exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Polyamory

Marisa Allison

Marisa Allison


Date of Interview: August 24, 2016

Name: Marisa Allison

Age: 23

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Location: Chicago, IL

How often do you bathe or shower?

That’s changed a lot recently actually, I used to be an every day bather but lately it’s like, every three days. I can take care of business ::laughs::.

If you were an underwater creature what would you be?

One of those little, little minnows. That like, swim in swarms around your ankles at the beach. I like how fast and slippery and shiny they are. I also like how large their packs are, they have lots of friends.

What are you passionate about?

Passionate about a lot of things, I’m passionate about holding people to their humanity, I’m passionate about social justice, racial justice. Food justice and GNC clothing, gender non-conforming clothing. Like, I’m sure I’m passionate about lots of other things, like I’m passionate about Frank Ocean right now and like, Alexander McQueen’s legacy and lots of things ::laughs::

Do you feel like gender is performative for you?

This definitely affects me in an all the time basis. And something that someone said to me once, a partner that I really love, “I love being with you because you view gender purely as performance and that makes me feel very free in my gender.” So I oscillate between a lot of different genders. And they all kind of come from a place of costuming myself and just trying to feel out how I’m feeling every day when I wake up, so it’s kind of a performance all the time ::laughs::. I’m super performative about it. I’m a costume designer, well was, I’m sort of leaving the theater right now. I haven’t done a show in a long time, I’ve recently been doing costume projects for artists right now. And I’m about to totally leave art making for a moment and go to grad school for social work. It’s been like, a real moment of departure. Not bathing very much, not sewing very much ::laughs::.

What are you afraid of for the world?

I’m afraid that the world will really start dying before we like, know it. And say goodbye to it and honor it. I’m afraid of Donald Trump being president. There’s a lot of stuff that’s really scary right now. I’m afraid of everyone thinking that the pope is liberal because that’s nonsense. Like, everything sucks ::laughs::.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I’m afraid that I’m about to move into this vocation of taking care of others doing social work and become completely destroyed by it and become disillusioned, like, forget that I’m in it for people. It’s so people intensive that I’m worried I’ll stop caring about the people and get caught up in all the bureaucratic nonsense.

What does self care look like for you?

For me, self care means making time with the people that I want to with and really checking in about what that time should look like with them and be really intentional. And not fall into complacency and apathy. So I’ve recently cut out people that weren’t working for me. Um, a lot of people love alone time and I just DON’T. So being around people is really important to me. Like, planning I’m going to spend this time with these people in these ways and these other people in other ways. Making that time, making it special.

What are your thoughts on relationships? Romantic, platonic or otherwise.

I like them. Sometimes those lines are super blurry for me. So I’m poly, polyamorous. So lines can be really hard and boundaries have to be constantly established. Sometimes it feels like setting boundaries aren’t super important but then it can mess up the potential in something, like the communication has to happen in that moment, you know? It’s like everyone is BAE and so it doesn’t even mean anything ::laughs:: like “WE GOT TO TALK ABOUT IT.” So like, it’s like “you’re my wife, you’re my babe” but we really have to talk about this, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything and I think you want to make out with me but I can’t tell. So, I’m trying to do a lot more of that, a lot more communication.

What do you wish you knew when you were 15?

I wish I knew that gender is over. I wish I would have known that like, a man won’t save you. ‘Cause that was such a big part of my life as a late teen, I was with someone who literally dragged me out of a crappy post industrial small town, I wouldn’t be in Chicago without him but like… I was following him. He’s great, he’s great but knowing that would have been nice. What else… OHHH That beauty isn’t pain! I’m still working through that shit. Of like, beauty and looking good, that shit is painful, I hate that shit. Damn. I’m sure there is a lot more, but this last one is important. Fuck the police isn’t something that people just say, it’s a real thing. I used to roll my eyes when my brothers would say it but like, the police are actually horrible and now I know that you NEVER call the police and I wish I would have known that as a 15 year old. Don’t trust the police.

Arin Jayes

Arin Jayes


Date of Interview: June 16, 2016

Name: Arin Jayes

Age: 25

Pronouns: They/Them and He/Him

Location: Washington, DC


Is there any part of your body that you feel is missing?

Is there any part of my body that I miss… It’s weird, I kind of miss my period in a weird way. I don’t know, I think that there was this sense of release that I got from my period that I’ve lost since being on T. And… I don’t know, I’m not necessarily thinking about being on T for forever. So that might be something that I might want to have again. Not really sure.

What are your thoughts on how gender is perceived?

Umm, I think that gender is a performance. And gender can be very creative. And fun to play with. But it can also be extremely constricting and suffocating for a lot of people. But I think as I’ve become more masculine, I’ve been able to kind of bring out the more feminine parts of myself, and embrace the queen that I am. Because I felt like, when I was perceived as a woman, that people would see me… I would walk down the street and people would see my, and like… they would think that “oh, this is a cis woman” and I was thinking to myself, “No, this is like a flamboyant gay man, who likes to wear blouses and glittery things in heels” But that isn’t what people see. But now that I’ve been able to pass more I’ve been more comfortable exploring those sides more, which is cool.

What are you passionate about?

I’m really passionate about art. I really like making embroidery and textile art. And I’m really passionate about gardening. I’m really passionate about social justice issues and helping people that are experiencing poverty. I’m passionate about my friendship and relationships.

Do you think the way you were raised impacts what you are passionate about, and how you live your life artistically and as an activist?

Yeah! Well, definitely artistically. My mom is a landscape painter, and I was always raised to appreciate the importance of art. And when I was little, there were always crayons and stuff, and art supplies for me to practice with, so definitely in that way. In terms of social justice, I kind of had to go out on my own. A lot of my beliefs are a lot more radical than people in my family, which is something we’re growing in, and being able to understand each other. But I kind of had to do that on my own.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

Well like, in the immediate future, I am getting top surgery tomorrow. So you know, I am afraid of discomfort and pain and all that. But part of it is trying not to cling to pleasure and feeling good, and to recognize that you aren’t always going to feel good. And that’s okay. And experiencing a little bit of pain is totally worth it to have an awesome chest. So I’m a little bit afraid of that. And in the wake of Orlando last week, I’m definitely feeling more scared in public. And feeling like having a gay club targeted is a punch in the gut to the queer community because, you know, it is a place where people can explore their vulnerability in a space where you are surrounded by queer people. And everyone is having fun and embracing who they are, and that’s a really important space for a lot of people. And so I think the fact that THAT was targeted as a space for queer people on a night with queer people of color was a huge blow to our community. That really scares me.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

I don’t know. I’m kind of young, so I don’t think I’m that far yet in my life, with a lot of things, like a career and stuff. But you know, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot with figuring out who I am, and I feel like I’ve really gone out on my own, and grown up a lot. And I feel like I’m kind of living my truth right now. Which feels like a huge accomplishment.

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

Well, I’m polyamorous and so I think that’s it’s possible to love more than one person. And having multiple relationships exposes you to the beautiful diversity of people being able to be all your various selves around all these various people. And that’s really important to me. And recently, I’ve been trying to explore prioritizing my friendships and other sorts of platonic relationships as much as I prioritize my partnerships. Especially when you’re poly and have a lot of partners, you tend to give a lot of time to your partners because that’s really fun, but… you need to make time to make sure you can see your friends. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time with my friends, and making sure that a lot of people are on board with taking care of me during top surgery. You know, that kind of stuff.

What are some things that you are hopeful for before you turn 40?

Hmmm… Trying to think of the most important thing, but I feel like that’s a lot. I think by then I would like to feel like I’ve started a family… But not necessarily the way one normally thinks of starting a family. I may live in a family with multiple couples in it, or may share the raising of a child with someone, or something. I don’t know what that’s going to look like. That family might include one person or two people or three. I don’t know, but at that point, I want to feel like I have a family.

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