THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Sex

Lauren Yarbrough

 

Date of Interview: September 9, 2017

Name: Lauren Yarbrough

Age: 27

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Chicago, IL

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

Usually once a day. Sometimes, in the winter, because I shower in the morning, I will skip it if I feel like I smell nice because it’s cold and I’m already unhappy in the winter [laughter].

If you were a mythical creature, which one would it be?

Oh, my gosh. I meant to think so much more about this question [laughter]. I’m going to go with Loch Ness Monster because it has the word monster in it, which I’m a fan of and, also, I just like the idea of people not being sure if you’re there or not [laughter]. Just on the down low out here, lurking. It’s like the Internet [laughter]. 

What are you passionate about?

Oh, my gosh. I feel like this has changed and evolved a lot in the last year or two because I’ve spent the majority of my adult life doing theater and, specifically, stage managing, and production managing, and making people’s projects happen. And I hit 26 and I was like, “You know what, I need to go to sleep at night, so I’m not going to be in rehearsal anymore.” But I guess now it’s more specifically– theater is one way you can encourage people to be creative. And I think I’m still about that but now it’s more open-ended. I want to find a niche to encourage people to just be loud and unapologetic about their shit. Yeah. So I guess making or holding space is what some people will call it because I’ve experienced not feeling like it’s okay to speak up or as if you have anything important to say. And I still feel that way a little bit of the time but I’m also louder and have fewer fucks available to me as I grow older [laughter]. So I’m just like, “Just say no to those people. Tell them you need more money, tell them that you have something to say and Chad just repeated it in a different tone of voice. Do your weird thing. Yeah, sure, it’s weird. I mean that doesn’t matter. Just do it. Life is short, we’re all going to die, it’s 2017, we’re all very aware of this fact. Just do it. We don’t have enough time to be afraid of shit.” Yeah. And, basically, what I’m saying is I’m turning into my mother [laughter]. Yeah. That’s that.

What did you mean by you are very aware of the amount of space you’re given?

Well, my experience, being a black woman who’s not a particularly small person. For context, I’m like 5’5, 5’6 now and somewhere around 200 pounds. I’ve been approximately this size since the age of 12, and that was one of the first things my grandfather started telling me when was going through puberty was, “Celebrate your height. Don’t slouch,” and me being, “I don’t understand what you’re talking about, this is awful.” And so I’ve been big, I was a fat kid, and I used to have a whole bunch of hair, like three-and-a-half feet, just everywhere. And I’ve been very aware of– and I was a bully on the playground [laughter]. So I’m very aware of, “Oh, I am going to be bigger and stronger than some of the people around me. I have the ability to do a lot of damage if I’m not being careful,” and preemptively thinking about other people’s’ concerns. And I can make myself take up a lot of space or, if I’m in a situation where I’m worried about my personal safety or trying to impress these white people so they will give me my paycheck, I’m also capable of making myself very small. And for a long time, being small is a reaction to not wanting to be the kid that hurts people and everybody doesn’t like you. Being small has been my default. But I mean, right around the time I got into the relationship that I’m currently in, I was like, “Oh, I don’t have to do that. Some people will like me even when they’re a little bit intimidated. Oh, people being intimidated by you sometimes doesn’t mean they don’t want to be your friends. Oh, well, in that case, that’s just what I’m going to do [laughter],” that side. And so I started doing things like accepting compliments and letting people be good enough friends with me that I would give them my no-bullshit answers to things, which, again, is still relatively new. But it’s great. I’m enjoying it [laughter].

What is something you still struggle with?

I mean it’s definitely vulnerability, which is sort of ironic, given the circumstances. But since I was a kid, I’ve been really good and rigorous about kind of hiding what I’m really interested in and what I really think about things and the stuff that I care about a lot, I want that to be a secret. I don’t let anybody know because I grew up expecting to be judged and corrected about things. I wanted to figure things out by myself and so my reaction to that was to just be very, very secretive all the time. And I’m still kind of getting over that now, being like, “Oh, these are friends that I’ve chosen and they already know that I’m kind of weird or kind of a lot, so it can be okay to not like the same things or to be into something that’s kind of odd and be honest about it because people can’t really know you and it gets kind of lonely if you’re not honest.” It’s all very aspirational [laughter]. It’s not a linear journey by any means. There are degrees and bits where I have to be, “By the way, I was kind of lying when I said that I was interested in doing that. I really want to go home and go to sleep.” But, yeah, that’s the one that’s closest and most in my face, in my daily thoughts right now.

What are your thoughts on relationships, platonic, sexual, familial, and otherwise?

So …my thoughts have definitely evolved. I was raised by very private people who were also evangelical Christians. As we’re doing this interview, I’m still kind of like, “Man, they’re going to find this. It’s going to be weird but, you know, we probably need to have that conversation anyway [laughter].” So I guess my expectations for a lot of my life have been, you’re in a  monogamous relationship and maybe you have two or three close friends. And that’s not really what I’m doing with my life right now. I’ve discovered, as I’ve been more real with myself, that, actually, I’m really interested in having different kinds of intimacy with maybe more than just one person. Because intimacy, there’s sexual and there’s emotional, and a lot of other different kinds. I learned about myself this year, that I’m a person who’s very happy with casual touching, whereas my partner is someone who does not like to be touched unless you’re really close. I’m like, “No, actually I don’t feel that way,” and it’s really hard for me to maybe be emotionally vulnerable but other kinds of intimacy are really– I feel more powerful when I have more of that in my life, which is kind of the heady new thing I’m still working out. But, no, relationships are great. Relationships can fuck you up for sure, but not always [laughter].

What is something that you feel very accomplished with?

This feels kind of dumb but in 27 years, I would feel like the thing that I feel the most accomplished about is having a sex life [laughter] because I definitely didn’t expect to have one of those the first, I’m going to say, 18 years of my life, when I was like, “Oh, whatever, that means you have to marry a cis man and have kids and homeschool them probably and just be miserable until you’re dead [laughter].” That wasn’t in the cards. Now, I’m like, “Oh, first of all, none of those things are true and also you can have sex and not be miserable.” Thanks, Obama [laughter]. It’s been nice, you know, being able to divorce those things.

 

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.

 

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.

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