THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Parents

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.

 

Mykalee “Mykie” McGowan

Mykalee McGowan

 

Date of Interview: November 4, 2016

Name: Mykalee “Mykie” McGowan

Age: 23

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Washington, DC

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

I try to do it like, twice a day. That’s showering, baths, I want to start doing that once a week and things of that nature with spiritual baths. So, alright, so I say that I’m a witch and I feel that baths are very healing and it’s very calm. And you know, sometimes showers just don’t do it for me. So I want to take spiritual baths once a week to unwind, get the stress out, relax as well as doing some witchy shit like setting intentions and doing spells. Yeah.

If you were an underwater creature which one would you be? Mythical or real.

Cool beans, cuz the first thing that popped in my head is a mermaid. I would be a mermaid! Yeah, I feel like the human form sometimes is not negative, but it’s whatever while still being cool. You can have the fishy aspect and the human aspect, I wouldn’t want to get totally rid of the human part.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about creating, I’m passionate about expressing myself as well as showing people dope shit. And dope events. And bringing dope people to dope people. I am kind of known as the person who knows everybody, that knows everything that’s going on. I have my friends telling me “GIRL! You should have told me about that event, what the hell!” Because I just like what people do and I just want to show that to the world and help people express that and help them express themselves. But right now I’m trying to learn to express myself cuz I’m dope too ::laughs::.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment is starting my own business. My biggest accomplishment is starting my own business because I’m the only one in my family that has done that. I think about where I was in 2015, I was broke as fuck, my father had just passed away, dealing with a lot of depression and anxiety and stuff like that. To now, when I started my business in July, to know that I’m the only person in my family to have done that. It just feels really really good, it feels really sweet ::laughs::. Especially because I’m the black sheep of my family and a lot of times, my mom asks “what are you doing?”. It just feels good to have something that I own.

What do you mean by black sheep?

I mean I’m the black sheep cuz I’m the one… So my sister was in the army. My other sister graduated college on time and she’s the youngest, she’s a year younger than I am, she has a job and a car and a house. And here I am trying to figure it all out in this very small room, in this house in DC. When you’re raised by Jamaican parents, having a secure and normal career is what they want for you. But I can’t physically, mentally, or emotionally get a “normal” job. Whenever I try, It always backfires. Like, God won’t let me. So to be outside of a having a car/house/job, that’s me being a black sheep. Yeah. And I’m still doing okay!

What is something that you still struggle with?

Accepting myself, and all of myself. Expressing myself and all of myself too, I tend to try to form myself in the way that I think people will like me to be. I felt that my past self was like a parasite. When it came to lovers, when it came to friends, I felt like I would try to stick on to them because I think they’re amazing and that I wasn’t amazing enough. I would try to form to be like, the sassy side chick or the bomb ass lover and now I’m in a space where I have to be me. So I’m alone a lot of the time and I force myself to be alone to see myself and deal with myself alone so I can be like, “Mykalee, you are cool and you do have flaws but everybody has flaws”. And yeah. That’s how things are right now.

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

Oh my God. Ohhhhh okay ::laughs:: SO relationships! Oh my God, platonic ones. I’m actually learning to express myself and be out there more. A challenge I had in the beginning of summer was to see more people. Talk to more people and stuff, so I think that’s really good. But when it comes to romantic relationships I’m not the one. I’ve tried polyamory, I’ve tried monogamy, now it’s just plain old I don’t want to talk to nobody ::laughs::. At this moment in time, ya know, there are times because it’s people, times that it’s myself, it’s a way to protect myself. I haven’t successfully navigated romantic relationships at this moment. Gotta find my way, I know I’ll get there one day. And regardless of if I’m with many people or with one or by myself, I’m gonna be fine. Sexually, I love sex. I love sex, even though I’ve been celibate for a year to protect myself, and try to shed some energy that’s been old and needs to be moved, sex is good. Sex is alright by me. That’s it ::laughs::.

What are you afraid of for the world?

I’m afraid that people will just not… I feel like people already don’t accept each other. And if you say you’re something, I should just acknowledge it instead of being like, WELL this states or that states, you know, if I’m saying I’m a certain thing you need to respect that. Just do that! I don’t think it’s a hard thing to do. A lot of the time I do feel that, but there is such a division going on. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

What are you afraid of for yourself?

I’m afraid to fail. I’m afraid to be homeless, I’m afraid to succumb to my depression and anxieties. I think about that a lot. But I’m also afraid to succeed because success draws more responsibility and I’m someone who is easily overwhelmed and I don’t want that to take over.

What did you see today that was beautiful?

I saw a couple at my favorite cafe. They were just… So sweet together. I thought about my mom and my stepfather, it was just those candid tiny moments, those beautiful moments.

 

Olivia Persons

Olivia Persons

 

Date of Interview: October 25, 2016

Name: Olivia Persons

Age: 21

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Washington, DC

 

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about art, culture and food. Different cultures, worldly cultures, the way that culture influences society. I’m biracial, I’m half Chinese and half black, so my mother growing up was like, really good about teaching me and my sisters about her culture. And I recently have been learning a lot more about Africa and my ancestral roots. Learning about it as an adult, understanding taboos, especially, the huge difference for me being an American and how America is completely different from China and especially in Africa. Specifically in Africa, there are so many third world countries and we don’t get the scope of that here.

Do you think how you were raised affected these passions?

Definitely, my mother always makes really really good delicacies that I can’t replicate for the life of me. Like, dumplings and some really weird shit to be honest. She goes on these little excursions to H Mart and honestly, there are things that I’m scared to try. There are things that look weird, but she swears by them and swears that it’s good. I’ll take her word for it ::laughs::. Like mushrooms, I’m not a big mushroom person, but that’s big in the culture. With art, my father is a film maker, he’s working on a film right now and has been for awhile and I really think that I get that artistic and creative side from him. My father… the way he has decorated our house… it’s so eccentric ::laughs::. I don’t have the best relationship with my father but one thing that I can say I appreciate is his ballsy-ness when it comes to that. There will be times I come home and there’s a new sculpture that looks kind of weird or a new painting that really wakens up the room that it’s in. So I really appreciate his eye for it, his knowledge. He does a lot of research, he never studied art in school or anything but takes it upon himself now.

Do you think that the culture your parents came from influenced how they raised you?

Yes, absolutely. I feel like I’m the black sheep of my family. So it influenced me but in the opposite way. I’m the black sheep because I have really liberal thought processes and my parents are very conservative in their own ways, my sisters as well. My mom, she grew up in a very respectful home and I’m not saying I’m not respectful but she has… certain standards that she sees fit that don’t necessarily agree with the American ideal. Growing up in high school, didn’t go to any parties, curfew, didn’t have one because I didn’t go out. Whereas my father, he is American, grew up in Chicago, he grew up in the 70s around South East Chicago so he’s seen a lot of violent crimes that has affected him in his adulthood. He didn’t really have that heavy of a hand in how we were raised or in parenting at least, but him being an American and a black man growing up in the 70s in the ghetto to rising up from that- I think affected the kind of life he wanted for his daughters. So we, we’ve always been modest and humble in how we lived which allowed us to afford other things. I think, specifically with my father, he didn’t see much value in worldly possessions like shoes or fashion, things like that. So we took trips and ate well, that was more important.

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

Relationships are important as long as they’re healthy ::laughs:: yeah. Um, platonic relationships, I feel are the most important. I feel like I’m a pretty sexual being and I’m able to realize that. Sex is a part of our nature and to ignore that, or to acknowledge that it’s not important in that relationship, that sex isn’t what it’s about is great. It takes away a lot of the stresses and worries and complications that goes into a romantic relationship. I feel like trust is easier in a platonic relationship. Romantic relationships also… what an interesting question ::laughs:: especially now. Wow, if you would have asked me this a month ago, this answer would be completely different but… I think, relationships are important but you also have to find solitude in yourself first, especially before romantic ones.

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