THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Love

Alexander Detellio

 

Date of Interview: June 14, 2017

Name: Alexander Detellio

Age: 27

Pronouns: He/Him

Location: Chicago, IL

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

Normally, I’m a once a day person. But when it’s really gross out I sometimes shower twice a day [laughter]. Mainly showers. Although, when I’m depressed, I take baths. This is one of the most un-depressing baths I’ve had in a very long time [laughter].

If you were an underwater creature what would it be?

I’ve always been obsessed with giant squids. That’s from reading “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” growing up. So I guess I would be that [laughter].

Do your books play a major role in your life?

Yeah. My life revolves around literature, not just my everyday life but specifically my hopes and dreams for life. It’s very influenced by all sorts of stories.

What are you passionate about?

Well, literature, obviously but I think in a more general sense, storytelling is something that I feel has a moral force. So I’ve developed a passion for stories, but it doesn’t have to just be fiction or books. Even the best philosophy, which is something else that I’m passionate about, can also tell a story- even if it’s veiled in philosophical jargon. This is something I’m discovering about myself recently: being an outcast growing up, I retreated to stories and it was something that gave me a release and then as I got older and studied stories, I don’t know, I was able to figure out how stories can affect people more generally. So I guess a combination of my experience growing up and then wanting to help other people in finding out that stories can do that.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

In life in general? I guess probably writing my undergraduate thesis [laughter]. Well, because part one is an academic essay and part two is a short story. The short story was just a bit longer than the essay and actually helped me work on a lot of questions I have about the world. And also doing it in such a way that gave it a formal merit. I felt super accomplished by writing this short story that other people who read it thought was pretty decent.

What is something you still struggle with?

Something I struggle with. I guess probably overcoming kind of depressive states that– I don’t even know how to put this– that I force on myself to an extent. Like wallowing in that sort of thing. And I think that probably stems from my experiences when I was younger. I mean, high school’s a fucking terrible place and I was definitely an overweight kind of nerdy kid and the jocks loved picking on me for that. So that was that sort of thing. And then there’s other stuff I guess. Parents [inaudible] divorce when I was 12 or 13. That affected it as well. But it turns out that that was for the better so in hindsight yeah [laughter].

What do you think of relationships, platonic, sexual, and otherwise?

Oh, well. Humans are relational creatures obviously. It’s how we function. So I value relationships pretty heavily, although I’m the type of person where, at different points of my life, I’ve had different types of relationships as you know. So in some cases, I’ve had lots of friends and only a few really close friends. And in other cases, it’s gone the other way. As I’ve gotten a little bit older, I think I value quality relationships. That being said, sexual relationships have probably been more quantity than quality over the years. But I think that’s because I’m narcissistic or something [laughter]. There’s some truth for you [laughter].

What does the word relationship mean to you?

What sense of the word relationship do you mean? I don’t know. I guess it’s like there’s different types of love, right? Different Greek words for love. And this is from me studying religious things but [inaudible]. There’s romantic love, there’s familial love, friendship love, and the one that may or may not be there: God love. And I guess, I– that fits it pretty well. And we don’t have English words for that. So the Greek words work pretty well. I don’t know. I guess I follow that pretty closely.

 

Maya

Maya

 

Date of Interview: December 4, 2016

Name: Maya

Age: 22

Pronouns: She/Her or They/Them

Location: Washington, DC

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

I almost never bathe, I’m not a big bath person. Showering really depends, like almost everything else in my life, on how I feel that day. So it’s like, everyday, twice in one day, way too many days in between ::laughs::. It really depends.

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

That’s a really hard question. I love the ocean, but I’m not a huge fan of the things in the ocean ::laughs::. It’s ’cause they really freak me out, I had too many nightmares as a kid about things in the ocean. But I do remember, when I was at the beach when I was young, there were these jellyfish blobs and they’re called moon jellies and I loved that name! They’re clear and they’re squishy and soft so I feel like I would be a moon jellyfish.

What are you passionate about?

Oh my god, too many things. But all of them have one thing in common which is growing. I’m passionate about helping people grow and about relationships and the ways that things interact with one another and the way that things shift over time and how we make space for those kinds of changes. So I guess that roughly translates to… I teach. I make art. I make space for relationships. What am I passionate about… Yeah, growing.

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

They’re the most important thing to me. All kinds of relationships have equal value to me. Relationships are all about love and love is all about cultivation, so relationships are about growing with one another, tending to one another’s gardens and making space to be beautiful. I think back to this article my friend sent me a long time ago from Dean Spade, something that always stuck out to me is they said to treat your friends as your lovers and to treat your lovers as your friends. I think that sort of symbiotic relationship where everyone is getting the care and attention and investment that they deserve, that’s what relationships are all about to me.

Does that backdrop come from familial ties?

In some ways. I think family is so huge for me, I’ve got this big, huge family and it’s not just my mother and my sister, it’s my housemates, my soul mates, my teammates who are all there for me. All of those who have seen me grow and have grown with me. I’ve been really lucky to meet people who are committed to being there. And to sharing in whatever way they can share. There’s this word, compañerismo, and to be a compañerx to me means to be committed to love and to justice and to dignity. Compañerismo is this tie that holds you, as in a hug, but also holds you accountable to what you believe in and holds your community accountable to that and I think that is where my ideas of community comes from.

What does community mean to you?

Oh man, I just did a whole huge art project around that. I asked so many people what community meant to them and I still don’t know. For myself, what community means… community means… community means… all I have is this feeling. I don’t have the words big enough to explain this deep rootedness of what community means. It’s so within me that words will never bring them out. Yeah ::laughs::.

Shanon Lee

Shanon Lee

 

Date of Interview: November 25, 2016

Name: Shanon Lee

Age: 40

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Alexandria, VA

 

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

I would be a seahorse. They’re elegant; I used to be fascinated by them when I was a kid. I used to live in Pensacola, Florida and they would wash up on the streets out of the sewers. Also, because I think they’re feminist. The males carry the babies, so it’s an equal society down there for them ::laughs::.

What are you passionate about?

Love, family, art. Yeah, especially in my 40th year of life. I have kind of come full circle because I was huge into art as a child – just writing and painting and doing all those things. So, I’m slowly trying to work everything back into my life that I used to enjoy. My kids are a lot like I was, so I definitely encourage them. But in terms of me personally, trying to connect with my inner child and trying to get back in touch with my creativity has become hugely important this year.

What’s your favorite media to create?

Mmmmm, it’s pretty much tied right now between writing and film. I love film and writing, they can be so totally different. Writing can be really personal and it’s always exciting to reach a broader audience that can connect with something you thought was so personal to you. Certainly, if you write anything that’s impactful it can help someone in a way, but film can reach an even broader audience. It’s more dynamic and exciting in that you have to work with other people to create a project, so there’s always this buzz around it. But it’s so hard to get things done. I’m not trained to use any particular equipment, so I’m always working with a crew and that involves balancing personalities. If I was a magician and could take that part out of it, it would probably be my number one ::laughs::.

What’s something that you still struggle with?

I think it’s… I definitely don’t struggle with self-expression anymore. I think I struggle with letting go of the need to – I don’t want to say impress because that’s the wrong word – but just to please my parents. I’m definitely trying to let go of the need of that. I was never really close to my mother or my father, so just accepting that I don’t need their approval in any form with any projects I decide to take on, or any decisions in my life. What do you feel accomplished with? I think it’s two-fold because I feel very accomplished with everything that I’ve done this year in terms of writing and film. I think just being happy in the space that I’m in is my biggest accomplishment this year. Just because things are going well for me professionally doesn’t mean it’s always going well personally. I’m a co-parent, I co-parent with my oldest son’s father and that’s been a really trying experience. I think, regardless of if everything was perfect in my personal life or not, I’ve really been able to find a balance and be happy and comfortable with where I am. That level of emotional maturity, yeah.

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

I think we need them to survive this life. I’m very happy to be in a partnership, to have a blended family and to have that to come home to. To have a support system. I think I approach relationships and love a lot differently now, at my age. I’ll watch these shows on TV – reality shows – and see the dynamics. It’s a lot of envy and jealousy and just… pettiness. I’m so glad to be at this point, on the other side. That was all stuff I was doing in my teens and twenties, so as you enter your thirties and forties you’re a lot more secure in who you are. Hopefully, you’re not going to have these stupid arguments over, you know, what somebody wrote on Facebook or text. So, I’m happy to be at that point. I’m not a traditionalist. I married for the first time when I was 20. Now, it’s 20 years later and I don’t really feel the need to do anything traditionally, I don’t feel like I have to get married, I will get married again if I want to. So I’ve let go of a lot of those expectations, the societal expectations, the cultural stigmas of having to live your life in one particular way. I think everyone would be happier if they could get to that place.

What are you afraid of for the world?

I’m not really afraid of anything for the world. Whether things get things figured out or not, we’re all going to die anyway ::laughs::. We were all put on this earth to do something and hopefully most people will figure out at some point what it is and will want to contribute in a positive way to the world. But, I think we’re entering some really interesting times, especially in the United States with the last presidential election and everything that’s gone on. It’s interesting because with the Obama presidency we’ve been able to fall into complacency. Some people have been a lot less willing to examine what was going on in politics and that has obviously led us downhill. What I wish for people is the ability to become critical thinkers, to become independent thinkers and to understand that we’ve had good and bad presidents for as long as the United States has existed. The world is not ending today.

 

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