of kids, if they don’t like you somebody else will, it’s okay! Just… take it easy. Take time to smell the roses. And take more history classes I guess! ::Laughs:: or art classes or something, just go explore, explore everything. Expand your horizons.

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.

Meredith Scherer

Meredith Scherer

Date of Interview: August 23, 2016

Name: Meredith Scherer

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Chicago, IL

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

Not often enough… Sometimes I’ll shower when I don’t swim in Lake
Michigan. Usually I swim in Lake Michigan after work so I don’t feel
the need to shower when I get home.

What are you passionate about?

I’m really passionate about sustainable agriculture and making good
food accessible to people everywhere, especially in large cities like
here in Chicago. I think that produce, a lot of times travels sooooo
far that it loses its nutritional value. For example, when you pick
things fresh, the vegetables have natural omega 3s that dissipate
within 48 hours so really, you get the best nutrition from plants when
you eat them in the first 48 hours. And with all of the science coming
out now with nutrition health and avoiding big pharmaceutical
companies and food as medicine, it’s more and more important that
people get their food from fresh places and I don’t want local food to
be something where only rich white people can afford it. It needs to
be something everyone can afford and we need to figure out systems to
take the unused space in our cities and use them as growing power to
feed people and have healthier life styles.

Do you think the way you were brought up impacted this awareness and passion?

Oh yeah, absolutely. My grandparents were farmers on my mom’s side and
my mom had a vegetable garden while we were growing up so you know,
one of the things I learned early on is the taste difference between
the store bought tomato and the tomato that you grow at home. And it’s
really incredible to see that and that also translates to things like
a carrot. When was the last time you picked a carrot and ate it versus
ate one out of a plastic bag. Cuz I bet you the one you just picked is
going to taste better.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I really hate to say this… But I am a Capricorn and I know that I
work a lot and am concerned about money… But I’m afraid that I won’t
make enough money to feed myself or put a roof over my head sometimes.
And that’s always been a really real fear for me for pretty much all
of my adult life. Like, I wish that wasn’t my biggest fear ::laughs::.
I think there’s way more things to be afraid of than something as
silly as money but it’s really real to go hungry and it’s really real
to get kidney stones from eating only beans and rice. And then have to
deal with medical bills. I live a pretty unique lifestyle that doesn’t
always provide me with the most money. Yeah, that’s my biggest fear.

What’s your biggest fear for the world?

Honestly I’ve been thinking a lot about the internet and our google
searches and our Facebook feeds and how everything is optimizing to
give us what we want to see. Instead of what we don’t want to see. And
I think in some ways, that’s true. I don’t want to see people
defending cops who shoot people of color in the street and so I’m
guilty of unfriending some people on Facebook but I think our google
searches, Google wants us to be satisfied with what we search for. And
I think that’s pushing us all into a really big internet and knowledge
bubble that we might not be able to break free of. I want people to be
able to persue information that might put them a little bit out of
their comfort zone. Obviously I don’t want it to trigger anything, but
I think that’s a different circumstance and I want to specifically say
that we need to look at information and facts that put us outside of
our comfort zones. And kind of bring us to another section of our
thought processes of our humanity.

What is your love language?

Ooooo. I think my love language is actually German. It’s weird because
I went to Germany during a time in my life where I didn’t have a lot
of confidence and I had to explore this new foreign place with a
different culture by myself and learn the language and do a lot of
things for myself and that was really empowering. And I think of
German as a different section of my brain actually. Like, I think
differently when I think in German than I think in English. And I
think that all of those positive things that happened in my life
around the time I went to Germany caused kind of a euphoric sensation
when I speak German with people, because I feel like I’m really
shining.

Is traveling important to you?

Yeah, traveling is really important to me, I actually just signed a
lease and that really freaked me out. Cause it means I have a
commitment to be in one place for a full year. But I really like my
job, so I guess that works out. But… I think that staying in one
place or even just one neighborhood in a city can kind of get you
stuck in your own bubble or own world and traveling is a really great
way to go out and reconnect with the world and reconnect with people
in a way that you probably wouldn’t at home.

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