exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Work

Sarah AKA Sur-ruh

Sarah AKA Sur-Ruh


Date of Interview: December 12, 2016

Name: Sarah AKA Sur-ruh

Age: 25

Pronouns: She/Her

Location: Washington, DC


How often do you bathe or shower?

I am not super good about that… it’s only for the purposes of getting scalp clean. I know my body is getting kinda sweaty but it’s the wintertime so I can cover it up pretty well ::laughs::.

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

I’ve considered this extensively! I didn’t show you my mermaid tail blanket, the hottest thing on earth right now but yeah, I would be a mermaid. I’m a swimmer, like, even though I’ve swum competitively I’m not great at the butterfly but doing the dolphin tail kick is fulfilling my dreams of having an adventure under the water and my imagination as a kid… I really spent a lot of time in the water. I started swimming competitively when I was around 8 or so. So it was a summer team and I didn’t really want to start doing it in the winter until high school so it was a little bit harder. Highly mediocre. I just find it natural to be in the water.

What are you passionate about?

I think something I’ve been trying to do a lot is seek out art and try to learn about and pick something or a couple things I think I can express the kind of art that I think really feels me. I’ve been bouncing around a lot. I started in photography and it’s still something that’s really important to me but when I was able to start messing around with different materials and rocks and collage I felt like there was something there and I had to keep going with that. Talking to you, I’ve talked to other artists on Instagram and I’m just trying to figure out how you guys do it and I want to adopt your policies or whatever ::laughs::. You clearly have drive and I would like to find that kind of drive. With photography, my attention is still there because I felt like I was so poor at it when I started, I wasn’t super critical of myself at the time, but I look back and think oh. You weren’t really making it. But at the time I had this feeling, I know I’m missing the point here. So I thought I had to get practice and practice is a real important thing. I also thought travel was more important, like, there’s nothing here. I realized it’s not about traveling! ::Laughs:: sure, you can travel and make beautiful photography doing that but I felt like I wasn’t giving enough of a chance to the area I was living in. At that time I was moving to college part to go to school and I just fell in love with alleyways. My boyfriend always laughs at me cuz I’m all “Wow! Look at that alley!”. Alley’s just get the coolest light. And they’re always so dirty. It’s great texture. So now I’m just looking for the right thing to make something different. I always want to make something different.

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

That’s really interesting for me to talk about. Because I think about not only my romantic relationship, that… That’s always been a big part of my life, I’ve always been sort of dating somebody and I thought that was to keep me occupied a lot of the time. I felt like there wasn’t a lot going on. But I realized a little bit later that I can entertain myself. I can figure out what I think is worthwhile to pursue and I don’t have to follow around this person, saying “I like what you like too”. That’s just sort of about boyfriend things but I don’t have a lot of super close friends, I have maybe 5 or 6 who are ride or die ::laughs::. But they don’t live that close so I think I felt so spoiled in college and I didn’t realize it until now, that being able to see all of your best friends and your second best friends all in one night; that’s an amazing experience. So now I really really value.any time I have someone come over.

What is something you struggle with?

I feel like I’m struggling with a good number of things right now, but I am picking out a therapist person. I got a lot of pages of doctors I have to call and stuff because I don’t know which one I need. I don’t even know if they’re accepting people so it’s really daunting because there are so many names. But I’m really driven to do this ’cause I get sort of obsessive and I’ve never been diagnosed and I have no diagnosed issues and I do not intend to seek a diagnosis. I just want to seek treatment. I don’t really know what the true issue is but I just get obsessive. I need to work on it because it’s impacting my health and the health of people around me. It’s hard because it’s not a lot of physical manifestations of compulsion except that if I get fixated on a mistake I made at work or something; I’ll be unable to eat for that day. And then when that becomes more of a pattern, you know, in extraordinary circumstance, that makes me feel horrible. I feel kind of fortunate because I can deal with this one thing but awhile back I had a lot more trouble sleeping so I felt like a zombie all the time. That was a real feeling that I knew I was having, so now I feel blessed that I don’t feel like that but yeah, I have to focus on trying to get better.

What’s something you feel accomplished with?

I guess, it’s coming up with the new year in January, January was when I got my first full time job, the job I just referenced ::laughs::. I am so very thankful even though it can bring pain because I’m one of those people who wasn’t very good at applying for jobs and definitely wasn’t very good at getting them but I just dreamt and wished for that. I’ve been trying to remind myself that anytime I feel that it’s difficult or that I can’t deal with it, that I’ve had a successful, as in I haven’t gotten fired ::laughs::, 11 and a half months and I’ve learned a lot. I’m the type of person where if you put something on my plate to learn my response won’t be “no, I don’t want to learn that” but it will be “well, I guess this is what I’m doing now” ::laughs::. I guess it’s good to be surprised by that

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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