THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Romance

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.

Jessica Zeigerman

Jessica Zeigerman

 

Date of Interview: September 6, 2016

Name: Jessica Zeigerman

Age: 36

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Arlington, VA

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

I think I would be a bioluminescent jellyfish, because they’re so cool and mysterious. And they don’t really have any organs or anything. They’re also a lot smarter than they look. I kind of like that, the hidden intellect. And they’re pretty.

What are you passionate about?

Um, I guess it’s kind of hard to say… I don’t know if I have a specific thing. You know how people say that art is their specific passion or saving earth is their passion or something… I just try to do what makes me happy and that can be anything at any given time. I mean, I love to explore and I love learning. Whether I’m reading something or someone is telling me about themselves or about some historic fact or… anything. That’s what gets me. I think when I was growing up and going to school I don’t think I was really into learning. I mean, I got great grades, I was a really good student but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was there for the grade. And later on in life I think I realized that man… I should have taken more history classes, more philosophy classes. More, kind of, explore more. Instead of only learning what I needed to learn to get to the next level. I don’t feel like I’m missing out from not having a specific passion, but I’m a really passionate person in a different way.

What draws you to history?

That there’s so much of it. And it’s so interesting learning how our civilization and the human race has evolved. Just, learning how things were built and wondering why it took so long to create the technology that we have now. Because we had and still have the intellect, but why didn’t we have the means? Just so much, it’s so vast that you can get lost in it! It’s fascinating. I always wanted to know what it’s like to live in an era or century where the day to day was different. I know what my day to day is and I know what another average person’s day to day might look like but there’s so much in the past that’s untold.

What do you think of humanity now?

I think there is a lot of good in this world but it’s unfortunately overshadowed by the not so good. You know, I don’t know if the good people are the silent majority or what it is… I feel like maybe these days people are afraid to offend another person so they keep to themselves or…Or you have the reverse where people don’t care. And they just do the exact opposite. I like to think that everybody has some inherent good in them.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I always look to, or try to be happy. Or try to find happiness somewhere. So I guess I’m really afraid of not being able to find that. I think in the past few years, since I’ve been moving around quite a bit, and just getting older, I find that I’ve become more and more solitary. So I’ve been here for a couple years already and I don’t have to many friends here in town and I moved here without knowing anyone and this being a transient town in itself, it’s so hard to find a group of friends to really click with. And stay with. I guess I’m also a little bit afraid of being utterly alone.

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

I think as you get older you get more set in your ways. So… I think that you also get more confident in yourself and you know yourself so you can say “to hell with the next person if they don’t like me”. I always say that to know me is to love me and if you don’t love me you probably don’t know me ::laughs::. So I mean, I love being in love, but with getting older I think you have a different idea of what you want. Like when you’re young you have all of these ideals, maybe touching on the way you were raised, whether you try to marry your parents or whomever you think is ideal. And when you get older you kind of get more confident and set in your ways and you want… a companion. You want someone to share things with. And I’ve always been more of an independent person anyways, so I don’t need to be rescued but I want somebody there. I want somebody there if I’m having a great time so we can share that experience. If I’m going through a bad phase I want someone to give me a really big hug and a kiss and tell me that “Everything will be alright. I’m here for you”. I think it’s something that goes along with friendships, you know, as I get older I want friends who know I have my quirks and my ways and weird tendencies but loves me anyway.

What is something that you feel accomplished with?

I hate to say my job, but for a really long time my job has been my primary focus. So I kind of look back at where I started from and I’ve come a long way. And I love what I do, and now I’m finally making a difference. Or so I feel, and I really feel like I’ve arrived. So I guess that’s something that I’m proud of. I’m also proud that I was able to leave home. I lived in Cleveland for over 30 years and I picked up and left, went to New England not knowing anybody, for a job opportunity. And I made it! I made it up there and moved down here and have made it here too, so I’m proud of finding success professionally but also personally, knowing that I can do it. I feel that much better, more confident in myself.

What do you wish you had known at 15?

Sooo many things ::laughs::. The small things are really small things. Just be yourself, and be happy. Don’t try to always please your parents if that isn’t making you happy. Don’t try to fit in if you don’t, there will always be people out there that you can fit in with. So like, don’t try to fit in with the wrong group of kids, if they don’t like you somebody else will, it’s okay! Just… take it easy. Take time to smell the roses. And take more history classes I guess! ::Laughs:: or art classes or something, just go explore, explore everything. Expand your horizons.

Sean Estelle

Sean Estelle

 

Date of Interview: August 24, 2016

Name: Sean Estelle

Age: 25

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Location: Chicago, IL

 

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

My first go to is usually a seahorse because of their genders. Yeah, probably a seahorse. Seahorse or an octopus.

Do you feel like your gender effects your day to day interactions?

Yeah, I think in the daily. I think it’s like, a decision for me about how much I want to present. I think that when I first started thinking about my gender identity and unpacking it from my sexuality and realizing that I also have a lot of complicated feelings about gender and felt like I do not fit in the normal gender binary. That lead to me having a lot of conflicting internal feelings about my gender identity and I feel like that isn’t really present anymore and it’s much more stable. I’m so comfortable saying “yeah, I’m gender-queer” to a person and that’s it. And for me it’s questioning if I need to reflect that in my gender presentation and do I feel like it’s worth the battle of getting stares from people or like, having to explain myself or like, being confident enough or solid enough that if I’m going out in jeans and a t-shirt, that doesn’t mean that I’m not presenting femme enough to claim trans-ness.

Is being gender-queer the same to you as being trans?

Mmmm. I think it’s a part of trans-ness. I think it’s something that is definitely different than someone who identifies as a visible trans-women or trans-man. And I think, it sometimes feels like I… I go back and forth about how much of that is something that was developed in an academic context versus peoples lived experience and how much it actually matters when somebody does or doesn’t respect my pronouns… and how much it’s a part of the identity politics of my life. I know that for me queerness and gender-queerness is also about the revolutionary politics I have, and being an anti-capitalist and talking about the ruling class and fucking up rich people ::laughs::. Also, oppositionality but it still is an important part of it and to me being able to expand our definition of gender and like, honor the people who identify with historical trans-ness in the way of transitioning from male to female or female to male or things like that will also be able to have this in between space. It’s important.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

I feel accomplished that I was able to move to Chicago with very little money in the bank and no secure housing, no secure job and like, no real safety net and very quickly find a community of people and find a job and find stable housing and get my life on track. Start to come into myself in a really complete way. I feel like a much more complete person than I did a few years ago. I think that I like to tell myself that I feel accomplished in my organizing and I know that I hold a lot of power for how much organizing experience that I have. And I have the ability and the relationships to be able to move very serious things if I want to move very serious things. In a lot of ways that’s great and I can feel very accomplished in it but I think that I know, and I wake up terrified every day, that the fight we are up against with climate change and with everything else, it’s not moving fast enough. Sooo it’s very hard for me to feel accomplished when I also know what we are up against.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

For myself… I think that I’m most afraid of not being able to ever find someone or people that I can be in romantic or whatever, deeper relationships outside of friendships. I think that I’m very good at that and I’m able to put a lot of emotional labor emotional investment into friendships and that sort of thing, I’m very good at that kind of emotional labor. But I’m very bad at being able to find the people that I’m able to be my most vulnerable neurotic fucked up self with. And like, have those people to share that space with. I go back and forth between really valuing and appreciating the relationships that I have and really wanting that and being really scared that I won’t find more. For lots of reasons and I think that’s the biggest thing, and also being a part of me continuing to put other people in front of myself and all of my emotional, physical and mental energy out into the world and not taking the time or space that I need in order to survive.

If you could tell your fifteen-year-old self something what would it be?

Ohhh… lord. Uhhh ::laughs::. I would say that it’s okay to not feel like you need to buy into this story of like, asking the girls to prom and having crushes on other girls and fitting that box. And that a lot of the underlying feelings that you feel, you should go find other queer people and know that the feelings of shame that you feel about sex and sexuality are being manufactured by everything around you and there’s a larger world out there and you should figure out what that is. ‘Cuz you’re there. You aren’t here.

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