THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Underwater Creatures

Jam

 

Date: December 17th, 2017

Name: Jam

Pronouns: They/Them

Age: 25

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

Mostly once a day, but it’s because my acne gets so bad if I don’t. But I tend more towards two days [laughter]. I mostly shower, but I don’t know. When my body feels weird, I take a bath if I feel like I need it. If I feel like I need to chill out. Just to make my brain calm down.

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

A manta ray. They’re beautiful. They look like– I used to dream about them a lot. And I just like how they move. And not very many things are shaped like that. It’s a very unique body design. And I think it’s really funny when they jump out of the ocean and belly flop [laughter] to make those giant booms under the water to attract mates. I think that’s great.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about bugs [laughter]. I’m a teacher and I am passionate about– I was talking to my partner about this yesterday, about how there are two things that I want to get across. If I could narrow it down to two things that I want to get across when I’m teaching kids, it’s that you shouldn’t be afraid of dead things and bugs are amazing. Yeah, that’s what I’m passionate about. I’ve always been fascinated with biodiversity, different kinds of creatures. And I found that the most insane variation in what creatures look like and how they function is in the insect world. And we know so little about it and there’s so much of it. And I don’t know when I realized that.

I mean, I hadn’t always loved bugs. I was diagnosed with OCD in fourth grade. And for a while, it manifested as really intense germophobia for a year. My hands were scaly because I washed them so much. It was really bad. I just had panic attacks if I thought that something I was going to eat was in any way tarnished or something. And that definitely did not help the bug situation. But I don’t know. I think looking at a lot of really close up images of bugs, being able use– there’s a lot of really good bug Flickrs [laughter]. I spend a lot of time on the internet looking at pictures of bugs, really close up pictures of bugs. And I think that a lot more people would like bugs if they were larger because you can’t really see all of what’s going in there because they’re so small and when you look at macro photography you’re like “Wow. That mouth has so many individual moving parts. That bug that looks like it’s all smooth and shiny is actually like a big hairy creature when you look at it up close”. I think that helped me figure out how awesome they were. And I also am passionate about drawing and bugs are my favorite thing to illustrate.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

I feel really accomplished because I moved here. I lived in Washington my entire life until a little over six months ago. A year ago I came to visit my friend in Chicago who lived in this apartment. And I knew I wanted to move away from where I was because I did not want to do Washington anymore [laughter]. A lot of it is that it’s just really homogenous. It’s ecologically beautiful but in terms of belief systems and culture and ethnicity even, it’s just so homogenous. And everyone is scared of that but they’re also scared of anything else. So there’s a lot of tension because people don’t talk about things. And I didn’t think I could move. I didn’t think I could do it because I’d never done it before. I’d never moved across the country. And I wanted to live in the city and I wanted to live in an environment that was more challenging. I guess I had done it before. I lived in the Andes for four months in Peru for a class and I noticed that that really– it was a catalyst in my brain. It evolved me. I felt I was so out of my comfort zone and so in such a completely different situation because I’d never spent very much time outside the country before that it just triggered all these changes in me and most of them were very positive. Or they weren’t even positive or negative. I just became a different person. And I felt like that person was more operable in the world and so I wanted to do that again. And that’s part of why I wanted to move. And I feel really accomplished in moving here because it was really hard. But I feel like I’m making it work.

What is something you still struggle with?

I have a lot of problems around just the way that I think about time. I constantly worry that I’m wasting time or that I am misusing time or that I am stuck. I’ll find myself spending time with someone I love and I’ll just be like, “We’re not doing anything. We’re doing nothing. We’re being unproductive”. And then I’ll go, “Wow. That’s a horrible thing to think about spending time with a loved one. No.” But there are some– I notice that ebbs and flows in different periods of my life and I’m definitely in one of those periods right now where I feel I have to be working on things all the time in order to feel good about myself and in order to feel like I’m not wasting or just eating up time. So that’s the thing that I struggle with is berating myself about that and comparing myself to like, “These people have accomplished this thing. I have accomplished this thing. They are incomparable. I am not doing the things that I should be doing at this point in my life”.  My anxiety has gotten significantly better since I moved here. But yeah, I struggle with not necessarily time management but time over-management [laughter].

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

What kind of thoughts? I think they should be constructive. What is that sound [laughter]? Oh well. I think that they should be constructive and positive and build something because I feel like a lot of relationships do not do that. And I see a lot of people in relationships that are not– I don’t want to judge what people’s lives are like because I’m only seeing a little bit of it. But I feel like most people who I interact with who are in relationships that they feel really committed in in terms of you’re my partner relationships. They seem like they feel trapped but they don’t want to acknowledge it. And I feel like any relationship at some point you’re going to feel trapped. But responding to that and talking about it with the other person is really important.

Erin Bliss

 

Date of Interview: November 6th, 2017

Name: Erin Bliss

Age: 28

Pronouns: She/Her and They/Them

Location: Chicago, IL

 

If you were an underwater creature, what  would you be?

I think I would definitely be an octopus. Because octopus are extremely intelligent animals, and they’re able to deduce color and form just by seeing exactly what is there without having to touch or feel anything. It’s really an interesting sense, and they must have such rich lives. It must be very scary too [laughter] because they’re just always hiding. They’ve gotten so good at it. It’s their life. Their main way that they survive and not get eaten by predators is if they can mimic and hid in any sort of seaweed or kelp or coral that they want. It’s crazy.

Does the extra sense appeal to you?

Yeah. Definitely. Being able to adapt that quickly and easily, effortlessly, to whatever comes your way as you’re going along would be– I feel like I work towards that anyway kind of in my life, but just to have it as an inherent skill would be why I would choose to be an octopus. Also, they have big brains, and it’s awesome [laughter]. They must be so smart. We’re trying to talk to aliens, but we don’t try to talk to octopus, which I think we should try harder to do. Dolphins too. Whales. All of them. Yeah. Anyway [laughter].

What are you passionate about?

A lot of things. It’s hard for me to narrow things down sometimes. Like, choosing my favorite things is kind of hard to do because I’m– I really love learning about the universe and absolutely everything, but also just absorbing knowledge generally. Becoming aware of yourself as a person in context of everything else is really important in my life. But then as far as my practice, like what I do in the world, that doesn’t really impact many other people. But I think it’s really– I’m really passionate about making things. Making tangible things in the world is kind of what I really love to do.

How does that manifest itself?

My passion for learning and my passion for making things kind of come together and me getting interested in certain materials and then working with them. Right now wood being the one I’m most interested in. Making things that nobody else has made before that are these beautiful art objects but also functional in a certain way. Making things that are functional or that have some sort of purpose besides just being cute is something that I enjoy. And also not being wasteful, making things that will last for a lifetime instead of a season so that it doesn’t just go in the trash, and your effort’s not wasted.

Does functionality play a role in your life outside of creating things?

Yeah. It kind of plays into my relationships and how I live. Like how I acquire things and what I have in my home. I’m not a really big shopper. I kind of have what I need, and that’s it. And with relationships, I give what I can. I take out of them what I can. But there’s not that much frivolous– well, I try [laughter] to not have that much frivolous stuff. There’s always intentions. There’s always a function to an action or an object.

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

They’re great. I love people. I think that they’re really important. I don’t think I would be as motivated a person if I didn’t have people in my life that cared about me and believed in me. And those people are also reasons to keep doing what I’m doing and to keep wanting to be better and trying to function in society. I think relationships are important for my mental and physical health, and my motivation to live [laughter]. I might have that outside of relationships, but I don’t know. I’d have to see. It’d be an interesting experiment [laughter].

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

Well, nothing immediately comes to mind. I think just working on bettering myself. It’s like a big long-form goal/life practice. I think that’s generally what my answer would be. I don’t have one big thing. It’s like a large conglomeration of small things adding up to something.

What is something you still struggle with?

I’m really hard on myself, so I still struggle with recognizing when I should just accept something and move on instead of dwelling on it and saying, “I should’ve done it better,” or, “I wasted time,” or, “I said the wrong thing.” I can get stuck in dwelling in the past.

Are there ways that you fight against it?

Yeah. I think about the universe [laughter]. I think about everything else outside of me, and then I remember that I’m being silly and that I can just go out and live my best life and leave that stuff behind.

Aim Ren Beland

 

Date of Interview: October 10th, 2017

Name: Aim Ren Beland

Age: 26

Pronouns: He/Him

Location: Chicago, IL

 

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

Any underwater creature? I’d be those little crabs that have no eyes that live next to the ventilation ducts in the ocean, the little white ones, you know, that feed off the weird phytoplankton. Maybe that one. They’ve adapted to live so uniquely to their environment, and they are so a part of their environment that if you remove them from that context, they literally cease to exist. And not just in that it kills them kind of way like a fish out of water, like a very literal– they can’t live in any other water or in any other space. It’s a very unique situation. I like that [laughter].

How often do you bathe or shower?

I shower twice a day, once in the morning to wash, once in the evening to rinse off from the day, and then in the winter, I bathe more because it’s like a warm comfort, a fetal womb kind of feeling, but otherwise I don’t bathe [laughter]. The wash-off and rinse-off is my way to decompress. I have a lot of anxiety, and I like to find little tactics to manage it that aren’t destructive to other people or myself. So I shower at the end of the day. You usually shower alone, so it’s your own space. You can’t do anything else besides just be in the water, so you have to tune into your head and your body, and then you have the good sensation of getting clean so that when you go to your bed or wherever you go to next, you’re really coming there fresh and revived.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about the arts and whose voice gets represented in the arts. I’m from up north, and there’s a lot of focus about the environment and the arts there, but the arts community there is predominantly white, middle-class, and straight. I intentionally moved away from that community to Chicago because I felt there were no voices but the stated prior being represented in the kind of art I was seeing around me. So I came here to experience more narratives and grow and see the world through lenses of other people and hope it helps me and my work mature. To find missing pieces of my voice in others. I’m mostly a visual artist, so a lot of stuff I do is drawing or print. I’m really involved right now in the comic scene, so a lot of zines, and I love zines because they’re accessible. They’re usually extremely inexpensive to produce and buy. Almost anyone of any class, creed, whatever can partake in zine making, buying, sharing, so I find that’s a good way to get art into the masses and to spread various messages of not only the current things that are taking place in the world but also the human experience.

What is one of your main thoughts or memories when it comes to human experience?

Things that stand out in my mind about the human experience… I’m still young enough that my childhood plays a large role in my perception of the human experience, so a lot of it is the different things like nature versus nurture that impact you as a person, whether from your parents or the community you grew up in, or the academia that you become a part of– so that’s a significant role. Going into the larger role as an adult and taking on other narratives, I am always more conscious of the ways that the universities and the other infrastructure around us impact other people’s narrative, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

How do you think you impact your community’s narrative? If you do.

Yeah. I think everyone does, whether they intend to or not. And right now, I am still coming into this particular community, which is Chicago– queer Chicago, as relatively an outsider. I’m still kind of a newcomer. I’m queer, but I’m definitely not from Chicago. I don’t know the infrastructures as well as other people, so right now, I’m kind of taking a step back and trying to listen to other voices, especially those that came here before me who understand the infrastructures at hand. And most of my work right now is purely introspective because I feel like I can speak on myself. But as I become more part of the community, I feel more comfortable taking in the various narratives I’ve heard, and with the guide and consent of those voices– putting that back out into the community.

What does the word community mean to you?

Community, to me, means a large group of people working together for a common cause. And as a queer person living in Chicago, those roles are mostly– just having the rights to various infrastructures [laughter]. Just having rights to infrastructures with the acknowledgment of the various privileges we all hold, I am white and I am from a predominantly upper-middle-class background, so I’m aware of those privileges. And using those privileges for good, and not just feeling guilt because guilt doesn’t make change. So using the privileges I do have to foster the voices that are otherwise not heard or not seen. You know what I mean? Just taking it in and listening, and when you mess up, apologize.

What are our thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual, and familial, and do they overlap?

Yeah, tying back into my thoughts on community, I feel like community is built through those relationships, whether it be sexual, platonic, familial, I feel like the backbone of a community is good relationships of varying scales. And my current social circle, I try and build that sort of effect. I have this large circle of friends, lovers, roommates, coworkers, collaborators, and they all sit in this very misty area where they kind of switch roles in my life, from one to the other. But the people never disappear. Do you know what I mean? Other than an event of moving or some other grand thing, the people stay in my life no matter what space they’re occupying, and I like to manifest conversations and communities that help build those bonds instead of tearing them down because they don’t fit whatever need it is at the time.

What are you looking forward to?

What I’m looking forward to– it’s a mix of apprehension. So I’m young. I’m 26. The future is so way ahead of me. The world is a really scary place right now, so that means a lot of changes happening very quickly and it’s really easy to feel powerless. But at the same time, I feel very fortunate to be in a city like Chicago because the communities that do exist know their power and they know their worth, and they know what actions they have to take to see what kind of change they want to happen, and it’s not just talk it’s actual action. So that makes me super excited, and I feel super fortunate to be a part of that community in an artistic sense, and welcomed into it, and to be able to take a part in it.

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