THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Kindness

Cait Beck

Cait Beck

Date of Interview: September 7, 2016

Name: Cait Beck

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Arlington, VA

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

When I was little my favorite animal was the orca. And I think that, still, it’s the coolest animal to be because they have families and it must be nice to float all the time. They also get to sing all the time. They seem like the most peaceful underwater creature, and they’re able to swim really far, so you can see a lot and explore still.

Do you strive to have a peaceful life?

I say that I do, I think that it is… I’m really lucky. The family I come from and where I’ve lived, that I haven’t had to deal with complex and unfair problems like some people in the world have to deal with. Like, bombings and stuff. And I think that it’s not that hard to have relationships with people that aren’t filled with strife. That you can communicate your problems in a healthy way, or at least learn how to. And I think that relationships are so much better when you know how to work through problems. And if it’s not peaceful I have always worked to make sure it can get there.

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

I’m in a really happy relationship right now. But, or actually AND. And I’ve been thinking about before you’re in an actual relationship you kind of dream what the relationship will be like, when you are in one and it’s really nice that certain parts come true and I think that it’s crazy how much media makes relationships unfair… That’s not the right word. It takes the truth out of them and the imperfections. I think the imperfections are what make relationships so much stronger and when I first met my boyfriend one of the conversations we had was about exploration. It was a really fascinating conversation because it’s kind of come up from time to time. Because while we are together, it’s also really fun to explore where this relationship will go and kind of the idea that we will both explore other options and grow together. And so some of the things that I’ve discussed with other people, including my boyfriend, is how do you have a primary, romantic relationship and still explore sexual relationships with other people. Which still is kind of a taboo thing in our society, that everyone you talk to agrees with the ideal; to have someone you really love and still get to explore other relationships. And we’ve been working to try to understand ourselves and explore that option. Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m still trying to figure out how to balance both and have been hesitant to explore. So… I have mixed feelings about them all, but I think they’re wonderful.

What are you passionate about?

Helping people. A thing that has been there throughout my life is that I care about other people, and my relationships with them and how they’re doing. And I’ve been really unhappy, not lately, but in the recent past. And I’ve noticed that it’s because I’ve cut myself off from a lot of people and once I started reaching out to other people I realized I was much happier. And even in my job, I work in helping people with disaster relief. I think it’s really meaningful to get to share your life with someone and it doesn’t have to be in a relationship, well, every connection with another person is a relationship, but I think that’s why it’s so nice to get to really connect with people.

Do you think your up bringing impacted this?

My mom is someone that really cares about her relationships with her family and other people, she talks to everyone. We always joke that you can get anything out of her if you were a stranger and asked her a question. I think being exposed to that, she always cared so much when we were growing up, if there was someone on the street asking for help, she would give it to them. So I think that being raised with her being that type of a personality, I think that brings a lot of it out in myself.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I think failure is a really easy word to use for what I’m afraid of. But I feel that failure is such a overarching thing that I’ll fail at communicating or fail at being honest with myself. And I think that most recently the thing I’ve been afraid of is losing sight of my own dreams for fear of not succeeding, And I think that success is something I’ve been struggling to define. I think if success was clearly defined it might be easier.

What are you afraid of for the world?

That lack of community will make everyone be alone. And when people are alone they do… scary things. And technology has kind of started to scare me. Because globalization is a good thing and a bad thing. But I don’t think it’s something that we’ve balanced. I’m that people will abuse the tool that technology is rather that use it to enhance their lives. And I think that technology is currently cutting people off, it’s isolating people more than it’s connecting them. So while we’re able to make calls from here to around the world, people will forget to knock on their neighbor’s door and talk to them. And that scares me, it’s such a wonderful community right in front of you that people are missing out on. And it’s nice that people are more connected to others who aren’t right in front of them. But I wonder sometimes how deep those relationships are.

What does the word community mean to you?

I think it’s synonymous with strength. It’s a group of people that rally around one another, to support them. And make sure that they can help each other. Having that, having people that ask you how you are and actually want to hear the answer is really important. I think that people can forget to stop and say “how are you” and actually wait for the answer. Something I’ve noticed throughout my life actually, is that in hallways and on the street people will ask “how are you!?” and before you have a chance to say anything they’re already past you… ::laughs:: it’s just so superficial. I can’t stand that, I would actually want to tell them.

What is something that made you happy this week?

It’s funny you ask, because about a week ago I took stress meditation training and I thought to myself “something that I should do is stop everyday and think of something that made me happy” and I haven’t proactively done that. Until right now. Meeting someone new made me happy. But actually, I recently started a part time job outside my nine to five and today is the first time in awhile that I haven’t had to go to that right after work. So I actually got to walk home, in the perfect weather and it was really nice to get to enjoy my own time. And get to sit on the sofa for a moment and just do something at my own pace versus thinking “I have to do this, I have to go home, I have to do this to get ready for tomorrow, I have to go to bed”. It was really nice and it made me really happy.

Maria Madden

Maria Madden

 

Date of Interview: July 22, 2016

Name: Maria Madden

Age: 27

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC

 

If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

I would be a golden retriever. They’re just so dog-gone beautiful. I would love to be able to cultivate those types of relationships and bring a lot of joy. I like to, and I guess kind of aspire to, be a friend.

Are relationships something that you’re passionate about?

Sure. Yeah, i would say, especially right now they’re one of the most important things in my life. And I feel very blessed to have had a lot of good ones. They’re necessary and the foundation of everyone’s life. They are what sustain us, what brings us joy, what helps us to grow. I’ve had a lot of different kinds of friends, and all of my friends have taught me a lot. I’ve had friends that I’ve felt like were my sisters, who I shared everything with and who made me a better person. I’ve had friends that have hurt me a lot, not because they try to, but because they were hurting a lot. And I learned a lot about what it means to be broken in my brokenness, and see more of that. Friends that still challenge me to set good boundaries. And also people that have done great things that have inspired me. Some that have incited a little bit of a complex in me ::laughs:: of feeling a little inferior sometimes… But all have been my teachers.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

The relationship that I’ve built with my nephew, Sean. And when I call and I hear him scream, “MARIA!” That… that is something that brings me the greatest joy. And I would say that, if I were to talk about things that I have worked to build in my life, he would be my biggest accomplishment.

What is something that you feel like you have or are struggling with?

I would say that my biggest struggle right now is being able to accept that I am not perfect. Which is hard. And I guess… right now I’m really focusing on not being afraid of that. Kind of being able to look the monsters in the face, to look at the things I might not be happy about, with myself. Or things that I’ve felt that I’ve failed in. And learning how to hold them all.

Do you believe in God?

Yes. I think I believe in God because I’ve seen him. And I do refer to Him as “Him,” that’s kind of my perception because he became a person in my view of the world. Yes, I believe in God, because God is love, and I see a lot of love in this world. I see him in each person that I meet. Something that I’ve reflected a lot on recently is Mother Teresa and how she saw Jesus. And things that she described, distressingly described, is that it’s hard to see it in people and… God is the source of all good. So the good I see, in seeing people sacrifice for others, I see reflections of where I believe we all were created. And I don’t mean to offend anyone by pronouns, it’s just part of my tradition.

Are you religious?

Yes. For me, religion gives me direction. It would be hard for me, I think, to have faith or believe in God, if that’s how you would define it, without having a way to do it. So religion is like… Faith is the belief, and religion is the “how” for me. Religion gives me a venue to seek God. And to worship him, to have a relationship.

Nenet

IMG_1780

 

Date of Interview: May 31, 2016

Name: Nenet

Age: 29

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC

 

Do you have any opinions on how women and femme people are portrayed and treated by the media and by humans in general?

Well I think that with women, it’s aimed at women have to always please. And be willing. And that is very intense and aggressive. I don’t roll with that. I think it’s very hard to have to do that all the time and it’s very invasive and very unfair. The media is pretty sick and a little to much is twisted and I think its not good, it creates a lot of strain and pressure for young people. I think it should be regulated; it’s a little criminal to expose people to that.

Do you think where you grew up impacts these opinions and their growth?

YES. Yes, I grew up in Argentina and it’s a very macho oriented culture where there is only one type of women and that’s where you should fit in. If you have short hair, you’re just weird. If you’re different, you’re just weird. If you’re whatever, you’re just weird. And they will let you know that you’re out of line. I remember walking into places from my teen years to early 20s and you were REALLY supposed to look one way. And it was really scary, I really couldn’t fit. Everyone wore one brand of jeans, one length of hair, one disposition. You really had to tone yourself down and just be giggly and willing and coordinated, and everyone had to look the same. That’s my memory of that.

When did you move to the US?

I moved to the US three years ago. I had a boyfriend and I followed him…

That kind of leads into my next question… what are your thoughts on
relationship dynamics, especially when coming from different cultures?

Well… I’ve thought a lot about that, since I’m here and since I was in a long relationship with someone who was American, and white and cis and male. I think, and I actually wrote about this today, that’s how current this topic is for me, you are desirable when you can be looked at and lust upon. You’re a curiosity and it kind of doesn’t matter where you’re from as long as you’re foreign and seemingly exotic. And so now it’s really hard to filter people because they ask questions about your country and immediately seem really interested if you’re foreign. Especially Latinas. Latinas are kind of displayed in a certain way. So I have a lot of people, actually men. I have a lot of MEN asking me how sassy I was, or if I would like, if you PARTY and I also felt like that’s really weird and they’re really weird and they were kind of already objectifying me already. So yeah, I was really not into it. I think if you grow up in a place and spend a good 25 years in one country and move, you’re thinking that it’s going to be different and it’s OH WOW because it’s not. I thought that if people or anyone would be interested in dating someone from another country or culture, they would be actually interested, not as a token. Like, “it’s my Argentine girlfriend and she’s so awesome and EXOTIC”. I really had full on encounters and conversations that didn’t really go beyond that. Like “Oh, she’s foreign, you know, got it”. There was no real interest in anything. No one cared about my passions and who I am.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

I wrote a play earlier this year. And I was satisfied with that. I think it allowed me to move forward towards being a more responsible creative person. Where I’m actually committed to the things I do and can follow through. There’s the start and the end, which is really cool.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I am afraid of… Something really silly. I am afraid of not showing up to work. Part of it is because I did it before. I just thought I can’t go on with this. It has nothing to do with who I am or what I want other than money and paying the rent. It’s a trivial thing, but it’s the first thing that came to mind. It’s real.

What are you most afraid of for the world?

Conservative, backwards people and how they are taking control. They are able to influence people all of a sudden and get to people. They get to people that are scared and this is really frightening that they get control of official things, like a whole political party. Especially here, but it’s happening in other parts of the world too, but more rapidly here.

What does your personal utopia look like?

I actually don’t think utopias exist. I don’t think they fully conform to humans as we are, we are not all inherently good, I can’t really believe that. So I don’t think a utopia is possible, there are to many of us, we are a little late on that. But I think a better distribution on wealth and resources and opportunities would achieve something for mankind. But it will never really be a utopia.

Is there anything you are hopeful for in the world?

Is there hope… Hmm.. There’s always hope for good things. People keep creating. And keep doing things here and there. There are random acts of kindness and it’s really important to remember that.

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