Not enough people are trying to interview me rn so I interviewed myself

Lauren Matthews
October, 2020 – March, 2021

Oct 2020

What’s on your desk?

(Laughs)

Do you want the cool answer, or the gross answer? I like things that are revealing and a little shocking and a little too personal so I will tell you the true gross one. My fingernails.

I rip them off during calls or when I’m thinking, and don’t always throw them away immediately, and curse myself for being so dirty and having a body and hurting the body or manipulating the body and like, what if someone knew? Now you know. My boyfriend knows, and hates it, but he’s not the boss of me! 

Do you work at your desk? Or is it too fingernail-strewn?

I do, sometimes! My boyfriend built us a joint desk that I love for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s pretty, and minimal, and handmade, and custom. Fits perfectly in our big greenhouse window, which is the reason we said yes to this apt. You feel like you are in the tree, and we have become intimate with the wildlife who live there and rain tree nuts down on us in the fall. Thunk thunk, you know? Good distraction during calls. 

The second reason I love it is because when we first moved in I had a vision of my desk being there, and Josh was like “no, no we can’t, it simply must be the tv room,” and his sister and I were like “nah, you can release that dominant narrative,” but like, ultimately I let him have his traditional living room TV set up there, bc it’s not like he was totally wrong on that impulse, he just…doesn’t have my vision. He has his vision, you see.

The third reason I love it is because it’s like … an example of a triumphant part of our relationship. As per my dharma buddhism class, you’re supposed to wish destruction on yourself and success on others, but I will just grip to this little shred of triumph, because, like, I want to. Basically, when COVID hit he told me I needed a desk. I’d been WFH for 6 months already because my job is based internationally. also it’s important to tell you that between COVID and us first moving in, he had built me a desk. It sat in our dark little den and I only used it for, like, a static altar to the concept of desking or selfhood or desire or whatever, or perhaps creative work as a totem, but I never actually sat there. Because there was no natural light. But it was a lovely desk and I love when people make me things.

So anyways, he needs a desk and he’s like “I’m thinking of having my desk by the big greenhouse window,” and I fully lost it and tantrummed, because it brought up everything annoying about everything. It reminded me of all the times as a child my sister got something and I didn’t, or someone didn’t believe me or didn’t see where I was coming from or was like “that’s dumb” and then 6 months later we’re all about it but for themselves. And that is … so frustrating! So I threw a royal fit and Josh was like “ok ok” and a few days later was like, “I have a solution. what if I build us a biiiig desk so we both get a desk there?” And I basically died of joy because it was such a sweet solve and he just offered it to me like “no problem, I got you,” and it’s so much better than my lonely desk there.

We’ll have to come back to the dharma thing, but first, where do you work if not at your desk?

Wherever the wind takes me. I like to work from bed sometimes and stew in the forbiddenness of that. You know, everyone’s like “NO SCREENS IN BED” and whatever but they’re wrong, as are most firm edicts!  I mean I get the principle, but sometimes you just need to trick yourself into working by staying in bed, or sometimes, it’s just the best place to bleed the thoughts out.

The other thing I’m really into lately is wfbath. it’s sort of the same indulgence of working from bed, like, haha I’m going to meld two parts of my life that capitalism realllllly wants me to keep separate. I like to bathe in the middle of the day so I’m in all of the hot elements (sun, water). Bath Office. It’s precarious, but really, what isn’t?

Where are you going first, or what are you doing first, when all this is over?

Morocco, India, and Turkey. Specifically: Tangier, Marrakech, Casa, Rabat, Fes, Nagaland, Assam, and the Aegean Coast. That’s where we’re based so I can justify it, but also because I’m really enmeshed in stories and craft from these places. I’m DYING to go. And I miss my coworkers! I want to hang out with them. I want to see Eri silk weaving in Assam. Oh, and North Carolina because there’s a textile mill there I gotta see. Plus this artist residency in France with one of my best friends who is a costume designer and an amazing artist and thinker.

What have you been eating lately?

Right now I’m basically drinking straight soy sauce. Kidding! Sort of! I make black beans and drink their broth and add lots of Tamari.

Do you have a mantra?

I get a new one about once a week. Something I’ve accepted or learned about myself this year is that I’m clairaudient – not, like, particularly expert at it but I hear things, people, and energies talking in my ears. This is just a very clear way I receive information. Sayings. What have you. I don’t always understand it and certainly it’s not always like…available to me. But when it comes it really comes. So often the words show up in this very emphatic way like my big self talking to my little self sort of? Like words on high.

So today during yoga almost immediately, as I was thinking about how I believe someone perceives me, I heard:

It is not my job to reveal myself to others; it is my job to reveal myself to me.

I think about the Frances the Badger book – Bedtime for Frances – often, because the dad badger is all, it is the wind’s job to blow against the window at night and make a creepy sound. And it is your job, Frances, to sleep. Which I find extremely poetic and sort of like – I think this is what my teacher, Kat, means by “obedience.” Like that quote, tulips don’t question anything – they just grow. Just do what you are to do. Don’t freak out about it.

The pandemic yoga format (o the privilege) really works for me. Because I am not fast at transitions or I’m very much on my own timeline with things, which means I’m usually late to yoga, but now I don’t even have to change out of my pjs or drive 4 minutes, I just have to roll out of bed and click a link and there you go, like, yogurt in hand, no less. Plus it means I can talk to myself, accidentally have my boobs fall out of my shirt, turn off my camera if I can’t bear it, take breaks to pee – reveal myself to myself. Because as a brilliant intuitive named Asher Hartmann put it “I have a people-pleasing gene,” which means like, try to dismantle it as I might, I will be affected by other ppl in the room, to the extent where like I won’t go pee out of fear of disruption. “It’s rude,” you know? Whatever. Denying our needs in favor of politesse. No bodies in capitalism! Etc! 

Also, I have an incredible yoga teacher thanks to my friend Sophia Moreno-Bunge who invented her for me lol. Kyle Miller is actually just…the medicine. My medicine! She is a bright light in my scared, pandemic heart, beaming into my “library” where I do yoga. Funny and weird and sunny and singing to her dog and talking to her friends and just being who she is. “I love Britney Spears because she’s just like me – an insecure white girl who just wants to be a mom,” she said today. My boyfriend always laughs at least once during her class from his perch on the couch because she’ll say something so clowny. All from the shell of this popular girl! Like, I call it popular girl yoga because she is undeniably popular and cool, in the way where you want to come along, not in the way where you hate her. Like in the way where she is def a cool kid but is also, somehow, nice to everyone. I want to write an interview with her because I think she’s fascinating and also I feel like I have a firsthand understanding now of how someone becomes a cult yoga teacher. Like, they give it their all and also have “it.” She’s just a pleasure to be around…on Zoom! Which…how many people can you say that about???

I receive important information when I move my body. When I run or dance I usually have an inspiration, thought, or answer to a question. When I do yoga, because the point is to move, I save up these thoughts to record later, obsessively repeating them to myself. I’d like to try to use this tool to that end: moving not to move, but to receive. 

Dec 5, 2020

Are you synesthetic? A synesthete?

Ummm no? like. no. But I do think it’s really extremely important to catalog the things that feel the same to you. Sarah Faith Gottesdiener calls these correspondences and I think of them as corresponDANCES because these are things dancing together in relations. So like, the Bernadette Mayer poem where she’s like 8 = yellow. or whatever, but then also, cocoa always makes me think of the word COAX so its like cocoa-x which makes me feel so cozy, or um, how a lowercase g in serif font looks like its giggling, like how the word giggle looks like the sound or concept giggle. My sister gets it with tastes so she’ll be like “sometimes peanuts taste like skunks to me,” or other wild links. And I think the more you can classify the things which feel the same to you the more you can … enjoy the energies of this world.  

Mar 9, 2021

What is your favorite feeling?

Once I read an interview with a respectable lady who said her favorite thing was the monthly pluck of her one wiry gray hair on her chin. She had a name for it – him – like Spike, or something, and joked about it with her husband. Whoever you are, thank you, you changed my life.

I think about this a lot because I have a very wiry hair that grows out of a sweet little mole near my chin, and it’s just such a sturdy, toothsome, grippable hair, and it is probably gray too – looks translucent to me – and I also have to remove it about monthly or maybe every 6 weeks at most, and I have to say – this feeling is almost better than orgasm. Sometimes I replay it in my mind to soothe myself as I fall asleep. I mean, I also love orgasms, those are extremely important and another favorite feeling, but removing my personal Spike is a close second. After it’s gone I touch the spot where it was for like an hour, caressing this phantom limb, remembering what it was like when it was there. Psychological! Far out!

Mar 13, 2021 (new moon in Pisces)

How do you keep your house?

I like to leave my clothes in piles all over. Like a spatial arrangement of them lingering together, on a chair or railing or bench or my bed or in a basket. This is how I find new outfits because I see stuff together that I wouldn’t have thought to combine without first seeing their correspondence or alikeness. This definitely first started because my room would periodically as a teenager / young adult become a tornado of mess, just literally covered in stuff, and I’d always find inspiration there. I feel like this was something I also read in an interview maybe, like this is a tried-and-true tactic of letting things get cluttered together so you can eventually clean them up, parse them apart, and find new expressions in their midst. This is maybe also why I like leaving some things on the floor, like using the floor for storage. “A minefield” as my dad would call it, but I like witnessing the effects of use on a space, like, for a lot of feb and march I had on the floor of my room 3 tulle ribbons, 1-2 other various ribbons, all my potions next to my bed, you know like just smearing your desires and beings and STUFFS all over. This comes from an abundance and carefree mentality I’ve always wanted to cultivate and aspire to. It’s also the root of a term coined by my friend Annie and her sister Lucy which is “toyboxy”. It describes your friend who is so rich and her parents are so la-di-da that she never has to put her things away, no toybox constricting her, it’s always empty and the toys are always strewn all over the room. Also, I like sitting on a nice cozy rug and making stuff. Groundedness. I always have. Feels right.


Lauren is a writer and creative director in Los Angeles. You can read her work here.

You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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