THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Vulnerability

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.

 

Heather Funk

Heather Funk

 

Date of Interview: November 2, 2016

Name: Heather Funk

Age: 29

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Washington, DC

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

I dunno, maybe at least once a day, sometimes twice… At least once.

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

What do you classify as underwater? Could I be a sea otter? Sea otter. I find that I am cuddly and playful like sea otters and I have a lot of hair on my head so I identify with their double fur layers. I think it would be really great to have armpit pockets, you know they store tools in their armpit pockets? I would love to have something where I could carry a rock around in my armpit. ::Laughs:: It’s so weird but I’ve thought a lot about this before.

What are you passionate about?

That is, I think, something that I’ve been exploring a lot these days because it’s changing… It used to be art. And then it was art and logistics because I have an art and logistics background. I can’t remember a time when creativity wasn’t there. I think since I was a kid, I’ve always loved art and always loved being creative, it was very much encouraged in me so that’s just kid of developed. I think some of it has to do with my zodiac sign, I’m an Aquarius so I’m creative! And stubborn and independent! I think… Creativity, you know, I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t there, when I wasn’t imagining things or like, coming up with new ideas for something. It used to be art related but now it’s kind of changed to being business related, but it’s always been there. But recently I’ve been thinking about how, this is my own personal development I guess… Like, travel has always been something I’ve been really passionate about but, in terms of a career, people talk a lot about passions with a career, and that’s where I’m kind of lost right now and have been thinking about where my passions are going to lead me.

What is your favorite medium?

To work with or to view? Work with, it has to be metal working, something with my hands, like more intense industrial jewelry design, which I haven’t done in a long time. But I think to view… To collect and to purchase it has to be photography. To view in a gallery or in a museum setting, I got to think about that one. It’s kind of like asking what’s your favorite color. You like them all for different reasons, right? I can’t answer that I like them all. Actually that’s a lie, I like installations. Installations have to be my favorite because there’s so much involvement and the viewer is within the piece, right. It’s all about the viewer’s experience.

What are you afraid of for the world?

Oh man… For the world. Maybe the zombie apocalypse. But in all reality, running out of our resources. And how we collectively can come together as a world, as an international community, because I feel that we all have our own thoughts separately, but we need to come together for humanity. With the way things are going now I don’t think it’s possible but you know, communities have been developing over centuries, forever, and so I think the idea of community is growing in terms of numbers now and I don’t think we’re at that point yet but I hope we get there soon. I think it’s possible, just not for a while.

What is something you still struggle with?

Vulnerability. Which is why I’m doing this. Seriously ::laughs::. I read about you guys in a thing by We The People, somebody posted about The Bathtub Project and I was like, “Cool! I like this idea!” And so the idea of being vulnerable, there’s a stigma of weakness involved. But in a lot of ways you’re a lot stronger for being vulnerable and being openly vulnerable. I’ve been coming to terms with that in the last year or two and that’s why… Vulnerability! That’s why I’m doing this.

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

Let’s see… Relationships. I think they’re very important and integral to human development and to human happiness. I think if you’re alone, even if you’re isolated, everyone needs some relationship in some compactly. I very much value my platonic relationships, my friendships. That’s something that this last year, I spent a lot of time this last year or two of musing on my relationships with men in a romantic setting, but your friends… They don’t owe you anything. You’re not having sex, most times, with your friends right? So a friendship is the purest form of a relationship in some ways and if you can accept each other for exactly who you are and love each other for who you are in a friendship, that is the highest, purest form of relationship that I think there is out there. At the same time, this other level though, being in a romantic relationship you have the benefit of this other person sticking by your side who wants to be with you and you have that sexual component which is always fun. So… Those are my thoughts on relationships.

Mandi Jo Stoll

Mandi Jo Stoll

 

Date of Interview: August 26, 2016

Name: Mandi Jo Stoll

Age: 24

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Location: Washington, DC

 

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

A mermaid. One of the things my dad always says is that “you can’t rule out the possibility of the mystical.” Well, he might not say it quite like that, but basically, you can’t assume that things don’t exist just because you haven’t seen them, or experienced them and… I like the idea of being a mermaid.

What are your thoughts on vulnerability?

Vulnerability is something that I’ve thought about a lot. I think part of that is that it’s had such a strong impact on relationships in my life and experiences of feeling welcome or not feeling welcome, and finding out what relationships meant and the inherent vulnerability that is in that. I mean, now, I’m working in a vocation that heavily involves vulnerability and trust. And that’s really what drew me to it, the willingness to be vulnerable is important and that’s something I’ve valued in my own relationships and I think it will continue to be a huge factor in my life.

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

I think relationships are at the center of how I behave and how I show what I think is important. I grew up in a Mennonite family and the Mennonites are all about simple living and service, but I think a large part of that, is focusing on living out what it means to be like Christ. And to me that means my relationship with God and my faith isn’t just something that I do by following certain rules or by going to church on Sunday. It’s something I do by showing the same love that I believe God has for everyone to all the people that I know. And so, deep relationships are something that I seek due to that, but it’s also something that we all need. And that we all crave. The relationships that I’ve built in my life are the most important things that I have.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about people. About music and art. I’m passionate about service, and I don’t think that means something like going to volunteer. To me it means being someone who is generous and trying to be a positive force in the world.

What made you want to be a part of The Bathtub Project?

For me, vulnerability has always been BIG, so definitely that aspect of it. I love water, and so, that just kinda tugged at me a bit. But I think it’s also the fact that The Bathtub Project calls people to step outside of what is normal and safe… And to trust one another. Yeah, it’s not very often that people get the chance to say “I don’t know you, but I’m getting in a bathtub with you”. Like, even this is different because we know each other. The idea that someone would do this is so amazing to me and honestly, the interviews are my favorite part because I feel like I’m able to see parts of people that you really have to ask about in order to hear about. Because they aren’t things that you’re going to hear in regular small talk.

What are you most afraid of for yourself?

I think something that I’m most afraid of… is selling myself short. I think part of that is wanting to put relationships first and wanting to trust the people in my relationships and to not give up on them. But I know there have also been times when I’ve wanted sooooo much to make a relationship work that I’ve put myself in danger of not taking care of myself enough. That’s something that I think about a lot. But I also really don’t want to lose my ‘softness’ because even though I know that being vulnerable makes my emotions be at risk, it’s also one of the most beautiful things to me. So it becomes a balancing thing.

What are you most afraid of for the world?

I feel like the easy answer is to say Trump… But I think beyond that, I think it’s a lack of listening. I mean seriously, Trump is a scary thing but I think that really, what he represents is people being afraid of things they don’t know, and not being taught how to listen to things they know nothing about. I’m afraid that we are moving towards a place where we “other” each other so much, that we forget to see our common needs and humanity.

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