THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Religion

Lorin Elise

 

Date of Interview: July 29, 2017

Name: Lorin Elise

Age: 23

Location: Chicago, IL

 

How often do you bathe or shower? Do you have any rituals?

Just about every day. And then sometimes I skip a day [laughter]. Yeah. I’ve tried to get into rituals, like just having habits, and suck at them, so I just don’t try anymore [laughter].

If you were an underwater creature, mythical or real, what would you be?

I’ve never thought about this. I don’t know a lot of underwater creatures. Dolphins, I guess. They’re the most recognizable for me. Yeah.

What are you passionate about?

People, art, and music. Probably in that order. No. People, music, then art. Yeah. I sing. I just joined a worship ministry, actually. So singing, I did it growing up, but never as an adult. So it’s my first time doing that. And then, I played trumpet for eight years from middle school through my first year in college. And then I stopped in 2014ish whenever I left my first school. I’ve tried to learn guitar over the years, here and there, I dabble. And then I had a piano growing up, because my dad played. So I can pick up a tune or two on there. And a friend gave me an electric bass. So I played at one service, and probably won’t again until I start practicing [laughter]. But yeah. I love music.

Are music, art, and religion all tied in together for you?

Not necessarily. I feel like singing is definitely a gift that God gave me, so I can use that to worship. But I mean, everything I do in life is worship, or should be. So, yeah. And I don’t know if I would call it religion necessarily, but yeah.

Were you raised in that way of being of service?

Absolutely. My parents are two of the hardest working people that I have ever come across. I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there that work as hard as them, but yeah. My dad, he just, no matter what, was– he was always there for people. And a lot of times, even my mom, she wouldn’t get frustrated, but she would just kind of be like, “You’re doing so much. We need you here, sometimes.” But then, if there was a way we– me, my brother and sister, my mom, could get involved with whoever he was helping, or however he was helping other people, we would often find a way there and make it a family thing. What does religion mean to you? Religion means bondage. [laughter] yeah. I mean, I actually looked up the word religion a couple years ago, and it’s defined as, to bind or to restrict. And I grew up in the Pentecostal Apostolic faith. Not even fully sure what that means, but it’s a charismatic denomination or whatever. And growing up in that, and then becoming an adult, and having to live on my own with something, having a foundation of something to pull from, I’ve realized religion is so not what relationship with God is, and that’s what I strive toward and try to practice and live out. So, yeah. Religion is binding, religion is death, religion is confusion. It’s not what Jesus came to die for [laughter]. And there are several religions on the earth, but what I have is not a religion, I would say. Yeah.

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

They are great, and they are challenging, and [laughter]– I mean, it’s one of those things, it’s like the best of everything and the worst of everything at the same time. Yeah. I love my family. I have a great relationship with all my family members and anyone that I’ve known since birth, which is most of my church back home. And friendships, I’ve had a harder time with I feel like, in life. Platonic more than intimate, or whatever. I’ve never had sex, so just throwing that out there [laughter]. So don’t have that relational experience to speak on. But I feel like platonic friendships are hard, just because people– everyone has needs, and not everyone knows how to express them, or fit the needs of others, so [laughter] it’s– unless you communicate about it, it’s kind of hard– and most people don’t communicate about it. So it’s just like, “Okay, this is dumb. We’re both being stupid right now [laughter].” So yeah. Friends, I have a hard time with. But I do love people. I try to make friends wherever I am, and however I can. It just mostly doesn’t end up in the kind of hard core, legit relationships we’re all looking for [laughter]. Most of the time.  

What is something you feel accomplished with?

Oh, my career. Because I knew since eighth grade, since I was about 13, that I wanted to be an interior designer, and now I’m an interior designer [laughter]. It’s just like, “Wow.” Neither of my parents went to college– well, my mom did a semester or something, but they never completed higher education. And my other family members who did, it was always the– what I would call typical fields, like social work, nursing, stuff like that. Nothing that was outside of a stereotype or whatever. So it’s kind of like, “Wow, I’ve arrived,” a little bit. And even when I graduated and I started working, I’m like, “Crap, what am I supposed to do with life now?” I only had a plan up to this point [laughter], so it’s been a process of figuring out what’s next. But yeah, I think that’s my biggest accomplishment [laughter].

What is something you still struggle with?

Where do I start? No, just kidding [laughter]. [inaudible]. Well, I was actually just talking to a friend about this last night. One intimate relationship that I had – healing from that I guess, is something I still struggle with. I guess I had a really deep soul-tie or something to this guy, and so I think about him more often than I want to, and we have mutual friends, so through social media, the devil keeps popping his face up in my face [laughter]. And every time I see him, it’s a problem for me internally. So, yeah, just dealing with– I guess lust, in a way. Because I want a person just to be intimate with, or just to have that relationship, like you said, a real, true relationship with. And it’s so hard to find. So it’s like, “But when you have that person, do you know?” So I guess that’s pointing me to God, again, though, because it’s like, “Yeah, you don’t have this relationship but here is the provider of everything you need [laughter], so just go to Him. Go to the source for what you need and stop trying to find it among other things (or people).” And then, I just recently kind of noticed this but I could say I struggle with self-image. I have some thoughts about myself that are not good all the time, and that affects how I interact with others and stuff like that. So yeah.

What is something you’re hopeful for?

The future, for sure because it’s– I don’t know. I know my future’s in heaven, first off, so that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to that, can’t wait for that. I’m hopeful for that. And I think the success of my siblings and just all my close family and friends who have stuck to their values, and really tried to be good citizens of the world.

May Pierce

May Pierce

 

Date of Interview: October 7, 2016

Name: May Pierce

Age: 26

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Toledo, OH

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

Every day. Bathing is not a thing though, usually. I don’t know why.

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

A slermaid! A sloth-mermaid, of course. Because I love sloths, and I’m a mermaid. I was born to be a mermaid. So it’s a slermaid, there you go. Are you jealous? :laughter:: You might be, I can tell. Were you born near a body of water? Yes, I was born near a body of water. I was born in Israel, I used to walk by the beach all the time. And I used to sneak out of school to go to the beach. Which is a no no, children don’t do that. I guess I should be parental. Uhh, yeah. I like the beach. It’s relaxing, it’s cool, there’s a bunch of sea creatures. Once I lost my sunglasses when I was in South Carolina, and I still believe that an octopus is wearing them. So there’s that. I like octopus, octopi- octopi? Octopi. Octopusses. Meeses, mooses, ::laughter:: who know, the English language is weird.

How many languages do you know?

Two, just Hebrew and English. And then I know how to count to five in Arabic, no big deal.

Do you think thoughts in one language?

Both. Think in both, dream in both. But it’s funny because, when I dream in Hebrew and it’s somebody that would speak English, that’s when I know it’s a dream. So, I figured that one out.

Do you have certain memories or ties to the extent that when you think in one language you feel a certain emotion?

No. No, I was very bummed though when I was hanging out with NSync in a dream and they were speaking in Hebrew. So that my recent emotion. Still a dream to me NSync, no big deal. Just a normal dream every little girl has.

What are you passionate about?

Baking! And cooking healthy food, which is is kind of funny, because they’re not really the same thing. I don’t eat processed sugar, so essentially I’m like a drug dealer. Sugar is a drug. I sell it, and I don’t eat my profits. So there’s that. Some people call me a drug dealer when I give them samples, because it’s addicting. I’m sure kids know that sugars very addicting. So yeah, my names May and I’m a drug dealer of sugar. No big deal, totally normal.

When did you find you passion for cooking and baking?

When I was vegan. So when I was like 20… 20, 19? So I was vegan, and Toledo is pretty sucky when it comes to vegan stuff, so I had to start learning how to cook things that my mom would make, but without dairy or meat or eggs. And then I fell in love with it, I don’t know, it was fun. And I still think it’s fun, and then I went to school for it And working in way too may restaurants to count, and then decided that I want to bake for the rest of my life. Because, people don’t bake well. People will just do cupcakes and cakes, and things that people are familiar with, which is unfortunate. And I understand why, but there is so much more than just cupcakes and cakes in the world. And unless you live in Europe or the Middle East, it seems that people are afraid of it. So I’m here to, you know, not be spooky and you know, shove French macrons in your mouth. ::laughter:: but, not in a sexual way, that would be really weird, I’m just a drug dealer. I will never force you to eat something… maybe. We’ll see. Unless like I make like, mock-liver and you’re like, “I hate mushrooms.” And I’m like, “No you don’t, you just never had mock-liver. And now I can prove you wrong, so” It tastes like chicken, like chicken pate, but it’s just mushrooms, walnuts, honey or you can use agave if you’re against honey, and salt and pepper, and caramelized onions, and it’s amazing. It’s my favorite dip. I just kind of eat it with a spoon, but whatever, we can call it a dip. But yeah, it’s very Jew-y. It’s true, Jews eat a lot of liver. It’s a thing, I don’t know.

What do you think of religion?

I don’t do it. I’m not going to heaven, I’m going straight to hell. So sorry, sorry mom. Uhh, I don’t know. When I was in the 2nd grade, because I lived in Israel, we had to take bible classes, or Torah classes I should call them. Annndd, I sat in my room, I was like 8 years old. I sat in my room and was like, “Is God real?” and was like this is giving me a headache I never want to think if this again, and so that was it. It’s been… it’s been real. ::laughter:: it’s been real for the last 20 years, so that’s my opinion of it. I’m totally fine with other people practicing. You do whatever makes you happy, but it doesn’t make me happy. Do you think heaven and hell exist? Meh… I don’t know. I don’t think about it, I think about today and that’s it. But if I was going somewhere, it definitely wouldn’t be the good place. Whoopsies! I mean whatever, unless like, making yourself happy is not a sin, so then I would be going to the good place. Because I try to make myself happy. So, depends on how you look at it. What makes you happy? Uhh… being successful. Doing what I like to do, selling it to people, and getting compliments about it. But like legitimate compliments, not like, “OH I’m just writing this because I feel bad.” That’s what makes me happy. And making the people around me happy. Not just with sugar, but you know with other things that are not sugar. I don’t know, that’s what makes me happy. Having a clean house makes me happy. Having a good meal makes me happy. Uhh, yeah, food makes me happy. Ok? That’s really the bottom line, food make me happy. My dog makes me happy. She’s cool, she’s not food, ‘cause you know, she’s a dog. My dog should never be food, maybe she’ll be a statue after she dies, at my house, that would be cool. But yeah, I can only hope. Only hope I’ll have the money ::whispers:: she’ll be beautiful. Oh that’d be glorious.

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

I’m in a relationship, I’ve been in one for two years. Umm, they’re hard. They’re time-consuming, they’re emotional, kind of weird about feelings a lot. Uhh, they’re there. I mean people want to be happy with a partner, so that’s cool, that’s why we do it. But they’re hard, it’s another job. So there’s that, when you work 90 hours it’s even harder. And when both you and your partner works 90 hours, it gets even harder. So it’s a job, it’s a hard job. But you know, it’s rewarding, in the end. Build a home, have dogs, put up a fence, with your friend who’s helping you for free. But yeah, that’s what I feel about it. Family is the most important thing, as long as you like your family. If you don’t like your family, then your friends become your family and THEY’RE the most important thing. So family is always the most important thing, even if it’s not blood. That’s what I think about it. They complete you when you’re sad, they’re there when you’re happy. They’re there when you just want someone to hang out with you while you’re baking by yourself in a dark sub shop. Umm, they’re there when they’re sweating and they ask you to get face towels so they can stop sweating. But yeah, that’s what friends are. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t see them for 20 years, they’re still friends.

What are you afraid of for yourself?

Uhh… failure. But I don’t know what failure is. I mean, I’ve failed at many things, but then they taught me, or I realized that what I thought that I wanted is not what I wanted. So I don’t know what failure is, but whatever it is is what scares me. Losing all my money, because I’ve lived with and without money, so I… I’m not saying money is the most important things, but… I don’t know, I’m more realistic about it. And that freaks me out, to think about running out of everything, everything I’ve saved up. So that’s my fear I suppose. Is working hard for something and then losing it. Whatever that it, whether it’s money, or ideas, or ::sigh:: I don’t know.

What is something that you feel you’ve accomplished?

Ooh! One of my moments of realizing that I’ve done something good in this community. Unless you think that sugar is bad. Is going to places, and introducing myself as May, and then people immediately saying, “The baker?” Or me being at weddings where I bake, and people are stuffing their faces with sweets and then people telling me, “Oh I usually get these at the sub shop!” That’s always fun. So yeah, I like that. That’s when I feel accomplished. And yelling at students that cut their fingers. I’m the teacher that yells, “Bearclaw!” all the time. I mean it’s their fingers! I’m just helping the next generation to not cut themselves.

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.

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