exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Washington DC

Johnny Fantastic

Johnny Fantastic


Date of Interview: December 9, 2016

Name: Johnny Fantastic

Age: 33

Pronouns: They/Them, sometimes He/Him

Location: Washington, DC


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

An animal or character or underwater creature… I suppose I would probably take my run at being an octopus. Because, it would be a completely different experience from being a human being, like being a species that’s constantly being tugged downward by gravity, constantly struggling against gravity to keep upright and walk. Instead, be free from that force more or less to kind of expand all around and swing all my body parts in all directions.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about music. I’m passionate about history. I’m passionate about emotions. I’m passionate about science. I’m particularly interested in lesser known chapters of history. I’m really interested in presidents who are not the known ones like, the really out there ones that no one knows the names of. Like Franklin Pierce or William Henry Harrison who was only president for a month and died. And I’m generally interested in all histories of political movements around the world and how they connect to what might be happening now in the world. The small facts play into the connections because the small facts always turn out to be the butterfly effect that caused the whole collapse. Like the small incident in Sarajevo in 1914, the assignation of the archduke, that triggered the worst war that the world has ever seen. So I like to find out about little events that happened in history that are lesser known, but if you follow those events you might see that if something little hadn’t have happened then the big thing might not have happened either.

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

Platonic, sexual and otherwise? Umm I think right now I’m pretty against them, I’m living a very solo existence. I find that I like to have complete control of my time and I am not really good at sharing my time with people unless it’s impromptu, Like, “Hey! We’re going here and there you are!” And I’m like, “Great! Let’s go!” But I’m having trouble dealing with relationships because I clam up when people want to see me or spend time with me at all, through text or even email. It’s like… gah! Get out of my life! Get out of my head! That’s probably romantic. Friendships are like… friendships are the same way though. The friends that I’m closest with are the ones that leave me the most alone but somehow end up being in my life a lot anyways despite that fact. Yeah, I like that kind of treatment.

You said you’re passionate about emotions, does that tie into relationship?

Yeah, I’m still in the stage of my life where I see relationships as like, mythical, religious experiences of love and all that stuff so I seem to have the ability to only engage with people in either a fully passionate emotional way. Or to be really unaffected and to not want to be in relationships at all. So, I’m leaning towards the not wanting to be in relationships at all for that reason ::laughs::.

What is something you struggle with?

Something I still struggle with… Ugh. Concentration. Focusing on things. Keeping my, interest in what I’m currently doing without other thought. Like, if I start working on a song and I’ve been working on it for ten minutes, something in my head will pop up like, “But who wrote the article in 1900 that really started the Yellow Press that really started the Spanish-American War on Cuba? I need to look that up”, so now I’m looking it up and “Oh wow, like, it was William Randolph Hearst, I need to learn more about William Randolph Hearst”. So then I’ll watch a documentary on William Randolph Hearst and that could go on for like, 20 minutes and that can turn into me thinking I need to stop watching documentaries and how I need to see acting, I need to see like, real emotion, I need to see something! Then I’ll want to watch Citizen Kane because that’s sort of about William Randolph Hearst, you know. It could go on endlessly and it normally ends up in porn at some point ::laughs::. Sooooo concentration. Started with a song, ends with some dongs ::laughs::.

What is something you’re afraid of for the world?

That humans continue to exist ::laughs::. ‘Cause that would be really bad for the world, if we’re talking about the actual planet. Actually it doesn’t matter really, all things are natural so I guess, if the earth is going to become a wasteland of global warming, that’s just what it will be. It will keep spinning around the sun until the sun eats it up… So, I think the thing I fear for the world is that, is something a little more immediate and is effecting my own personal life and for those that are alive now, is that we lose touch with our desire to understand the world more and grow our brains and be smarter and learn more things and discover more ways to live and be more accepting of the new kinds of ways of living that keep coming up with as we keep moving forward through time. I’m afraid of that reversing and humanity going back to darker times.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

I feel good that I’ve managed to maintain my identity as I like my identity, without having to coat switch so much. I’m proud that I’m 33 and I’m still who I am. I haven’t cut my hair or put on a suit or like… modified my language to be more normy or go to brunch or whatever. I’m proud that I’m resisting that. “That” being what I’m told is the inevitable result of aging. That I’m being true to myself.





Date of Interview: December 4, 2016

Name: Maya

Age: 22

Pronouns: She/Her or They/Them

Location: Washington, DC


How often do you bathe or shower?

I almost never bathe, I’m not a big bath person. Showering really depends, like almost everything else in my life, on how I feel that day. So it’s like, everyday, twice in one day, way too many days in between ::laughs::. It really depends.

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

That’s a really hard question. I love the ocean, but I’m not a huge fan of the things in the ocean ::laughs::. It’s ’cause they really freak me out, I had too many nightmares as a kid about things in the ocean. But I do remember, when I was at the beach when I was young, there were these jellyfish blobs and they’re called moon jellies and I loved that name! They’re clear and they’re squishy and soft so I feel like I would be a moon jellyfish.

What are you passionate about?

Oh my god, too many things. But all of them have one thing in common which is growing. I’m passionate about helping people grow and about relationships and the ways that things interact with one another and the way that things shift over time and how we make space for those kinds of changes. So I guess that roughly translates to… I teach. I make art. I make space for relationships. What am I passionate about… Yeah, growing.

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

They’re the most important thing to me. All kinds of relationships have equal value to me. Relationships are all about love and love is all about cultivation, so relationships are about growing with one another, tending to one another’s gardens and making space to be beautiful. I think back to this article my friend sent me a long time ago from Dean Spade, something that always stuck out to me is they said to treat your friends as your lovers and to treat your lovers as your friends. I think that sort of symbiotic relationship where everyone is getting the care and attention and investment that they deserve, that’s what relationships are all about to me.

Does that backdrop come from familial ties?

In some ways. I think family is so huge for me, I’ve got this big, huge family and it’s not just my mother and my sister, it’s my housemates, my soul mates, my teammates who are all there for me. All of those who have seen me grow and have grown with me. I’ve been really lucky to meet people who are committed to being there. And to sharing in whatever way they can share. There’s this word, compañerismo, and to be a compañerx to me means to be committed to love and to justice and to dignity. Compañerismo is this tie that holds you, as in a hug, but also holds you accountable to what you believe in and holds your community accountable to that and I think that is where my ideas of community comes from.

What does community mean to you?

Oh man, I just did a whole huge art project around that. I asked so many people what community meant to them and I still don’t know. For myself, what community means… community means… community means… all I have is this feeling. I don’t have the words big enough to explain this deep rootedness of what community means. It’s so within me that words will never bring them out. Yeah ::laughs::.

Jacob Griffin

Jacob Griffin


Date of Interview: November 22, 2016

Name: Jacob Griffin

Age: 24

Pronouns: He/Him

Location: Washington, DC


How often do you bathe or shower?

Twice a day. Yeah, I work in fitness part time so I’m always sweatin’.

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

Loch Ness Monster. No doubt. Loch Ness Monster just don’t give no fucks. Like, I mean, he’ll hang out and do his thing and show his face when he wants then he won’t be around for a couple years and that’s what he wants to do it. And I’m like, do it. They do what they want.

What are you passionate about?

Oh, a lot of things. My passions have changed a lot, especially this past year. You know, with the election and stuff, I’ve really noticed what my values are aligned with and how I can, I guess express those values and project those values into the world around me. So living a life that is in alignment with what I want and how I want others to treat me and all of that. Just because this election has been really hard. It’s shed a lot of light on what I see is important. The people in my life that I love, helping them grow, helping them feel challenged, looking for challenges and surrounding myself with people who do that for me is super important. Yeah, and I also love roller coasters, they’re my favorite. I’m super passionate about roller coasters, if you want to ask me questions about where they are and what heights, I know all of that too ::laughs::. Or recommendations for self help books. Either or, I like both. I love self help books, like, personal development books. I love the perspective that they offer. I don’t think that they’re all “alright” or that they’re all my “Gods” but they tend to give really good discrete tools that help people during really rough times. And whether it’s a hard conversation with someone you care about who’s in your life or a big decision, a lot of times there’s neat little tools that they give you that can help you think about things in ways that you wouldn’t have. That’s why I like that. I’m kind of woosa in some ways, like woosa. Like, think about the energy in the world and things like that. I LOVE that stuff cuz there’s something to be said about doing good shit or taking on good shit.

Can you expand on how this election was hard?

Umm, well I’m gay. And I’m a gay man who performs as a man and I see the implications of what Donald Trump’s presidency could mean for me and what it means for people around me who I love and care about and that just, overall, I’m sad. That those are the things that could happen and those are the things that exist in the world. I’m still navigating a space that’s… I don’t want to say mourning but just leaving myself a time to be sad and it’s on no one else’s timeline. You know, I’m not looking to feel happy about it, I don’t think I’m going to, and that’s okay. It was just hard seeing that there’s that much yuckiness still.

What is something that you struggle with?

Umm, I don’t know, we all struggle in a million ways. I think my biggest struggle, especially at 24, is thinking that I should be in a certain position. Like, I should be at this point or I should have this kind of friend group or I should be doing this. All these quote unquote pressures that no one else is putting on me except me, I’m making the story up in my head, right. And it’s constantly reminding myself that no one fucking told me that I had do that, it’s just me. So owning that it’s myself that’s making me loco and no one else, it’s like “OH! That’s kind of hard”, but it’s also really empowering. As I’ve gotten older and have made really amazing friends that have helped me learn some of that stuff, it’s easier to take ownership of how I’m showing up to something even though I want it to be everyone else’s fault and not mine. It’s your fault and it’s fault and the wind and the weather in November instead of owning the fact that I have a play in this. Fine. Like, okay.  

What do you feel accomplished with?

Personally, I am so fulfilled and grateful and really just happy with the humans in my life. I think I have worked really hard in the past couple years to choose to put out good vibes and good energy and that is called in the most amazing people ever. I’m sitting in a bathtub doing an interview, like, because I saw a flyer and said let’s do this. And I don’t think that’s something I would do five years ago. So choosing to call in good things and exciting things, I’m happy that I’m at the point where it’s a conscious effort for me and I’m doing it well.

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

Relationships ::laughs:: in reference to just DC? Or all over? ::Laughs:: relationships. It’s something that I, very much am still, I guess you could say struggling with. I so desire to have my person in this world. And, I know that, as humans we kind of bounce around and do things and are up to stuff and once in awhile one sticks and once in awhile one doesn’t and you just got to enjoy what is happening along the way. I think in reference to where I currently live, which is DC, it’s very much a go get ’em and on to the next sort of mindset which definitely shows up in relationship, friendship and sexually. People tend to be a little bit more transient here anyways so there’s less of those roots which makes it hard to try to establish really deep commitment. That’s just my own experience, I’ve met people who have met the loves of their life, right, so I’m not saying that it won’t be available to me at some point, it just hasn’t quite yet shown up.

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